All happy families resemble each other, Tolstoy said, and the Stojanovic family, they say, resembles an oasis of warmth, spirituality and humanity, as evidenced by the numerous photographs, paintings, bust, documents and personal items found in their memorial home in Prijedor, where this family lived.
“The Stojanovic family was a respectable, civic and very advanced priestly family whose members, each in his own sphere of activity, left a mark in Prijedor and some even beyond.”
The house is in 1864. built by Gavro Stojanovic, Simeon ‘s father, but it burned in a fire that in 1882. almost all of Prijedor. The house is in 1893. reconstructed, but this time it was made much larger and upstairs and lived in it with Simeon Stojanovic with his wife Jovanka and nine children, five daughters – Georgina, Persida, Jelisaveta, Milica and Draginja, and four sons – Mladen, Sreten, Dragutin and Velimir.
This memorial house, which Prijedor municipality rebuilt and reopened for visitors in 2007, has two exhibits on the ground floor, where there is a documentary-historical exhibition about Dr. Mladen Stojanovic and the Stojanovic family, and upstairs is an art exhibition ” Selection from Legacies of Sreten Stojanovic, Painters, Sculptors and Academics “.
“All of Gina’s children, except Dragutin, who was killed at the age of 12, were college educated”
Mladen Stojanović was the third child and the first son of Serbian Orthodox priest Simo Stojanović and his wife Jovanka. He was born in Prijedor on 7 April 1896. Bosnia-Herzegovina was then occupied by Austria-Hungary. Stojanović’s father was the third generation of his family to serve as a Serbian Orthodox priest. He had graduated from a theology faculty, becoming the first in the family to attain a higher level of education. Simo was active in the political struggle for ecclesiastical and educational autonomy for the Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mladen Stojanović’s maternal grandfather was a Serbian Orthodox priest from Dubica, Teodor Vujasinović, he had participated in Pecija’s revolt against the Ottoman Empire.
Stojanović completed his elementary education at the Serbian Elementary School in Prijedor in 1906. In 1907, he finished the first grade of his secondary education at the gymnasium in Sarajevo, before he entered the gymnasium in Tuzla, where he would complete the remaining seven grades. His brother Sreten Stojanović—who would become a prominent sculptor—joined him at the Tuzla gymnasium in 1908.
At the age of fifteen, Stojanović became an activist in a group of student organizations called Young Bosnia, which strongly opposed Austria-Hungary’s occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 1912, Stojanović was inducted into Narodna Odbrana, an association founded in Serbia with the goal of organizing guerrilla resistance to Bosnia-Herzegovina’s annexation by Austria-Hungary. Stojanović was arrested by the Austro-Hungarian authorities in July 1914, and although he was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment, he was pardoned in 1917. He graduated as a Doctor of Medicine after World War I, and in 1929, opened a private practice in the town of Prijedor. In September 1940, he became a member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ).
In 1931, Stojanović was contracted to the Prijedor branch of the state railway company to provide healthcare for its employees. In 1936, he was contracted to an iron ore mining company in Ljubija, a town near Prijedor, and would visit the mining company clinic twice a week. He also taught hygiene at the gymnasium in Prijedor. Together with other intellectuals from the town, he gave lectures to the miners at their club in Ljubija. His lectures were usually about medical issues, but he also described the economic and social position of workers in more advanced countries. He socialized with the miners and treated their family members for free. He was very active socially, and also participated in sports. In 1932, he founded the tennis club of Prijedor, which continues to bear his name. After the war, his service to the Partisan cause was commemorated by the construction of a memorial in Prijedor, the naming of streets, public buildings and a park after him, in song and in film.
In villages around Prijedor, where brawls were common, rowdies sang about him:
“Udri baja nek palija ječi,
ima Mladen što delije liječi.”
“Hit [me], buddy, let the club resound,
there is Mladen, who cures heroes sound.”
In his youth, Stojanović wrote poems, only one of which is published—in a 1918 issue of the literary magazine Književni jug, whose editor was future Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andrić. For this poem, Stojanović was inspired by the Serbian epic hero Ailing Dojčin.
A number of Stojanović’s poems are preserved in a notebook that belonged to his closest school friend Todor Ilić. According to the poet Dragan Kolundžija, Stojanović’s poems are lyrical miniatures composed in free verse, focused on man and nature, and filled with melancholy. Kolundžija finds that what inspired Stojanović to write poetry is reflected in his verse Krvav je bol (Pain is bloody). According to poet Miroslav Feldman, who first met Stojanović in 1919 in Zagreb, his poems were sad and permeated with a yearning for a brighter, more joyous life.
Stojanović wrote an essay, which is published as the foreword to a 1920 book of poetry by Feldman, titled Iza Sunca (Behind the Sun). In 1925, Stojanović initiated the creation of an anthology of Yugoslav lyric poetry. On this project, he worked with Feldman and Gustav Krklec. The poets completed the anthology, but for an unknown reason it was never published. Stojanović’s poetic inclinations were manifested in his letters to his wife Mira Stojanović, especially when he writes about his patients:
“I, kad se podižu i osjećaju strujanje snage i proljeća u svojim žilama ja kao da dolazim sebi, ostavlja me neki zanos i ja tražim druge bolesne oči djece, žena, majki, staraca; nalazim ih i ponovo zaboravljam sve.”
“And, as they rise and feel the stream of power and spring in their veins, I seem to come to [as though] some kind of ecstasy leaves me, and I look for the other ailing eyes of children, women, mothers, old men; I find them and again I become oblivious to everything [else].”
He was posthumously bestowed the Order of the People’s Hero.