Novi Bečej and Vranjevo through History

Explore the extraordinary past of Novi Bečej and Vranjevo through the pages of the book 'Novi Bečej and Vranjevo through History.' Uncover political events, economic development, and cultural heritage of these Banat towns through richly documented stories. Follow the evolution from the earliest days to the present, delving into the intricate threads of political intrigues, economic transformations, and cultural ascensions. Experience the past through the eyes of the author as the pages of the book unfold before you, providing a unique perspective on the life and legacy of these significant locales.

Kharkov Institute (Russian Women's Gymnasium)
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Kharkov Institute (Russian Women's Gymnasium)

After the October Revolution, in March 1920, the Kharkov Institute - Russian Secondary Women's School with a boarding school was established in Novi Bečej. By the decision of the Minister of Education of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia SN No. 11539, dated August 10, 1922, the Institute was raised to the level of an eight-grade women's gymnasium, with the right to a graduation exam according to the regulations applicable to secondary schools in Yugoslavia. The instructional language at the Institute was Russian. The Institute was managed by the State Commission of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia for Russian refugees. The Ministry of Education financed and supervised the Institute.

After the victory of the October Revolution in Russia, a part of the bourgeoisie and large landowners fled to capitalist countries in Western Europe, and thus, a number of refugees found themselves in Yugoslavia. This certainly wasn't a small number, considering that besides the complete women's gymnasium in Novi Bečej, there was also a boys' gymnasium in Goražde, a lower-level girls' gymnasium in Belgrade, and a lower-level boys' gymnasium in Bela Crkva. Therefore, the female children of these Russian immigrants from almost all of Yugoslavia, except those whose children attended the lower gymnasium in Belgrade, were educated in Novi Bečej, hence the necessity for a boarding school.

The school with the boarding school was located in the building of today's gymnasium, while the dining room with the kitchen was in the school gym of Miloje Čiplić. However, this wasn't sufficient for the number of students at that time, so a building on the corner of Lole Ribara Street and Brigadir Ristić Street, owned by Đura Pavlović (today there is a store of the trading company Potisje in that building), was also rented.

According to data from the school report for the 1930/31 academic year, there were a total of 211 students in the school, of which 196 were Russian, 14 Serbian, and 1 Hungarian child. It seems that the grading criterion was very strict since, despite boarding accommodation, only 145 or 68.7 percent of the class successfully completed it. The school had 19 teachers; of which 5 were part-time and 14 were permanent.

The Kharkov Institute was beneficial for the economy of Novi Bečej, as the boarding school consumed considerable quantities of food products, and besides farmers, butchers, bakers, and confectioners, traders, shoemakers, tailors, and other craftsmen also found work because it was necessary to maintain a special uniform and footwear that was mandatory for all students. Additionally, besides the teachers and their families, there were thirty to forty Russian families in Novi Bečej who settled there so that their children could be closer during their schooling or because they wanted to live in Novi Bečej, as it represented, at that time, a special Russian cultural center. They were all above-average consumers at the Novi Bečej market.

When a great agricultural crisis occurred, the Kharkov Institute relocated from Novi Bečej to Bela Crkva in 1931, where presumably more favorable conditions were offered to them. With the relocation of the Institute, those forty or so Russian families who lived there solely because of the distinctive characteristic that the institution gave to Novi Bečej also left. With the departure of the Institute, Novi Bečej ceased to be interesting for them. Only about ten families remained, among them those whose members were employed as officials in the municipalities of Novi Bečej and Vranjevo.

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Longtime School Principal

Miloje Čiplić