The mountaineering expedition “Albanian Golghota, 100 years later” was realized with aim to honor the ancestors from the Great War, who were forced to withdraw from Serbia via Montenegro and Albania to the Adriatic Sea during winter of 1915/16. With the help from the allies, Serbian soldiers were evacuated to the Greek island of Corfu, while fewer soldiers were taken care of in Bizerta, Tunisia.The withdrawal had to be carried out over the mountains in severe and cruel winter conditions, because the direction by the river Vardar to Thessaloniki was cut off by the Bulgarian army, and Serbian troops had no longer strength to resist the multiple preeminent enemy, assembled of German, Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian units.
The withdrawal operation, known as the “Albanian Golgotha”, is unique in the world history. This is the only case ever recorded that the entire state apparatus, led by the king, government and the state administration, Supreme Command and the entire army, followed by considerable part of the population, left the territory of their own state, refusing to surrender. During the withdrawal, around 250,000 people died from cold, hunger, exhaustion and attacks of wild arnaut tribes in Albania. About 150,000 Serbian soldiers were evacuated to Corfu. Those who survived, after recovering and rest, stood up again lined up and were thereafter sent to the Thessaloniki front. Reorganized Serbian units continued their heroic struggle, resulting in unstoppable advance in 1918., in which they made a breakthrough of enemy lines and in less than two months liberated homeland, solving the very outcome of the Great war.
Following the path that Serbian soldiers walked century ago, members of the expedition “Albanian Golgotha, 100 years later”, made a kind of pilgrimage in honor of great ancestors. That way, they drew of the present generations to greatness/grandeur and tragedy of this unique event. Just a century ago, Serbian heroes showed their greatness by choosing uncertain and arduous retreat instead of surrender. Serbia didn’t capitulate then, preserved it’s honor even though it lost its freedom and suffered great sacrifice.
By pilgrimage via paths of such heroes, expedition wanted to remind contemporaries how precious was the honor of Serbian state and army. Had they lost the honor, they would have lost everything else: the state, the homeland, the respect of the descendants, … Preserving it, these glorious heroes quickly regained freedom, homeland, state and they deserved perennial admiration of their descendants. But these descendants were also left valuable lessons: how to love homeland, how to fight for it’s freedom and that without victims there is neither freedom nor homeland.