President honors Archibald Reiss on 100th anniversary
A ceremony marking 100th anniversary of the beginning of his work in Serbia of Swiss professor and forensic scientist Archibald Reiss was held in Belgrade.Source: Tanjug
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić addressed those gathered on Thursday to say that Reiss was "a comrade and a hero who endured the Great War alongside the Serbian army and people."
"I am a Swiss volunteer in the Serbian army, a friend of magnificent warriors of Šumadija, Danube, Morava, Timok and Vardar," Nikolić cited Reiss, noting that in this way the he "described himself and his stay in Serbia since 1914."
"Reiss was born in Hausach, in the Grand Dutchy of Baden in Germany in 1875. He lived in the Canton of Vaud in Switzerland, and died - we are convinced of this - as a Serb in Belgrade in 1929," the Serbian president said.
He noted that Reiss arrived in Serbia in 1914 at the invitation of the Serbian government to investigate the crimes that the Austro-Hungarian, German and Bulgarian armed forces committed against civilians, and remained loyal to his profession.
"As a renowned professor and criminologist, he spread the truth, and thus shattered the propaganda image that the Germans and Austro-Hungarians created about the Serbs as a barbaric people," Nikolić underlined, noting this is an opportunity to thank Reiss for numerous articles that he published in European newspapers and magazines, often even on the front page, which he sent as a correspondent during the war.
Mostly thanks to his articles, the European and world public was impartially and timely informed about the truth in Serbia and about Serbia, the president said.
The president said that the admiration that Reiss himself felt toward Serb soldiers and their fair treatment of captured criminals could not be seen in the professional reports of others, not even in newspaper articles.
He said that Reiss was a member of the Yugoslav delegation at the Paris Peace Conference, and introduced innovations in the police practice in Belgrade.
During his lifetime, Reiss received the Medal of Courage for his participation in the Thessaloniki Front battles, and the Commemorative Medal for the Withdrawal of the Serbian Army through Albania, and became the honorary citizen of Krupanj and Mačvanski Prnjavor. The Association of Reserve Officers and Warriors presented him with an officer's saber, he was given the rank of first class captain in the Serbian Kingdom Army, and provided scholarships for 300 Serb orphans who were sent to school in Lausanne, Nikolić said.
Reiss left behind a political manuscript entitled “Listen, Serbs”, which includes description of the virtues of Serbs, and an even more important part that points to the flaws of the Serbian people that we most often disregard, the Serbian president said.
“Serbia loved her Archibald Reiss,” Nikolić said, adding that his wish was fulfilled and and his heart was buried at the site of the First World War Battle of Kajmakčalan, "to rest near the comrades he watched dying."
"Here in the urn, at the top of the Kajmakčalan, a golden heart sleeps, a friend of Serbs during the worst days, Hero of Justice, Truth and Rights, the Swiss Reiss, glory to him," reads the inscription on the urn, the Serbian president said, and noted that the remains "disappeared" from the urn, broken in a Bulgarian attack in the next, Second World War.
"Today, Reiss' name and glory stand as a strong connection between Serbia and Switzerland whose peoples live in friendship and understanding. It could not be any other way since this sincere and lasting friendship was initiated by Swiss Archibald Reiss, who gave his dedication, thoughts and finally heart to Serbia, Nikolić said.