Tag Archives: Dragutin Dimitrijević

Frederic Morton

The caption under his picture identified him as Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijević, Director of the Intelligence Bureau of the Serbian General Staff. But at Belgrade’s political cafes one knew much more than that about him. There, whispers referred to him as Apis—the sacred bull of ancient Egypt.

Like his namesake he was a myth to his adherents. No ordinary earthly concerns tethered him: no wife, no lover, no family, no children, neither hobby nor recreation. He was not the liver of a life but the demon of an idea. At night he slept a few hours at his brother-in-law’s. The rest of his time he spent in the Belgrade Ministry of War, in an office whirring with telephone wires, telegraph keys, decoding devices, couriers and departing. Restaurants and theaters did not exist him. He was beyond normal frivolities. All his waking arriving for hours served one unmerciful passion: to carve Greater Serbia out of the rotting body of the Habsburg Empire.

Frederic Morton, Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913/1914, New York, 1989, pp. 190–191