Mail on ice

If you are planning a Belgrade tour, you should become familiar with the climate of the city. Usually the best time to visit Belgrade, if you like to get lost in the city, walks around random streets, or follow the map of tourist attractions is late spring and early summer actually the months of May and June. Late summer tends to get hot and humid, but that is not the rule. If you don’t prefer long walks, than any time of the year is good for traveling to Belgrade. Belgrade has a worldwide famous nightlife, festivals, exhibitions, concerts and many other contents throughout the year.

Belgrade has a moderate continental climate, with four seasons. Autumn is longer than spring, with longer sunny and warm periods, the so-called “Indian summer”. Winter is not so severe, with an average of 21 days with temperature below zero. January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 0, -1 degree (Celsius). Spring is short and rainy. Summer arrives abruptly.

Regarding the weather in Belgrade, there is an interesting event that took place during the World War II. Belgrade winters were much sharper at the beginning of the last century. Rivers Danube and Sava were almost regularly completely frozen. At Belgrade, there were no bridges at the time because authorities blew up all the bridges when the war started to prevent the German army to approach Belgrade from the north over these two rivers. The regular way of distributing mail was by a boat, but when the rivers got frozen, post office bags were traveling on icebergs over to the other side. The first icebergs were threatening from the upper reaches of these rivers and often their course in Belgrade was completely frozen.

In 1942, such harsh winter began in January of this year and the newspapers of that time were reporting about all the troubles and resourcefulness of Belgrade postman. At the end of January they thought of the new improvised way to deliver mail because they couldn’t use boats and the mail accumulated quite enough by that time. There was an agreement conducted over the phone that all the postal bags should be brought at the middle of Danube from both sides where the exchange would take place.

Postman brought many mail bags and other postal items with them. They were using Pancevo Bridge as much as they could (because it was blown up like all other bridges). When they reach the end of a part of the bridge they could use the ladders were lowered onto the ice. There were fifteen postmen from Belgrade and they had all volunteered for the job. (This sentence is questionable, because “volunteering” was stimulated with the special methods of persuasion at that time). When the time came to come down the ladders only five postmen had the courage to continue across frozen Danube and meet postmen from Banat in the middle of the river and come back. They had completed the mission successfully.

This may not be compared with other bravery on a battlefield during the war, but it was without a doubt a brave thing to do because many people finally received the news of their loved ones. Many families were scattered during the war and sometimes the letter was the only contact they’ve had. This brave postman risked their lives and walked over ice to make sure that the mail was delivered.