Not everything has to fall apart

Not everything has to fall apart
Not everything has to fall apart

It was announced that the famous factory Industrija motora Rakovica (IMR) will be demolished and that a new center of the municipality of Rakovica will be built in its place. According to all announcements, apartments will prevail there. The plan for detailed regulation was put up for early public inspection in May of this year, and according to a news item that I heard on television “in flight”, the offered plan was not accepted, so the events have not yet been put to an end. Someone might get angry, but I was pleased when I heard the news.

The factory was founded and began operating in 1927. It was the first to make airplane engines in the country at the time, it made our first truck before the beginning of the Second World War and continued with it after liberation, it made the first domestic “cooperative” tractor, it also made crawler tractors for a time, it made diesel engines in various variants, including high-speed ones , made a light all-terrain vehicle right before the breakup of the SFRY, and that, unfortunately, was the end. At its peak, it produced 50,000 engines and 6,000 tractors a year, and with foundry workers, it had nearly 6,000 employees.

I worked in that company for 20 years, in technical preparation, and in the most productive years of my life, and I left it when it became clear that it had no future. However, I remained sentimentally attached to her and the news that she would physically disappear resulted in disappointment and disbelief. I was not alone in those feelings. Thousands of people from the entire former common state found work, bread, home, founded families and other things, especially those from war zones, whose homes were destroyed and relatives killed.. The camaraderie and solidarity among employees, despite all human weaknesses, they were at a high level and that’s what the factory was known for. In 1944, after liberation, Rakovica had 2,000-3,000 inhabitants, and today there are slightly more than 100,000.

In the municipality of Rakovica, another metal “giant”, “Dvadeset Prvi May”, worked. In addition to “Livnica”, “Rekord” and “Jugostroj”, Rakovica was a real industrial workers’ municipality, and most of the workers lived in the surrounding new settlements. They called her “red Crab”, you can guess why.

It should be noted that at that time Belgrade had a powerful metal industry outside Rakovica as well. To name the biggest ones: “Zmaj”, “Ikarus”, IKL (Industry of rolling bearings), IMT (Industry of machines and tractors), “Ivo Lola Ribar”, IPM (Industry of precision mechanics), etc. As far as I know, there is almost nothing left of it today.

However, one must be realistic, nothing is for all time. In order not to lose the trace of a time, I propose to preserve the initial building of IMR, the one from almost 100 years ago, a fine example of industrial architecture of that time, to remain as a cultural and historical monument. The rest that was made in the meantime has no value in that sense, so it can be removed.

That building would remain a symbol of a time that lasted for a long time, both happy and tragic, marking the lives of at least several generations. There is a danger of being forgotten. How the mentioned building would fit into the newly built facilities and what its purpose would be, would be determined by the people who deal with it. An example that this is possible is the integration of the railway boiler room and the water tower in Belgrade on the water. There can also be some kind of industrial museum. It should also be borne in mind that in the municipality of Rakovica, apart from the famous monastery of Saints Michael and Gabriel, also known as the Rakovica monastery, there are no other cultural and historical monuments.

Dragan Lojanica

The article is in Serbian


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