Aleksandar Pirivatric, a 50-year-old Serbian dentist, appeared in the city of Belgrade last Saturday, after spending the last 15 years concealed deep in the forest of Krusna Gora, in the Czech Republic.
Aleksandar used to be a renowned oral surgeon in the Czech city of Teplice, but the Serb couldn’t legally reside in either country because he had no documents. So at one point, he ended his practice and took to the forest for nearly a decade and a half, visiting the nearby city from time to time, for supplies. His bizarre story was finally discovered by Peter Silva, a Czech professor who befriended him after noticing his regular presence on the outskirts of Teplice.
“Every day in Teplice I was seeing a man with a backpack on his back, in a thin dressing, hurriedly walking,” Silva told the media. “When I stopped him, he spoke perfect Czech, and then he said that he was a Serb. He did not look like an ordinary homeless person – he sounded very knowledgeable. Then I realised that he was a famous dentist, oral surgeon.”
Wanting to help Aleksander, Silva started visiting his home deep in the forest bringing him food for over a year. He slowly learned that the Serb had been living in a partly demolished structure, without water, electricity, or a roof over his head. He also came to know the whole story – Aleksandar had moved from Serbia to the Czech Republic along with his mother when he was nine years old. He finished school in Prague and later studied Dental Medicine in college.
After graduating, Aleksandar worked as a dentist at Motol University Hospital in Prague, but when he was transferred to Teplice, his life changed forever. His mother died, he lost his job soon after, and because he wasn’t a Czech citizen, he was asked to vacate the state-owned apartment. He became homeless and was forced into the forest in order to continue living in the country undetected.
Meanwhile, Aleksandar’s half-sister from his father’s side, Slobodanka Pirivatric, was trying to get him declared dead in Serbia, to lay claim to their dead father’s property. Fortunately, her request was denied, so when Silva sent an email to the Serbian embassy requesting help in Aleksandar’s case, they were able to help immediately.
After years of hardship and struggle, Aleksandar finally reached Belgrade last Saturday. It was an emotional moment for him and Silva, and for the thousands who were following his story. “The trip was great,” Silva said. “Aleksandar has been sitting quietly and looking through a window. I think he felt quite serene. Leaving the forest was not easy for him. There were some emotions, but now everything is fine.”
Speaking to the media, Aleksandar said: “I have been living in the woods for a long time. During the day I would walk because there are soldiers here during the day and I did not want them to see me. I did not know how they would react. So every day I walked, up to 20 kilometers. I ate food from containers, whatever I found, and what people gave me.”
“He said goodbye to that place and now he is here,” Silva added. “It will not be easy. I think that he will have to learn again how to use some everyday things, like washing machine or a stove. This is still a big shock for him and it will take a lot of time for him to accustom to this.”
Aleksandar has now found a place to live in Belgrade, and relinquished his stake on his father’s property, allowing his half-sister to use it as she wishes. He’s just grateful for all the help he’s received so far.
“I am not sure whether I could go back to being a dentist,” he said. “If there is a possibility, I could start working again. I owe a lot to Peter and the embassy of Serbia who have helped me to get all of this, to come back to Belgrade. Also, I owe a lot to the people who helped me get this apartment. It is crucial for me not to disappoint them and to get myself on track.”
Aleksandar’s story reminds us of Carlos Sánchez Ortiz de Salazar, a Spanish doctor who went missing nearly two decades ago after he fell into a deep depression. His family searched for him far and wide, and he was finally presumed dead after 14 long years. But local villagers found him living in a deep forest in Tuscany in 2015. He told them that he’d made the forest his home because he “didn’t want to live among people” anymore. Soon after, he went missing again.
Source, Photos: Telegraf.rs