Opening of the exhibition “October 1941” – Escalating into Holocaust
On Wednesday 20 April 2016 at the Historical Archives of Belgrade, in the presence of many prominent guests and visitors, exhibition “October 1941” was opened.
Authors of the exhibition are Dr Milovan Pisarri and Nikola Radić Lucati from Center for Holocaust Research and Education (CHRE) from Belgrade. Through archival materials and newspaper clips, 32 exhibition boards presents each day of October 1941, a month in which mass prosecutions of the civilians – Serbians, Jews and Roma began in Serbia. This led to the final phase of Holocaust in Serbia – systematic execution of the remaining Jewish women and children detained in the Sajmište camp, in the notorious gas van, so called “dušegupka”.
A press conference was organized before the exhibition opening, with a goal to present the project Escalating into Holocaust and upcoming activities. Participants of the press conference were Mr Dragan Gačić, project director and director of the Historical Archives of Belgrade, Mr Vladan Vukosavljević, Secretary of the Secretariat of Culture of the City of Belgrade, Mrs Nevena Bajalica, project manager and co-founder of the Terraforming international network Stockholm-Amsterdam-Novi Sad, and Dr Milovan Pisarri, co-author of the exhibition.
The exhibition was opened by Mr Dragan Gačić, director of the Historical Archives of Belgrade, H.E. Yossef Levi, Israeli ambassador and H.E. Axel Dittmann, German ambassador to Serbia.
Israeli ambassador to Serbia H.E. Yossef Levi underlined that it should not be forgotten what had happened on Sajmište concentration camp and that we should all cherish this memory. He repeated the fact that in World War II in Europe six million of Jewish men, women, children and babies were killed by Nazis. Levi said that Jews were killed by Nazi occupiers, but also by Ustashas, Hungarian gendarmerie, and by Serbs who were executing the orders of the occupation authorities. “There were Serbs who helped Jews in so many ways, but there were also those who participated in mass murders”, stated the ambassador of Israel.
German ambassador to Serbia H.E. Axel Dittmann said that the crimes committed by Nazi authorities in Germany must be remembered if we want to shut the door to the evil.
Ambassador of Croatia H.E. Gordan Markotić and ambassador of Montenegro H.E. Branisalv Mićunović also attended the ceremony.
The exhibition was open from 21. April – 27. May 2016 from 10 AM – 5 PM, every day except Sundays and Mondays.
The exhibition opening was also attended by international experts – guests from Germany, the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria, Sweden and Croatia, participants of the international conference “Escalating into Holocaust”. International guests complimented the exhibition. Among others, Dr Gerhard Baumgartner, director of the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance from Vienna, suggested the cooperation between the two archives and exhibition visit to Vienna.
In June 2016 the exhibition will be presented in the city of Niš.
Event in Belgrade was the first in a series of international events that will be organized within the frames of the project Escalating into Holocaust. Events in Niš, Kragujevac, Novi Sad, Amsterdam, Jasi and Stockholm are scheduled for June 2016 – January 2017.