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Serbia Begins Renovation of Staro Sajmiste concentration camp

Almost eight decades after the Staro Sajmiste concentration camp in Belgrade was closed, work began on the renovation of its buildings, where authorities say at least two museum facilities will be opened.

A ceremony was held on 27.7.20222. to mark the start of renovation work on the main tower at the Staro Sajmiste (Old Trade Fair) concentration camp, which operated under German Nazi control during World War II.

“We are starting to restore the memory of the camp by starting to reconstruct the central tower, its iconic symbol,” Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in a speech at the ceremony.

“The reconstruction of the central tower at the Staro Sajmiste is a symbol of determination to reconstruct our own collective memory,” Vucic added.

Staro Sajmiste was initially a Judenlager, a concentration camp for Jews, and from mid-1942 it operated as an Anhaltelager, a reception camp for prisoners of war, hostages and forced labourers.

The director of the Staro Sajmiste Memorial Centre, Krinka Vidakovic Petrov, said there are plans for the reconstruction of more former concentration camp facilities on the site and two museums are to be opened, dedicated to two phases of the camp’s operations.

“We have to do it and it is not only our debt to the victims, it is a way to say to ourselves ‘we have not forgotten them, we will not let anyone forget us tomorrow, and so we do not go through the evil that these people went through,” Vidakovic Petrov told Tanjug news agency.. In 2020, Serbia adopted a law to establish a memorial center at the Staro Sajmiste.

Source: Belgrade insight


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