Who is commemorated?
Jewish fighters fallen in the struggle for liberation of the peoples of Yugoslavia and to Jews victims of Fascism
The inscription in Serbo-Croatian reads:
Translation: This monument is built to [commemorate] Jewish fighters fallen in the struggle for the liberation of the peoples of Yugoslavia and to Jews victims of Fascism, 1941-1945. Bones of Jewish victims excavated at the Jasenovac-Gradiška camp are buried in this grave, and they represent all victims whose names are written and saved in the urn.
The inscription in Hebrew reads:
Translation: In memory of Jewish soldiers fallen in the war against Fascism and Jews murdered by Fascists in Croatia, 1941-1945
The Jewish Community of Zagreb and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia
Black wall: length 585 cm, height 77 cm, height of the plate with an inscription - 62 cm.
Statue: height 215 cm, width 111 cm
Plaque in the ground: 180 x 73 cm
Bronze statue of Moses, originally placed on the Glück family monument in 1932 (see IDs 365329, 365330, 365331), now serves as the cemetery’s Holocaust memorial.
The inauguration of this monument was part of a larger action by the Federation of Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia to unveil central monuments to the victims in Sarajevo, Belgrade, Zagreb, Novi Sad, and Đakovo in September and October 1952.
Emil Kerenji wrote about the messages that these monuments conveyed:
The dedication ceremonies and the monuments themselves reflected the dual goals of the [Jewish] Federation—the commemoration of specifically Jewish victims of the war in the context of confirmation of the officially revered legacies of the “struggle for national liberation” (narodnooslobodilačka borba) and “brotherhood and unity” (bratstvojedinstvo). Monuments were thus meant to commemorate both the “Jewish victims of Fascism” and “Jewish fallen fighters,” in accordance with the ritual mode of commemoration of World War II that was being established in Yugoslavia at the time [...].
The monuments did, however, feature Jewish motifs that were immediately recognizable to Jews, and that invoked cultural connotations that were of an entirely different order than those provided by the discourses of “victims of Fascism” and “fallen fighters.” [...] The monuments thus simultaneously conveyed two different cultural contexts—one compatible with the reigning ideological mode of commemoration of World War II, fully and literally translatable into Hebrew, the language of the new Jewish culture; and one more elusive, and accessible only to those familiar with Jewish culture and tradition.
One important caveat regarding the monuments in Yugoslavia ... is that they were located in the Jewish cemeteries. They were thus removed from the full view of the general Yugoslav public. They were located at the periphery. Monuments to general, unnamed “victims of Fascism” and “fallen fighters” were being built across Yugoslavia, in central locations in cities, towns, and villages. Monuments to Jewish victims, however, because they commemorated a specific ethnic group, could not vie for those locations. But since their primary importance for the Jewish communities in Yugoslavia lay in their potential to rally the remaining Jews in the country around a new basis for Jewish identification, their placement at Jewish cemeteries was not a drawback; on the contrary, ritual commemorations that developed over the years around these monuments only confirmed their Jewish character. Even as the legacies of narodnooslobodilačka borba were being confirmed, the Jewish context of the cemeteries secured the Jewish character of the ceremonies.
The dedication ceremonies, however, contrary to the later annual commemorations, were very visible to the general Yugoslav public. They were widely covered by the press across Yugoslavia. The numerous articles stressed...: it was only in Yugoslavia that there was a resistance movement led by the Party in which the Jews could participate freely and as equal members; [...] Jews finally felt free and equal in the new Yugoslavia, in which the national question was solved; numerous international Jewish delegations in attendance testified to this fact, as did the presence of state representatives and the general public at the ceremonies.
[Kerenji, 2008, pp. 211-216]
Kerenji, Emil. “Jewish Citizens of Socialist Yugoslavia: Politics of Jewish Identity in a Socialist State, 1944–1974.” Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 2008, 201-222., https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/60848/ekerenji_1.pdf?sequence=1. June 2020 (accessed February 23, 2022)