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Obj. ID: 50279
Modern Jewish Art
  Holocaust Memorial at the site of the Sajmište Concentration Camp in Zemun, Serbia, 1995

© Olga Ungar, Photographer: Ungar, Olga, 2023

Memorial Name

Staro Sajmište

Who is Comemmorated?

Victims of the Sajmište Concentration Camp
Victims of Jasenovac
Victims of the Hungarian Occupation Forces.
The resistance to the nazi terror and all Yugoslavian victims of genocide.

Description

The central monument stands on the right of the Sava River promenade, near the site of the former Belgrade fairground where the Sajmište concentration camp was located during World War II. It is an abstract bronze sculpture, 10 meters high, arranged in two split sections, and is reminiscent of a floral form. The split shapes create a circular profile, filled with a pattern including an engraved four-point star. The memorial has the form (according to Miodrag Miša Popović, sculptor) of:  "a cracked form of a circle, one part of which symbolizes life and the other death”.

A bronze plaque at the stairs leading up to the memorial is placed, which bears the commemorative inscriptions in Serbo-Croatian and English.

An older Holocaust Memorial, a black marble plaque, is located nearby.

Inscriptions

Memorial Plaque

Serbo-Croatian

Овде, на Сајмишту, у нацистичком концентрационом логору, за време окупације Југославије од 1941. до 1944. извршен је ратни злочин и геноцид
над око сто хиљада родољуба, учесника народноослободилачке борбе, над децом, женама и старцима. Сваки други заточеник убијен је у логору
или на стратиштима: Јајинци, Бежанијска коса, Јабука и Островачка ада. Многи су одведени у немачке логоре смрти широм окупиране Европе.
Највише је страдало Срба, Јевреја и Рома. Њима, жртвама злогласног усташког логора Јасеновац и жртвама мађарских окупатора које су до
Београда донели таласи Саве и Дунава, храбром отпору нацистичком терору и свим Југословенима жртвама геноцида посвећен је овај споменик.

Београд, поводом дана сећања на жртве геноцида 22. 4. 1995. и 50 година победе над фашизмом.

English

This is the place where the Nazi concentration camp at the old Belgrade Fair used to be during the occupation of Yugoslavia between 1941 and 1944. War
crimes and genocide against around one-hundred thousand patriots, members of the Yugoslav National Liberation Movement, children, women and the
elderly, were committed here. Nearly half the prisoners were killed either in the concentration camp or at the mass execution sites like Jajinci, Bežanijska
kosa, Jabuka and Ostravačka Ada. Many of them were relocated to death camps throughout the German occupied Europe. The victims were mostly Serbs,
Jews and Roma. This memorial is dedicated to all of them. It is also dedicated to the victims of the notorious Ustashi concentration camp of Jasenovac,
victims of Hungarian occupation who were washed ashore in Belgrade, as well as the heroic resistance to the Nazi terror and all Yugoslav citizens and
victims of genocide.

Belgrade on April 22. 1995, on the occasion of the day of the commemoration of the victims of genocide and 50th anniversary of victory over fascism.

Commissioned by

The Municipality of Belgrade

Summary and Remarks
Remarks

8 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Name/Title
Holocaust Memorial at the site of the Sajmište Concentration Camp in Zemun | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Camp
Killing site
Public street or square
{"1":"Any purpose-built concentration, labor, or death camp established by the Nazis or their collaborators (Auschwitz, Belzec, Buchenwald, Carpi, Dachau, Drancy, Fossoli, Klooga, Majdanek, Mauthausen, Sobibor, etc.)"}
Date
1995
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Unknown |
Congregation
Unknown
Location
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Unknown |
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Iconographical Subject
Unknown |
Material / Technique
Bronze
Concrete
Marble (black)
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
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Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
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Sculpture
Height: 10 meters
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Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
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Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents
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Pricking
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Blank Leaves
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Façade (main)
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Signature

Lower left:   Miša Popović 1991

Colophon
Scribal Notes
Watermark
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Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance

The old Belgrade fairground opened in 1937 and was a monumental modernist complex, dominated by the Central Tower.

The German military administration on October 23, 1941, decided to adapt its facilities for the purpose of establishing a camp for Jews, Serbs, Roma, and anti-fascists. The location was not far from Zemun, on the territory of the Independent State of Croatia.

The Staro Sajmište camp was called Jewish Camp Zemun (Judenlager Semlin) from December 8, 1941, until the beginning of May 1942. All the Jews who were still alive in the winter of 1941/42 in occupied Serbia, about 6,400 of them, were interned in this camp. Between March and May 1942, the Jewish detainees were killed in the gas van, and their bodies were buried in the village of Jajinci, near Belgrade. From May 1942 until its dissolution in the second half of July 1944, the camp was renamed Detention Camp Zemun (Anhaltelager Semlin). During this period, a small group of Jews who were arrested upon the surrender of Italy in September 1943 were detained here. During this time, interned in the camp were also Partisans, Chetniks, sympathizers of the Greek and Albanian resistance movements, and Serb peasants who lived in the territory of the Independent State of Croatia. In that period, a total of 31,972 detainees were interned.

The site was for many years unmarked.

On October 20, 1974, the first plaque was unveiled at the site. In 1984, on July 7, it was replaced with a new plaque, with identical text, installed next to the building housing the old Turkish pavilion in the fairgrounds complex.

Later on, a competition for a central memorial to the victims was initiated, and the design by Miodrag Miša Popović. Popović was chosen for realization. It is interesting that his proposal initially won the second-place at the design competition for the Jajinci memorial complex, which the artist re-submitted for the Sajmište competition.

The monument was supposed to be unveiled on May 9, 1989, but it was installed and inaugurated only six later. The central monument was unveiled on April 22, 1995-the anniversary of the breakout of the Jasenovac camp inmates. This day that has been marked in Serbia since 1992 as the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Genocide.

Since then, on April 22, commemorations are held at this memorial. The main theme of these commemorative ceremonies is the commemoration of Serbian victims in the Independent State of Croatia, resulting in the marginalization of Jewish victims of Sajmište. 

Main Surveys & Excavations
Sources

Byford, Jovan, Staro sajmište: mesto sećanja, zaborava i sporenja, (Belgrade: Beogradski centar za ljudska prava, 2011)

"Memorials in Zemun," Locations (Vojvodina Holocaust Memorials Project), https://www.vhmproject.org/en-US/Locations/Memorials/26 (accessed July 2, 2023)

“Jevrejski logor na beogradskom Sajmištu: istorija i sećanje,” Sećanje na Sajmište posle Drugog svetskog rata - Jevrejski logor na Beogradskom sajmištu - Otvoreni univerzitet, https://www.open.ac.uk/socialsciences/seml (accessed July 2, 2023)

“Remembrance in Transition: The Sajmište Concentration Camp in the Official Politics of Memory of Yugoslavia and Serbia,” Cultures of History Forum, https://www.cultures-of-history.uni-jena.de/debates/the-sajmiste-concentration-camp-in-the-official-politics-of-memory (accessed July 2, 2023)

“Semlin Judenlager in Serbian Public Memory,” Semlin Judenlager, http://www.semlin.info/ (accessed July 2, 2023)
Type
Documenter
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Author of description
Olga Ungar | 2023
Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconstruction
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Section Head
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Language Editor
Adam Frisch | 2023
Donor
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Negative/Photo. No.
The following information on this monument will be completed:
Unknown |