Denial of one genocide is the denial of all

Nikola Radić Lucati, CHRE

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This year, Serbian commemorations of the “Genocide and Holocaust Remembrance Day “, the May 9th “Victory over Fascism Day” and the new “Belgrade Holocaust Day” have been hollow affairs, devoid of any sincerity and meaning, as they were held against the backdrop of the government lobbying to block the UN resolution on genocide in Srebrenica. The draft of the resolution calls on all members to preserve the memory of the genocide - educate, prevent, and sanction the Srebrenica genocide denial. It is a text aimed at alleviating tensions of the past and establishing a common, factual history of the events that took place almost thirty years ago. The need to protect the ICTY verdicts and establish a common regional culture of memory by a UN resolution stems from the revisionist genocide denial campaign run by the Serbian government and “republic Srpska” - an entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina. This state effort involves the support of several international “genocide experts”, and the states of Russia (2015 UN veto), and Israel. Its ambassador to Belgrade, Yehiel Vilan, has denied the Srebrenica genocide on a Russian propaganda channel, finally confirming the genocide denial as the Israeli government’s official position. He also recommended three Israeli historians as authorities on the matter: The esteemed Dr. Yehuda Bauer, IHRA honorary chairman, Gideon Graif, a former employee of “Republic of Srpska”, and Efraim Zuroff, the “Nazi-hunter” who has recently given his reason why Srebrenica wasn’t a genocide:

“...anyone acquainted with that event, as well as with the original definition of “genocide,” knows very well that the crime committed by the Serbian troops does not fit the definition of genocide, for the simple reason that the women and children at Srebenica were ALL released unharmed.” (Authors own misprint and capitalization.)

The historians quoted by the embassy regularly engage in Srebrenica genocide denial on behalf of Serbia and none of them offered any new findings, no thesis of their own, and no factual, yet alternative view of the event in question. All they have ever said comes down to: “It was a great crime, but not a genocide”.

Genocides, including the Holocaust, can be viewed as sets of methodologies applied in the pursuit of a political goal. Many of these are commonly repeated, as the perpetrators of the XX and XXI centuries were learning from the Nazis and previous colonial and internecine conflicts. A comparative method other than quantification by sheer number of victims could be used to analyze the repeated, learned practices of the perpetrators. For instance, after the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the SS conducted a reprisal massacre at the Czech village of Lidice. The perpetrators had to set the minimum age for the executions. It was set at 15. In the 1941 Karagujevac reprisals massacre, the quisling Serbian state guard and the Wehrmacht took pupils from schools and boys as young as 11 (a shoe-shine Roma boy, Dragiša Nikolić). General Ratko Mladić’s victims in Srebrenica have been selected as boys aged 12 and up, but the youngest names on the lists are those of two girls aged 8 (Meliha Efendić and Selma Musić). About 1000 of over 8000 victims were minors and elderly, there were dozens of children under 14 years of age. That includes only identified bodies. As children do not carry ID cards, their remains are usually determined by size, and if there are samples and living relatives, checked against the DNA database. The forests around Srebrenica, where the columns of fleeing Bosnians were repeatedly attacked by the VRS army have not been fully searched. There are still at least 800 missing bodies. The denialist historians had to know that singling out children for rape and/or killing in front of the family/group is one of the common methods of the perpetrators and was used during WW2 by both the Croatian Ustashe as well as the Serb Chetniks, with Mladić’s forces repeating it in multiple instances in Bosnia, and Srebrenica as well. The deniers also know perfectly well that at the time of the killings, all of the victims were in custody and under full responsibility of VRS, Bosnian POWs as well as civilians of all ages. The deniers also know that mass killing combined with mass expulsion in execution of a political goal does amount to genocide which is a fact proven in court. The verdicts of ICTY was openly acknowledged by all, including Dodik, the “leader” of “Republika Srpska” and its parliament until the public retraction of its own 2004 report in 2018.

“Horrendous cruel acts have been committed: children have been taken away from their mothers, women were raped, and young men were shot in front of their mothers.”
These are authentic accounts, too precise and detailed to be just stories. It was not a mass psychosis. There are enough victims who are able to tell their stories with a convincing level of detail.” (Jacques de Milliano, Executive Director of MSF Holland, 18 July 1995).

Regardless of the ICTY verdicts, the perpetrators’ confessions, decades of detailed research, survivors’ testimonies, educational work, widely online accessible archives, despite the opposition from international Jewish organizations, such as WJC, and its Vice-president Menachem Rosensaft, Zuroff’s claim that “ALL women and children were released”, echoing from the heights of his home settlement of Efrat sounds not so much as grounded historical revisionism, but rather as a political call for a privileged right to selectively downgrade and legitimize entire categories of crimes, if perpetrated by clients and partners, creating a politically useful precedent. The business of creating “a la carte” special-cases and plausible, justified exemptions from international law, limiting the applicability of human rights charters, UN institutional jurisdictions and local laws is peddling a single product - an idea of impunity, even if responsibility and complicity is beyond doubt and a court-proven fact. It is this criminal and political impunity that is the underlying message being amplified regularly and synchronously not just by Zuroff, but also by Greif, Bauer, Rephaeli, Manoshek, Handke, Chomsky, and other, more discreet, local historians and national intellectuals showing up whenever Serbian diplomacy and media need them. The genocide deniers have all incorporated Serbian state narrative into their statements, such as the veiled threats about the “risk and the importance of regional stability”. Serbia and RS have structured their media drive in parallel tracks for different target groups and locales - GONGO organizations, international historians, “scientific” symposia and conferences, publications, and most of all, generating enough local press coverage to over-saturate the subject. Over time, this has proven difficult to coordinate - In 2021, “Republika Srpska” published “The Greif commission report”, which halved the number of Srebrenica genocide victims. In Serbia, which never distanced itself from this, his book “Jasenovac - the Auschwitz of the Balkans” has enlarged number of the victims of the camp by at least five-fold. These incidents have not only made their author a pariah, but the crude manipulation of victims has managed to show the character of the commissioning governments, willing to adapt historical facts to their needs. This is also the purpose of the sweeping “Law on the rehabilitation” in Serbia, under which almost all significant quislings and collaborationists of WW2 had their slate wiped clean, and the new wave of affirmative history and education was centered on them. Even as the Serb state institutions were recently keen to avoid mentioning the numbers of Jasenovac victims, by maintaining both narratives, the first, of the 750.000-800.000 exaggeration, as well as that of the “We can never know...” ambiguity active, Serbian and RS governments have managed to be in denial of not just the Srebrenica genocide, but also the acts of genocide committed against the Serbian population, as well as the Holocaust in wartime Independent State of Croatia (ISC). This is being done regardless of the established research, primarily the work of Dragan Cvetković. To open the path toward the future of impunity, the Holocaust itself needed to be altered and refocused, turned into a blunt tool for the selection of the genocides approved by those that are in the midst of planning or committing the new ones. Both the denial and the rehabilitation are central to the indoctrination for the future continuation of the conflict.

All that genocide deniers have managed to show that the entirety of legal heritage of the post WW2 war-crime trials, Holocaust and genocide studies, only stand if they can be useful to a client government, and can also be altered and denied at will. In doing so, they have disqualified their careers in historical science, and have unwittingly proven two points: That the investment in Serbian denial of the genocide in Srebrenica as well as Jasenovac is in fact rooted in extreme right wing Holocaust relativization, and that it has nothing to do with the past. (Every investment is always about the future).

“from Israel — they proposed joint struggle against Islamist extremists. They offered to train our men in Greece and a free supply of sniper rifles.” . (Ratko Mladić, former commander of VRS, War criminal, war diary.)

The current deniers have been less vocal during the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo. They are “the second generation”, of Israeli political pragmatists and operators whose current position has consistently been on the side of Serbia, at least since the Rabin-Peres government. The political “doves” of the Oslo process, as well as their right-wing hawkish heirs, were acutely aware that it could be costly to support nations in their attempts to break away from an oppressor and are seeking international support for independence not just on a historical and demographic basis, but also on humanitarian grounds, as victims of oppression and genocide. The diplomatic relations between Serbia and Israel have begun in earnest with arms deals in support of the Serbian side in 1991, and, after quashing the Oron/Mack demand for evidence in 2016 Israel Supreme Court decision, the unity in denial of the consequences was the next logical step. The position of the 1990s Israeli governments, was, as it is now, in complete opposition to the view taken by the generation of Holocaust survivors, ghetto uprising leaders, post-war Nazi hunters, dissidents, intellectuals, and community leaders that have called out Serbian armies’ war crimes in Bosnia as genocidal as soon as they happened, have taken a prominent role in organizing aid and, when all else failed - lobbying for an intervention. It has to be said that the voices of “the Holocaust generation” are today subject to digital rot, their important letters and statements are archived sporadically and are unable to stem the deluge of current state-sponsored denial.

Simon Wiesenthal, whose name Zuroff’s institution uses, has supported Bosnia and Herzegovina since the start of the war. Eli Wiesel had gone to Belgrade to beg then-president, Dobrica Ćosić to have Karadžić close the concentration camps. Like many, he left with an empty promise and betrayal. Few could sum up the political legacy of genocide in Bosnia better than Marek Edelmann, the last surviving leader of the Warsaw ghetto uprising: “Europe has learned nothing from the Holocaust. What is happening in Bosnia is Hitler’s posthumous victory”. None of them had to wait for Israeli government to tell them what to think, or ICTY to form, do its work, and pass the verdicts. Them, and many others who went through the Holocaust immediately knew what they saw, and acted as anti-fascists. They knew intimately that indifference was the first thing that had to be broken. Or, as Edelmann said: “A passive witness becomes an accomplice.”

In Israel, on the “Yom Ha Shoah ve ha gvura” (The Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day), at 10, the siren sounds and life stands still. Just after these two minutes, Just like in 1990’s Bosnia, the cycle of killing continues after withdrawal from the agreed truce in feigned negotiation. Palestinians and Israelis will be forced once more to continue counting their dead. The atrocities will be again followed by the strategic dehumanization, denial and control of the narrative. Yet another offer of cease-fire was turned down, this time by the Israeli government. Again, the hostages on both sides will not be freed. The families who have just been given a glimmer of hope they would see their loved ones are seeing their hope turned to nothing more than “one of the priorities”. The government whose police attacks, beats up and arrests the protesting families of the Hamas hostages is the same one that uses AI-driven target selection in densely populated civilian areas, forcing Palestinian parents into writing the names of their children on their limbs, so they could be identified if found under the rubble.

On October 7th, Hamas, as a terror organization did what it was created for. It fulfilled its mission, acting in accordance with its charter and purpose. When it committed its heinous acts, it did so without hypocrisy. It never claimed to be anything but a terror organization. Hamas didn’t even break form on the “silent agreement” it obviously had with Netanyahu government which agreed to be the conduit for Qatari cash funding the terrorist rulers of Gaza. Since at least 2014, Likud coalitions have participated in Hamas funding in return getting not just the relative quiet, but a desired counter party, and with it, a plausible excuse for not advancing the Palestinian statehood, regardless of previous agreements and cooperation of the PA government. However, already on October 10th, unlike Hamas, Israel’s government had stepped away from its own and international law, principles and responsibilities it had toward its citizens as well as the Palestinian population under its control. In disseminating the false story of “40 beheaded babies” in kibbutz Kfar Aza”. the propagandists have followed Serbian 1991 example, the “40 slaughtered babies in Vukovar hospital”, a media cover for the real atrocity - Serbian forces’ mass killing of the its patients at the “Ovčara” farm. In the internet search results, many versions of the false story of Kfar Aza still outweigh the truth. Result of this was the media focus successfully deflected away from the start of the massive bombing campaign, but also, it has provided the public support for the far-right government responsible for October 7th in waging and prolonging the war and atrocities in its quest for victory. That same government also had to be aware that in allowing its PR consultants, its institutional leadership, the esteemed Holocaust experts and its own MFA to enter the spectrum of genocide denial, that the lineage and development of the methods of torture from Jasenovac and Sajmište, through Manjača, Omarska, Keraterm, Trnopolje, Dretelj... will be ultimately pointing the way toward places like Sde Teiman.

This increasingly one-sided war of choice, stripped of humanity, compassion, and courage will continue as long as the citizens of Israel and Palestine allow it. They know that the responsibility for their government’ and leaders’ actions is ultimately on them and are protesting daily. Our hearts are with them, the oppressed citizens of Israel and Palestinian civilians in mortal danger, who endure, witness, document, and protest each day, so a just peace and life in dignity may become possible again. When the peace comes, as it almost always does, they will not forget what led to this horrifying war, why it happened, how and by whom. They will both need to establish their own views of history, education, and public memory, as part of their political agency, that solid proof of freedom and true independence. Most of all, Israelis and Palestinians, just like other nations in conflicts - Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, Albanians, Rwandans, Syrians, Ukrainians, and Russians, Armenians, and Azerbaijanis will always have that one thing in common - the tragedy and the beauty of their shared history, one borne by facts rather than ideas and plans of previous political generations. History happens only once and comes with a common obligation not to allow it to happen to anyone else.

The wars that started in 1991 Yugoslavia have opened a range of questions - how to address the nationalistic, neo-imperialist regimes’ actions against civilians (and their own citizens), when they are being deliberately calibrated to fall just short of the definition of genocide, yet still fulfill their political goals? How to deal with the symbiotic relations between the seemingly anatagonistic, yet mutually dependent terror groups and governments? How can revisionist, denialist history and indoctrinatory education produced by mutually supportive regimes be countered? How could the work and verdicts of the international courts and forums be protected? In a post-Holocaust, post-Rwanda, and post-Srebrenica world, shouldn’t all genocide relativization and denial be equally and universally criminalized? Should the Holocaust and genocide education finally be made equal and compulsory? Who should establish and supervise its standards, when the states that have committed these crimes after the Holocaust are again relapsing into denial threatening new wars?


Draft resolution on the genocide in Srebrenica (Late April 2024)

1. Decides to designate 11 July as the International Day of Reflection and Remembrance of the 1995 Genocide in Srebrenica to be observed annually
2. Unreservedly condemns any denial of the Srebrenica genocide and calls on member states to preserve the established facts, including through their education systems, by developing appropriate programs, also in remembrance, towards preventing revisionism and the appearance of genocides in it FUTURE
3. It also unreservedly condemns actions that glorify those convicted of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, including those responsible for the Srebrenica genocide
4. Emphasizes the importance of completing the process of finding and identifying the remaining victims of the Srebrenica genocide and burial with dignity and calls for continued prosecution of the perpetrators of the Srebrenica genocide
5. Urges all states to comply fully with their obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, as applicable, and customary international law on the prevention and punishment of genocide, bearing in mind the relevant decisions of the ICJ- OF THE
6. Requests the secretary-general to establish an information program entitled “The Srebrenica Genocide and the United Nations”, starting its activities with preparations for the 30th anniversary in 2025, and further requests the secretary-general to bring the resolution present to the attention of all member states, organizations of the United Nations system and civil society organizations for due respect
7. Invites all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system, other international and regional organizations and civil society, including non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and other interested parties to observe the International Day, including commemorations and activities special memorials and tributes to the victims of the 1995 genocide in Srebrenica, as well as appropriate education and public awareness activities.


Children aged under 15 (from the list of the victims of the Srebrenica genocide)

NAME: Amer Bošnjaković BORN: 11. 09. 82 AGE: 13
NAME: Fahrudin Smajlović BORN: 1983 AGE: 12
NAME: Bego Begić BORN: 16. 02. 81 AGE: 14
NAME: Mehmed Varnica BORN: 02. 07. 81 AGE: 14
NAME: Avdija Memić BORN: 1981 AGE: 14
NAME: Saudin Muminović BORN: 16. 04. 81 AGE: 14
NAME: Meliha Efendić BORN: 28. 03. 87: AGE: 8
NAME: Denis Halilović BORN: 1981 AGE: 14
NAME: Elvir Šečić BORN: 1981 AGE: 14
NAME: Elvis Šabić BORN: 10. 12. 81 AGE: 14
NAME: Nevzet Čević BORN: 07. 01. 81 AGE: 14
NAME: Izudin Malagić BORN: 22. 10. 81 AGE: 14 14
NAME: Selma Musić BORN: 17. 09. 87 AGE: 8
NAME: Mujo Ajšić BORN: 12. 03. 81 AGE: 14
NAME: Adnan Pitarević BORN: 26. 02. 81 AGE: 14
NAME: Rijad Gabeljić BORN: 03. 01. 81 AGE: 14
NAME: Admin Turković BORN: 30. 09. 81 AGE: 14
NAME: Osman Alić BORN: 08. 05. 81 AGE: 14
NAME: Ešad Bajraktarević BORN: 15. 03. 81 AGE: 14
NAME: Senudin Dervišević BORN: 14. 05. 81 AGE: 14
NAME: Sadik Husejinović BORN: 1982 AGE: 13
NAME: Nesib Muhić BORN: 1984 AGE: 11
NAME: Haris Malagić BORN: 1982 AGE; 13
NAME: Remzudin Hasanović BORN: 1982 AGE: 13
NAME: Hasan Hasić BORN: 1981 AGE: 14
NAME: Mehrudin Alić BORN: 25. 10. 81 AGE: 14


Elaborat o zaštiti lokacija na Starom Sajmištu radi istraživanja mogućih masovnih grobnica | Elaborate on the protection of sites at Staro Sajmište for the research of possible mass graves

Centar za istraživanje i edukaciju o Holokaustu - CIEH objavljuje elaborat o javno raspoloživim dokazima i svedočenjima koja ukazuju na potrebu hitnog zaustavljanja rušenja nemačkog paviljona na Starom Sajmištu. CIEH je ovaj elaborat sa zahtevom za dozvolu pristupa lokacijama na Starom Sajmištu radi ne-invazivnog istraživanja mogućih masovnih grobnica u cilju zaštite mesta i objekata od istorijskog značaja predao nadležnim institucijama Republike Srbije. Elaborat (PDF, 11MB) možete preuzeti na sledećem linku:


Center for Holocaust Research and Education - CHRE is publishing an elaborate on the publicly available evidence and testimonies indicating the necessity for an urgent halt of the demolition of the German pavilion at Staro Sajmište camp. CHRE has delivered this elaborate with a request for access to the locations at Staro Sajmište for non-invasive research of possible mass graves with the aim of protecting sites and buildings of historical importance to the relevant authorities in Serbia. The elaborate (PDF, 11MB) can be downloaded at the following link:

Apel javnosti protiv rušenja nemačkog paviljona logora na Starom Sajmištu

Centar za istraživanje i edukaciju o Holokaustu - CIEH poziva domaću i međunarodnu javnost, strukovne, medije, i političke stranke i organizacije civilnog društva da zahtevaju zaustavljanje devastacije nemačkog paviljona logora na Starom Sajmištu, kao i stavljanje svih mesta od istorijskog značaja pod zaštitu grada i države.
U odgovoru na saopštenje Zavoda za zaštitu spomenika kulture grada Beograda kojim je potvrđeno da skoro polovina logora na Starom Sajmištu, sa njegovom najvećom sačuvanom zgradom - paviljonom Nemačke, nije stavljena u zaštitu, i u kome se navodi da je neophodno rušenje paviljona Nemačke, izjavljujemo sledeće:
- Da su granice mesta stradanja definisane njihovom istorijom a ne urbanističkim planovima i elaboratima zavoda. One jesu i uvek će biti na granicama logora 1941-1944, na mestu gde su stradali naši sugrađani i sunarodnici iz cele Jugoslavije. Da u praksi memorijalizacije žrtava i mesta na kojima su stradali, nema govora o rušenju, zoniranju i gradnji preko zgrada koje su svedoci stradanja i dokaz istorije.
- Da je istoričarima državnih instituta, članovima UO memorijalnog centra, Muzeja žrtava genocida, Ministarstvu kulture i informisanja i Gradskom sekretarijatu za kulturu, Republičkom i gradskom zavodu za zaštitu spomenika kulture i konsultantima zavoda poznato da su lokacije određane za izgradnju saobraćajnice u neposrednoj okolini nemačkog paviljona korišćene kao mesto mučenja logoraša prinudnim, radom, repetativnim rušenjem i stalnim premeštanjem materijala polu-izgrađenog 6. jugoslovenskog paviljona, egzercirima, napadima pasa čuvara, batinanjima (većinom četničkih) logorskih policajaca i starešina za najmanju sporost ili grešku, a koja su u velikom broju slučajeva završavala i smrtnim ishodom. Ovo se dešavalo tokom rada oba logora, i onog za Jevreje, i tzv. prihvatnog, i opisano je u istorijskoj monografiji1 o logoru Dr. Koljanina, člana UO memorijalnog centra na Starom Sajmištu.
- Da rušenje zgrade javno obećane Jevrejskoj zajednici za memorijalni centar smatramo neprihvatljivim postupkom kojim se narušava i ono što je ostalo od ugleda Srbije pred domaćim i međunarodnim partnerima kojima se Srbija javno obavezala da će sačuvati ovaj paviljon i nameniti za deo memorijalne, kulturne institucije. Ovu odluku o rušenju smatramo i nastavkom primene represivnog "Zakona o Sajmištu" kojim su izbrisane nezavisne manjinske (jevrejska i romska) memorijalne ustanove i zamenjene državnim memorijalnim centrom u kome članove odbora imenuje i razrešava vlada.
- Podsećamo da je značaj Starog Sajmišta upravo u tome da ono jeste bilo jedan od lokalnih, beogradskih logora smrti i koncentracionih logora. Njegova zaštita, kao i Topovskih šupa, je oduvek morala biti apsolutna i upravo po "modelu Aušvica", kako je ovaj odbačeni model ponašanja prema istorijskom mestu nazvan u elaboratu Zavoda za zaštitu spomenika kulture Beograda 2010-te godine. Nemački paviljon je sastavni deo onog što zavod naziva "kulturnim dobrom" i morao bi da ima istu valorizaciju i status zaštite kao i ostali delovi lokaliteta.
- Zaštita objekata može biti samo zaštita/konzervacija u postojećem stanju. Takozvana "kontrolisana izgradnja" koju zavod i grad kroz DUP omogućavaju, a sad i sprovode, je suprotna zaštiti, kao što je to i rušenje kule Sajmišta radi ugradnje panoramskog lifta u kopiju zgrade i budući memorijalni centar.
U svojoj izjavi, Zavod svoje stavove zasniva na tome da su odlukom grada i zavoda "priznate" granice lokaliteta u detaljnom urbanističkom planu svedene na Sajmište iz 1937-e, koje zavod naziva "originalnim". Ovime je preuzeta i ozvaničena kulturna politika interne kolonizacije mesta stradanja promovisane od strane desničarskih organizacija koje su se zalagale za obnovu Sajmišta sa idejom njegove obnove kao mesta na kome su kultura i zabava ravnopravne sa sećanjem na žrtve logora. Značaj arhitekture 1930-tih i njegove predistorije kao expo-sajma je sekundaran, a isto važi i za posleratne umetnike. U svom saopštenju Zavod je objasnio zašto nemački paviljon ne može da bude spasen - jednostavno zato što postoji volja da se napravi nešto drugo na njegovom mestu, a što se smatra "strateškim prioritetom" - zastareli, neadekvatni model raskrsnice koja nije izgrađena preko 30 godina.
Pozivamo javnost i vladu Srbije da ne dopuste da gradska uprava formira odnos Beograda prema zajedničkoj istoriji dovođenjem niskogradnje i bespravnih kafansko-sportsko-zabavnih biznisa u istu ravan sa stradanjem najmanje 17.000 ljudi na ovom mestu, i time stvori presedan po kome će se mesta stradanja moći da ruše prema potrebi i iz korena menjaju po ličnom nahođenju.
Pozivamo Skupštinu grada da hitno obustavi rušenje nemačkog paviljona, popravi štetu, nađe alternativno saobraćajno rešenje za Sajmište, kao i za Topovske šupe, i da stavi sve logore i mesta stradanja pod punu zaštitu, a Zavod za zaštitu spomenika da sprovede dodatna istraživanja, uključujući i arheološko-forenzička i ažurira elaborate o zaštiti mesta od istorijskog značaja.
Podsećamo grad da stanovnici Sajmišta treba da uživaju punu zaštitu stanarskog prava, i da svako rešenje za njihov status mora biti dobrovoljno i sa poštovanjem vrednosti stambenog prostora u centralnoj gradskoj zoni.
U nastavku, mora se otvoriti iskren javni dijalog o institucionalnom antisemitizmu i anti-ciganizmu, primeni postojećih zakona o diskriminaciji i zabrani neonacističke propagande, ali i neophodnim izmenama grupe "Lex Specialis" zakona o sećanju - O rehabilitaciji, Uklanjanju posledica Holokausta, Restituciji i Sajmištu.
1Milan Koljanin, Nemački logor na beogradskom Sajmištu 1941-1944, (p182, 389, 392, 393).


Public appeal against the demolition of the German death/concentration camp pavilion at Staro Sajmište, Belgrade

The Center for Holocaust Research and Education - CHRE calls on the Serbian and international public, professionals, the media, political parties, and civil society organizations to demand an end to the devastation of the German camp pavilion at the Staro Sajmište, as well as the of all sites of historical importance under the protection of the city and the state.
In response to the announcement of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of the City of Belgrade, which confirmed that almost half of the camp at Staro Sajmište, with its largest preserved building - the German pavilion, was not placed under protection and that the demolition of the German Pavilion is necessary for planned road construction, we state the following:
- That the borders of the places of suffering are defined by their history and not by the urban plans and elaborations of the municipal preservation institute. They are and will always be at the borders of the camp in 1941-1944, at the site where our fellow citizens and compatriots from all over Yugoslavia perished. That the practice of memorializing the victims at the sites where they were held and killed, there is no question of demolition, zoning, and construction over the buildings that are the witnesses of suffering and evidence of history.
- That historians of state institutes, members of the Board of Directors of The Memorial Center of the camp at Staro Sajmište, The Museum of Genocide Victims, the Ministry of Culture and Information, and the Municipal Secretariat for Culture of the City of Belgrade, the Republic and City Institutes for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and consultants of the institutes must be aware that the locations designated for the construction of a road in the demolition zone and the immediate vicinity of the German pavilion were used as a place of torture by forced labor, repeated demolition and the constant moving of the material of the half-built 6th Yugoslav pavilion, exercises, attacks by guard dogs, beatings of (mostly Chetnik) camp policemen and work detail leaders for the slightest slowness or mistake, which in a large number of cases resulted in deaths of inmates. This happened during the operation of both camps, the one for Jews (Dec 1941-May 1942), and the so-called holding camp (Anhaltelager May 1942-July 1944), and the practice is described in the historical monograph1 about the camps by Dr. Koljanin, a member of the Board of Directors of the Memorial Center at Staro Sajmište.
- We consider the demolition of the building that was in 2015 publicly promised to the Jewish community for the memorial center - an unacceptable act that damages what is left of Serbia's reputation in front of domestic and international partners to whom Serbia has publicly pledged to preserve this pavilion and designate it as part of a memorial, cultural institution. We consider this decision to be a continuation of the repressive "Law on Sajmište" which erased the independent minority (Jewish and Roma) memorial institutions and replaced them with a state-run memorial center where the board members are named by the government.
- We remind the public that the importance of Staro Sajmište lies in the fact that it was one of the local Belgrade death camps and concentration camps. Its protection, as well as the earlier Topovske šupe camp, has always had to be absolute and exactly according to the "Auschwitz model", as this rejected model of behavior towards the historical sites was described in the study of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of Belgrade in 2010. The German pavilion is an integral part of what the institute calls a "cultural asset" and should have the same valorization and protection status as other parts of the site.
- The protection of the buildings can only be protection/conservation in their existing state. The so-called "controlled construction" that the institute and the city are enabling through Detailed Urbanistic Plan - DUP and the studies, and is now being implemented, is the opposite of protection, as is the demolition of the Sajmište central tower in order to install a panoramic elevator in the copy of the original building and the future memorial center. In its statement, the Institute bases its views on the fact that, by decision of the city and the institute, the "recognized" boundaries of the locality in the Detailed Urbanist Plan were reduced to the Sjmište at the time of its initial opening in 1937, which the institute calls "original". With this, the cultural policy of internal colonization of the places of suffering as promoted by right-wing organizations that have advocated for the restoration of the Sajmište with the idea of its restoration as a place where culture and entertainment are equal to the memory of the victims of the camp was adopted and - made official policy. The importance of the architecture of the 1930s and its pre-history as an expo fair is secondary, and the same applies to the post-war artists. In its statement, the Institute has explained why the German pavilion cannot be saved - simply because there is the will to build something else in its place, which is considered a "strategic priority" - an outdated, inadequate model of an intersection that has not been built for over 30 years.
We call on the public and the government of Serbia not to allow the city administration to form Belgrade's relationship to the common history by bringing civil engineering and illegal bar-sports-entertainment businesses up to the same level with the deaths of at least 17,000 people in this place and thereby creating a precedent by which the places of suffering can be demolished as needed and changed at personal discretion.
We call on the City Assembly of Belgrade to urgently stop the demolition of the German pavilion, repair the damage, find an alternative traffic solution for the camps at Sajmište, as well as for the camp at Topovske šupe, and to put all the camps and sites of suffering under the full protection, and The Institute for the Protection of Monuments to conduct additional research, including the archaeological-forensic ones and update the studies on the protection of places of historical importance.
We remind the city that the residents of Sajmište should enjoy the full protection of their tenancy rights, and that any solution for their status must be voluntary and with respect for the value of housing in the central city area.
In the follow-up, an honest public dialogue must be opened on institutional anti-Semitism and anti-Gypsyism, the application of existing laws on discrimination and the prohibition of neo-Nazi propaganda, but also on the necessary changes of the "Lex Specialis" group of the "memory laws" - those on the Rehabilitation, The removal of the consequences of the Holocaust, Restitution and the Law on Sajmište.
1Milan Koljanin, The German Camp at the Belgrade Fair 1941-1944, (p182, 389, 392, 393).


Kritika elaborata Zavoda za zaštitu spomenika kulture grada Beograda

Rušenje nemačkog paviljona na Starom Sajmištu nije počelo juče - I rušenje ima svoju svoju istoriju, čiji je najvažniji dokument "Informacija o spomeniku kulture Staro Sajmište - logor Gestapo-a" Zavoda za zaštitu spomenika kulture grada Beograda iz Avgusta 2010-te godine. Ovaj dokument jasno pokazuje da je Nemački paviljon isprva pravilno mapiran kao predratni, i takođe, nedvosmisleno i tačno ucrtan u žicu logora, kao što stoji i da je bio zgrada u funkciji logora. I pored toga, već na sledećoj strani je označen kao posleratni i nije ubrojan u objekte na koje se odnosi preporuka o zaštiti. Štaviše, u istom dokumentu je zoniran za rušenje i saobraćajnicu, čija gradnja je upravo počela. Ovime je Zavod za zaštitu spomenika kulture grada Beograda još 2010-te odredio gotovo polovinu površine logora na Starom Sajmištu i njegovu najveću sačuvanu zgradu za rušenje - umesto zaštite i nastavka istraživanja. Naši pokušaji - snimanje zgrade 2011-te, i ukazivanje Zavodu na grešku, LIDAR snimanjezgrade forenzičkog arheološkog tima Dr. Caroline Sturdy Colls 2012-te, kao ni kampanja Saveza jevrejskih opština Srbije da zgrada postane Jevrejski muzej kao deo muzejsko-memorijalnog kompleksa 2015-te, sa izložbom "Portreti i sećanja", nisu doveli do izmene njenog statusa, ni elaborata.
U zapisniku gradske "komisije za Sajmište", 2018-te je spomenuta da će zgrada biti "premeštena" na drugu lokaciju unutar Sajmišta, kao i zgrade logora Topovske šupe. Na 58-oj strani elaborata Zavoda se vidi koliko je nisko postavljen prag zaštite i obaveze prema očuvanju istoriskog nasleđa:
"U pogledu nove fizičke strukture, rešenje dato u Detaljnom urbanističkom planu spomeničkog kompleksa Staro Sajmšte ("Sl. list grada Beograda br.2/92) koje predviđa izgradnju novih zgrada na mestima i u gabaritima porušenih sajamskih paviljona i obnovi prvobitnog urbanističkog rešenja, u potpunosti je i danas prihvatljivo. Na taj način se rekonstruiše nekadašnja urbanistička celina, a autentičnim sajamskim paviljonima, do danas očuvanim, se obezbeđuje prostorni kontekst u kome su nastali."
Ovaj pasus pokazuje da iako se navodno odnosi na pet srušenih "jugoslovenskih paviljona" i da je prepoznata vrednost autentičnosti i jedinstvenost zgrada i kontekst urbane celine, ona ne podrazumeva zaštitu, već dopušta i današnju "slobodnu" interpretaciju ponuđene ideje o "zameni" starih zgrada - novim "gabaritima". Na ovaj način Zavod za zaštitu je jasno pokazao da ne namerava da bude prepreka razvoju i gradnji na prostoru logora kojem je ovime de-fakto ukinut status zaštite kao celini.
Decenije planiranja zabavnih i komercijalnih sadržaja, simpozijuma i studija u kojima su se javne ličnosti redom izjašnjavale o "jednakoj važnosti tri perioda" i o "kulturi i umetnosti kao zameni za komemoraciju"dovele do toga da bespravni i zvanični korisnici zgrada logora - vlasnici kafana, agencija, klubova, masonskih loža, servisa, fudbalskog kluba, udruženja umetnika su u svakoj izjavi srpskih umetnika i javnih ličnosti o mogućnostima razvoja Sajmišta - videli sebe i validaciju svog ometanja komemoracije žrtava logora. Uvid u planove za karusele, opere, biblioteke, muzeje je doveo današnju vlast u Srbiji do zaključka da memorijalni centar može biti i kopija srušene kule sa panoramskim liftom. Gabariti se poštuju, rušenje je opravdano zamenom.
Ovo je omogućeno napuštanjem dijaloga sa međunarodnim organizacijama, korišćenjem restitucije kao sredstva pritiska na jevrejsku zajednicu, i pre svega zakonom o podržavljenju javnoog sećanja u Srbiji - "lex specialis" zakonom o Sajmištu kojim su ukinute prethodno predviđene nezavisne muzejske institucije jevrejske i romske nacionalne manjine. Današnja uprava Beograda nije izmislila ništa novo. Ona samo ispunjava najavljene planove svojih navodno demokratskih prethodnika, obezbeđujući kontinuitet slobode ulaganja i zaštite investicija, čak i ilegalnih. Danas, jedini zaista zaštićen objekat na Sajmištu je ekskavator - mašina nepoznatog vlasnika koja ruši Nemački paviljon.
Odnosi i ambicije zasnovani na decenijskim greškama ne moraju i da ostanu takvi. CIEH poziva Grad Beograd na hitnu obustavu rušenja i izradu novog detaljnog urbanističkog plana koji će pružiti zaštitu za celu lokaciju logora na Starom Sajmištu kao i alternativno rešenje za izgradnju saobraćajnice.


Critique of the elaborate for Sajmište of the “Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments” of the City of Belgrade

The demolition of the German pavilion at Staro Sajmište did not begin just yesterday - the demolition has a history all its own, the most important document of which is the "Information on the cultural monument Staro Sajmište - the Gestapo camp" of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of the City of Belgrade from August 2010. This document clearly shows that the German Pavilion was initially correctly mapped as pre-war, and also, accurately drawn into the camp wire, as the elaborate says it was a building "in the function of the camp". Despite this, already on the next page, it is marked as post-war as "newly built in 1948", and in 2010 it is included in the objects to which the protection recommendation applies and is slated for demolition. Moreover, in the same document, the road, the construction of which has just begun, is already drawn. With this, the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of the City of Belgrade has already in 2010 determined almost half of the area of the camp at Stari Sajmište and its largest preserved building for demolition - instead of protection and continuation of research. Our attempt - photographing the building in 2011, pointing out the error to the Institute, LIDAR recording of the building by the forensic archeology team of Dr. Caroline Sturdy Colls in 2012, as well as the campaign of the Union of Jewish Communities of Serbia for the building to become a Jewish museum as part of the museum-memorial complex in 2015, with the exhibition "Portraits and Memories", did not lead to a change in its status or planning for its location.
In the minutes of the municipal "Commission for Sajmište", in 2018, it was mentioned that the building will be "moved" to another location within Sajmište, same as in the case of the Topovske Šupe camp building. On page 58 of the Institute's report, one can see just how low the bar for protection and obligation for the preservation of historical heritage has been set:
"With regard to the new physical structure, the solution given in the Detailed Urbanist Plan (DUP) of the Staro Sajmšte Memorial Complex ("Official Gazette of the City of Belgrade No. 2/92) which envisages the construction of new buildings in the places and dimensions of the demolished fair pavilions and the restoration of the original urban plan, in full is still acceptable today. In this way, the former urban complex is reconstructed, and the authentic fair pavilions, preserved to this day, are provided with the spatial context in which they were created."
This paragraph shows that although it supposedly refers to the five demolished "Yugoslav pavilions" and that the value of authenticity and uniqueness of the buildings and the context of the urban whole is recognized, it does not imply protection, but also allows today's "free" interpretation of the proposed idea of "replacing" old buildings by new ones with similar "dimensions". In this way, the Institute for Protection has clearly shown that it does not intend to be an obstacle to development and construction in the area of the camp, which has been de-facto abolished the status of protection as a whole.
Decades of planning entertainment and commercial venues, symposia, and studies in which public figures declared in turn about the "equal importance of three periods" and about "culture and art as a substitute for commemoration" led the illegal and official users of the camp's buildings - restaurant owners, agencies, clubs, Masonic lodges, services, football club, artists' associations to see themselves and the validation of their interference with the commemoration of the victims in every statement by Serbian artists and public figures about the development possibilities for Sajmište. An insight into the plans for carousels, operas, libraries, and museums led the current government in Serbia to the conclusion that the memorial center could also be done by demolishing a tower building and building its replica - with a panoramic elevator. The "outer dimensions" are respected, and demolition is justified by replacement.
This was made possible by the abandonment of dialogue with international organizations, the use of restitution as a means of pressure on the Jewish community, and above all the law on the support of public memory in Serbia - the "lex specialis" law on Sajmište, which abolished the previously negotiated and planned independent museum institutions of the Jewish and Roma national minorities. The present administration of Belgrade has not invented anything new. It is merely fulfilling the plans of its supposedly democratic predecessors, ensuring the continuity of deregulated investment under protection, even illegal ones. Today, the only truly protected object at the Sajmište is the excavator - a machine of an unknown owner that is demolishing the German Pavilion.
Relationships and ambitions based on decades of mistakes don't have to stay that way. CHRE calls on the City of Belgrade to immediately stop the demolition and prepare a new detailed urban plan that will provide protection for the entire location of the camp at Staro Sajmište, as well as an alternative solution for the construction of the thoroughfare.