Thursday, March 20, 2008

Monument to Victims of Belgrade Concentration Camp

In 1938, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia held an international fair on an area in New Belgrade now known as the Staro Sajmište, or "old fairgrounds," for larger ones have been built since further down the river. In 1941 Germany and its allies occupied and partitioned the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, taking over the entire region known as Srem (including the left bank of the Sava), and made it formally a part of the Independent State of Croatia where a puppet regime had been set up. The Gestapo took over the Sajmište, surrounding it with barbed wire to create a "collection center," i.e. prison. It eventually became a concentration camp where until May 1942 the Germans exterminated Jews, gypsies, and Serbs from Belgrade and other parts of the Kingdom, and liquidation of captured prisoners lasted as long as the camp existed. Around 48,000 people perished inside the camp. The monument seen in this photograph, honoring Sajmište victims, was unveiled on April 21st, 1995, a day before the 50-year anniversary of Hitler's defeat. You can see part of Old Belgrade across the river.

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