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The Holocaust in Serbia

Newly found documents in the Historical Archives of Belgrade provided the impetus for an international project about murdered Jewish women and children in Sajmišt Concentration Camp. As an expert on the topic of learning and teaching about the Holocaust, Akim Jah presented the archival-pedagogical work of the ITS.

In the Sajmište Concentration Camp, the so-called „Jews Camp“ or “Semlin Temporary Detention Camp“ on the former Belgrade fair exhibition grounds, approximately 8,000 people died. Until recently, there was practically no information available about the victims, primarily Jewish women and children, but also an unknown number of Roma women and children. In this camp run by German armed SS, many of the prisoners died of hunger or illness. The National Socialists systematically murdered the prisoners in a mobile gas van between April and May 1942. After archivists at the Historical Archives of Belgrade recently stumbled upon six boxes containing unsorted documentation on approx. 2,000 of those people murdered, the idea arose to start the international project “Escalating into Holocaust“ to address methods for exploring and processing personal fates such as these.

Information and educational offers

A database with the names of the victims, a modular traveling exhibition, educational materials and an online presentation will be developed through February 2017. The initiators of the project are planning to incorporate experience gathered from international projects and tried-and-tested educational methods into the individual modules. Here, the events should be placed in a pan-European context, also regarding their effects on the post-war years and against the background of current challenges due to intolerance, discrimination as well as anti-Semitism and anti-Romanyism in Europe.

Conference in Belgrade

From 20 - 22 April 2016 international experts met for a conference in Belgrade as part of this project, funded by „EACEA – Europe for Citizens Programme“. One workshop focused on teaching and learning about the Holocaust. As part of this workshop Akim Jah, a research associate at the Research and Education Branch of the International Tracing Service (ITS), gave a talk on the significance of documents on personal fates and paths of persecution and how to exploit this documentation for educational work. Further participation of  the ITS in the project is being planned, in cooperation with the Historical Archives of Belgrade and the four other partners involved in the project: the international Network Terraforming, the Dutch NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Serbian Center for Holocaust Research and Education and the University of Rijeka.