Serbian officials and Holocaust survivors laid wreaths on Wednesday to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the site of the Nazi Semlin death camp in Belgrade.
Wreaths were laid by the Serbian President’s General Secretary Suzana Paunovic, Labor Minister Darija Kisic Tepavcevic, parliament and Belgrade city officials as well as members of the diplomatic corps at the Monument to the World War 2 genocide victims.
Camp survivor Ester Bajer Albahari called the government to set up a memorial center after 15 years of requests. “Earlier, my people fought and fought for this and nothing happened. Now it’s in parliament so that we don’t have to wait for another 15 years… What’s happening is shameful, a great embarrassment,” she said recalling that there are people living in what was the pre-WW2 Fairground that was turned into the Semlin Judenlager Nazi-controlled death camp at the start of the war. The camp was across the river from Belgrade on territory that was controlled by the Nazi-puppet Independent State of Croatia. After the war, the buildings were adapted for housing and people still live there. The Jewish community and civil society organizations have been calling for the authorities to turn the old fairgrounds into a memorial complex which the city authorities have promised to do.
The Jewish community and Novi Sad city officials laid wreaths at the Jewish cemetery to mark Holocaust Remembrance day.
Holocaust Remembrance Day was also marked in Bosnia-Herzegovina where six candles were lit at the Srebrenica Memorial Center for the six million Jewish victims of Nazi death camps in World War 2.