RECONSTRUCTION of the Central Tower at the Old Fairgrounds, on the site of the largest concentration camp in Southeast Europe, will definitely start next year, and 186 million dinars have been allocated in the budget for that.
This was confirmed for “Novosti” by the Ministry of Culture and Information.
Since, on the proposal of that ministry, the Government elected the acting director of the Memorial Center “Staro Sajmište” on November 3 and formed a management and supervisory board, the new cultural institution will submit a work plan for 2022 by the end of the year. activities of the Memorial Center, and above all the beginning of the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Central Tower. It will house the permanent seat of the memorial, for which the acting director was recently appointed.
Until the works on Kula are completed, the institution will be temporarily housed in the old leather school, in the immediate vicinity. The Ministry set aside 4,898,435 dinars for the works on the adaptation and adjustment of the temporary facility, and they are ready.
– In this space, in addition to the offices for employees, there will be space for the realization of program activities, gatherings and conferences, until the Central Tower is fully operational – they add in the Ministry.
– By the end of the year, the preparation of technical documentation for the reconstruction, adaptation and rehabilitation of the Tower will be completed. The project is being implemented by the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of Belgrade.
At the beginning of next year, the Institute for the Protection of Monuments will complete the preparation of project documentation for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Italian pavilion. Based on that, the costs and phases for future works will be estimated.
The former Fair, whose construction began in 1937, had, in addition to the Central Tower and the Italian Pavilion, also the Hungarian, Romanian, Czechoslovak, Spasić Pavilion, then the Turkish, Fishermen’s, “Phillips'” and the German Reich Pavilion, as well as “Škoda’s” steel parachute tower, the tallest at the time in Europe. It was from the Fair that “Phillips” broadcast, in 1938, its first TV program in the Balkans. The construction of the Yugoslav concert pavilion was interrupted by the outbreak of war, and already in December 1941, the pavilions were adapted into facilities for a concentration camp.
The new Memorial Center, which has been waiting for years, will be dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Jewish camp Zemun, which was first established, then the Reception Camp Zemun (working since the spring of 1942, after the mass murder of almost all detained Jews) and the Jewish transit camp Belgrade – Cannon Shed . In Sajmište alone, during the Second World War, more than 10,000 Serb civilians, partisans, Chetniks, prisoners of war, more than 6,500 Jews, as well as hundreds of Roma were killed or died of starvation, winter and disease. This was preceded by the execution of about 5,000 Jewish men, mostly from Belgrade and Banat, from the Topovska Shupa camp. About 1,500 Roma were detained there, most of them killed.
The main activity of the new cultural institution, the Ministry reminds us, will be performing museological, educational and scientific research activities.
It was located on the territory of the Independent State of Croatia
The area of the Old Fairground is one of the last camps from the Second World War, which is still unmarked. On the site of the complex, which was located on the territory of the Independent State of Croatia, although it was run by the Germans, after 1945, a residential settlement sprang up. For years, restaurants, a gym, a sports hall …
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