At the outbreak of World War II, 20,000 Jews lived in the territory of Vojvodina. The majority belonged to the Neolog branch of Judaism, however, there were several orthodox communities, located on the west bank of the Tisza River. About 4,000 Vojvodina Jews survived the Holocaust. The project “Remembering the Victims of the Holocaust in Vojvodina: Monuments in Jewish Cemeteries and Public Spaces” investigates regional post-war memorialization of Jews who perished in the Holocaust, providing examples of relevant commemorative monuments and memorials and individual graves. As an essential part of the project, we created this website to host the research findings. The site offers a brief historical background of the Jewish communities in Vojvodina and provides concise historical data, social and personal contexts, descriptions, and photographs of these sites.
The first group of monuments includes those that were erected in Jewish cemeteries. The second segment consists of monuments erected outside Jewish cemeteries, on properties previously - or still owned, by the Jewish communities - for example, memorial plaques on synagogues or at the sites of the demolished ones. Within the third group, a number of public memorials to the victims of fascism is analyzed. These memorials were selected based on the criteria whether they convey a clear message of commemoration of Jewish victims of the Second World War, e.g. listing their names, their number, or describing a particular event. In this section we also included memorials that stand at the sites of former concentration camps and other places of mass-civilian extermination, even if they are not explicitly mentioning the Jewish victims. The reason for this is that through the existence and holding of commemorative practices, both by the Jewish communities, the Federation of Jewish Communities of Serbia, the Embassy of Israel in Serbia, as well as by the local and state authorities, these sites play a meaningful role in the culture of memory, collective memory, and identity of certain cities. Monuments are analyzed through contemporary perspectives, through the demythologization of their ideological narratives emphasizing their aesthetic and historical values and their role in preserving the memory of individual victims and vanished communities. The last portion of this project examines individual tombstones in Jewish cemeteries with epitaphs commemorating families and individuals who perished in the Holocaust. Such family monuments have fostered a set of commemorative practices that found their expression in the realm of private devotion and personal narratives. This segment of the project for now does not aim to be complete database and it is thus only the starting point for further research and activities. Visitors of the site are welcome to post photographs of memorials and graves and add personal stories. Also, we invite you to leave comments and take an active role in preserving the memory of the victims with mutual aim to keep the project constantly growing and to create an extending database of this type of commemoration of the Holocaust victims.
We must not forget. We must fight to preserve the memory of our neighbors, our ancestors, and our proud community. No one else will do it for us. That is why we began this project, which will hopefully draw attention to the wealth of Jewish material culture in Vojvodina, but also to the alarming situation in the Jewish cemeteries and with other Jewish property today. The project will also hopefully serve as another tool in the fight against oblivion. Finally, we believe that through this website, it will be possible to collect funds and recruit groups of volunteers who would dedicate their time and energy to help preserve the Jewish material heritage of Vojvodina.
This project has been realized thanks to the financial support of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Serbia, from funds acquired pursuant to the Law on Remedying the Consequences of Seizure of Assets of Holocaust Victims with no Living Legal Heirs and thanks to the financial support of the Novi Sad Municipal Department for Culture.