We participated in the Conference dedicated to the preservation of the two remaining barracks at Autokomanda, where during World War II there was a German concentration camp Cannon Shed (the name was taken from the period before the German occupation of Serbia when the Yugoslav Army kept cannons and other weapons). which interned Jewish men from Belgrade and Banat, and then Roma. This camp was “collective”, but from the end of August to the middle of November 1941, the Germans, with appropriate explanations, systematically took larger groups of people from that camp to the execution sites near the villages of Jabuka (Pancevo) and Jajince (village near Belgrade) where mass shootings were carried out. Thus, in a relatively short period of time, about 5,000 Jewish and about 1,500 Roma men were shot. A small number of men that the Germans did not manage to shoot, he was transferred to the German concentration camp at Sajmište (territory of the Independent State of Croatia), where he, like other compatriots, was awaiting death. The conference was held on October 28, 2019 in the Media Center of Belgrade, and was chaired by historian Dr. Milovan Pisari, then writer and publicist and representative of the Roma National Council, Zlatomir Jovanovic, as well as a prominent member of the Jewish community of Belgrade, Brane Popovic. The moderator was Mrs. Gordana Nešović, journalist.
Considering the property and legal problems around the location of the former Topovska šupa camp. as well as certain business plans of current financial powers, the discussion at the Conference was very dynamic.
Only two days later, on October 30, a large gathering was held in the Archives of Yugoslavia – in fact, a public debate on the draft law on the future Memorial Center at Sajmište (the original German name of the camp at Sajmište was Judenlager Zemlin). In addition to representatives of the Jewish community and, of course, the Jewish History Museum, a large number of people came from various institutions (museums, libraries, institutes) and associations (Association of Victims of Jadovna, etc.). This public debate was well organized and very constructive. Various remarks and suggestions, as well as questions, were sent to the chairmen from the Ministry of Culture and Information of Serbia and the city administration.
Most of them have already sent their observations in writing, as planned. In general, the draft law on the Memorial Center of the Sajmište camp (regardless of all remarks and proposals) as well as the organization of such a public debate, were assessed as an extremely positive step of our state in resolving the issue that has long troubled us – when Belgrade will get its Memorial Center. dedicated to the terrible sufferings of the citizens of Serbia in the Second World War – the Holocaust against the Jews, the war against the Roma and the genocide against the Serbs. It remains to be seen what will happen next …