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Asked about Topovske Supe, Delta points to its choice of Israeli architecture firm MYS to work on the project, having been involved in another Delta shopping mall in Belgrade.
“CULTURE OF FORGETTING”
Delta Real Estate vice president Vojislav Glavinic told Reuters MYS would work with the Jewish community and the Israeli embassy to design a memorial that would be “visible and representative”.
Glavinic said in a statement that Delta expected to have the necessary building permits from the city government by the end of the year.
But the project could yet run into opposition from Serbia’s Agency for Protection for Cultural Monuments, which says it has not received an application from Delta for permission to build.
“As the institution whose mission is to save, conserve and present important sites for future generations, we would like to save and conserve all the buildings of Topovske Supe and represent the Holocaust that happened there to the public,” the agency’s deputy director, Aleksandra Fulgozi, told Reuters.
Topovske Supe is not the only former concentration camp in the Serbian capital. More than 6,000 Jewish women and children are believed to have perished at Sajmiste, opened on the site of the Belgrade fairground which fell under the control of the Nazi puppet regime in Croatia.
Authorities have marked the spot with a memorial, though critics believe the move had more to do with the Partisan fighters and Serb political prisoners who died there too.
Much of the location has been turned into housing, restaurants and a sports club. “The fact that we allow two places where so many people were held, where almost no one made it out alive, to be used in this manner is emblematic of Serbia’s culture of forgetting,” said Teodor Kovac, 90, who lost his father at Topovske Supe and his mother at Staro Sajmiste.
Rajner agreed, accusing Serbia of air brushing certain historical episodes while burnishing others.
“No one wants to talk about the fact that without collaborators from here, the Nazis would never have been so effective,” she said. “This is not just about Jews; it’s a general carelessness towards important history.”