(JTA) — Serbia’s parliament will block plans for construction, including of a shopping mall, on former concentration camps, the country’s president said.
President Aleksandar Vucic told Efraim Zuroff, the Eastern Europe Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, on Thursday in Belgrade that a bill that would make the plans impossible would be passed this year, Zuroff told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The law would also create a memorial center in Belgrade for tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs and Roma killed by Nazis in World War II.
Originally a 1937 trade fair complex built in the then capital of Yugoslavia, one of the former camps, Staro Sajmiste, became a death camp when Nazis invaded the country in 1941. Some 30,000 died there, including 7,000 Jews.
After the fall of communism, this and another site of a Nazi-era camp in Belgrade, Topovske Supe, were partly sold off by the state but have been spared large-scale redevelopment, Bloomberg noted in a report Thursday.
After the war, parts of Staro Sajmiste were used as art studios, a kindergarten, a nightclub, and a restaurant. It even housed a local office of Vucic’s ruling Serbian Progressive Party. The land of Topovske Supe is slated for building a $220 million shopping mall by the closely held company Delta Holding. That may be prevented through mandatory expropriation, according to the draft bill.
Serbia Blocks Plan To Build Mall On Concentration Camps