“Our commitment must be to remember the victims who perished, respect the survivors still with us, and reaffirm humanity's common aspiration for mutual understanding and justice.”
-- Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust
On 10 May an International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance delegation participated in a programme on the future of the historic site Staro Sajmište in Belgrade, Serbia.
The visit follows up on discussions held during the Debrecen Plenary meetings where IHRA’s experts expressed their concern about the preservation of the Staro Sajmište site due to risks posed by urban development and unclear future plans for a memorial complex.
The IHRA delegation comprised the IHRA Chair, Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, Executive Secretary, Kathrin Meyer, and an expert from IHRA’s Memorials and Museums Working Group (MMWG) Bruno Boyer. The visit included a site visit to the former concentration camp complex and meetings with the commission responsible for the future of the site, city and government officials as well as with the Head of Serbian Delegation to the IHRA, Ambassador Roksanda Nincic.
“The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance would like to emphasizes the importance of sharing information and encouraging international cooperation when it comes to endangered memorial sites”, Executive Secretary Kathrin Meyer said, “We, therefore, welcome the exchange between the responsible authorities in Serbia and the IHRA as an example of good practice.”
The topic of endangered sites is an emerging area of focus for the IHRA. In 2007 IHRA Member Countries adopted a resolution recognizing the extraordinary importance of researching and marking for posterity the physical locations where Holocaust-related events occurred. Member Countries agreed “to undertake all possible measures to mark such sites, preserve them, and prevent their misuse.” IHRA’s experts regularly identify physically or functionally endangered sites in different countries, bring them to the attention of the Plenary and express their support for the protection and preservation.
Image: The IHRA Chair, Ambassador Constantinescu, talks to the press on the site of Staro Sajmište.