The First Stage of the Holocaust in Serbia and Croatia project is aimed at mapping the locations in which mass shootings of Jews in Serbia and Croatia took place during the early stage of the Holocaust. Through the online presentation of historical documents, photographs and interviews with witnesses, historians and other experts, the project offers a permanent educational platform to stimulate research and critical thinking about the Holocaust, the genocide against the Roma and other crimes against humanity.
The project is a rare and excellent example of successful regional cooperation, connecting researchers from both Serbia and Croatia for the purpose of a comparative analysis in post-conflict societies dealing with their past and for the benefit of creating new standards in the culture of remembrance. Through multilateral cooperation, this initiative served as a link between various communities and regions, Roma, Jewish, Serbian and Croatian.
The project involved the local municipalities in order to stimulate future activities, motivate them to preserve the sites and raise awareness among political decision makers. Target groups also included academics, educators, NGO workers, activists and the wider public.
The website is accessible in Serbian, Croatian, and English. See below for examples of historical sites, archival photos and interviews as featured on the site.
Slana and Metajna Camps, Croatia
The Slana camp was located on a bare cape of Pag, about five kilometres from the village of Metajna. From June to August 1941, Jews, detained Serbs and Croats-communists were held at these two camps. Between 4000 and 13000 people are estimated to have been murdered.
Interviews from Zasavica
Aleksandar Kraus, survivor of the camp in Sabac
Zasavica is a site near the camp of Sabac where hundreds of Jews and Roma were murdered in October 1941. Interviews from local activists, members of Sabac municipality, and survivors are available on the Zasavica page, as well as historical photos.
On the road between Pancevo and Jabuka there is a killing site where, according to estimates, around 10,000 people were shot during World War II. Many of them were Jewish and Roma men from Belgrade brought from the Topovske supe camp whom the German troops shot in the autumn of 1941. After the war, a monument was erected on the site in which the executions had taken place. In 1981, a memorial park was organised, designed as a central spot for holding commemoration ceremonies dedicated to the fascist terror in Banat.
The project has been implemented by the Federation of Jewish Communities of Serbia, the Center for Holocaust Research and Education and the Department of Cultural Studies in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Rijeka. It has received support from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Belgrade and Memorial de la Shoah. In addition to its educational objectives, the website aims to be a permanent form of commemoration, cherishing the culture of remembrance, offering the possibility for local government representatives to launch new educational and commemorative initiatives related to the killing sites located in their territory.