Wiesenthal Center Urges Serbian Authorities to Establish a Memorial Research and Educational Complex on the Site of the Staro Sajmiste Concentration Camp

Wiesenthal Center Urges Serbian Authorities to Establish a Memorial Research and Educational Complex on the Site of the Staro Sajmiste Concentration Camp

December 25, 2013

Belgrade – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today urged the Serbian authorities to establish a memorial research and educational complex on the site of the Staro Sajmiste concentration camp in Belgrade. In a meeting this morning with Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, the Center's chief Nazi hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, asked the Serbian head of state to make available the necessary funds to create a center to commemorate victims of the Holocaust as well as those of the genocide of Serbs during World War II on the site of the camp where tens of thousands of innocent civilians were murdered by the Nazis. Zuroff also met today to discuss the same issues with the Serbian Culture Minister, Ivan Tasovac.

Staro Sajmiste was among the places where the Nazis used gas vans to murder innocent civilians, in this case Jewish women and children from all over Serbia in 1941-42, as well as a group of Zionist pioneers whose boat was stranded on the Danube, and whose women and children were eventually sent there to be murdered. After the annihilation of the Jews it was used for prisoners of the partisan war as well as Serbs who would later be sent for forced labor in Germany and surplus prisoners from the Jasenovac concentration camp.

Prime Minister Dacic also expressed support for the forthcoming launch of Operation Last Chance in Serbia, which is scheduled to begin in March 2014, with the assistance of Serbian NGOs such as Serbian Code and the Jasenovac Committee of the Orthodox Church. Operation Last Chance is a campaign to bring remaining Nazi war criminals to justice by offering financial rewards for information leading to their arrest and conviction.

 
Zuroff presenting a copy of the Serbian edition of his book, Operation Last Chance, to PM Dacic in Belgrade
  Zuroff with Serbian Minister of Culture Ivan Tasovac in Belgrade

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).