Three day manifestation ‘Freezing Silence’ dedicated to victims of the Novi Sad Raid closed with a ceremony
With regard to the commemoration of 72 years since the Novi Sad Raid, the Cultural Centre finished the three day manifestation ‘Freezing Silence’ by organising a ceremony in the Grand Hall of this institution. Apart from numerous visitors, who came on the last day of the manifestation to strengthen the memory of the great tragedy that befell innocent people, the event was made complete with the presence of Serbian-Jewish choir ‘Brothers Baruh’ from Belgrade, Nora Čonkić Petrović, Spasenija Cana Sladojev, Aleksandar Gabona, Dobrica Čolaković and Aleksandar Veljić.
The programme of the Ceremony was opened with the Serbian anthem ‘Bože pravde’, and then the audience was addressed by the director of this institution, Dr. Andrej Fajgelj. He said that it is really difficult to describe and face this crime, which can shake people’s belief that good always wins, because a person can sometimes feel helpless and fainthearted.
‘A person can then be tempted to say that the evil is strong and good weak, and that the evil will prevail and that we cannot do anything. Remembering is what we can do. Maybe it is little, maybe it is modest, but it is something we can do. We should hold to the memory as a lonely but firm wall that separates us from the possibility that these sufferings happen again. This is why today I am glad, because although it is difficult to count the victims by name, it is also hard to count all of you, who have in the last weeks and months, prepared commemoration of 72 years since the Novi Sad Raid. You embedded yourselves in the memory of our victims, whether by investing your time or expressing your ideas with words, acts or voice. The Cultural Centre of Novi Sad is just one of the modest partners that participated this year in commemorating victims of the Novi Sad Raid. With this manifestation and with the help of the Diocese of Bačka, City of Novi Sad, Jewish Community, as well as citizens, we strengthened the memory of the horrible plight of our fellow citizens in 1942. I would like to stress that the Cultural Centre, during these three days, was not only the centre of art, but also the centre of science and education on the Raid. We have been visited by the 800 primary and secondary school pupils, who came and saw exhibitions in our three galleries: learned an important story of the Sárvár concentration camp, heard for the first time testimonies of the surviving victims of the Novi Sad Raid, saw photographs from 1942. I would like to thank all who participated and contributed to the realisation of this manifestation and I hope that this memory will not fade in the following years’ – said Mr. Fajgelj.
Aleksandar Veljić, the president of the Society for Preserving the Memory of the Holocaust, who expertly guided pupils through exhibitions and appropriately explained the facts on the Novi Sad Raid, addressed the visitors at the Ceremony by saying that he is happy because he presented the historic crime to young fellow citizens, with the message that courage and charity characterise history, as well as events that stay in the memory forever.
‘Never has the Novi Sad Raid been commemorated in such a meaningful, profound and symbolic way. In this way, for the first time, this event was marked in the most important institution of culture in Novi Sad. This is certainly the reason to be joyful, although the cause is a sad one. Even if in freezing silence, we can go home in piece, because we succeeded in keeping oblivion at bay, which is the greatest enemy of our people’, said Mr. Veljić and he thanked all, especially the Cultural Centre of Novi Sad that passed on to young citizens of Novi Sad the memory of the suffering of Serbs, Jews and Roma in the Novi Sad Raid in 1942.
The documentary ‘The Children of Immortality’ by the Diocese of Bačka was also presented to the visitors. This film tells the story of the most horrifying event in newer Serbian history about the Šajkaška-Novi Sad Raid carried out by the Hungarian occupiers.