Place of Remembrance of the Jews of Novi Sad who were Sent to Concentration Camps

Локација:  Синагога, Јеврејска улица

[ngg src=“galleries“ ids=“59″ display=“basic_imagebrowser“]Депортација новосадских Јевреја, као и грађана јеврејске националности са простора Бачке, уследила је као консеквенца окупације Мађарске од стране немачких трупа 19. марта 1944. године, односно као последица наредбе о интернацији Јевреја донесене 7. априла исте године у Будимпешти. У следећих неколико дана су биле донесене и друге одлуке којима су скоро у потпуности Јеврејима одузета сва права, али и имовина.

The first group of around 300 Jews, that were arrested after the order was given, was placed in the building of the "Sloboda" (Liberty) Hotel where after 20 days they were transported by trains to Nazi death camps.



Mass arrests of Jews, on the territory of Novi Sad and the whole of Bačka, began in early morning hours on the 26th of April 1944. The day before the arrests began, an order was given whereby people of Jewish nationality were not permitted to leave their houses. The arrests included all people of Jewish nationality, regardless of age, gender or health condition of the person. With some exceptions for people from mixed marriages, a few completely disabled people from the First World War, a few people who managed to escape with fake documents, as well as two families who were exempt from the deportation, the whole Jewish population of Novi Sad was arrested and placed in the Novi Sad synagogue. Shortly before being taken away from their homes, a few people committed suicide.

The living conditions in the synagogue were very bad, and the only available food was the one that the people brought with them from their houses. Several deaths and suicides were reported. From the 26th to the 28th of April, the citizens were transported to the concentration camps in Subotica, Baja and Bačka Topola where they were separated and then sent to Nazi death camps, mostly Auschwitz. Of around 1900 deported Jews of Novi Sad, only around 200 came back after the liberation. Apart from these atrocities, during the whole of World War II, a large number of Jews of Novi Sad died or were killed in a variety of other locations all across Europe where the Holocaust was taking place. It is estimated that during the Second World War, 3020 out of 4350 Jews, that lived in Novi Sad before the war began, died or were killed. In other words, 69,43 percent of Jewish citizens of Novi Sad died during the Holocaust.




The synagogue was the central location connected to the national and religious identity of the Jewish citizens of Novi Sad before the Second World War and, because of the tragic events that unfolded here, it received additionally a commemorative characteristic as well as that of a place of martyrdom, or in other words, it took on the characteristics of a place of execution with the ethnic factor being highlighted. In that context, this location, that is located in the street whose name hints towards the members of this ethnic group, represents today one of two key places of commemoration that is connected to the victims of the Holocaust in the city area. In that sense the synagogue, together with the "Family"(Porodica) monument and the "Monument dedicated to the victims of fascist terror" located at the Jewish Cemetery, represents one of the three main locations in the city for official commemoration that‘s related to the Second World War. Still, even though all three of the aforementioned memorials relate to the victims of the Holocaust, the commemorative plaque that is placed on the synagogue is dedicated exclusively to the murdered citizens of Novi Sad that were of Jewish nationality, and in that sense the memorial on this location has a clearly highlighted ethnic and religious sign. Seeing as how the attribution is related to the religious and national identity of the members of the Jewish ethnic community, as well as the characteristic of martyrdom, it‘s safe to assume that the synagogue actually takes the role of a symbol of tragedy that befell the Jews of Novi Sad who were taken from this location into "Nazi concentration camps for destruction". With such a characteristic, the synagogue, together with the memorial at the Jewish Cemetery, represent the main memorials in the city‘s topography that are dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust.



Apart from the city representatives, respect to the victims was given by representatives of the Jews of Novi Sad that on the 26th of April descide to commemorate the day when the deportation of the Jewish population (as a labeled, unwanted and discriminated collective) of the city began, whereby they were taken to Nazi death camps as part of the so called Final Solution. The day of remembrance in this commemoration area has a highlighted local characteristic, meaning it‘s connected to the event that is exclusively related to the past of the Novi Sad Jewish community. On the other hand, the commemoration area relating to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, that takes place on the 27th of January which by its conception obviously exceeds local importance, represents a monument that is located in the Jewish Cemetery complex.

The entire area around the synagogue, in today‘s context, unifies within itself several functions that overlap. The religious and partially national connotation of the synagogue is consumed by it‘s current cultural and aesthetic function, seeing as how, since 1966, this building is used for classical music concerts and theatre plays. Apart from these two, a third overlapping function deals with the plateau surrounding the synagogue, or to be more specific the area that encompases the whole complex which represents a place of public gathering with a recognisable characteristic in the city‘s topography. Lastly, this area, together with the synagogue as the key place, certainly has (as previously noted) a highlighted commemorative, or rather memorial, characteristic. However, the commemorative aspect of the area‘s identity is in a way secondary compared to the previously mentioned aspects, among other reasons, because of the reduced size, discrete features as well as the location of the memorial in the form of a commemorative plaque.

Author: Kristijan Obšust

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin