The Danube Shore as a Key Place of Remembrance and a Symbolic Location of Commemoration of the Victims of the Novi Sad Raid

Локација: Београдски кеј и Кеј жртава рације

[ngg src=“galleries“ ids=“65″ display=“basic_imagebrowser“]Новосадска обала Дунава као целина, укључујући и простор градске плаже – Штранд, представља кључну локацију која је у вези са Новосадском рацијом. На ћошку Дунавске улице и Београдског кеја, извршен је читав низ групних и индивидуалних стрељања посебно у преподневним часовима трећег дана рације. Обала Дунава заједно са Штрандом као јединствена просторна целина заузима кључно место сећања везано за рацију и из разлога што су практично све жртве које су погубљене током њеног трајања на различитим местима у граду, довлачене на ове локације одакле су њихова тела бацана под лед Дунава, али и због чињенице што је на делу обале  Кеју жртава рације постављен централни меморијал посвећен жртвама овог трагичног догађаја.

 

 

The execution of citizens was carried out on multiple locations individually and in groups, while the bodies of those killed were brought from different locations and thrown into the icy Danube in several places along the shoreline. Many citizens who lived across in the Petrovaradin part of the shore witnessed the executions which, to a major extent, made it possible to reconstruct the characteristics and the magnitude of the crime, based on their testimony. According to reports gathered, people could hear pleas for help and screams of the victims coming from the shore, people who were mostly killed individually. A large amount of victims were women and children. As it was in other locations, valuables and money was taken from the victims who were shot. As was reported by witnesses of the event whose testimonies were gathered as part of the later investigations, some of the victims were still alive when they were thrown into the Danube. As one report noted, a man of around thirty years old woke up after he was thrown into the water by the executioners who thought he was dead. According to a report by one of the witnesses who was present at the event, the man rose from the water and was barely able to utter ''I am a Hungarian'', but immediately a soldier shot him in the head. The witnesses, on whose testimony most of the reports were based in 1945, noted the inhumane treatment of the bodies of those killed by the Hungarian fascists, of how they were dragged by their feet and thrown through the holes made in the frozen river and how the holes clogged because of the high amount of corpses, after which they used hooks to separate the corpses from the ice by force and push them underneath the ice. Most of the witnesses, while describing the event, noted also the horrible sight of the execution and disposing of the bodies of those killed in the Danube on the day when the air temperature was 25 degrees below zero.

The fact that on this location lies the central memorial dedicated to the most tragic event in Novi Sad‘s past is testimony to the importance of this location as a symbolically chosen place of remembrance of the victims of the raid. The ''Porodica'' (Family) monument, by academic sculptor Jovan Soldatović, as well as the commemorative name of the city street located by the shoreline of the Danube that bares the name the Raid Victims' Quay, represent the memorial and martyr characteristics of the specific public area or rather the entire urban area. The monument symbolizes the family that died in the January raid, which is hinted at by the name as well as the idea behind the design which consists of four sculptures (of human figures). It was made out of bronze with the highest part of the monument being 4 meters from the ground. The monument was completed in 1992 by the addition of 78 bronze plates which were also made by Jovan Soldatović. The majority of plates, 66 of them, contain the names of the victims while on four of the plates, both in Serbian and Hebrew, is a text which contains the basic information about the tragic event. In front of the sculpture, in several languages there exists a inscription that says ''to the victims of fascism'', while the rest of the plates contain Christian and Jewish symbols. The plain in front of the monument was reconstructed during the last sanitation of the shoreline of the Danube so that today the area in front of the monument represents a clearly defined architectural area. The monument was deemed an immovable cultural property, under the protection of the country and marked as a notable place of great significance.

 

 

 

 

 

Ипак, локација споменика на којој је постављен, изабрана је из прилично нејасних разлога будући да овај део обале Дунава није представљао место на којем су извршена масовна стрељања грађана Новог Сада.  Односно, локација централног меморијала посвећеном жртвама Новосадске рације је изабрана по свему судећи из примарно туристичких и урбанистичких  разлога. Самом постављању споменика претходио је утицајан филм Мике Антића из 1967. године под називом „Споменик“ који је на прилично критички и друштвено ангажовани начин указао на сразмере страдања у Новосадској рацији и указао на потребу за постављањем меморијала за жртве који заправо до тада није постојао у градском пејзажу. У том контексту, филм „Споменик“, у иницијативном смислу је имао утицај на стварање критичке масе која је тражила постављање спомен-обележја жртвама најтрагичнијег догађаја у историји града.

 

 

Despite the fact that the central memorial dedicated to commemorating the victims of the Novi Sad Raid is located in this part of the Danube shoreline, the majority of citizens were killed and thrown under the ice at the city beach – Štrand where the execution of the civilians, on the third day of the raid, had the characteristics of a massacre. Still, regardless of this fact, this area, unlike the Raid Victims' Quay and the Belgrade Quay, wasn't marked with any sort of memorial until January 2013 when, near the entrance to the city beach, a small monolith memorial made of black marble was placed.

 

Author: Kristijan Obšust

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