Historians and Jewish leaders have expressed concern that Siberia’s largest World War II death camp may be transformed into a commercial development, The Jewish Chronicle (JC) reported.
The leaders reportedly met to discuss the future of the Staro Sajmiste death camp, which is located on the outskirts of Belgrade, following reports that it may be turned into to “multicultural” development, with a memorial for the victims as merely part of the mix.
Currently, there are nightclubs and a restaurant on a section of the site, the JC noted.
Historian Christopher Browning who attended the conference stated, “Serbia was the only county outside Poland and the Soviet Union where all Jewish victims were killed on the spot without deportation, and was the first country after Estonia to be declared ‘Judenfrei,’” a term used by the Nazis during the Holocaust to denote an area free of all Jews.
“Above all, it should be a place of public education,” said Alexandar Necak, former president of the Jewish communities in Serbia.
Approximately 7,000 Jewish women and children were murdered at Sajmiste between November 1941 and May 1942. An additional 10,600 were killed or died of disease and starvation while interned at the camp from 1942 to 1944.