Belgrade, Serbia
Belgrade, Serbia iStock

The Serbian government has begun renovation work on the main tower of the Staro Sajmiste concentration camp, with further plans to renovate facilities and to build two museums.

An an event held to mark the start of renovations on the tower, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that the preservation of the Nazi death camp was an effort to preserve “collective memory.”

“We are starting to restore the memory of the camp by starting to reconstruct the central tower, its iconic symbol,”Vucic said at the ceremony, according to Balkan Insight.

“The reconstruction of the central tower at the Staro Sajmiste is a symbol of determination to reconstruct our own collective memory.”

During the Staro Sajmiste’s operation between 1941 and 1942, 7,000 Jews, 10,000 Serbs and 60 Roma were murdered.

The camp was located in the Independent State of Croatia, a Nazi puppet state, but was directly run by the Waffen SS.

Serbia passed a law in 2020 to construct a memorial center at the death camp.

Krinka Vidakovic Petrov, the director of the Staro Sajmiste Memorial Centre, explained that other parts of the camp will be renovated and two museums will be build on the grounds as a “debt to the victims” and to say “we have not forgotten them.”