The group was led by Ms. Silvana Hadži-Đokić from the Ministry
of culture and former ambassador of Serbia and Montenegro in Israel
Ms. Krinka Vidaković-Petrov, and included Jovan Mirković, Dragan
Cvetković and Nenad Antonijević from Belgrade Museum of Genocide
Victims, Srđa Trifković from the Rockford Institute (Chicago),
Milan Ristović from the University of Belgrade, Milan Koljanin
from the Institute for contemporary history, same as the crew
of TV Logos that covered the visit. Mr. Dušan Krstić of Svetlopisno
odeljenje from Belgrade joined the group on Thursday.
Upon arrival on June 14 the group met with His Beatitude Teophilos
III, the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, who welcomed historians
cordially. On Friday the group visited Bethlehem, Monasteries
of St. Sava and St. Theodosios, same as Shepard’s Field, and on
Saturday June 17 the group traveled to Galilee and on Thursday
June 22 to Massada, Dead Sea and Qumran.
On Thursday 15 David Bankier, the Head of the International Research
Institute opened the event, and new ambassador of Serbia Mr. Miodrag
Isakov greeted the participants, same as Ms. Hadži-Đokić. The
ambassadors of Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iztok Jarc
and Nedeljko Masleša attended as well as a representative of Croatian
embassy, while former ambassador of the State of Israel in Belgrade
Mr. Yoram Shani was in public as well. The lecture of Mr. Avner
Shalev, Chairman of the Directorate of Yad Vashem followed.
After the tour of new History Museum, workshop [Program]
at the Institute by lectures of Mr. Srđa Trifković and Prof. Dan
Michman. In the Friday morning participants greeted Yehuda Bauer
who delivered first lecture and announced Prof. Ristović and Ms.
Hadži-Đokić. At the beginning of this session Mr. Mario Jareb
from the Croation Institute for History arrived from Zagreb. Sunday
June 18 had four sessions, first with Nikola Koljanin and Kiril
Fefferman, second about Jasenovac concentration and death camp
with Jovan Mirković, Mirjam Rajner and Dragan Cvetković as lecturers
and Krinka Vidaković-Petrov as respodent. First afternoon session
was devoted to issue of Italians in Balkans, and Nenad Antonijević
and Iael Nidam-Orvietto held lectures. Finally, Prof. Bankier
summarized and concluded researcher’s part in late afternoon.
Discussions followed each session.
On Monday and Tuesday, the Serbian delegation visited different
departments within Yad Vashem, beginning with Archive, where hosts
were Noemi Halpern, Sara Pećanac and Miriam Steiner-Aviezer. The
delegation handed over to Ms. Halpern copy of the order issued
by general Mihailović instructing his commanders and troops about
the treatment of the Jews, one of highly ethical documents of
the Second World War. Then, delegation met with director of the
Hall of Names Mr. Alexander Avraham, which was followed by the
meeting with Mr. Mordechai Paldiel, director of Righteous Among
the Nations department and again with Miriam Steiner-Aviezer who
gave insight into those from Serbia who rescued and helped the
Jews in the Shoah. Day concluded visit to newly introduced Learning
Next day, Robert Rozett, Director of Library presented his department
which was enriched at the spot with donations by participants
and their respective institutions. Special interest of Dr. Rozett
attracted a book from the edition of documents from the War. Eventually,
he was promised that Military History Institute will provide Yad
Vashem library with full collection of almost two hundred books.
In the International School for Holocaust Studies, Doron Avraham
and Richelle Budd-Caplan from the European department described
philosophy, structure and projects of the School to the delegation.
In afternoon delegation met with staff of Museums Division, Yehudit
Inbar, Yehudit Shendar and Haviva Peled-Carmeli, and visited Visual
center and met Liat Ben Habib there. There, part of the movie
about Sajmište concentration camp (Judenlager Semlin) was screened.
Visit of the Serbian delegation to Yad Vashem concluded with
wreath lying ceremony at the Hall of Remembrance (Ochel Yitzhor)
on Tuesday afternoon [Video]
. The Ministasr of science in the
Government of the Republic of Serbia Mr. Aleksandar Popović reignited
the eternal flame and two wreaths were laid, one on the central
place and next one at the place where name of Jasenovac death
and contrentation camp is inscribed. Serbian military attaché
Col. Predrag Stanković, Ms. Hadži-Đokić and Mr. Jovan Mirković,
former director of the Memorial area Jasenovac, participated too.
Eva Lutkiewicz and Eliot Nidam were instrumental in organization
and hosts of the delegation during whole stay at Yad Vashem.
On Wednesday 21, delegation went to the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem, where the Center of Jewish Art was visited first. There,
Mr. Ivan Čerešnješ gave a talk about the plight of the Holocaust
monuments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and possibilities of establishing
Sajmište as memorial area were discussed. Then, Serbian delegation
had a cordial meeting at the Vidal Sassoon Center for the Study
of Anti-Semitism, with participation of Robert Wistrich, Simon
Epstein and Leon Volovici. Visit to the Archive of the Jewish
community from former Yugoslavia headed by Mr. Zvi Loker, was
next station. In the evening, Mr. Ephraim Zuroff of the Jerusalem
office of Simon Wiesenthal Center joined group for a dinner at
Tmol Shilshom, where he debriefed delegation about Operation:
Last Chance [Video]
and a new wave of Croatian Anti-Semitism,
since few hours before he arrived from Zagreb.