Remembering Hilda Dajč Award 2024

the following nominees were presented with the awards at the University Library “Svetozar Marković” on May 7, 2024:

The Jewish Digital Library

Marija Vasić


Užice Center for Children’s Rights

Many visitors and distinguished guests

Yesterday, for the third year in a row, the Remembering Hilda Dajč Award was presented to prominent organizations and individuals. In the presence of the representatives of the Jewish community, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, the delegation of the Republic of Serbia to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – IHRA, diplomatic corps including the Embassies of Austria, Australia, the British Embassy, Embassies of France, Germany, Israel, United States of America, and Swedish Embassy, representatives of Austrian Cultural Forum Belgrade, students and professors of the XIV Belgrade Gymnasium and others, in the University Library “Svetozar Markovic” the awards were presented to: the Jewish Digital Library, Marija Vasic, Kulturanova and Užice Center for Children’s Rights – UCPD.

Address by Misko Stanisic

At the beginning of the program, Misko Stanisic, director of Terraforming, addressed the audience.
This is the excerpt from his speech:

Dear friends, distinguished guests,

The Remembering Hilda Dajč Award is an annual award established in 2022. It is presented every year at the beginning of May, just before May 10, the Remembrance Day for the Holocaust Victims in Belgrade.

The initiative originated from a group of activists from the non-governmental sector, primarily our dear friends from the organization Education for the 21st Century, our organization Terraforming, and a number of other individuals who today make up the Award’s steering committee. I hereby thank them all.

Thank you to everyone who voted and made suggestions for the candidates, and especially thanks to the students of the XIV Belgrade High School who prepared a special program, and who selected this year’s “The Youth Voice” winner with their votes. Special thanks to the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, members of the Serbian IHRA delegation, ambassadors and other diplomatic representatives, and representatives of the Jewish community for being with us today. Your support is extremely important to us.

Today, we are witnessing an unprecedented increase in antisemitism throughout the world, which is also reflected in our society in Serbia. We need to work on strengthening capacity and knowledge about antisemitism, which is still insufficient, as we still do not have adequate educational programs for both young people and professionals, such as journalists, museum workers, teachers, police, judiciary, and others.

On the other hand, we also face the abuse and distortion of history, and the practice of abusing the culture of memory to promote fear, hatred, nationalism, and populist political propaganda. In recent times, the concept of genocide has been especially popularized and misused. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance IHRA provides clear definitions and guidelines in the context of the culture of remembrance, including tools for comparing different groups of victims and different crimes, including crimes of genocide and the Holocaust. The Republic of Serbia has endorsed the IHRA working definitions of antisemitism, Holocaust distortion, antigypsyism, and archival records, by a decision of the Government, which is an extraordinary step. In the coming period, I expect that we will work on the promotion of these definitions to relevant institutions and practitioners in the Republic of Serbia, because the definitions, as well as other IHRA materials, are still mostly unknown and unavailable. Only part of the IHRA material is available in Serbian, and it would be necessary to organize special trainings and presentations for relevant actors. This would help to accept and understand that, for example, there are no “genocide nations”, and that such a formulation is not only meaningless but also unacceptable. Instead, it is important to understand that a meaningful culture of remembrance must focus on only two things, which I have often repeated, namely: remembering the victims with respect, as individuals and not as a faceless gray mass with an imposed group identity, and – developing critical thinking and understanding one’s own responsibility to ensure that the crimes committed against the victims are never repeated, primarily by recognizing when we ourselves endanger others.

Swedish Ambassador Annika Ben David

Members of the jury and the awardees

The awards were presented by members of this year’s jury: Ivana Joksimović, Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, and Milan Antonijević, lawyer and human rights activist.

Congratulations to all the winners!

We extend our deepest gratitude to the students and professors of the XIV Belgrade Gymnasium for their exceptional works on Hilda Dajč. We also appreciate the cooperation with our dear colleagues from Education for 21. Century
Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to the best hosts: the University Library “Svetozar Markovic” in Belgrade, and particularly Vasilije Milnović.

Israeli Ambassador Yahel Vilan pointed out that this is the third time he has spoken at the Remembering Hilda Dajč Award ceremony, which is a special honor for him, but also that today, we are facing an unprecedented rise of antisemitism.

Ambassador of Sweden, Annika Ben David, emphasized that it was her third year in a row that she spoke at this ceremony, too, and pointed out that Sweden, realizing the lack of knowledge about the Holocaust among young people in more than 20 years ago Sweden initiated the creation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance IHRA.

Ambassador of France Pierre Koshar said that he too participate in this ceremony for the third time, and that the memory of Hilda Dajč’s courage is an inspiration for everyone.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher R. Hill said that remembering the crimes of the Holocaust and fighting antisemitism is our shared obligation and duty.

British Ambassador Edward Ferguson said that he was honoured to speak at the event and stressed that the UK had taken over the presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance IHRA committed to advancing Holocaust memorialization and education as well as combating antisemitism.

German Deputy Ambassador Karsten Meyer-Wiffehausen said in his speech that facing the past is necessary, that Germany takes its responsible for the crime of the Holocaust, and he reiterated Germany’s determination to cherish the memory of the victims and support Holocaust education among young people.

Israeli Ambassador Yahel Vilan

British Ambassador Edward Ferguson