“Remembering Hilda Dajč” award 2023
For the second year in a row, the “Remembering Hilda Dajč” Foundation will award an Outstanding Contribution to the Culture of Remembrance and a Youth Award for Civic Responsibility and Social Awareness
Terraforming, in cooperation with other colleagues and organizations, initiated the creation of the “Remembering Hilda Dajč” award.
The steering committee, at the meeting held on the 7th. December, 2022 made a decision to make a Public call for submission of candidate proposals for the “Remembering Hilda Dajč” award 2023. .
We invite you to suggest the award candidates!
The “Remembering Hilda Dajč” 2023 will be awarded in two categories:
Recognition for an outstanding contribution to the culture of memory
will be awarded to an institution, organization, or individual who made a significant contribution to fostering, improving, and strengthening the culture of remembering of the Holocaust in the Republic of Serbia.
it is awarded for demonstrating exceptional personal and civic responsibility, social awareness, commitment, solidarity, and humanity, identifying problems, and initiating action, especially in local communities. Read more on the website www.hildadajc.rs
The public call for nominations was published on the 8th. December
Public call for submission of candidate proposals for the “Remembering Hilda Dajč” award 2023. it was published on 8 December in order to contribute to the memory of this significant and tragic date. By order of the German occupiers, 8. December 1941 Belgrade Jews were forced to report to the Special Police for Jews at 21 George Washington Street in Belgrade.
“Everyone can take only as much luggage as they can carry themselves. When checking in, you have to hand over the apartment keys with your name and address written on them. The apartment has to be locked when leaving. You should bring a blanket, cutlery, and food for one day. Whoever does not come will be punished most severely.”
That day they were all sent to the German camp at the Old Belgrade fairground.
Jewish men have already been killed
Previously, in August 1941. the Germans established concentration camp Topovske Supe at Autokomanda in Belgrade. Jewish men, mostly from Belgrade, as well as Jews expelled from Banat, were brought to the camp. Later, Roma men were also brought. There were a total of about 5,000 Jews and between 1,000 and 1,500 Roma in the camp. In that period, the Topovska šupe camp served as the main “reservoir” for hostages, who were shot at the execution sites in Jajinci, near the village of Jabuka, Deliblatska peščara, and other places. In just a few months in the fall of 1941. almost the entire male Jewish population from the territory of Serbia under German occupation was killed in mass shootings.
The concentration camp at “Staro Sajmiste”
When the Germans established a camp at the Belgrade Fairgrounds, calling it the Zemun Jewish Camp or “Judenlager Semlin”, it was a camp for the remaining Jews on the territory of occupied Serbia, mostly women and children. The camp was managed by the Gestapo and was under the command of SS officers. Of the approximately 6,400 detained Jews, most of them, approximately 5,500, were from Belgrade. The rest were from Banat and other cities from the territory of Serbia under German occupation. In just a few weeks from April to May 1942. Jewish women and children were systematically killed in a Gaswagen – a truck converted into a mobile gas chamber, specially constructed and delivered from Berlin for that purpose. Under the false premise of transporting them to some other camp where the living conditions are better, where their previously arrested husbands and fathers (who in fact had already been shot) are waiting for them, groups of around 80-100 detainees would board on the truck. They were transported across the Sava to Belgrade via a temporary pontoon bridge next to the collapsed King Alexander Bridge. On the other side of the river, two drivers – German SS officers – would connect the pipes so that the exhaust gases (carbon monoxide) entered the hermetically sealed space of the truck where the “passengers” were located. They drove on through Belgrade while women and children were suffocating in the back of the poisonous gas, all the way to Jajinci, where they would lay out the already lifeless bodies in ready-made pits. In that extremely treacherous and cruel way, out of 6,400 prisoners, the Nazis killed 6,230 Jews, mostly women and children.
Since most of the Jewish men were already killed in mass executions during the past months, by killing the remaining women and children from the Sajmište camp, as the Nazis cynically called it, “the Jewish question in Serbia was solved.” Staro Sajmiste thus became a symbol of the Holocaust and the suffering of Jews in occupied Serbia.
Hilda Dajč’s Letters
One of the few testimonies about life in the camp was left to us by Hilda Dajč through four letters that she sent from the camp to her friends.
More details about the history of the Belgrade fairground, German occupation, the Holocaust, concentration camp at the Old Fairground, how and why we remember: read all about it on our “Ester” website. (in English)
Read more about the “Remembering Hilda Dajč” award 2023 on the website www.hildadajc.rs