Photographs as Witnesses of History


  The exhibition entitled ‘The Life of Ileana Čura’, within the ‘Freezing Silence Speaks’ programme that commemorates victims of Novi Sad Raid, was opened in the Art Gallery of the Cultural Centre of Novi Sad. It displays photographs that keep memory and authentic objects of one of the surviving witnesses of tragic events of Novi Sad Raid – Ileana Čura. The exhibition was opened by Aleksandra Mandarić, the advisor to the director of the Cultural Centre of Novi sad and Gordana Todorić, the author of the workshop ‘The Memories of Ileana Čura’.

  Citizens that decide to visit the exhibition will be able to see photographs that are a short display of life memories and short reminder of an exciting and eventful life of Ms Čura, who survived the Novi Sad Raid by a stroke of good fortune.

– Here you can see photographs that mark the life of Ms Ileana, whom I had an opportunity to meet last year. The strongest impression during our conversation, for me, was her spirit. The woman who survived that and remained a witness of those events carries in her great love and joy, and she is full of life. It is today that I have seen the photo of the armchair in which she spent that night in 1942, and which is still in her flat, Ileana sits in it and tells about her life. This armchair, one seemingly common object, is actually a witness of history, pointed out Aleksandra Mandarić.

  Gordana Todorić said that she is interested in meaning, what this exhibition means for us today and what it could mean in the future, because those parts of private photo archive of fellow citizen Ileana Čura in the ambience of the gallery become, in a way, part of future history of Novi Sad.

– With the willingness to incorporate her intimate ‘I’ into our ‘we’, both current and future, professor Čura reminded us that this ‘we’ was already built in past with personal contributions of Mihailo Polit Desančić, Savka Subotić, Milorad Sazdanić and her other relatives. This pulsation between ‘I’ and ‘we’, which we can also call coexistence, civil consciousness, responsibility towards others or some other way, is basically what makes the essence of a city. If we should learn anything from the life of professor Čura, it is her decision to choose humanity in this interaction between ‘I’ and ‘we’. This word is not modern, with misuse it gets ironic tone, but if we decide to interpret heritage, and setting this exhibition is exactly that, then self-regulation of autopoetic memory of post canon culture, as Jan Assmann says, enables us to realise those aspects of meaning in words such as human, humanity, humanism that would, if we have some faith in language, ensure that the city, the history of which we shape in this very moment, never again becomes the place where these horrific events can happen, events because of which Ileana Čura spent the night between 23 and 24 January in this green armchair waiting for her mother in the parlour, which, just a few years before, a Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore visited as a guest, added Ms Todorić.

The exhibition lasts until 25 January.

‘Mapping the City: Places of Suffering in Novi Sad’ – WORKSHOP

The City as a Place of Historical Memory


  The workshop entitled ‘Mapping the City: Places of Suffering in Novi Sad’, held in the Youth Forum, is the continuation of the programme ‘Freezing Silence Speaks’ by the Cultural Centre of Novi Sad, organised to commemorate the victims of Novi Sad Raid of 1942. Interactive workshop was held by the author Gordana Todorić, who is a teacher in the High School of Economics, and the story was complemented with the historical facts by historian Stefan Radojković.

  To the audience, which was mostly comprised of young people, the author in an interesting way showed certain segments, pointing out to layers in historical memory of the city. With plethora of information, she conjured former look of streets in Novi Sad, explained which places were important during the Raid, and how they were used.

  Visitors found out how the building of ‘Youth Theatre’ was called and what happened in it during the Raid, but also the stories about other buildings which played an important role in this unfortunate event. Places of suffering were also presented, and apart from photographs, everything was supported by historical data.

  The author and teacher Gordana Todorić said that this introductory workshop deals with the city as a place of historical memory, pointing out that young people should know, when they pass by a building, why it is important and what story it can tell.

– This is actually a cultural archaeology of a modern discipline called the culture of remembering. Young people to whom I teach have enough information about this topic taking into consideration their age, and it is encouraging that they are willing and that they want to know more, while older citizens remember this event on the level of personal trauma, said Ms Todorić and added that all victims have not been identified yet and that these data are hard to derive because many families completely disappeared from the map of the city.



‘Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world’ 


  Opening ceremony of the exhibition ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ in the Small Art Gallery marked the beginning of the programme entitled ‘Freezing Silence Speaks’ by the Cultural Centre of Novi Sad that commemorates the victims of the Novi Sad Raid of 1942. Apart from educational aspect, the exhibition is dedicated to the memory of citizens of Novi Sad who, at the cost of their own lives, saved their Jewish fellow citizens. With their deeds and courage, in spite of facing death sentence, Marija Tomić, Nadežda Paščan and Dr Dušan Jovanović and all who helped hiding Jewish people earned the title of the Righteous Among the Nations, one of the highest acknowledgements of the State of Israel.

  Marija Tomić saved her husband’s cousins and unknown people, Nadežda Paščan saved her cousin, and Dušan Jovanović also helped people he did not know. The acknowledgement Righteous Among the Nations, in form of a medal and a diploma, testifies about the courageous act of non-Jewish people who, during the World War II, risked their lives and lives of their loved ones to save often unknown Jewish people. In 1953, the Israeli Parliament formed the Yad Vashem, the museum commemorating the Holocaust victims. In the Yad Vashem there is a wall of honoured people, where all the names of the Righteous are carved on, and up until recently, there was a custom to plant a tree on their behalf, which signifies life and rebirth.

HERE you can see the testimony of a victim that survived the Holocaust who proposed that Mrs Marija Tomić, née Šanc, called Ketika from Novi Sad, be declared a RIGHTEOUS.

  Author and exhibition curator, historian Stefan Radojković, said that the idea is to make the Small Art Gallery into an educational space, to bring together text, pictures and discussion, and to create a sort of interactive classroom.

– This is not a traditional exhibition, because not all information is here, in sense that someone can come alone, see it, and understand everything. Therefore my role is to take people through the story about the Righteous Among the Nations as an institutions and as people from Novi Sad who deserved this honourable acknowledgement. Out of 25,000 Righteous in the world, there are 131 registered in Serbia, for now, and three of them are from Novi Sad, said Radojković.

– The Cultural Centre of Novi Sad, for the third year in a row, organises the series of cultural-artistic and historical-educational programmes in memory of the victims of Novi Sad Raid. Apart from this horrific crime that happened in January 1942, here in the Small Art Gallery we also remember good people and their accomplishments in the World War II. Last year, in this very space, we organised an exhibition about Sárvár concentration camp dedicated to bishop Ćirić, Jovan Ćulum and Dr Kosta Hadži who saved children from that camp. This year, we remember people from Novi Sad – Marija Tomić, Nadežda Paščan and Dr Dušan Jovanović who risked their lives to save Jewish neighbours, cousins and fellow citizens, said Sunčica Marković, deputy director of the Cultural Centre of Novi Sad.

  After opening the exhibition, Mr Radojković held a short educational class, explaining who are the Righteous Among the Nations from Novi Sad and what this important acknowledgment means.


The exhibition lasts until 24 January, and all who are interested in educational classes can sign up at info@kcns.org.rs.

Freezing Silence Speaks

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In memory of the victims of Novi Sad Raid 1942

  This year, the Cultural Centre of Novi Sad once again organised series of cultural-artistic programmes and educational workshops that commemorate the victims of tragic events during Novi Sad Raid. In this way, our institution contributes to preservation of memory and raising public awareness on the importance of proper and expert education of youth. On the other hand, the Cultural Centre, in accordance with its primary activities, is dedicated on exploring relations between art and plight, focusing on tragic events during Novi Sad Raid and Holocaust.

  The crime that happened in Novi Sad between 21 and 23 January 1942 left an indelible mark in memory of this city and its inhabitants. Although horrific, or maybe precisely because it is horrific, this mark should not be washed away by tides of time. The goal of this project was to ask questions, but also provide some answers. Are we the generation in life of this city that will give in to silence? Or will we listen to echoes of the past in order to better cope with the present?

  This year, our institution organised seven-day programme entitled ‘Freezing Silence Speaks’. The programme started on 21 January, on the day when Novi Sad Raid begun and it ended on 27 January, on the international Holocaust Memorial Day. During this period, the Cultural Centre of Novi Sad organised seven workshops, film cycle entitled ‘Never to be repeated’ and three exhibitions.

  All programmes that the Cultural Centre presented to the citizens of this (and not only this) city, were invitation for a dialogue. If we can talk and through this talk learn about each other, if we let voices of times past reach us and if we listen to them, we believe that we will become better people. History of Novi Sad, unfortunately, offers a lot of material to connect these dates. Serbs, Jews, Roma, Slovaks, Hungarians, Romanians, Ruthenians, Germans, there are no nation that was not hurt by the World War II. Luckily, there is significant number of people who showed how to measure a human being in times that posed the hardest questions to people of this (and not just this) city. We believe that freezing silence must seize to be silence. Dialogue, something that characterises a human, should be strived for. By talking about the past in this way, we can take the responsibility for the most important issues – issues of our present.

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