Novi Sad Raid

Thank you for keeping memory of the victims of Novi Sad Raid


  The Cultural Centre of Novi Sad organised a programme dedicated to the victims of Novi Sad Raid entitled Freezing Silence Speaks, which connects two very important dates. The first is the date of the beginning of the programme – 21 January, the day when Novi Sad Raid begun in 1942. On the other hand, the programme ended on 27 January, which is the international Holocaust Memorial Day by the decision of the UN General Assembly. This programme was of cultural-educational character, and it was organised to nurture culture of remembrance through globally recognised methods of informal education, with pronounced idea of victim personification, but also with active participation of their descendants.

  According to experts, this was the first case that a public institution organised educational programme dedicated to pogrom of Novi Sad Raid and Holocaust that lasted several days. In this way, our institution, with great help of families of the victims, experts, artists, and above all, citizens of Novi Sad, organised the programme that was reviewed positively by professional public and which earned us the sincere and deep gratitude of families of those whose sufferings we remembered these past days.

  During the annual commemoration of Novi Sad Raid, there were five educational workshops, two lectures, concert of classical music. Moreover, there were three screenings of short films and five screenings of feature-length films within the cycle that was organised by the Film Department of the Cultural Centre of Novi Sad entitled ‘Never to be repeated’.

  During the Freezing Silence Speaks programme, there were exhibitions in all exhibition spaces of the Cultural Centre of Novi Sad. The Youth Forum hosted exhibition of paintings by Nikola Mihajlović, who was killed during Novi Sad Ratzia. The paintings were lent do the Centre by descendants of the artist. In this way, we affirmed the idea that victims of a crime live through memories and words of their loved ones, but also through their work. The Art Gallery hosted the exhibition of photographs of Ileana Čura, witness and heroine of Novi Sad Raid, whose family was killed during those tragic events in 1942. The Small Art Gallery hosted the exhibition Righteous Among the Nations, with expert guidance, which was dedicated to citizens of Novi Sad who saved their fellow citizens – Jews and earned the title Righteous Among the Nations through their deeds. On the central day of commemoration of the Raid, on 23 January, we placed the installation ‘River of Memories’, with white stones inscribed with names of victims, which are, according to Jewish tradition, placed on the graves of the deceased, because flowers whither unlike stones, which are eternal.

  We would like to use this opportunity to, on behalf of the Cultural Centre, offer our sincere gratitude to all who contributed to organisation of the Freezing Silence Speaks programme, and especially to Ms Ileana Čura and Ms Lea Ljubibratić, witnesses of the Ratzia; Ms Mirjana Akrap and Ms Judita Simić, descendants of Marija Tomić, the Righteous from Novi Sad and a patriot; Mr Gavrilo Malenčić and Mr Milan Malenčić, descendants of artist Nikola Mihajlović. Special gratitude goes to teacher of literature Gordana Todorić and historian Stefan Radojković, who contributed immensely to programme concept and realisation of the programme as workshop and lecture authors.

  The crucial segment of this commemorative programme was the audience. We are especially glad that people to whom this programme was intended, namely high school students, came in large numbers. Our estimation was that, during the manifestation Freezing Silence Speaks, the Cultural Centre of Novi Sad hosted circa 1000 visitors, and at least that many saw the ‘River of Memories’ installation. In this way citizens of Novi Sad once again shown their dedication to transfer the pain of tragedy into a lasting memory. The Cultural Centre wishes to express its gratitude to our fellow citizens because together we nurture the memory of victims of Novi Sad Raid.

  We would like to end this communication with the words of Dr Ileana Čura, who addressed visitors of the workshop, about her life and tragedies that befell her on 23 January 1942:

Positive thoughts in situations when the evil is present in the world mean a lot to an individual. These are the days that take us back to the past, which is embedded in our present. We should try to forgive, but not forget. This is why each person should work on him/herself and should develop in his/her consciousness an approach to life that is filled with goodness and to pass it to wider community.