I don’t think there is anything worse than the words ‘library’ and ‘flames’ in the same sentence when we talk about books.
Well, that was the fate of the first National Library of Serbia. In 1944, it was bombed by Germans and along with the building up in flames went a book collection of 500,000 volumes and other invaluable collections of maps, manuscripts, catalogues, journals etc.
We could easily have a new building there in its place but we can never recover its collection. And that’s why, in my opinion, the hole where once the National Library stood is valid and we should not build anything in its place. I like being reminded that something so important was there every time I pass it by, because every single time I do pass by, my mind wanders off and tries to imagine a library that existed there and all the books that disappeared.
But that’s what happens when your city gets razed to the ground 44 times and is battled over in 115 wars in its long history.