History is messed up. Staro sajmište (The old Fairground) is something that should be a reminder of that.
It was the site of the new Belgrade fair (hence the name) with modern and artistic buildings and constructions, with one, the Central Tower, at the core of it. Around the tower, there were different pavilions: five Yugoslav and the national pavilions of Italy, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary and the Dutch company Philips.
During WWII, when that area became a part of the Independent State of Croatia (a Nazi puppet state), they transformed the fairground into a concentration camp where some 40,000 people were killed and more than 100,000 were held as prisoners, mostly Jewish families from Belgrade, Romani people and Serbs from that region, as well as Partisans that were captured by the Germans. It is estimated that half of the Serbian Jewish population perished here.
Whilst there were many plans to convert this place into a memorial or a museum, it never happened. Today, it is left to decay and it is falling apart. Less fortunate families live in some of the buildings but the general condition of the whole place is very saddening.
I really cannot describe it. How did we as a nation, as a world, forget about it? It is literally in the centre of Belgrade and yet so few people know about it. So many lives were lost and at least as many destroyed at that place.
Let’s not forget, let’s give our respect and honour those people.