This weekend the cultural programme From the Novi Sad to Auschwitz- Novi Sad the European Capital of Remembrance took place in Serbia, organised by Terraforming, which also included the presentation and pre-launch of the European Days of Jewish Culture 2022, with the central theme “Renewal”.
This programme, framed by the fact that Novi Sad is the European Capital of Culture, was carried out in partnership with Centropa, the Novi Sad Cultural Centre, Galicia Jewish Museum, the Historical Archive of Novi Sad, the Jewish Museum of Greece, Jugend & KulturProjekt Dresden, the Matica Srpska Library in Novi Sad and the AEPJ.
Since Friday 17 June, numerous round tables, panels, exhibitions and discussions have been held exploring the role of remembrance, Jewish culture in Europe today, strategies to combat anti-Semitism and the future of remembrance. In this regard, on Saturday 18 June, Victor Sorenssen, director or the AEPJ, was part of the panel “Rebuilding the life after the Holocaust” together with Katja Grosse Sommer (Centropa) and Olga Manjlovič (Institute for recent History of Serbia). Interesting and fruitful discussion, where we point out the value of European cooperation, an holisitic approach to heritage and the need to rethink the role of education in the remembrance field.
On Sunday evening, 18 June, we experienced a magical moment, with the pre-opening of the European Days of Jewish Culture programme in the historic synagogue of Novi Sad, with an excellent musical programme. The synagogue came alive with a dance group, choir and a musical group that combined traditional Jewish music with contemporary arrangements, taking us on a journey through Europe’s Sephardic and Ashkenazic heritage, with a dedicated audience, who came to actively participate in singing at the closing. François Moyse, President of the AEPJ, opened the programme, highlighting the importance of the role of Jewish culture and Jewish heritage as a unique means of promoting understanding between peoples, inclusiveness and social cohesion, as well as a driver force for cultural diplomacy.
After the European Days of Jewish Culture launch event, the programme moved to the National Theatre in Novi Sad for the final panel discussion. The panel, entitled “No more silence-adressing anti-Semitism at local, national and European level”, was attended by Leon Saltiel (WJC Representative at UN and UNESCO), Martina Maschke (Director International Affairs and Holocaust education of the Ministry of Eduaction of Austrai), Annika Ben David (Swedish amabassador to Serbia and IHRA representative), Robert Sabados (President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Serbia) and François Moyse (AEPJ President). A panel at the highest level was the icing on the cake of a very original and necessary programme that represents a milestone in European collaboration to develop holistic strategies to combat anti-Semitism and promote the culture of remembrance.
It was also a nice opportunity to meet again with AEPJ partners in the Balkans, such as Eli and Mirjiam Tauber from the Haggadah Association in Bosnia Herzegovina, or Nives Beissman, coordinator of the EDJC in Croatia.
We would like to thank the city of Novi Sad, and especially the NGO Terraforming for the implementation of this programme.