29.07.2021 Travel Diary | Day 4
written by Maarten Tomford and Jovana Perisić
At the beginning of the day, we returned to the Jajinci Memorial Park, as we hadn’t enough time to visit the entire park yesterday. It was really important to return with more time to walk around and see the whole place. Dr. Nenad Leibensperger, a historian who guided us, told more about the place of suffering and the monument. The monument, that is an example of socialist aesthetics, was completed in 1988.
After Dr. Leibensperger’ s short presentation we had time to walk around and to think about how he or she as an individual perceives the past. While walking, we met a gardener who has been working there for fifteen years and guards the memorial park. He immediately pointed out to the problems the park faced. Namely, there are no garbage cans or warning boards and rules of a conduct in the park, because the vandals have destroyed everything so far. He then told us lesser known details, which we had not heard from the guides. The red roses planted there, represent the path of the camp inmates to the place of execution, and the sprinkled gravel represents the barbed wire along which they walked. After that, we discussed which place of suffering left the strongest impression on the guests from Germany, and they almost unanimously answered that it was the Jajinci Memorial Park. Jajinci is such a calm and peaceful place. We can hear birds instead of shooting. But maybe there was also bright sunshine and birds were singing when the killings took place?These events are so hard to imagine and seem so far away.
Around half past ten we arrived at the museum of the Banjica camp. There we were greeted by a guide who described in great detail the events of that time in occupied Belgrade and told the story of the founding of the camp. Banjica served as camp for hostages, partisans and others.
As he talked, we toured the setting. Some photos left a strong impression on us. There were photos of Terazija square which we visited yesterday. During the occupation it was used to hang people in public. Violence was visible in and part of daily life. It felt strange because we crossed the same locations and ate cake there. At the installation itself, there was one room that authentically presented the room of the camp inmates from that time.
That was our last activity in Belgrade that day. The Berlin group had a reflexion together about their impressions from Belgrade and the feelings and thoughts they wanted to share. It was really important and gave space for discussion. Meanwhile the Belgrade group left to finish packing and to get ready for the trip. Around half past five in the afternoon we set off for Berlin. We were accompanied by sunny weather through Vojvodina and spent time socializing with each other!