Anyone with a modicum of Balkan history knowledge will know that there have been a fair few battles fought in this area over the years.  We all know how history is written by the victor but what is interesting here is how history or the “appreciation “ of it changes depending on who is in power. Yugoslavia – that was the communist state that no longer exists , for those of you who have not been paying attention – was very proud of its role in defeating the fascists in WW2. (Let’s not get sidetracked by the Croatian fascist regime that fought alongside the Nazis , or the oppression carried out by the commies for now.) Tito, aka Mr Yugoslavia, was a partisan fighter and so it’s not surprising that his regime dotted the country with memorials to fallen partisans and other victims of fascism. These memorials, called Spomeniks, are not though like the boring Cenotaph type structures one see’s in the U.K.. many are wildly imaginative or just plain weird. There is a website all about them and it has long been my intention to visit as many of the more dramatic ones as possible. The current regimes ruling the former Yugoslavia appear to have little time for these monuments to resistance and many are in a terrible state of neglect. So  yesterday Sanja and I drove out of Belgrade to see what is left of some of the “Serbian” ones!

This little beauty represents the torture and oppression that the fascists heaped upon their victims. It sits just outside the town of Pančevo on the outskirts of Belgrade.
“The monument here at the Jabuka spomenik complex (named “Stratište”), situated along the Tamiš River, commemorates the roughly 10,000 Serb, Jewish and Roma victims who were executed at this spot during World War II, between 1941 and 1945.“
The inscription is a bit … it may have lost something in translation … well see what you think…. “Star at the beginning, star at the end of our red furrow”.
To give you an idea of the size, I couldn’t reach the metal bits even when standing on tip toes!
This wacky design is probably the best maintained Spom’ I have seen although the mini amphitheatre at the back of the complex appears to be being ignored. The design is that of the earth being ploughed to commemorate the farmers of the area who alongside the Jews, partisans and Roma were executed at this site. There are cameras, lights, fresh wreaths and neatly cut grass at the front of this monument so somebody must care about this one for some reason.
“This monument in Zrenjanin commemorates the beginning of the uprising in Vojvodina against Axis occupation by Partisan rebels which occurred in this area on June of 1941.” So says the Spomenik website and goes on to give lurid details of the Nazi atrocities in the area as well as information of the design and symbolism – its a plough- of this sadly neglected monument.
This spikey spomenik is sadly neglected and now surrounded by rubbish and dodgy looking dwellings not to mention the poseur punx leaning on the partisan popularity for personal profit!
Oh no more self aggrandisement on the backs of the executed partisans….. a long period of introspection and humbleness should be prescribed.
Here is the text from the Spomenik website about this awesome memorial…..
“The Black Ćuprija on the Tisa River:
Roughly 15km west from the center of Zrenjanin, near the town of Žabalj, is a monument which honors local Žabalj victims of the Novi Sad Raid who were killed near this location by the Hungarian fascist Honvédség forces during January of 1942. During this raid, over 660 residents of the town of Žabalj were murdered, with over 250 of those being women and children. Many victims were executed by firing squad, but some were also thrown into the frozen waters of the Tisa River. This monument, created in 1962 by Serbian sculptor Jovan Soldatović [profile page] and titled Black Ćuprija (Crna Ćuprija), is composed of three bronze figures standing roughly 9m tall (Slides 1 – 5). These naked figures are depicted as thin and gaunt, with grotesque holes covering their bodies, perhaps as a means to reflect the horrors committed upon the local people during the raid. In addition, this work also honors all victims from here in the Šajkaška region who perished during the war. In 1991, this site was proclaimed by the Serbian government to be a Cultural Monument of Great Importance.“
The beauty of these three is they look good from a distance and even more powerful close up.
Apologies to the sculptor, the victims commemorated and to you the viewer……. it’s a sickness, I can’t help it, the selfie craving is so strong…..
These characters are really very impressive despite now being stuck in a golf club, although given the state of repair of other their positioning might be a blessing in disguise!
What can one say…
The home page of the very informative though rather “clunky” Spomenik website.