''Mapping of Jewish Cemeteries in Vojvodina'' Project
The horrors of the Holocaust which, because of its characteristics, will be a topic of research by experts in all kinds of fields for a long time, has left a devastating mark on the Jewish community of Serbia and its cultural-historical heritage. Aside from the numerous human loses, the Holocaust had a characteristic of a cultural genocide – all existing monuments of the Jewish material culture were destroyed: synagogues, cemeteries, archives etc. That which, so to speak, survived the Holocaust in a large quantity were Jewish cemeteries. Unfortunately the post-war period was characterized by a lack of prewar Jewish municipalities (only some large city municipalities were restored) and large uninhabited places in Israel, while following the trend of disinterest of the country to maintain and preserve Jewish cemeteries, as well as the occasional anti-Semitic claims, which resulted in the deterioration and almost complete destruction of Jewish cemeteries. According to information by Feđa Fišl from the Jewish Community of Novi Sad, there are 216 Jewish cemeteries in Vojvodina in 46 municipalities. With the goal of maintaining these cemeteries, as well as their analysis, seeing as it is an endless source of information about the Jewish community, a project was initiated called ''Mapping of Jewish Cemeteries in Vojvodina''.
The initial meeting concerning the initiation of the project, that took place on the 17th of September 2020 at the Archives of Vojvodina, was attended by Olga Andraši and Fedor Fišl on behalf of the Jewish Community of Novi Sad, Nebojša Kuzmanović and Kristijan Obšust on behalf of the Archives of Vojvodina and Radovan Sremac on behalf of the Heritage Club of the Municipality of Šid, as representatives of the institutions tasked with caring out the project. The intent of those present was to make an agreement concerning the initiation of the ''Mapping of Jewish Cemeteries in Vojvodina'' project that include mapping and digitization of all preserved Jewish cemeteries in towns and villages, as well as locations of destroyed cemeteries on the territory of Vojvodina.
Seeing as how the planed project is extremely complex, its years-long realization is expected to be in several phases. Planed/expected goals and results of the project are the creation a data base about the existing Jewish cemeteries and all remaining objects in the cemeteries, as well as locations of destroyed cemeteries; studying the consequences of the Holocaust on the Jewish immovable heritage after the end of the war; noting the importance of Jewish cemeteries in the sense of a Serbian cultural heritage; studying Jewish cemeteries in the sense of a cenotaph phenomenon, the protection of Jewish cemeteries as an immovable cultural heritage; presenting the results of the project in phases via digital and other media as well as in published form, and lastly the creation of an online data base with a digital map and publishing a monograph.
The planed project is of unprecedented importance not only for preserving immovable cultural heritage of the Jewish provenance, but also because of the fact that the cemeteries are a constant source of information for all future scientific research on the topic of the history of the Jewish community in the territory of the AP Vojvodina.
Author of the project
Radovan Sremac, senior curator