BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (Dec. 4)
The Yugoslav capital will play host next month to the largest exhibition of native Jewish art, culture and history ever mounted in this country.
Titled “Jews on the Territory of Yogoslavia,” it opens here Jan. 16 for a six-week run.
It will be in two sections, explained Milica Mhailovic, curator of Belgrade’s Jewish Museum, because there is no single hall in the city bigh enough to contain all of it.
The exhibit may eventually travel to Tel Aviv, London and New York. It was seen last April through June in Zagreb, capital of the Yugoslav province of Croatia, and during the summer in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Jews have lived in the country that is now Yugoslavia for nearly 2,000 years. The land was always a bridge between Europe and the Middle East, a blend of many cultures.
It was home to more than 80,000 Jews before World War II. The Holocaust claimed the lives of about 67,000 Yugoslavs. Today, the Jewish population numbers roughly 6,000.
The exhibit shows their rich heritage. It brings together ritual artifacts and artistic works from more than 30 Jewish, local and state museums in Yugoslavia. Among these are oil lamps and a menorah dating from the second century, and illuminated Hebrew manuscripts, such as the famous Sarajevo Hagaddah.
There are photographs and drawings of the architectural variety and large number of synagogues that once existed, old Jewish neighborhoods, Jewish school groups, clubs, aid societies and summer camps.
The accompanying catalogue contains a fivepage glossary of Serbo-Croatian translations of Hebrew terms. It also contains a detailed chronology of the Jewish presence in Yugoslavia. Archaeological finds date back nearly 1,000 years.
Jewish life here in the Middle Ages is richly documented, as is the 15th- and 16th-century influx of Jews expelled from Spain.
The years of Nazi occupation after 1941 are treated in detail. There are exhibits showing the week-by-week, sometimes day-by-day, escalation of persecutios, deprotations and killings, as well as the Jewish participation in the resistance movement.