4th of December 2023
On Friday the 1st of December 2023, at the University Library in Bratislava (Slovak Republic), a large number of visitors had gathered – including experts in the fields of archival sciences, library sciences, and all sorts of scientific disciplines and diplomacy – in order to attend a ceremonious opening of an exhibition by the Archives of Vojvodina titled ”Discovered Archives Beyond the Borders of Slovakia: Crimes Against Serbs and Slovaks During the Second World War on the Territory of the AP Vojvodina”. The opening of the exhibition was attended, among others, by representatives from the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Bratislava, representatives from the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic, as well as directors and employees from other associate institutions, institutions of higher education and scientific and cultural institutions, and also numerous associations of citizens from the territory of Slovakia with whom the Archives of Vojvodina has established cooperation. Apart from those mentioned, the opening ceremony had caught the attention of numerous other visitors, including representatives of partner institutions of the University Library in Bratislava.At the exhibition, which was organized at the exclusive gallery area of the University Library of the Slovak Republic, at the pedestrian zone, or more specifically at the historical core of Bratislava in the gorgeous former building of the Hungarian Parliament, valuable archival documentation was presented that gives testimony to the mutual suffering and resistance that Slovaks, Serbs and other people put up during the Second World War on the territory of today’s AP Vojvodina. The majority of the presented documentation, which is the main part of the exhibition, is kept at the Archives of Vojvodina and was, until now, unknown and never before presented to the public. The conceptualization of the exhibition was adapted to the auditorium, and in that sense, the Slovak public and citizens will have, for the first time, the chance to get to know the size and scope of the persecution of mostly Serbs and Slovaks that was carried out during the Second World War by the occupational authorities against innocent civilians. Among other ways, and in a short summary through visual archival records (photos), the horrors of what took place were presented – horrors which were carried out within the system of the Jasenovac concentration camp on the territory of the Independent State of Croatia, meaning crimes that were committed by the genocidal Ustashe regime. In accordance with the aforementioned statements, the Slovak auditorium had, for the first time in its history, the chance to inform people, in the Slovak language, about the crimes that were committed in Jasenovac.
The exhibition was conceptualized in such a way as to partially have a multimedia character, whereby the visitors of the exhibition would, in a receptive way, have a chance to view the original testimonies by the victims, see the striking photos, the posters of the occupying forces, as well as the maps of places where executions took place.
Along with two audio content pieces, as well as an additional multimedia online presentation, the visitors (the Slovak public) had the opportunity to view the backstory and historical context of the exhibition. With regard to the ceremonious opening, a bilingual (Serb-Slovak) thematic monograph was shortly presented titled ”Crimes Committed Against Slovaks During the Second World War on the Territory of the AP Vojvodina: Archival Records from the F.183 Fonds of the Archives of Vojvodina” which was co-authored by the Archives of Vojvodina, the Department of History at the Faculty of Arts of the Matej Bel University, the Center for Historical and Cultural Research of Lower Land Slovaks and the Center for Serbian-Slovak Topics.
During the ceremonious opening of the exhibition, the citizens were addressed by: the General Director of the University Library of the Slovak Republic (Bratislava) and member of the IFLA’s Governing Board Ing. Silvia Stasselová, senior archivist Aleksandar Bursać and Assistant Director of the Archives of Vojvodina Kristijan Obšust. The exhibition was, after the speech, officially opened by the Director of the Archives of Vojvodina Dr. Nebojša Kuzmanović.
Apart from the aforementioned, as part of the exhibition, some of the publishing activities of the Archives of Vojvodina were presented, mainly those that deal with critical remembrance culture, as well as the Archive’s publications that deal with the Slovak national minority in Serbia which the visitors could have taken for free.
The realization of the exhibition was supported by:
The Provincial Secretariat for Culture, Public Information and Relations with Religious Communities (AP Vojvodina, Republic of Serbia)
The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia
The Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic
Authors of the exhibition:
Dr. Nebojša Kuzmanović (Director of the Archives of Vojvodina)
Kristijan Obšust (Assistant Director of the Archives of Vojvodina)
Aleksandar Bursać (senior archivist)Ivana Petrović (senior archivist)
Maja Jokmanović (conservator)
Associates for the exhibition:
Marija Domonji; Martin Prebuđila; Vladimir Bučibabić; Tatjana Cavić and Željko Radaković
The exhibition at the gallery area of the Unviersity Library in Bratislava will remain there until the 15th of December 2023, and the following year it will be presented in other cities in Slovakia.