Church of Serbia – 26/01/21
Bishop Irinej of Backa: The sublime Christian imperative is forgiveness. Memory is a sacred virtue, resentment is a sin. That is why we remember and pray for all the victims, and by forgiving we build up a better world and a better future for the Serbian people and for all other peoples with whom we have shared for centuries and still share a living space.
On Friday, January 22, 2021, the 79th anniversary of the Pogrom (Novi Sad Racia) in January 1942 was marked at Novi Sad’s Quay of the Victims of the Pogrom. Representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Jewish community in Novi Sad, delegations from the City of Novi Sad, the Parliament of Vojvodina and the Serbian Army, representatives of the embassies of Israel and Hungary, other political and cultural activists as well as personalities who came to enhance the prayerful event and to show the unity of all who remember the innocent victims with sadness in their hearts, met at the Family Monument at noon that day.
At the very beginning of the program, Mr. Milos Vucevic, Mayor of Novi Sad, addressed the gathering. According to him, the only consolation regarding the pogrom that took place in January 1942 can be provided by the truth, and the truth is that criminals have a name and a surname. In his address, Mr. Vucevic, among other things, said: “Trauma has remained in Novi Sad forever, humanity has got an everlasting warning. If we do not remember the past, terrible history and even more terrible crimes can be repeated. We must do everything to ensure that the icy days of evil never happen again, that the Novi Sad Pogrom, that terrible pogrom against Serbs, Jews and Roma, never happens anywhere again. We will never allow the victims of a time of evil remain invisible and inaudible.”
Mr. Isak Asiel, the Supreme Rabbi of Serbia, held a memorial service on behalf of the Jewish Community of Serbia. “He who makes peace in heaven, let him make peace over us,” Mr. Rabbi said in his address.
The program continued with a prayerful commemoration, which, on behalf of the Serbian Orthodox Church, was officiated by His Grace Irinej, Bishop of Backa, with the concelebration of His Grace Isihije, Bishop of Mohzcs, and the Novi Sad clergy. After the commemoration, Bishop Irinej emphasized in his address that we are obliged to foster and develop a culture of remembering the suffering of innocent victims in the Pogrom that took place in Novi Sad and throughout southern Backa in January 1942. Citing a testimony from the annals of the Church of the Dormition in Novi Sad on the martyrdom of the priest Veljko Zucajic, His Grace the Bishop pointed out: “Crime always has a name and a surname and there can be no collective guilt, nor can sin of individuals and groups of people, and even the army, can be attributed to a people in general. The sublime Christian imperative is forgiveness. Memory is a sacred virtue, resentment is a sin. That is why we remember and pray for all the victims, and by forgiving we build up a better world and a better future for the Serbian people and for all other peoples with whom we have shared for centuries and still share a living space. May God repose the souls of all innocent victims. May He grant them the Kingdom of heaven!”
Flowers were laid at the Family monument by the Mayor of Novi Sad Mr. Milos Vucevic, representatives of the Provincial Government, Mr. Istvan Pastor, President of the Parliament of Vojvodina, representatives of the embassies of Hungary and Israel as well as by representatives of the Jewish Community of Novi Sad, the Association of Jewish Municipalities of Serbia and the Roma Matica.
Representatives of the City Assembly of Novi Sad, the Jewish Community of Novi Sad and the Roma Matica lowered the wreath from the ship of the River Fleet into the Danube.
After the program organized on the Quay of the Victims of the Pogrom, those present headed to the Strand beach in Novi Sad, where a memorial service was held at the memorial plaque to the victims of the Pogrom in January 1942.
Diocese of Novi Sad