• SINAGOGA "ILONA VAJS"
    Illona Weiss Synagogue
  • MULTIMEDIJALNA SALA
    Conference room
  • JEVREJSKI KULTURNI CENTAR "ARIE LIVNE"
    Jewish Cultural Center "Arie Livne"
Cvijeta Arsenić

Cvijeta Arsenić

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A CRIME THAT SHOULD NOT BE FORGOTTEN OR REPEATED

Regarding the commemoration of January 27th, the date declared by the United Nations General Assembly as an International Holocaust Remembrance Day, representatives of the Jewish Community of Banja Luka, the Serbian-Jewish Friendship Society and the envoy of the President of the Republic of Srpska laid wreaths in commemoration at the Jewish memorial at the Novo Groblje Cemetery in Banja Luka. The message they sent was to not forget the crimes committed against Jewish people during the Second World War, as well as to put every effort in not allowing the same situation to happen ever again. The Holocaust is one of the biggest tragedies which happened in the world in the 20th century. Around 6.000.000 Jews were killed in most monstrous ways. But even today there are many wars in various countries and world peace is threatened. “There are some people who would deny the immenseness of tragedy suffered by Jewish people, who would compare it to the crimes which were committed during the last war on the territory of the former republics of Yugoslavia, or with the tragedies which are happening presently somewhere in the world. I have to say that there are no such instances as the Holocaust, because that was a systematic destruction of one nation, planned by fascist forces in one of the most civilized countries in the world. That was a crime sanctioned by law. Today, we put wreaths here and remembered in appropriate way what this day means both for us, the Jewish people, as well as for the others. 1.100.000 people were killed in Auschwitz. It is slightly less than the number of citizens of the Republic of Srpska,” stated Djordje Mikeš, the vice president of the Jewish Community of Banja Luka, emphasizing the severity of the crime. He underlined that the Holocaust commemoration has a great importance for the families killed in concentration camps, as well as for the members who survived, in order to create and preserve the national consciousness, and that the creation of the Israeli state is just one example of the efforts not to have crimes like this happen to one nation ever again. “Remembering the Holocaust is extremely necessary in this moment when in many places in Europe and in the world right-wing oriented groups and parties are starting to emerge, and when the story that Jasenovac was a labor camp is being actualized, rather than the place of mass and organized killing of not just Jews, but also Serbs and Roma. “Let’s remind, on November 1st, 2005, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a Resolution which declared January 27th an International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In determining the date they were led by historical data which says that the Red Army units entered the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp (the largest concentration camp in enslaved Europe) on that day.

 

Before the beginning of the Second World War 400 Jews lived in Banja Luka. According to historical data, during the war members of the NDH (the Independent State of Croatia) have done everything they could to destroy Jewish people, on orders issued by doctor Viktor Gutić. With the establishment of the NDH, in the end of April of 1941, Jews were deprived of many legal rights. First deportations started during the July of 1941 when one group of men was taken and killed. On January 16th, 1941 deportation of older Jews to Stara Gradiška was organized, where they were all killed, and on July 28th, 1942 the remaining Jews (170 of them) from the Banja Luka region were taken and tortured and in the end killed in ustasha concentration camps. Temples were destroyed, cemeteries were desolated and Jewish proprety was taken away. Banja Luka was left without Jews. Today, in the city on the Vrbas River lives a small number of Jews. In 1977 in the Jewish section of the cemetery a momument was erected with the inscription: “Here are buried the remains exhumed from an old cemetery in Borik. This monument reminds of Banja Luka’s Jewish community, as well as of Jews, citizens of Banja Luka, who were killed as victims of fascist invaders and their accomplices from 1941 until 1945.”

 

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The guest of Jewish Cultural Center ‘Arie Livne’, 6th of April 2017. was Her Excellence Ambassador of Switzerland in Bosnia and Herzegovina Andrea Rauber Saxer. She held the lecture on the topic ‘Switzerland-Multiculturalism in Unity’. The Ambassador of Switzerland explained to the guests the way Switzerland as a country functions. She mentioned that country consists of 26 cantons, explained how human rights and freedom are regulated and the attitude of Switzerland towards the European Union.

Our political system is designed to hold us together

Andrea Rauber SaxerSwitzerland is a federal republic in western-central Europe. The country is bordered by Germany to the north, France to the west, Italy to the south, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. That geographical position has an impact on some issues within Switzerland.
The Ambassador of Switzerland stated: ‘Yes, Switzerland is landlocked country geographically surrounded by countries that are informed about our internal issues keeping in mind that Swiss population come from neighbor countries. As you already know Switzerland consists of 26 cantons and official languages are: German, Italian, French and Romansh-widely spoken at our neighbors.’
Switzerland is a multicultural country and 60% of population is Catholics while 26% is Protestants. Furthermore, there are many people who belong to Islam religion and that’s what makes Switzerland to be diverse and special in terms of religion.
Andrea Rauber Saxer stated: ‘We had few religious wars in the past that lasted for couple of weeks and we found a solution to stop it. When it comes to freedom of religion every citizen has the right to live in his/her religious beliefs. We solved the issues with Muslims and people who came from Kosovo so that their religion is socially accepted. Few years ago at the state level the elections were held regarding the construction of minaret. Many debates were held. People voted whether they wish the construction of the minaret to be forbidden and written in the constitution. Religious group is accepted but the minaret shouldn’t be constructed. Honestly speaking, I still haven’t seen people wearing burka in public. However, that does not exclude democracy. Switzerland is democratic country with national diversity and on our territory there are around 60.000 people from Bosnia and Herzegovina who became citizens of Switzerland. They are very well integrated in Swiss community. I should point out that in my country there are no ghettoized areas.’
When it comes to Switzerland’s attitude towards European Union (EU) the Swiss ambassador Rauber Saxer says that it’s been debated for centuries.
‘We in Switzerland, our government, cantons deal with this question and in which direction Switzerland should go when it comes to European Union. It’s been debated for centuries. We made trade agreements with countries from EU. There is high percentage of import and export of products and our workers are crossing boarders and working in EU countries. 1992 there was held voting for joining European economic areas. However, small amount of citizens voted in favor for joining European economic areas. In meantime we made a huge number of bilateral agreements with EU member countries. There were some initiatives for stopping mass migrations but government denied it. That’s why we still have free movement people agreements.’
Having in mind that Switzerland consists of 26 cantons and that every canton has the right to rule on its own is there any difference regarding the internal agreements of the country? How come so diverse country can survive?
004‘Our political system is conceptualized to keep us together. We promote compromise, census and dialogue. Similar system exists in Republic of Srpska as well as Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our constitution clearly states what competencies of the country are and what are of the cantons. At the state level are regulated Swiss politics, nuclear energy, customs, and federal taxes while education system and ecology are regulated by cantons. Those canton’s authorities differ in their organization and functioning. In some cantons schools have holidays during spring time while in some during winter time. However, everything is done in order to harmonize life of Swiss so canton’s Ministers cooperate together so that system functions properly. There is a pressure of citizens to work in harmonize. Ministers of cantons are having regular meetings so they achieve compromises and coordinate functioning in social and political life. Cantons have powers regarding external politics. They have the right to modify their politics. As an example, if Zurich canton wants to collaborate with Republic of Srpska then it is up to the canton to bring a decision. In case Zurich canton wants to collaborate with Bosnia and Herzegovina then Switzerland as a country should get involved. It should be emphasized that the government is composed of seven Ministers and that each of them takes a place of the president of federation for one year. Swiss citizens like this political system.’
Functioning between country and citizens is regulated by civil initiatives and referendums.
‘That’s the initiative where citizens affect work of government. One hundred thousand signatures should be collected to start the initiative. That instrument can sometimes be misused by some political parties but the instrument functions properly. One housewife obtained initiative about punishing the perpetrators of the criminal offense of sexual abuse. It resulted bringing the law in which perpetrators would go either in prison sentence or mental health institution. That is case from area of human rights. Apart from the initiative there is another way to regulate the relationship between the state and the population and it is referendum. It is government’s regulation to ask a question about something that is crucial for the country so residents can vote. Some examples of referendum are: change of the constitution, whether Switzerland will join EU, NATO. In that case it is not important that majority of people say ‘yes’ but the majority of cantons. 50.000 votes are optimally needed to bring the new law. It is very important that while referendums are happening debates are organized as well. Four times a year resident have the right to vote about different topics. It happens that some initiatives don’t get accepted. Last year there was a call for referendum about construction of the long railway tunnel across the mountain because the trip from north to south lasts too long. The question arises: what will happen if it comes to the high frequency of transportation due to tunnel construction. People are still debating about that issue. Swiss citizens voted for tunnel construction and the government promised that it will not bring high frequency traffic. Then there a story about corporate tax reform. We were under the EU pressure. The citizens voted for ‘no’ so that issue should be reconsidered’.
It is a fact that Switzerland is a neutral country regarding military issues. The Swiss Ambassador in Bosnia and Herzegovina said it is called ‘active neutrality’ and she explained this in depth.
023‘Our political neutrality is important for our people. The ‘active neutrality’ means that we shouldn’t be distant from the problems that concern the EU countries and we strive to participate in them in a certain way. Very often we were the bridge between two sides, the host of peace agreements and that cannot be called ‘passive neutrality’.
The Swiss government is engaged in Bosnia and Herzegovina through humanitarian projects, education of medical personnel.
‘The engagement of Switzerland in Bosnia and Herzegovina is based on diplomatic relationships that last for 25 years. This long tradition is based on solidarity and devotion in order to help every person to live decent life in dignity and safety. Our engagement in Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided in few segments. We are active in functioning local authority of Banja Luka municipality. Furthermore, we are active in segment of economic questions and fight against unemployment. It is well known that Switzerland has the lowest rate of unemployment. When it comes to Banja Luka we are collaborating with engineering and technology universities. We also bring machines that young people can use and in order to learn their future occupation. We also collaborate with Bureau of Employment. Moreover, there is also medical segment. Swiss oncologist is working in educating nurses in Bosnia and Herzegovina and he will visit Brčko, Mostar and some other cities in order to show how it works Swiss health system. We also have a plan to organize conference about mental health in Sokolac. In short, we are active in whole country.’
At the end of her presentation the ambassador of Switzerland Andrea Rauber Saxer emphasized that for survival of community the most important thing is respecting the principle of cooperation. Furthermore, having agreements within the country and between other countries are important factors of social-political environment in order to function as a happy family.

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TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS, ENCOURAGING INNOVATION, STIMULATING YOUNG PEOPLE ARE LONG-TERM SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE COMMUNITY

On the 13th of March 2017, at the Jewish Cultural Center (JKC) ''Arie Livne'', the representatives of the Rotary Club ''Beer Sheeva'' of Israel in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Banja Luka and the Association of Serbo-Jewish Fraternity organized a lecture on the possibilities for economic and scientific cooperation with Israel. This lecture was attended by the members of society, among whom Prof Dr. Aleksandar Lazarevic, Professor Zoran Pejasinovic, Slobodan Boskovic and director of the JKC ''Arie Livne'' Djordje Mikes.
Deputy Mayor of La Havim, Alon Bendet, welcomed the participants and presented the history of the development of one of today's most developed cities in Israel.
Alon Bendet"Before we introduce the city of La Havim, I will tell something about the area where we live. As is it known, the state of Israel was proclaimed in 1948, at a time when Mr. Arie Livne was a soldier, and I'd just been born. It was a small country, mostly desert with no natural resources and a lot of enemies. At such territory, we began to build a life. First there was the city of Beer Sheva (Beersheba), which is, so to speak, a biblical place. Let me remind the story of how Abraham dug seven jars so as to make a peace with the king. You do not need to explain how it is to live in the desert without water, and which problems derive from that. Near Beer Sheva, which was a small place, it found a way "drop by drop" that became known throughout the world. Over time, the city developed and in 1970 had population in its territory of 100,000 inhabitants. Its main industries are the chemical industry and the famous atomic center. Today it has a population of 220,000 people, it is a modern university medical center. "
After exposure to the emergence and development of his native Israeli territory, Mr. Bendet reminded that such a development of the city, whose deputy mayor, could not be implemented without the use of high ISO standards.
"It is important to say that we have achieved significant success in terms of energy saving. Especially when it comes to reducing costs for lighting the city and I led this project personally. Then, there is our tank through which flows daily 1,000 cubic meters of water and in a preparation is a second one that would collect rain water and which would use irrigation. There is a project of the solar system and thanks to solar power plant we sell electric power to companies of which, naturally, we have a financial benefit, and the contract of this kind of economic cooperation would be in effect for 20 years. There are also projects of social importance, country clubs, conservatory, and in a process to be built is the community center with a library. We make very good results in the sports discipline "triathlon" through sports groups. We have completed the construction of the sports complex to the gym, and there is a plan to build a theater and space for activities foreseen for those "55 +". Two years ago we went a step further, by realizing our services and communication of citizens with administrations through applications. This means that citizens can sign up through the app when they notice that bulbs are burned out somewhere or the cracks appeared on the road. Communication in this case is a two-way, which means that all levels of management are informed about what is reported, followed by a quick resolution of the problem, and citizens then receive feedback."
Rafi MontiasThe representative of the city of Kfar Yon, Montias Rafi, whose family was killed during the World War II, before the presentation of the projects in which partecipated, expressed his satisfaction with the visit to Banja Luka on the ground, because his ancestors were tied to the city on the Vrbas.
"I was overjoyed when I learned from my friend that we would visit Banja Luka. I had to come here and, as it were, to close one life cycle. In fact, my father was a plumber in Banja Luka in 1923 and the proof lies in his graduation certificate in this city. I was at the cemetery and I visited the tomb with the inscription of surname Montias and so I am very excited, confused, or sad about the fate of my entire family who perished in the Holocaust ", said Mr. Montias without hiding his emotions. Mr. Montias presented his representativeness in realization of various projects in the country including involvement of the company "Mobil".
''Today, the company ''Intel'' ꞌboughtꞌ ''Mobil'', and it produces a ''smart'' automobile without a driver or security systems for cars. It is enough to say that this company is worth $ 15 billion. It all started with education of children and one of the projects, supported by Rotary club where I am an activist, is the establishment of "Robot League". There are 4 leagues for children in the early grades, and for those who are in secondary schools. They have achieved great successes by competing in these leagues. Five children occupy the first place in Israel today to compete at the global level. Great opportunities are provided through such programs, and here is a reason: when you show to children that these are not just robots or competition but mainly life experience, an opportunity for a kind of development that would help ultimately the development of the community in which they live, they begin to show more interest and, in addition to that, more engagement. Through this program, they received the annual award for innovation.''
He pointed out that this kind of engagement can be a great beginning, a start for children who tend to direct their attention to technology.
"We are trying to inspire young people to get involved in science, technology development, doing research as something that could contribute to the development of the community. To realize the benefits of it and thus contribute to the development of innovation and entrepreneurship in their communities. To acquire the skills that would be important for development in the 21st century. An important fact shows that there are currently 300 children included in the program and 100 mentors who oversee their development. We have 15 league for medium teams. In each elementary school about 100 students involved in the project. I have a mentor teams who coordinate and monitor the competition in the field of robotics. "
He reminded that there were also marginal projects taking place on the sidelines, as well as concerning the contribution to society, such as environmental protection.
'' I would like to thank you for letting us warmly welcomed and I hope that we intrigued present ones through what we presented and approached the ideas, as well as the way we are investing in science and innovation in the long term pay and build entire nation thanks to knowledge," said Mr. Montias at the end of his speech.
After the lecture Mr. Arie Livne addressed the audience, by outlining that he was pleased with what he heard during the lecture, along with hope to be able to transfer the experience presented to the territory of the Republic of Srpska. Guests from Israel were accompanied by the hosts to visit the Ilona Weiss Synagogue.

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See you at the same place next year!

16th of December 2016 in Jewish cultural center ‘Arie Livne’ was organized distribution of Christmas presents for children with disabilities from the Center ‘Dajte nam šansu-Zvjezdice’ and Association ‘Djeca svjetlosti’. Jewish Municipality Banja Luka supported this humanitarian action and the sponsor was Educational cultural center ‘IHTUS’. ‘IHTUS’ delivered Christmas presents on time just the way it was done last year.
Director of Jewish cultural center ‘Arie Livne’ Djordje Mikeš showed appreciation to friends from ‘IHTUS’ for collaboration that lasts for two years and welcomed children, their parents and guests to the center. He congratulated holidays and made an appointment for the next year at the same place. ‘I would like to emphasize that our center was host for cultural manifestation dedicated to children with disabilities. On International Children’s right day I said and would like to point one more time that smile on children’s face is the most important thing. We were hanging out for seven days, enjoyed theatre shows, music and then I told kids that we’ll meet again in 15 days because Santa Claus will come to the center. Santa Claus is today with us together with Christmas presents. Kids should know that we have good relationship with Santa Claus. He respects your wishes and remarks so in case you are not satisfied with your presents let us know and we will contact him again.’
After Director’s speech friends of Educational center ‘IHTUS’ had performance. Then Santa Claus came into the room and kids greeted him with applause. It was difficult to describe children’s emotions. Kids surrounded him and started asking questions such us: ‘Did you bring me a car, doll, ball...?’ The bravest kid even touched his beard. Few moments later every child got his/her present and took a picture with Santa Claus.

 

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THE BOX OF HAPPINESS FOR THE CHILDREN OF SINGLE PARENTS

On January 12th 2017, in multimedia room of the Jewish cultural centre “Arie Livne”, Ponos, the single parents association, has organized the handing out of the New Year’s gifts for the children of single parents. One part of the gifts was already given to children in December of 2016.
Jelena Cvoro i Nada GrahovacThanks to Jelena Čvoro and her friend from London, a Facebook page was made with the purpose of collecting candies, toys, clothes and the like which would make children happy and could be fit in shoeboxes. This was based on the practise of the humanitarian organizations in the West who have been doing the same for many years. There were many parents with children on the ceremony, and this activity was supported by Nada Grahovac, the Ombudsman for children of the Republic of Srpska. Dijana Mijatović, Aleksandra Stevandić Rakas, Maja Ulićević and Slobodanka Plavljanin, Ponos activists, thanked the Ombudsman for 140 gift-boxes for children up till the age of 10, which she donated to the Association to make those children happy. They also thanked Arie Livne, the Jewish cultural centre, for hosting the kids and their parents again this year. “We have decided to take part in the Box of Happiness project and to donate one part of the gift-boxes to the Association of single parents. I am glad to be a part of tonight’s ceremony. zahvalnice We are aware of single parents’ problems. It is necessary to have legislative amendments which would make single parents’ situation much easier, and we hope it will happen in 2017. I would like to thank the Arie Livne cultural centre for hosting this ceremony and I look forward to the future cooperation,” said Nada Grahovac, the Ombudsman for children of the RS. For supporting the work of the Ponos Association 20 certificates were awarded to individuals, organizations, institutions, sports clubs, as well as to JCC Arie Livne and its director Djordje Mikeš. “I am glad to have you here tonight. As a matter of fact, my mother was a single parent who raised two sons and I remember very well how hard it was to live through it. That’s why I want you to have grit and courage.”

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FESTIVAL OF SPRING

On the occasion of one of the Jewish feast of Purim, which was celebrated this year on the 12th of March, the members of the Jewish municipality Banja Luka and the representatives of the Jewish Cultural Center (JKC) organized a cultural manifestation named ꞌꞌFestival of Springꞌꞌ, in cooperation with the Association for the Promotion and Advacement of Tourism, Art and Culture ꞌꞌAUPTUKꞌꞌ Banja Luka and the Center for Education and Work with Children and Youth "MIS" Banja Luka .
Within this manifestation, on the 9th and 10th of March were organized educational and environmental workshops named ꞌꞌRecycle Gameꞌꞌ by the Center of Education and Work with Children and Youth "MIS" Banja Luka. Participants of the first workshop, children from the ꞌꞌMISꞌꞌ, supported by the president of the Association for the Promotion and Advancement of Tourism, Art and Culture ꞌꞌAUPTUKꞌꞌ, Milenko Lakic, and the president of ꞌꞌMISꞌꞌ Suncica Laguza, presented their skills – how to create interesting works of art thanks to materials intended for recycling. On the 10th of March, guests from the second workshop were children from the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation "Dr. Miroslav Zotovic "and residents of the Institution Children's Home "Rada Vranjesevic".
Suncica Laguza, representative of the Center for Education and Work with Children and Youth, "MIS", thanked to administrative members of the Jewish Municipality Banja Luka, to the JKC for invitation, for making kids from the center being a part of Purim celebration, so as to show how artwork could be created not only with the help of a brush and paint, but also of materials for recycling.
''Ten years ago we started to work with ''Majorettes of Banja Luka'', that were then operating under the auspices of the Agency ''Primera'', respectively Association of Citizens ''Primera''. We had a great cooperation with the city. There are a lot of activities which were supposed to be in charge legally, so we made a decision to unite all our activities and thus we formed the Center for Education and Work with Children and Youth ꞌꞌMISꞌꞌ. We organize carnivals, festivals and all related to the children, what is very approachable in this moment and, what is more, children are willing to work and we have a possibility to support that. We have plenty of volunteers who educate themselves with our help. We also have models and some of them are already working beyond the borders of the country. We are satisfied with collaboration with the Agency "Midikenn" from Zagreb, whose representatives give us support in our activities. Majorettes are our pride (small ones, big ones, classic ones, sport ones). Every year we go the European Championship and in 2016 we took part in the global competition. It is always important to get into some round. And that there is a continuity in action."
When it comes to organizing a workshop entitled "Recycling Games", our interlocutor explained that the idea originated a few years ago during the participation in an artistic colony.
''One friend demonstrated us all things that could be created by recycling and he has just had an exhibition in Belgrade. Then he donated us a workshop where we were educated with children. We have many ideas. Now we have been doing artwork from the remains of toys and some other materials which constitute waste, but it was not so easy, believe me."

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The main ceremony regarding Purim was organized on the 12th of March by bringing together participants of the event on the Krajina Square, organizing a costume ball and walking on the streets of Banja Luka, what made citizens delighted. This was followed by cultural and entertainment program in the Hall of the Youth, where participants were addressed conveniently by Djordje Mikes, director of the Jewish Cultural Center (JKC). Performances of ''Majorettes of Banja Luka'', members of the Children's Choir ''Vrapcici'' and of young actors from the Children's studio ''Roda''. When it comes to members of the central manifestation, it is also important to mention the Association of Women with Disabilities ''NIKA'', KBS ''Castra'', the Institute of Modern Music Education ''Opus conmusica'', members of Kindergarten ''Zvjezdica'', wards of the Public Institution Children's Home ''Rada Vranjesevic'', of the Center ''Zastiti me (literally: ''Protect me'')'', members of the Cultural and Educational Association of Ukrainians ''Taras Shevchenko'', The Association of Macedonians and the Association of Jews, and the Center for Education and Work with Children and Youth "MIS" Banja Luka. At the end of the program, the representatives of institutions, organizations, artistic associations, were awarded with the Certificate of Commendation for participation in organizing the event called "Festival of Spring".

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More photos: FESTIVAL OF SPRING 2017

 

HAG PESAH SAMEAH! (HAPPY PASSOVER!)

Members of the Jewish Community Banja Luka, representatives of the Jewish Cultural Center (JKC) "Arie Livne", in the presence of guests from the cultural, public life of the city, celebrated one of the major Jewish holidays – Passover (Pesach). Before the gala dinner, in the Ilona Weiss Synagogue was held occasional prayer. In the course of the evening was shown the documentary film about the liberation of Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt and customs related to this holiday.
President of the Jewish Community Banja Luka Arie Livne congratulated holiday to members of community and welcomed guests.
"I wish you celebrated this great feast in peace and happiness, surrounded by the love of your closest friends. Passover is one of the oldest and most joyful holidays. I have to remind you that more than three millennia the Jewish people celebrate a miraculous release from slavery in ancient Egypt. Therefore, this holiday is a symbol of liberation, personal and national freedom, the right to a dignified life."

Tradition and customs related to Passover (Pesach)
The Jewish feast of Passover is celebrated to commemorate the liberation of the Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt. In Hebrew is also called "Chag Hamatzot" (Heb. The Hag Holiday) or clammy breads holiday. In fact, during the holiday is expressly forbidden a food yeast, and even possession of anything leavened. It is also called "Z'man Herutenu" (Feast of Our Freedom) and "Hag Ha aviv" (Feast of Spring) because it is always in spring (Heb. aviv – spring).
It is one of three pilgrimage holidays and then all the Jews, who are able to, make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. During the existence of the Temple every adult man was obliged to come to the Holy City.
Preparations for the celebration of Passover, according to tradition and customs related to this holiday, were comprised of detailed, spring house cleaning, washing and cleaning all the rooms in order to eliminate even the smallest traces of yeast food. A host before holiday makes the last check of cleanliness and it is a rite of collecting the remains of yeast food ("Chametz"). Given that a house is cleaned and each "Chametz" eliminated, a hostess leaves in a visible place pieces of bread and host tries to find them and puts them into a paper cone by feather. The custom is that found "Chametz" has to be burned the next morning by throwing into the furnace or public burning in the fire, which is explained in the school yard or synagogue. An important place in the tradition of celebrating the Passover takes a preparation of "Matzot". It has been made by hand since ancient times, so many religious authorities still believe that such a "Matzot" is clean. It is made from wheat flour and water. Buying a ready "Matzot" is a novelty of modern times which later came into a wide use.
The celebration begins on the first day of the holidays (Erev Hag) with dinner called "Seder Night". Seder in Hebrew means order. Seder dinner is festive, ceremonial dinner at which prayers, reading of the Haggadah and all other customs are being performed in the strictly regulated order. Food is served on "Kearat Seder", a large plate on which is set all you need to eat during the evening.
The Eve of Passover is an evening which begins after Passover service in the synagogue and then the family gathers at the table and begins the ceremony called "Passover Seder".
Reading the Haggadah is a fundamental part of the Seder. It describes an event related to holiday, presenting a chronological history of the arrival of Jewish tribes in Egypt and their liberation from slavery and explains the purpose of the Passover sacrifice during the Second Temple. It consists passages from the Bible, ancient legends and anecdotes, prayers and songs of thanksgiving, and concludes with the popular song "Had gadja".
The Haggadah of Sarajevo, written on vellum, the oldest and most lavish example of this type of Code and of the Spanish Illuminated Art of the 14th century.

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Monday, 26 December 2016 14:44

Hanukkah Lesimha

Hanukkah Lesimha

On 24th of December 2016 members of Jewish Municipality Banja Luka celebrated one of the biggest Jewish holidays-Hanukkah. Many friends of Jewish Municipality attended this event among them was the president of the Association Serbian-Jewish friendship Dr. Aleksandar Lazarević. Before the ceremony started in synagogue ‘Ilona Vajs’ was organized prayer for believers. The president of Jewish Municipality Banja Luka Arie Livne and director of Jewish cultural center Djordje Mikeš greeted members of municipality and welcomed guests and wished them success in both personal and career life and emphasized the importance one of the biggest Jewish holidays. There was distribution of presents for kids and workshop in which kids could enjoy game, play and draw.

 

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that is celebrated on the 25th day of Kislev (mid December). It is characterized by event that happened 164 BC. Jerusalem under Antiochus IV had erupted into civil war between two camps of Jews: those who had assimilated into the dominant culture that surrounded them, adopting Greek and Syrian customs; and those who were determined to impose Jewish laws and traditions, even if by force. The traditionalists won out in the end, with the Hasmonean dynasty—led by Judah Maccabee’s brother and his descendants—wresting control of the Land of Israel from the Seleucids and maintaining an independent Jewish kingdom for more than a century. Jewish scholars have also suggested that the first Hanukkah may have been a belated celebration of Sukkot, which the Jews had not had the chance to observe during the Maccabean Revolt. One of the Jewish religion’s most important holidays, Sukkot consists of seven days of feasting, prayer and festivities.Often called the Festival of Lights, the holiday is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, traditional foods, games and gifts.


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On April 12th 2017, in Jewish cultural centre “Arie Livne” H.E. Jurriaan Kraak, Dutch ambassador in Bosnia and Herzegovina, held a lecture titled “Globalization and myself - 39 years as a Holland diplomat”. The lecture was attended by the president of the Jewish Community of Banja Luka, the director of the JCC “Arie Livne” Djordje Mikeš, the president of the Serbian-Jewish Friendship Society prof. dr. Aleksandar Lazarević, as well as the guests from public, cultural and political life of the city and of the Republic of Srpska.

EUROSCEPTICISM IS PRESENT AND IT IS NECESSARY TO FIND AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTIONS OF WHERE THE BOUNDARIES OF EUROPE ARE IN TERMS OF AUTHORITY AND TERRITORIALITY

Jurriaan KraakAt the beggining of his speech, ambassador Kraak assured the audience that he will try to answer the questions such as how the globalization affected him both personally and professionally and what the position of his country is today in the world in a political, economic and diplomatic way. He also commented the events from the past of the country he is presenting in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “I dare to say that the Dutch were “globalized” a long time ago. Here are some examples: Baltic trade, which would say 500 years of intensive goods trade between the hanseatic cities of the Holland Republic and the Baltic Sea region, ensured the financial basis for the expansion of trade overseas. The Dutch sailed halfway across the world to the island of spices (eastward to the West Indies), which is today the territory of Indonezia and found Tasmania, New Zealand and parts of Australia. This is how we were introduced to pepper, cinnamon and saffron, at the time the merchendise available only to the wealthy. That is how the term “expensive as pepper” was coined. We were in North America, so New Amsterdam became New York, and Wall Street, Bronx, Yonkers and Harlem are all Dutch words. Sometimes along the way we exchanged New York for Surinam with the British, and we exchanged Manhattan for Paramaribo, which was one of the worst deals in history. The Dutch have for centuries maintained settlements, trade centres and bases of support for our trade fleet in India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka), in Brazil and in West Africa. The southern tip of the African continent, Cape Colony, was developed by the Dutch immigrants,“ said the ambassador presenting the historical role of the Netherlands in the field of trade market.
He emphasized that the Holland Republic, and the Kingdom of Netherlands later on, was a world colonial power for 350 years thanks to their properties in India (Holland's East), which consisted of the islands of Java (where ambasador Kraak was born), Sumatra, Borneo, Celebes and that the management of the colonial empire was at first multinational (VOC – Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie or the United East-Indian Company). All the events from the past made Holland the second largest exporter of the agriculture goods today, and the fifth largest exporter of all goods. According to all parameters it is one of the most open economies of the world because 1/3 of its GDP comes from the export of goods and services. Some corporations merit mentioning, such as “Unilever”, “Shell”, “Philip’s”, and one “true brand”, “Heineken”. However, in the world of global flexibility in the field of economy, which caused economic upswing of the countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Turkey, as well as some countries in Asia (India, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand), it is necessary to keep Holland’s leadership position and its security.
024“This global orientation, the “think global” motto, the Dutch have outgrown it over the centuries. Holland is the country with average power with an open society and an open economy, and as a result my country is extremely sensitive in regards to global movements, both positive and negative. Namely, our dependence on export forces us to feel the state of global economy directly. As I said, Netherland has an open society and an open economy and that’s why it is very susceptible to global movements which are affecting our security and the sustainability of our lifestyle. When it comes to security, we have open borders. People are free to move as they will, and a potential side effect of that kind of freedom is facilitating the emergence of terrorism, cybercrime and hybrid threats. Borders of Europe contain fragile countries and non-liberal democracies which can be a source of instability and can directly affect the Netherlands. A demographic explosion in Africa is not negligible. Birth rates have gone down almost everywhere in Europe, but the African continent does not follow this pattern. Today Africa has 1,2 billion people, while in 1980 it had 477 million. The population growth will enable them to refill a city the size of London five times a year. Climate changes, wars and revolutions in Arabic world, as well as the humanitarian crisis will induce refugee flows toward Europe, including Holland.”
“The Dutch are aware that they are a toy in the globalized world. How to react toward that eternal, constant factor? We were forced to choose between being neutral versus aligning with other, much more powerful nations.” This was both a statement and a question at the same time and ambassador Kraak stated the following. “First, we have tried to be neutral which is good for business. We tried to be friendly and to trade with everyone. We applied this recipe in the period after Napoleon and until the World War I. We succeed in being neutral during the World War II. But in 1940 Hitler did not respect our neutrality and he attacked our country, and occupied it during five very miserable years. After 1945 we were looking for salvation through establishing powerful transatlantic relations with the USA and Canada, especially within the NATO, in strengthening global multilateral systems such as the UN, in supporting the world’s legal order which resulted with Haag as an international legal capitol of the world. One could say that the membership in the European Union was especially profitable for Holland. It was followed by the modernisation of agriculture, transition from the manufacturing into the service- oriented economy and the development of our transport infrastructure which was co-financed from the European funds. We have unlimited access to common trade market of 550 million costumers. All of that encouraged our export sector. We truly believed in useful effects of development cooperation with the countries of the Third World and over the years Holland was the main donator to the developing countries. Dutch authorities were actively stimulating emigration in the moment when the country had 11 million citizens because there was a risk of serious overpopulation. Today we have 17 million citizens in a country the size of 2/3 of Bosnia and Herzegovina and no one thinks that emigration is an answer.”
And as for how globalization affected Mr Jurriaan Kraak and what it meant for his career as a diplomatic representative of Holland in the countries where he worked over his lifetime, and even today when he is active in B&H, this is what he had to say.
019“I would like to mention a few global trends which are a part of the total globalisation phenomenon of and which deeply influenced both my private and professional life. Less than three weeks ago, on March 25th, we marked the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. The Europe experiment was a part of my life. It aimed to stop wars. For example, France and Germany were on each other’s cases for 150 years. One of the responses was to put the manufacturing of coal and steel, and effectively national arsenals, under the control of Europe. The French-German friendship was one of the biggest successes of the second half of the 20th century. I still see the ideal of Europe whole and free as a very motivating concept. I had the privilege of working in the Netherlands’ permanent representative body in the European Community, and later in the European Union. We have worked on actualizing the support programs of the EU when it comes to the new democracies of the Eastern and Central Europe. Later on we tackled the issues related to the expansion of the European Union. I am old enough to remember Hungarian immigrants in my kindergarten. As a boy who lived near an American air base between 1953 and 1964, I could distinguish between American, British and Dutch planes. During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1961 I saw strange and diverse planes and I knew that something not good was happening in the world. I also remember grownups talking about the heaviest nuclear bombs, the hydrogen bomb and radiation. I remember when as a student I was hitchhiking through the countries of the Eastern Europe, the countries of the Warsaw Pact, the countries of “our enemies”, and then I found out that the “enemy” wasn’t as monolithic and frightening as we were led to believe.”
The first year of service in the Netherlands’ Foreign Affairs office and doing his internship in the Embassy of Holland in the East Berlin was, as he described, a very enlightening experience. That is also one of the moments of globalisation which left a mark on life and work of ambassador Kraak. “I observed communism, or its Eastern German interpretation, from close up in its hypocrisy. I attended the performance of Puccini’s Turandot. There was real cotton, real wool, real silk and real leather on the scene. For the audience there was 200% acryl clothes and plastic shoes. I met the members of a very privileged class, DDR officials who were driving Golfs and Volvos and lived in spacious apartments in Berlin and spent weekends in their dachas (a Russian cottage) on the lakes north of the city. They travelled around the world as the members of the DDR, the Association of Mexican or Indian friendship, and they complained about the oppression and exploitation of the laborers in my country. As I mentioned before, it was very enlightening and informative.”
The fall of the Berlin Wall was a historic opportunity according to the ambassador. In this period the Netherlands’ Foreign Affairs office was very active in the field of arms control, reduction of armaments and disarmament.
002“This is a phenomenal story about success which is not well-known among the wider audience. My colleges initiated the disposal of the bombs and found the ways to get rid of the huge surplus of conventional, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, just as my parents dreamed in the 60’s. Between 1995 and 1999 I was once again appointed to the Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to NATO in Brussels. Russian became the working language of some forums in the NATO. One could hear Russian even in the Joseph Luns Auditorium, a room named after a famous Dutch fighter from the cold war time. I was sure that old Joseph would turn in grave if he knew what was happening. I participated in working groups with the Ukrainian, Czech, Polish, Romanian, and Bulgarian and with people from the former East Germany. That still motivates me to cooperate with our former enemy. And all of this took place in the NATO headquarters where not so long ago there were meetings of dozens working roups during which the representatives of the member countries were discussing the ways to bomb, burn, radiate and fragment “the enemy”. That didn’t happen. I was proud because I had participated in that process. ”
Post Cold War period were the best years for international diplomacy. Delors’ plan for the unified European market coupled with the economic expansion in Europe resulted in a single currency. “In those years everything looked possible,” declared the ambassador. “In foreign politics the Netherlands became a pioneer when it comes to effective and mixed defence, diplomacy and development. I know that people in this part of the world will not agree. They look at this period from a different perspective. Wars in former Yugoslavia pointed out the weaknesses of the new world order, especially when it comes to the efficiency of multilateral interventions in crisis. The Netherland was also marked by the participation in the Srebrenica tragedy. In the meantime my country lost its naiveté and learned bitter lessons when it comes to the new world order. That’s why we were more careful participating in missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
At the end of his lecture ambassador Kraak pointed out another globalization issue which affected him, the issue of global financial crisis, euro scepticism and populism.
004“I am proud to say that after eight tough years notable for the lowering of budget and labor Holland’s economy is recovering. Our economic activity is growing and unemployment rates are dropping. As you know, there is nothing more satisfying for us than to be better than Germans, especially in football. This happens rarely but our economy is now better than theirs. Euro scepticism is present and we need to find the answer to where Europe ends, both in terms of authority and territory. I can see a strong connection with populism which is not just an emotional moment, but is based on rational decisions and rational considerations. Partially, populism is an expression of rational people’s genuine concern about their identity and their culture. All of the notions mentioned are the reason for the necessity of thinking about the finality of Europe. How many new members can the EU have? Is it necessary to have impenetrable external borders to keep the support of the citizens? It is politics that should provide rational answers. In any case, Europe will have to become something else, a necessity if the Project Europe is to be continued, that unique project which has been my companion for so long.” He mentioned the importance of monitoring climate changes stating how big of a challenge the battle against global warming is. He characterised the Netherland as directly affected by this global phenomenon because, as he said, at landing at the Amsterdam airport one finds oneself 21 meters below sea level. “I would prefer to leave this big change in nature to the new generation of diplomats and global citizens to find the best solutions.”

 

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In the Jewish Cultural Center (JKC) ''Arie Livne'' on the International Holocaust Remembrance was held a commemorative evening whose promoter was a History and Latin Professor at Grammar School Banja Luka Tatjana Juric. During the lecture she reminded present ones about all horrors of Jewish people in the World War II, about the fact that it was an enacted crime and as such determined the tragic fate of a nation in the civilized Europe. She reminded that, only at the camp of Auschwitz more than million Jewish people were killed in the most monstrous way and outlined that there were no victims of war. Yes, when it comes to the Holocaust, we cannot talk about them in such a way. ''Children, people about to be discussed tonight were civilians. They were victims of war. Because civilians get killed in war. In the case of the Holocaust, they were the people whose killing is planned before the beginning of the World War II. It was the systematic destruction of one nation. Only albums with photographs remained, but no one could be identified because those who knew them were also killed. There were also diaries of teenagers who wanted to go to school and ride a bicycle. They were also killed. Those who survived left a testimony of horrors which have befallen Jewish people in occupied Europe and which cannot be either forgotten or repeated.

REMEMBER THEIR NAMES - REMEMBER THEIR WORDS

001Professor Tatjana Juric was a participant of the seminar on the Holocaust in Jerusalem, in the Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem, where she obtained a license to lecture on this subject. This is her fifth lecture to a wider audience.
''Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, by the state organized persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews. It was organized in the territories that were occupied by the neo-Nazi Germany during the World War II by the Nazis and their collaborators. Terminologically, Holocaust is a Greek word which means ''sacrifice by fire'' and began to be used for the description of the crime at the end of the 40s of the last century when the world learned what was happening in Europe. The same Jews use the word ''Shoa'' which means disaster. It's been 60 years since this terrible event that has not yet been explored, both in Europe and in our country. Currently runs a project that was started in 2009 under the title "Building Encyclopedia Nazi Camps and Ghettos in Europe" which will have been completed by 2025. So far were documented 42,500 concentration camps, killing fields, caves, places of execution in which the Nazis killed the victims. Only in 2000 in Stockholm, at the International Forum on the Holocaust gathered representatives of 46 countries of the OSCE and emphasized that the Holocaust fundamentally changed the foundations of civilization. International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust is celebrated in different ways in Europe and the world and legally certain other dates when held commemorative events. In some countries, such as the case of neighboring Croatia, the Union of Jewish Communities of Croatian decided to boycott the celebration by expressing a protest.
''A terrible suffering of people has left an indelible mark throughout Europe. The United Nations in 2005 voted for the Resolution in which the 27th of January is marked as International Day of Commemoration of the Victims of the Holocaust and encourage all members to do educational programs so the next generations could preserve the memory of this crime. Most Member States of the UN really celebrate this day. However, today we have a situation that the neighboring Croatia also has this day as legally defined, but we are certainly informed that this year the Board of Jewish Communities of Croatian boycotted the marking due to unpreparedness of the official authorities to condemn the setting plate with an inscription on which is inscribed the Ustasha salute ''Za dom spremni!'' (lit. "For home (land) - ready!"), which is set in a place of onetime headquarters of the Ustasha in Jasenovac. This is proof that in Croatia exists the unwillingness of official authorities to resist and fight against historical revisionism in education, but also in public life.
008In Serbia, this day comes on 27th of April, whereas in Macedonia on the 12th of March. In fact, on that day in 1943 the Bulgarians in agreement with the Germans deported 7,300 Jews in the Treblinka camp from which they never returned. For that crime no one in Bulgaria is responsible and in that country, the education system does not have the meaning of the Holocaust. In Austria comes on the 5th of May as the Day of Remembrance for the victims of National Socialism. In the USA and Canada on day of the Jewish holiday "Yom HaShoah" which comes on the 27th day of the Nisam Month. In Israel as a day of remembrance of the victims also determined the day of the celebration of the feast of "Yom HaShoah" and called the Day of Remembrance of the Martyrs, the Heroes of the Holocaust. On that day all over the country, the two-minute siren would sound, and the Jews pull up themselves, wherever they happen to be in that moment. Performances are being delayed and victims are being honored in theaters, all bars are closed. So, in certain countries this day is celebrated on different dates, in different ways, but their message is the same. Needless to say, the 27th of January is determined to be the Day of Remembrance Of the Holocaust with a reason, because on that day in 1945 Soviet forces liberated Auschwitz - Birkenau. In fact, we could say that the fascist forces capitulated. They found the largest Nazi killing center in Europe. Auschwitz has become a symbol of the Holocaust by presenting the depth of monstrosity in which one human could treat another. In this camp were killed over a million Jews. They were killed in gas chambers, died of starvation, disease, hard work."
Who were these people? Why were they killed? Where they lived before they were deported to concentration camps? Why suffered this fate? Remember their faces.
''Julija Debauer from Slovakia was deported in 1942 to Auschwitz. Sportsman Skenazi Emanuel from Solun was also killed in Auschwitz. Otelija Okumerman from Czechoslovakia was killed in the camp Majdanek, Jeruska Vesecka from Czechoslovakia was killed in Auschwitz, Planicka Herman, Rozel Epstajn... We have a photo of the child we have never known who and where was but we know that it was killed in Auschwitz.There is a wedding photo of the family Batis from Greece, taken in 1937. Nineteen persons from this foto have been killed. Zelma Galambos with her sons, Petar and Pavle, from Romania. Unfortunately, Zelma and Petar were killed in Auschwitz. Julicka Sterm holds her son Feri, from Hungary, but there were also killed in Auschwitz in 1944. Jewish women, Zdenka Steiner and her younger sister Mira were born in the former Kingdom of Yougoslavia, and later they moved to Zagreb. During the proclamation of The Independent State of Croatia (NDH), their father was killed in Jasenovac, the mother and sister Mira in the camp, on Pag. Zdenka survived the war and moved with his husband to Israel in 1948. Kalmi Baruh came from a prominent Sephardic family from Sarajevo. The famous scholar, translator, a man who spoke ten languages. And because of that was killed in the camp Bergen Belzen in 1945. Salomon Moni Poljokan attended the Gymnasium in 1914, graduated on the Faculty of Law in Zagreb and worked in court. He was deported to a camp in Germany in 1943. Young Jakov was 17 years old when brought into Auschwitz. He wrote a message and we found it. It says: ''The camp commander told us, from now on you are just numbers. You do not have names, you do not have identities. All you have is a number. Apart from these, you are nobody.'' A ten-year-old David Berger left a message: ''I wish that someone remembered that here lived a man named David Berger.''Some photos show people who have not yet been identified on the ground, because no one who knew them did not survive. Preserved are complete albums of people who were killed in these camps, nothing is known about them. There are no tombstones for several million killed. The bodies of people in gas chambers are cremated. The Nazis, turning them into ashes, wanted their victims to deprive identity uniqueness. To destroy every trace of their existence.
005"When it comes to the horrific historical events, we ask WHY!? The plan was developed much earlier. It all began in 1920. In its program Nazi Party stated that a German citizen may be only a person who has German, Aryan blood. According to this provision, the Jews do not have this blood. They have a different one. They have poisoned blood. And so are outlawed. After this racial theory, the Slavs were able to be left in life, learn to count to five, to be fed, to work as slaves. Because that was the only purpose to serve the Aryan race. So, someone came up with the idea that one nation has a toxic blood and that's why they need to disappear. Here we have a question, what it means not to be a citizen of a country, to be outlawed!? In this case we are talking about 488 legal provisions that limit the life of Jews in Germany and the territories occupied by the Third Reich. Here are laws proclaimed from 1933 to 1945, issued after the arrival of Hitler to power in March 1933. They say: 1) all employees of the Jews may be dismissed without notice and compensation (1938), 2) all Jews must be expelled from their homes without compensation and notice (1939), 3) all Jews have to be reported on forced labor (1941), 4) Jews are not allowed to attend school (1942), 5) Jews must surrender all electrical, household appliances, all of which operate on electric-powered bicycles ... (1942) 6) the Jews older than six years must wear yellow star with indication "Jew". Since 1941, they were not allowed to emigrate, since 1942, were not allowed to buy newspapers, to own pets, to sit on the bench in the park, to ride public transportation, to walk the sidewalk, to go out at all. Until 1945, when by legal provision was that all official documents dealing with anti-Jewish activities must be burned.
There are a lot of diaries of Holocaust victims, the words written in them. Here are excerpts from some of them. Remember their names, because they wanted it, remember their words!
Mese Flinker kept a diary about what happened to him and his family. It says that he was born in The Hague, had a carefree childhood, and then there was a terror. As Nazis confiscated his bike, and then the family car. But, he continued to go to school on foot, because he hoped that it will end the war, but will continue their education and that diplomas be required to enroll in the next class. "I wanted to get my graduation certificate," he wrote in his diary.
Eva Heyman, thirteen-year-old girl from Hungary wrote that she thirteen years and that was born on Friday, the 13th.
''Grandmother Race gave me a casual, spring coat and knitted navy dress. From my father a pair of high-heeled shoes. Until a recent time, I always wore only flat shoes. From grandmother Luiza three pajamas, a dozen of colored handkerchiefs and sweets. I am fluent in Hungarian and German. I forgot Romanian, but I'm starting to be good in French. I practice athletics, swimming, skating. I ride a bike. I'm also going to the rhythmic gymnastics with Clare Weiss. But, I don't care about that. That's enough for today. You must be tired too, Dear Diary. On the 5th of April 1944, in the afternoon, I'm on my way to the grandmother. I meet some people with a yellow star. They were so tired.'', says in his diary a girl Eva Heyman.
007She says that she saw one boy called Pista and greeted him, although, in her opinion, it is not correct that the first girl greets the boys. Noting that this is, in fact, and is not more important. Noting that this, in fact, is not very important. ''Who cares about what is doing a girl with a yellow star. Grandmother Luiza says that she is not afraid of death. However, she is 72 years old and I'm only 13. Now that Pista talked to me nicely, I certainly don't want to die...'', confesses this sweet girl to her diary. On the 7th of April 1944 the cops came to take Eva's bike. "You know, Dear Diary, I was very scared when the police came to the house. I know that the cops bring problems wherever they go. Dear Diary, I threw myself to the ground, being firmly held onto the back wheel of his bike and I yelled at the cops. Shame on you! You take it away from a girl. It's a robbery! We were saving a money for a year to be able to buy a bicycle. One of the cops was very upset and answered me: ''Why are you acting like that? A Jewish child is not allowed to ride a bicycle. Jews have no longer right to eat a bread. They must put a food to the soldiers.'' Can you immagine, Dear Diary, how did I feel when they told me that? It's 13th of May 1944. We know that we can bring one backpack for two. It is forbidden to put more than one set of clothes. It is said that the food is allowed, but if there is still food. Dear Diary, I don't want to die. I would live even if I were the only person here allowed to remain. I would wait for the end of the war even in a basement or on the roof or in a crevice. I'd even allow to that awful gendarme, the one who took our flour, to kiss so as not to kill me, just to let me live.'' She writes in her diary that she is no longer able to write because she burst into tears. ''I don't wanna die. I don't wanna die...'', said on the last page.
A letter of Erica Amariglio of Thessaloniki is preserved. She is one of the few who survived the horrors of the World War II and a concentration camp. Look what she has written.
011''My father Salvador in 1924 has already had a small shop where he sold photos. At first he didn't have many customers. Through a mutual friend in the same year met Hela Levi, a third-year student of Medicine in Leipzig. It was a love at first sight. And my mother decided to leave the University to go with him to Greece. It was completely dark. And the big lights were pointed at us. Faster, faster, they were shouting in German. But, no one understood them. Tired from the long journey, hungry, scared, desperate, we were trying to jump out of the wagon. The cold was unbearable and sting us for faces, arms, legs and penetrated to the bones. Mothers held the baby in his arms tight, and older children were clinging to their skirts. My father, confused and frightened, like all of us, pushed us aside. The Germans started to shout. All children, the elder ones, the sick ones and women let go this way! The trucks are waiting for you there. They stopped my father while he was walking in that direction. The officer asked him: "You and your wife speak German?" "Yes, yes...", replied my father. "My children also speak German fluently." "How old are they?" Dad added us a couple of years. "Seventeen, eighteen ..." "Wait till I get back...", said SS officer. People have continued to enter the trucks that were leaving as soon as they were filled. Where were they going? We didn't know. So many tragic scenes which I cannot delete from my mind. Mothers, whose children were taken away, were running after them and screaming. From the arms of a young woman thez seized the baby and pushed her aside. Screaming, crying, moaning. Suddenly the silence. Almost all the men were taken away. It all happened so quickly. Only we remained.''
A thirteen-year-old boy Flinker, who wanted to go to school, although he did not know why he was not able to do that, was killed in Auschwitz. Eva Heyman, a girl who spoke several languages, was also killed in Auschwitz, whereas Erica Amariglio, together with 48.000 Thessaloniki Jews, was deported in Auschwitz in 1943 and was one of the few who survived. She wrote a book ''To Auschwitz and Back''. Are this boy and this girl victims of war? Because it happens that in the war civilians get killed. They also perish in war. But no, they are not victims of war. If there had not been an organized machinery, they presumably could survive. Erica has seven nephews and she wrote this: ''Today I have seven nephews. For them and all children of the world I wrote my testimony fifty years later. So to be able to respond to anyone who dares to deny that the Holocaust took place and to be careful. To be ready, that the Holocaust never happens to anyone again. Never more.''
Shocking testimony about the suffering of Serbs, Jews, Roma in the area of Jasenovac, Donja Gradina and other scaffold in the area that was occupied by the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) wrote Cadik Danon. He comes from a prominent Sephardic family from Sarajevo, he moved to Belgrade during the war, when the Jewish people were forced to clean the streets with brushteeths. He returned to Tuzla, because he thought that there would be safe. He was taken to Jasenovac and is one of the few who managed to escape. The book "Sasjeceno stablo" is published in English and describes the suffering of the 45 members of his family in Auschwitz, Stara Gradiska, Jasenovac.
Professor Tatjana Juric finished commemorative evening – a lecture dedicated to the International Day of Holocaust Remembrance by saying: ''No matter how educated, talented or skilled we are, the biggest decision is whether we do good or bad things."

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