Harmony of the diversities


The history of Belgrade is an integral part of European history. Through the centuries, Belgrade has lived on as a multi-cultural and multi-ethic society. Its very location has characteristic features, which originate from the very mixture of a number of international religions and cultures. Its history, in which various social-economic systems superseded each other, encompasses various ethnic communities, with their historical and cultural integrity and mutual permeation.

Foreign authors emphasize that from the 16th century onwards the population of Belgrade was highly mixed; amongst its inhabitants were Turks, Serbs, Jews, Greeks, Tzintzars, Romas, Dubrovnik’s citizens, Armenians, Germans, Hungarians… All of them had their customs, specific national attire, places of worship, occupations, nutritional and other habits. Despite the discrepancies, they lived together in peace, although disputes occasionally arose, even amongst those of the same faith.

Despite the changes it underwent in the course its history of the social-political system (monarchy – republic, capitalism – socialism, citizens – workers), Belgrade retained its unique, cosmopolitan spirit. It was and still remains a city full of tolerance, open to all those who wish to inhabit it, where the prevailing factor is not nationality but whether one can fit in and become a citizen of Belgrade!

The Jewish population left numerous testimonies of their life in Belgrade. They had inhabited it for nearly 400 years, when Nazism destroyed them in a single moment. They were brutally murdered, suffocated, shot to death in only a few months in the period between 1941 and 1942. All of their property was destroyed and all that was characteristic of Belgrade’s Jewish community until World War II disappeared. Out of 12.000 Jews only around 1.500 survived the horrors of war. The buildings they used to live in changed purposes and only a few senior Belgrade citizens remember their neighbors who are no longer amongst us.


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