(ANSA) - BELGRADE, Aug 9 - Stumbling stones will become part of Serbia's historical monuments. In addition to Berlin, Rome, Hamburg, Cologne, The Hague and Maastricht, the commemorative stones will soon remember the victims of the Shoah also in the Serbian city of Zrenjanin. Therefore, Serbia will be the first Balkan country to render justice and thus remind its citizens of the victims of the Shoah. The town commission for historical and commemorative monuments accepted the request made by the local Jewish community to incorporate, in the road pavement, in front of the last houses of the victims of deportations and killings perpetrated by the Nazis, stone blocks covered with a brass plate with the victim's name and the date of their disappearance. This type of information aims at giving back their individuality to those whom the Nazis wanted to reduce to a nameless mass, underlining at the same time the inviolable human right to be given a proper burial. These 'stumbling stone' want to make passers-by stop and reflect on the meaning of this 'memento'. Mirko Krlic, the chairman of the parliamentary committee for culture and information of Serbia, who presides over the municipal committee for historical and memorial monuments in Zrenjanin, explained that the municipality and the people of Zrenjanin made this decision because they owed their Jewish fellow citizens a debt of gratitude. These fellow citizens, the first victims after the German occupation of Serbia, made a great contribution to the city's economic and cultural development. The dedication to public memory will be made by laying Stumbling Stones to 24 fellow citizens, members of 5 families. Among them is Viktor Elek, industrialist, and owner of a sugar factory, who was the first Zrenjanin Jew to be murdered by the Nazis. The killing took place the day after the destruction of the Monument to the Serbian King Peter I Karadjordjevic, a symbol of the Nation and great friend of the Jewish people and their nascent state. President Krlic added that the first 24 Stumbling Stones will be followed by other stones in other Serbian towns. "In these times of awakening of anti-Semitism and sick nationalisms - said Krlic - this is a due gesture of memory, gratitude, brotherhood, and justice wants to remember the crime and issue a warning that these horrors must never happen again". (ANSA).

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