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Memorial Park Bubanj

Niš, Serbia
1 of 7© Roberto Conte

Memorial park Bubanj has great historical and artistic value for the city of Niš and the Republic of Serbia. It was erected in memory of numerous Serbian, Jewish, and Romani victims executed between February 1942 and September 1944 by members of Nazi occupying forces in the Bubanj area, where there was a interment camp. The original monument, a modest stone pyramid, was erected in 1950, but 1958, a competition for a new monument was held. The winning solution was submitted by sculptor Ivan Sabolić (b. 1921, d. 1986) from Zagreb and architect Mihajlo Mitrović (b. 1921, d. 2019) from Belgrade. The monument was realised and opened in a ceremony on 14th October 1963, on the day of the liberation of Niš from the Nazi occupying forces at the end of World War 2, in 1944. The complex is composed of a 470m long memorial path, a semicircular marble wall measuring 32m by 2.5m with a bas-relief depicting executions, and the main element - three sculptures shaped like fists measuring 13m, 14m, and 16m, expressing a powerful and universal symbolism of the human struggle, particularly Partisan struggle, which adopted the clenched fist as one of its emblems. From its erection until the 1990s and the break-up of Yugoslavia, the monument received countless visitors as a place of respect and remembrance for the victims of World War 2. Subsequently, the complex suffered from neglect and dilapidation until 2018 when an initiative for its renovation and protection was launched.

However, local efforts, both by the city government and thousands of local volunteers have been working in recent years to fix these issues and rehabilitate the complex. As of 2018 the complex has undergone a massive rehabilitation process and most of the complex's major issues have been addressed. However, graffiti can still be sometimes found on the memorial sculptures.