This multimedia presentation of the Jewish cemetery in Zemun was created by the Zemun Jewish Community with the aim to portray its 269 years old cultural and historical heritage. The CD gives one the opportunity to get acquainted with the basics of the community’s tradition, custom and all that it had once stood for. It also portrays its fate in the aftermath of the Holocaust and its present day status within the framework of the city of Zemun and Serbia.

We hope that once they have got acquainted with our community by watching and reading the CD our viewers will be drawn to visit us. In order to give them this opportunity we have thought it best to engage ourselves in the realization of the European Routes of Jewish Heritage program. The three organizations that developed this program i.e. B'nai B'rith Europe, the European Council of Jewish Communities and the Spanish Routes of Jewish Heritage (Red de Juderias de Espana) have offered it to all Jewish Communities in Europe. The basic concepts of this program are in line with our current activities and plans.

The European Routes of Jewish Heritage

Being constantly reminded of Europe's dark past in its relationship with the Jewish people, it is often thought that this is the sole relationship, which the continent has had with Jews. Without at all reducing the importance of the horrors of the Shoah on the Jewish people, this itinerary of Jewish heritage is an opportunity to show the richness of the Jewish contribution in Europe. The idea behind the creation of such an itinerary is thus, to adopt a more positive approach of the Jewish history in Europe as well as the history of the Jews in Europe.

A European Routes of Jewish Heritage will consist in the highlighting of the buildings (synagogues and cemeteries, mikve (ritual bath) --) which have been left to us by the Jewish communities across Europe. In doing so, it will inevitably tackle the wider issues of Judaism, Jewish culture and Jewish traditions. A European routes of Jewish heritage will thus, make the Jewish sites more visible whilst at the same time, making the cults in Judaism more apparent, transparent and accessible to European citizens. These routes are part of an in depth exploration of the theme of cultural diversity and [more specifically] the recognition of "the Other".

This project participates in the education process on tolerance of the citizens. Indeed, knowing is already liking. On the opposite, the ignorance of the other citizens' beliefs, customs and way of life leads to fear and intolerance. Thus, opening elements of the Jewish culture to the broad public is an intercultural learning process in a wider sense. It shows the diversity of Mankind, the richness of the customs of a minority. According to the philosopher Lévi-Strauss, the discovery of differences (altérité) is the discovery of a relationship, not of a barrier.

Religion is often thought of as having divided people. Historians remind us constantly of the importance and impact throughout Europe of the wars of religion. This Jewish itinerary proposes a different approach and highlights the federative factor of Judaism and the unity of the Jewish people throughout Europe and history. It offers the possibility to discover the many facets of the European identity and as well that of Judaism and the Jewish people. The itinerary will recreate a cross-cultural, pan European space in which European citizens can discover the variety and value of Jewish heritage throughout the European continent.

This itinerary, through the visual exhibition of the so-called "buildings or remains" is to highlight Europe's multiculturalism brought about partly by the exchange with the Jewish people. It should be noted that this exchange and influence of lifestyles in a two way process. Indeed, Jewish heritage is historical evidence that the Jewish people were affected and influenced by the society they lived in. (e.g. architecture of synagogues, use of languages such as Yiddish, Ladino...). The European Routes of Jewish Heritage will mark the influence the legacy Jews have left in many regions of Europe throughout history.

The European Routes of Jewish Heritage intend to make the Europeans aware of the cultural richness brought by the Jews across Europe during their stay in so many different regions. It further wishes to preserve and enhance part of the European cultural heritage that the Jewish sites scattered around Europe represent. It finally has the goal to promote tourism around these sites.

The promotion of an itinerary of Jewish heritage is not only the promotion of the heritage left by the Jewish People but it is also that left by Europeans who by religion were Jewish. Thus, it is the promotion of the wider concept of one important part of the European heritage. Throughout the centuries Jews have very much been impregnated by the cultures and society they were living in. In contrast, their traditions and religion somewhat influenced their lifestyles as well as the European society.

The Routes of Jewish Heritage would not only enable visitors to discover the history of the Jewish people but would also enable them to know better their local and national history. Indeed, there are Jewish communities across Europe. From Dublin to Ankara and from Helsinki to Malta, these communities have shared the fate of the local inhabitants of a region or of a country. Together, they have suffered the wars and have enjoyed the victories of their nations. Together, they have created their own values, their ways of life and a common heritage, our Europe.

The Jewish People like all other European citizens have played a role in the building of Europe. Jews have worked in their way for a European ideal. From their experience and that of others, they have played an important role in constructing a Europe full of values and ideals of freedom, rights and duties.

See our documentary on The Jewish Cemetery Zemun
(click on icon bellow )