During the Second World War more than 4.000 Yugoslavs was detained in Nazi-concentrations camps in Norway. This week, Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia commemorated them in the Royal Palace of Belgrade.
Crown Prince Alexander himself opened an new exhibition who contains personal items of Serb prisoners of war in Norway. Alongside them toys from Norwegian children who risked their lives to give food to imprisoned Serbians. Norwegian historians, a deputation from the Royal Guard of King Harald of Norway and Norway`s Defence Attache also attended the ceremony.
During the opening His Royal Highness said: “The story of the Serbian prisoners in Norway during World War Two, and the brave Norwegian people that helped them, risking their own lives is very touching, and it deserves to be told again, after so many years. The selflessness of the people of Norway towards our imprisoned soldiers in these terrible times, created unbreakable bridges of friendship that tie our two nations forever. It was a ray of light in the darkest of all times.”
The Crown Prince also said: “Remembering the most tragic times in human history and keeping the memory of the terrible destiny of our countrymen who were imprisoned by the Nazis from oblivion is an obligation that we all have. Wise people have said many times that we should remember history, so it does not get repeated. That is why this whole project is so important, not only for our people and our country.”
Following the opening of the exhibition, an historical documentary film “Death camp in Karasjok” was shown in the Royal Palace’s own cinema. The film tells the true story of the victims. Most of the prisoners where forced to do slave labour in one of Norway’s coldest areas.
Of the more than 4.000 Yugoslav prisoners of war in Norway during the war, 95% of which were Serbs, most of them were officers and soldiers of the Royal Yugoslav Army. Of the total number of prisoners in Norway, 2,398 never returned home. The youngest among them was only 12 years old.