From previous articles you might have concluded that the Jews and the Jewish community in Serbia had faced numerous problems. But, generally speaking in Serbia, the community itself is a minor ethnic group which hardly garners much attention. It remains a logical conclusion that if we want to progress, we usually have to cope with great difficulties on our own.
It is a fact that we live in a capitalist world and that money is a generator of safety of each individual. Whoever doesn’t have it and is unable to acquire it, will hardly ever reach the surface of well being.
The Jewish community in Serbia is facing the same obstacle. Social and religious activities are threatened because of the lack of funds. Jewish individuals barely manage to make ends meet, same as other citizens of Serbia who languish in poverty. Poor living standards plus a global crisis have led the average population of this area to the extreme distress. However, as far as the Jewish community is concerned, conditions were not so bad in the past – just the opposite. Hard working Jews, then the community itself, resided in wealthy surroundings.
Most of this Jewish property was confiscated and nationalized during and after World War II, as well as the property of other citizens of former Yugoslavia. This fact prevents the community from following the path of development, because it represents the lack of a major capital base for more than 70 years.
This moment is right to change this prolonged state of anxiety. Serbia has finally agreed to compensate or return seized properties! However, as in any other country in transition, Serbian authorities performed restitution selectively. The absurdity is even greater if you look at the larger perspective in which Jews who suffered incredibly in this region, despite the agreements reached, can’t acquire former ownership because of minor political games and the upcoming elections. I guess so, because we are small and weak, and our country is treating us like stepchildren.
And so we spin in circles constantly, unnoticed by state authorities. Our community is unstoppably rushing towards dissolution because of the lack of financial assistance, and membership is diminishing. Assimilation is already widespread.
If this continues, in thirty years there won’t be any of Jews left in Serbia!
Jewish youth in Serbia have taken an oath, that every individual in the future will take an active stand and try to boost dialogue and contribute in making a compromise with Serbian officials.