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Sumarice Memorial Park

Kragujevac, Serbia
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October memorial park in Kragujevac was designed in 1953 in memory of several thousand innocent inhabitants of Kragujevac, who were executed in a single day, 21st October 1941, by the Nazi occupying forces during World War 2. Among the victims, there were also three hundred pupils and their teachers. The memorial park is laid out on the site of the execution of the victims, in an area of 352ha. Thirty mass graves are found at the site. The monuments are connected by a 7km long trail. The space of the memorial park was designed as laid out in the urbanist-architectural project by architects Mihajlo Mitrovic and Radivoj Tomic, and landscape architect Smiljan Klaic. Seven sculptural-architectural works by renowned Yugoslav sculptors were installed in the complex, out of the thirty initially planned. Monument "Prekinut let" ("Interrupted Flight"), a work by sculptor Miodrag Zivkovic, is dedicated to the executed pupils and teachers and was installed in 1963 on the site of the execution of a large group of pupils and teachers. It became a recognisable symbol of Sumarice and the city of Kragujevac. In the 1990s, three more sculptural works were added to the memorial park.

At the entrance to the memorial park, museum "21st October" was built for gathering, processing, conserving, and displaying documents connected with this tragic historical event. The museum building was designed by architects Ivan Antic and Ivanka Raspopovic. The grand opening was held on 15th February 1976 and attended by Josip Broz Tito, the then-President of Yugoslavia. The building is an architectural monument with a series of associations and symbolic meanings. In 2003, a new permanent collection was unveiled. Two films were made based on the tragic execution of the pupils, Prozvan je i V-3 (Roll Call for Class V-3, 1962) directed by Milenko Strbac, and Krvava bajka (A Bloody Fairytale, 1969) directed by Branimir Tori Jankovic. Poem with the same title, "A Bloody Fairytale" by poet Desanka Maksimovic, was mandatory school reading in post-war Yugoslavia. Annually from 1971, a grand commemoration entitled "Veliki skolski cas" ("The Great School Period") has been held at the monument in remembrance of the pupils and teachers, accompanied by numerous art exhibitions and other artistic events.

On 27th December 1979, October memorial park in Kragujevac was declared a cultural monument of special importance. Throughout the decades, it was well maintained and today finds itself in a good state of repair.