Source AP ©

Rock concert at site of World War II Nazi death camp may be canceled

A Jewish human rights group stands for canceling a rock concert at the site of a World War II Nazi death camp.

The British band Kosheen is scheduled to hold the concert Saturday at the site of the Sajmiste camp near the center of Belgrade where 48,000 Jews, Serbs and Gypsies perished in the 1940s.

In a statement, Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's chief Nazi hunter, called the planned concert "a heartless insult to the memory of the victims of the Nazis."

Zuroff noted that Serbian President Boris Tadic had recently expressed a desire to turn the grounds into a museum dedicated to the Holocaust, a proposal the center "warmly supported."

"The rock concert scheduled for tomorrow clearly shows how necessary the memorial project conceived by President Tadic truly is," Zuroff said.

"We want to remind the authorities in Belgrade that until the museum is completed, the honor and dignity of the victims of Sajmiste must be preserved and rock concerts on the site are not appropriate."

For Serbia's dwindling Jewish community, the concert is the latest indignity to befall the site, which they say needs to be saved from decades of neglect.

Nearly all of Belgrade's 8,000 Jews were killed at Sajmiste soon after it was set up in 1941 at the site of the Belgrade Fair exhibition ground. Thousands of leftists and Serb nationalists also were killed at the camp.

Most of the inmates were murdered while being transported in "gassing trucks" - vans with their exhaust pipes attached to the sealed cabin - to mass graves on the outskirts of Belgrade.