Minister Stefanović opens “April 41“ exhibition
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Nebojša Stefanović, PhD, opened an exhibition entitled “April 41“ in Belgrade’s Central Military Club today to mark the eightieth anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War in Yugoslavia. Stefanović said that we must not allow our anti-fascist history to be rewritten, or sink into oblivion, and that we must always be proud of it and make sure that our children know who the famous national liberation wars fighters had been and that they had made an enormous sacrifice for the freedom of our country.
Following the artistic program, which symbolically began in front of the Central Military Club by playing the sound of the German "Stuka" dive-bombers, Minister Stefanović invited the gathering for a time travel, in memory of 6 April 1941.
- In order for a nation to build a better and more secure future, it must not forget its past. Today's exhibition is just a small contribution to that memory. It shows valuable and true testimonies from this period of Serbian history, dedicated to events, personal destinies, but also to the indomitable spirit of our people - said the Minister of Defence adding that today, in a city full of life, it is difficult to imagine what this 6th April 1941 looked like, when suddenly, without declaring war, an unprecedented attack on sleeping Belgrade, ordered by Adolf Hitler, took place.
- According to some estimates, 880 aircraft took part in the attack on our capital. The aim of the brutal military operation called "Doomsday" was to completely destroy Belgrade. Even then, our people chose a much more difficult, but right path - the path of anti-fascism. The criminals’ response to this decision was cruel - the minister pointed out, mentioning thousands of killed and a city that had almost been razed to the ground.
Our response was a fight till the last breath, said the Minister of Defence, highlighting the exploits of our aviation’s brave pilots.
- It is our obligation not to forget their lives and their heroic defence of their country. But it is also our obligation to teach our children how bravely, honestly, and in the spirit of our nation’s tradition, they defended Serbia. We must repay them by preserving the freedom they won, but also by constantly investing in a better and secure future for our children. We must be deeply and genuinely grateful to them for being brave, defiant, courageous, fearless and incredibly persistent in the fight for the freedom of our people in times when they could have chosen an easier path, but they did not - said Stefanović.
As he pointed out, we must not allow our anti-fascist history to be rewritten or sink into oblivion.
- We must always be proud and make sure that our children know who the famous national liberation wars fighters were and that they made an enormous sacrifice for the freedom of our country– said Stefanović, thanking the exhibition organisers, the Aeronautical Museum and the Military Museum, and their associates, the Military Archive and the Media Centre “Odbrana”.
At the "April 41" exhibition, museum exhibits and photographs related to the period of the April War, various types of weapons and military equipment, parts of aircraft and aircraft equipment, but also personal belongings of the pilots, defenders of Belgrade, Milivoje Bošković and Miloš Žunjić among others, are displayed.
There are also exhibits from the period prior to the April War, from the time of the March demonstrations and the coup d'état of 27 March 1941, which were the reason why Hitler made a decision that day to attack Yugoslavia, which the Yugoslav Army fiercely resisted.
The exhibition will be open in the Central Military Club’s galleries until 16 May.