Youngsters strengthening Norwegian-Serbian friendship

A friendship between Norway and Serbia has reached new heights with Erasmus youth exchange programme which final goal was to build a temporary museum on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Beisfjord tragedy.

For the second year in a row, youth from Serbia and Norway (but also from France and Poland) came together in the village of Beisjord, near Narvik from July 1-10 to talk and learn more about war remembrance, refugee crisis, diversity and human rights.

In 1942, Beisfjord was the location of one of the worst prison camps on Norwegian soil during the Second World War. During its first four months, it claimed the lives of most of the 900 Yugoslav prisoners who were taken there. Later it became a camp for Soviet prisoners of war.

Using the history of the camp as background, the participants got to learn and reflect about the timelessness of consequences of war.

But, it all started through game and play in a bid to build a safe and secure learning environment for the more serious topics that followed. The participants were split in groups and they had to talk and express themselves on the above-mentioned topics through theatre, performance art and other forms of artistic expression.

According to the Kikinda-born and Tromsø-based artist Marsil Andelov Al-Mahamid, the organisers of the camp – himself, Joakim Arnøy of the Narvik Peace and War Centre and Dragan Kiurski and Katarina Dragin from the National Museum of Kikinda - collaborated to provide a positive and eventful experience for the young people aged 14 to 20 years of age, with very active participation from the youth groups themselves.

By the end of the project, the young people have built their own temporary museum in Beisfjord which was opened to a general public. Among the installations were an art installation about the Beisfjord massacre of July 1942, a timeline of the experiment "What if Twitter existed in 1942?", creative poster prints, theatre play about refugees, a pop-up exhibition about friendship and other.