A Story About Тhe Red Race Car – Scene 2 | TIME: Sunday the 14th April 1940 | LOCATION: The Belgrade Fair (The Old Fairgrounds)

Visiting the Car Exhibition

As they were approaching the main gate to the Belgrade Fair, Aleksandar was thinking about the way his mother had wrapped him up firmly with a thick scarf saying that one could never trust Baba Marta 1, еven in April, while they were leaving the flat. When he asked his father who Baba Marta was, father just laughed heartily and waved off.

– Come on, forget about Baba Marta and apples and oranges now, and look at this! This is the future, this is the gate to Europe for our Belgrade.- he said pointing to the main gate to the Belgrade Fair. – One day you and your children will live in much better world, in the world in which men will use industry, science and technology to make everybody’s life better! And here, at this very spot, Belgrade becomes a part of that future. I am lucky to be living in these times and to have seen that, and you, my son, are even luckier for this is how your life and everyday life will look like one day. – the father spoke fully inspired – Europe, my son, this is Europe! – He shook his head and sighed deeply walking along.

As they were entering the Fair, impressed by his father’s enthusiasm, Aleksandar looked very solemnly and a bit proudly at the flags of various countries that were fluttering above pavilions.

– Father, can we first …? – he uttered and paused, but the father already knew:
– Yeah, yeah, we shall go straight to the Car Exhibition! –

That day the Car Exhibition pavilion was the most exciting place for Aleksandar in the World! There were a lot of people, and Aleksandar couldn’t see well enough because wide winter coats of numerous visitors were constantly blocking his view, so he kept rising up on his toes and stretching his neck. He could distinguish clearly specific smells of engine oil and petroleum. The brand new car models of various world manufacturers were arranged in several rows along the width of the whole pavilion. Visitors were separated from cars only by the ropes stretched between the posts, which marked the edge of the exhibition space. Aleksandar wanted to stretch out his arm over the ropes and feel metal of a chassis, at least with a tip of his finger, but he did not dare. It was in the Car Gallery that the father met Mr Demajo.

– Good afternoon, Mr Frelih! – Mr Demajo greeted the father cordially with a strong voice offering his hand to him.
– How was your lecture about Zionism at the Jewish Library? I am sorry I couldn’t make it, but I follow your discussions in the newspapers with a great interest – answered the father.

Aleksandar quickly concluded that Mr Demajo is a very important person for it seemed that he was greeted by everybody who was passing by. But since his father and Mr Demajo kept chatting, Aleksandar lost his patience and couldn’t wait any longer, so he came closer to one of the new models of Mercedes Benz. He remembered Pavle saying that German cars were the best, and that is why he was looking at this one very thoroughly with a special attention. He could see his own reflection in the shine of a polished rounded metal, as well as the reflections of the people passing behind him. He could already feel excitement knowing that the next day at the school he would tell Bogdan about everything. In fact, he was a bit sorry that Bogdan was not there, for then they would be able to look at various car models and comment on them together, though probably they would ended up quarreling about which model was the best. Aleksandar smiled at that thought.
– We are not fighting for real, – he thought as if he was trying to excuse himself.

The story

Location:

Historical photographs:

© Terraforming 2016
www.terraforming.org

Author: Misko Stanisic
Illustrations: Silva Vujovic
Research and expert advice: Cedomila Marinkovic PhD

Creative Commons License © Copyright - Terraforming 2016, Produced under the frames of the ODIHR's programme "Words Into Action to Address Antisemitism"