Literal competition


The History of the Competition

The Competition was founded in 1954 at the initiative of the then President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia, dr Albert Vajs, and the first prizes were awarded in 1955. It was only two times, in 1992 and 1994, that the Competition was not held, due to the civil war in the territory of former Yugoslavia. The Competition refers to works with Jewish topics in the field of science, history, literature, art, memoirs, and the Holocaust. Only the first year, it also included painting and music. The Competition has, over time, become a traditional cultural event with a reputation also outside the Jewish public, and the participants include both Jewish and non-Jewish authors. So far, several hundreds of authors have participated in the Competition with more than 1,500 works, and the awarded authors include also authors fromAustralia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Israel, Canada, the USA, and Great Britain. Many of the participating and awarded authors later became reputable authors and scientists, among them: Danilo Kiš, David Albahari, Filip David, Gordana Kuić, Zvonimir Palanski, Ljubica Arsić, Vojislav Maksimović, Krinka Vidaković (later the Ambassador of Serbia and Montenegro to Israel), Hans Bramer, Dragoljub Čolić, Miroslava Despot, Zora Dirnbah, Dimitrije Mašanović, Avram Pinto, Vidosava Nedomački, Ljubivoje Ršumović, Laslo Sekelj, and others.

The author who won the greatest number of awards so far is Ženi Lebl, author of 26 awarded works dedicated to her study of the history of Jews in Serbiaand in the wider region.

Members of the jury also are distinguished names of the Yugoslav and Serbian science and culture: Aron Alkalaj, Isak Amar, Andrija Gams, Zoran Gavrilović, Ivan Ivanji, Ljubiša Jocić, Simha Kabiljo-Šutić, Lavoslav Kadelburg, Žak Konfino, Aleksandar Levi, Julija Najman, academician Predrag Palavestra, Miodrag Pešić, Andreja Preger, Radovan Samardžić, Dušan Sindik, Ana Šomlo, Filip David, Milan Ristović, and others.

The prizes are financial and the system of their awarding varied with time. For some competitions there were, as is most often the case, three prizes, irrespective of the type of work, while most frequently the prizes were awarded for individual fields such as science, literary, memoirs, etc. so that the awards, two or three, were by individual fields. Some competitions, apart from awarded works, also included works that were classified as „purchased“, and their authors also received smaller amounts.

All works, awarded or not, are kept in the archives of the federation of Jewish Communities of Serbia.

Many awarded and purchased works have been published, with the author’s approval, in the whole or partially, in different publications of the Federation, primarily in the Jewish Almanac (which was published between 1954 and 1970), and in the special jubilee edition of the Jewish Almanac 1971-1996 (dedicated to 80th anniversary of the foundation of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia (1919 – 1999), and in the new publication of the Federation – the  COMPENDIUM of the Jewish Historical Museum, with the first issue published in 1971.