Dr Vesna Lukic to start lectureship at Middlesex University
26 February 2019
Dr Vesna Lukic successfully defended her PhD in July 2018, graduated in February 2019 and in April will start her new full-time, permanent Lectureship in Documentary at Middlesex University.
Her practice-based dissertation in Film and Television was co-supervised by Dr Angela Piccini and Professor Tim Cole. The River Danube as a Holocaust Landscape: Journey of the Kladovo Transport traces the journey through a feature-length documentary film, Two Emperors and a Queen, and a written thesis.
The Kladovo transport refers to the group of about 1200 Jewish refugees from central Europe who, in late 1939, attempted to flee Nazi persecutions through an organised illegal escape voyage down the river Danube.
However, instead of reaching the Romanian Black Sea coast, from where they were hoping to board an overseas boat to Palestine, their ill-fated river journey never got further than Serbia. Without the overseas boat waiting for them in Romania, the little fleet of Jewish passengers was forced to moor in Kladovo, a Serbian town on the Danube.
After months of frustrated immobility, the group finally left Kladovo in September 1940, but only to be moved upstream to another Serbian town – Šabac. This is where their persecutors caught up with them after the war reached Yugoslavia in April 1941.
Most of the men from the group were shot in October 1941 in Zasavica near Šabac. Women and children were sent to Belgrade, to the Judenlager Semlin and were killed in a gas van during the spring 1942. Apart from several independent escapes, survivors include a group of about 200 youths who were granted legal certificates for Palestine and left Yugoslavia just before the outbreak of war.
The journey of the Kladovo transport is charged with striking relationships to time and Dr Lukic explored this failed escape attempt as a multi-temporal event, with the camera as her primary research tool.