The REX cultural centre in Dorcol closes its doors after the property was returned to its pre-communist era owners.
The independent cultural centre Kulturni Centar Rex (KC REX) at Jevrejska 16 in the Dorcol neighbourhood of the city closed its doors during the last days of 2017, after its owners decided to use the building as a Jewish-focused arts and cultural centre.
Beloved by Belgraders, KC Rex was founded in 1994 by the famous independent radio station B92. In the hands of Radio B92, and later Fund B92, KC Rex hosted and organised numerous film shows, including the Slobodna Zona film festival, and frequent multimedia exhibitions, concerts, debates, alternative theatre, and visual art and contemporary dance performances.
According to the KC Rex website, approximately half a million people have passed through the premises during its almost four decades of existence.
The KC Rex website stressed that it and Fund B92 will continue the “dedicated work on the development of a tolerant and responsible society and the improvement of the social and cultural circumstances of vulnerable social groups… with the help of numerous donors, friends, associates and citizens as before”.
Aleksandra Beric, programme coordinator at KC Rex, told BIRN that Fund B92 is now on the look-out for a new space to host cultural activities.
Asked if the cancellation of their tenancy by the property owners, the Jewish Community in Belgrade (Jevrejska Opstina Beograd), had come as a surprise, Beric said KC Rex was renting the space just as any other tenant would and so was “on one side unexpected and from another side, not”.
Returned to pre-WWII owners
The property was returned to its pre-communist era owners, the Jewish Community in Belgrade in September 2016.
The centre was handed back to the community as part of the country’s restitution process that has seen thousands of properties that were confiscated by the post-World War II communist government returned to the families of their original owners since 2011.
The Jewish Community in Belgrade decided to end the tenancy contract with Fund B92, with the organisation’s secretary, Miroslav Rajevic, emphasising that the property is in a poor state of repair and that the community will invest a considerable sum to renovate it.