During the Second World War, waves of refugees came to occupied Serbia from all over the destroyed Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The arrival of a large number of refugees imposed the necessity of their organized care.
For this purpose, in 1941, the Commissariat for Refugees and Immigrants was founded, under whose tutelage in Mataruška Banja on June 3rd, 1942, Serbian refugee homes for the care of children begin their work. This has transformed this popular tourist spot into one of the most important and active humanitarian centers in Serbia. Since 1943, the Studenica Monastery has been included in the system of refugee homes, as a convalescent home for children with poor health. Caring for children was complex and included accommodation, nutrition, treatment, schooling, raising children and organizing their free time.
Almost all the children arrived very sick, exhausted and starving. From the beginning of June 1942 to the end of November 1944, more than 3,445 children found refuge in Mataruška Banja, 56 of whom, despite the efforts of doctors, succumbed to the consequences of the disease. Along with dozens of authentic photos, personal memories of former residents of the homes were published for the first time, and with numerous archival documents, the exhibition depicts in a picturesque and interesting way the daily life of children and their guardians in the refugee homes of Mataruška Banja during the war years.
The authors of the exhibition are Ljubinka Škodrić, PhD, senior research associate of the Institute for Contemporary History in Belgrade and Mirjana Savić, museum advisor of the National Museum Kraljevo.