Serbia’s Secret War!
Before getting to the actual quotes, let us read some recensations, namely those of Margaret Thatcher and the Library Journal;
“Philip Cohen’s book provides a useful counter to current myths about Serbia’s history during the Second World War. By detailing the reality of past Serbian national socialism and anti-Semitism he allows us to understand more clearly the mentality which has been at work in Belgrade, and so the roots of today’s Yugoslavian tragedy.”
The Iron Lady, former British prime minister.
“… weaves a rich tapestry covering the last 200 years of Balkan history while emphasizing the role the Serbs played in World War II … Offering a wealth of new information, this impressive, scholarly book is highly recommended …”
Now on with the quotes.
As the twentieth century draws to a close and Serbia finds itself at war for the fifth time in this century, historians have drawn attention to the haunting parallels between Serbia’s role in the Balkan Wars of 1912-13 and the events of the 1990s. To be sure, the primary strategic goals of the Serbian leadership regarding territorial expansion and the extermination of “alien populations” were present in the two Balkan Wars. The same determination among the Serbian leadership to create an ethnically homogeneous Greater Serbia was also found during the two world wars. The similiarities between Serbia’s record in World War II and developments in the 1990s are striking - and critical to an understanding of present day Serbian nationalism.
To date, the internal history of Serbia in the Second World War has received only superficial treatment in English-language studies. Serbia’s role in World War II, a complex period of history, is often clouded by a mythology that casts the Serbs as synonymous with anti-Nazi resistance and the Croats and Bosnian Muslims as synonymous with pro-Nazi collaborators. Such a conventional wisdom, however, is not home out by the historical record.
A central thesis of this book is that the mainstream of Serbia’s political, intellectual, and religious leadership collabaroted extensively with the Axis powers, contrary to the mythology of resistance as promised by subsequent official accounts.
Now some quotes will follow that will expose the myth Serbs have spread about the alleged historical ‘absence’ of anti-semitism in Serb lands.
The emergence of the Serbian state in the early nineteenth century heralded a particularly difficult time for the Jews. The Serbian insurrection of 1804, led by Djordje Petrovic (better known as Karadjordje, or Black George) was a turning point in this process. Karadjordje–a prosperous pig farmer and livestock trader and progenitor of the Karadjordjevic royal family–was a man of violent temper. His brutality was legendary, and the peasants under his command were notorious for terrorizing unarmed civilians. The Jews fared especially poorly.
By 1805, the fortress of Smederevo had fallen to Karardjordje’s forces and became the capital of his rebel government. Soon the Jews were expelled from Smederevo, Sabac, and Pozarevac, although they had lived for centuries in these rural interior towns, which contained very few Serbian inhabitants. With the capture of Belgrade by the Serbian insurgents in 1806, Jewish homes, stores and the synagogue in the Jewish quarter was attacked and damaged or destroyed, and Jews were prohibited from residing outside of Belgrade.
The persecution of Jews only ceased after the Ottomans regained control over Serbia 1813. Serbia’s Jews were Sephardic Jews, originally from Spain and refugees from the notorious Inquisition. As a recognized milet in the Ottoman empire, they had enjoyed a relatively good life in the Balkans and elsewhere. Under Milos Obrenovic’s rule, the Jews were treated better. But whenever Milos Obrenovic was succeeded, the persecution of Jews ensued. According to Philip Cohen, Obrenovic’s treatment of the Jews was linked to his economical bonds with him.
There were expulsions of Jews from the rural Serbian interior in 1846, and then again 1861-4, in conjuction with the laws of 1846 and 1861 forbidding Jews to live outside Belgrade. Under the law of October 30, 1856, issued in response to the demands of a growing Serbian merchant class, Jews were forbidden to conduct trade in the interior.
All quotes above from the page 65, chapter III.
These sorts of legislation, also encouraged by the Obrenovic dynasty, forced Serbia’s Jewish community to either move to Belgrade or leave Serbia. Indeed, the Jewish population dropped drastically.
In 1861, there had been 450 Jewish families (2,475 Jews), most living in the Belgrade ghetto. By 1865, the number had declined to 338 families (1,805 Jews), and, by 1869, only 210 families remained.
British observers attributed the anti-semitic sentiments in Serbia to religious fanatism, comercial rivalry as well as a belief in Jews being the secret agents of the Ottoman empire.
In January 16, 1865, one month after a series of three highly inflammatory articles in the anti-Semitic journal Svetovide (Holy vision), two Jews were murdered during a progrom in the town of Sabac. Three months later in Sabac, a sixteen-year-old Jewish girl was forcibly baptized into Serbian Orthodoxy.
What is astonishing here is not the progrom in itself and the forced conversion, but the fact that intellectuals running a journal were the ones encouraging anti-Semitism. This means that the Jews were dealing with racism at an institutional and intellectual level, and not with just peasant bigotry and superstition.
The Jewish community in Serbia appealed to the British for help, and the Brits did put pressure on Serbia. But this did not hinder the Serbs from institutionalizing racism in their very constitution;
In Serbia’s new and supposedly liberal Constitution of 1869, Article 23 granted equality before the law to every Serb, and Article 28 guaranteed the inviolability of domicile. Article 132, however, reaffirmed the anti-Jewish laws of October 30, 1856, prohibitng the Jews from commerce in the Serbian interior and the law of November 4, 1861, denying Jews the right of domicile outside of Belgrade.
The bishop of Smederevo had argued in favor of religious liberty for the Jews, but the minister of the interior beseeched the parliamentarians not to grant such liberties.
In 1871 a British diplomat visited the Jewish community in Belgrade — here is what the gentleman wrote;
‘I have accompanied Dr.Levy, the late representative of the Société Isaélite at Belgrade to the Jewish quarter, and can hardly believe any poverty can exceed in misery what I have seen there … people literally starving by inches from–though most willing to work–being deprived by law of earning their subsistence …. Illnesses and fevers, caused by want of nourishment, make greater ravages amongst them than among the other poor of the place … Some of these poor would willingly emmigrate to the neighbouring Austrian provinces, but impediments are indirectly thrown in their way by the Servian authorities, who pride themselves on the number of immigrants who flock to the country, and like to be able to boast, in their so-called statistics, that there are no emigrants.’
This description brings forth pictures in my head from the movie ‘The Pianist’ when the Polish Jews are rounded up and collectively moved to the ghetto part of Warszawa. Except this was not during the WWII, but almost a century prior to it.
In 1873, Jews were expelled from Sabac, Smederevo and Pozarevac, and, in 1876, eleven Jewish families were expelled from Smederevo. After the Serbian military captured Nis in 1877, Serbs undertook an ambitious modernization program, widening streets by tearing down buildings owned by Jews and Muslims.
Anti-jewish sentiment was echoed by such notable Serbian political figures as Nikola Pasic, a veteran statesman, who eventually served as prime minister of Serbia and, later, Yugoslavia. In 1880, promised to block the Jews from entering the Serbian countryside, a part of Serbian politics that generally is overlooked by Pasic’s biographers.
Even Nikola Pasic huh ….
Nevertheless, anti-Semitic tracts continued to appear in both the lay and religious press. In 1904, a booklet titled Knjiga o Jevrejima … kod koga treba da kupujemo? (Book about Jews … at whose store should we shop?) warned of the dangers of Jewish domination and advocated the boycott of Jewish businesses. In 1912, an official publication of the Serbian Orthodox Church likewise complained that the Serbian authorities did to little to protect Serbs from the predation of the Jews, who had too many rights.
Later on, still in the first half of the 20th century, the Jewish influence in the world changed Serb politics towards the Jews. They knew that the Jews were influential in the states and that the US was a growing power. Therefore, the Serbs now put on a fasade as the sympathizers of the Jewish cause, sending even the representative David Albala to talk with the Jews of USA and forge a sort of alliance with their lobby over there. But, as time progressed and anti-Semitic sentiments and fascist views on the concept of Darwinism started growing, the true feelings the Serbs displayed against the Jews started showing.
Overall, the 1920s were a perdiod of social and economic progress for the Jews in Yugoslavia, notwithstanding a few isolated episodes of anti-Semitic activity. In the 1930s, however, anti-Jewish attacks with increasing frequency in the Yugoslav press.
Anti-Semitic Propaganda and Fascism in Serbia!
In 1935 Dimitrije Ljotic, Yugoslavia’s leading proponent of Nazi ideology, had founded Zbor, a pan-Serbian pro-Nazi fascist party. The small but highly active organization published and distributed a prodigious number newspapers, books, and pamphlets, among them the most rabidly anti-Semitic litterature printed anywhere in the country. In Vojvodina, an ethnically mixed region that was home to five hundred thousand Volksdeutsche, Zbor published a German-language newspaper Die Erwache (The awakening), as well as the Serbian-language Nas Put (Our Way). Both publications called for war against Jews.
What is worth of notice here, is that this is prior to the start of WWII. This means that the anti-Semitic sentiments already existed in Serbia prior to the Nazi invasion — there were actually Serb politicians, such as Dimitrije Ljotic, who thought in the same manners as Hitler and Mussolini. And this was a legacy of a traditional anti-Semitism, and not some fashion of time, as is evident by Serbia’s discriminating legislation against the Jews in the 1800s, among other things.
By the late 1930s, expressions of anti-Semitism in Serbia were growing more virulent. In Januarty, 1937, Patriarch Varnava (Petar Rosic), the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church since 1930, met with German journalists to express his “vivid interest” in the new Germany and to praise Hitler for leading “a battle which serves all of humanity”. Varnava also stressed his sympathy for the Führer’s fight against the Bolsheviks. In April, 1937, an official publication of the Serbian Orthodox Church explicitly identified the Jews as the hidden force behind freemasonry, capitalism, and communism, the world’s “three great evils”.
Here we can see even the Serbian clergy involved in printing anti-Semitic works.
On October 5, 1940, six months before the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav Royal Government issued two anti-Jewish decrees. One prohibited Jews from the production and distribution of food; the other restricted the enrollment of Jews at universities and high schools.
Most of the time, the Serb revolt/coup d’état is described as a successful initiative of the Serbian people in the anti-fascist struggle. The reality is quite different, however, as we shall see.
Hitler wanted to ally himself with Yugoslavia and persuade Prince Pavle to sign the Tripartite Agreement. Prince Pavle agreed under the conditions that the Greek port of Thessaloniki be ceded to Yugoslavia after the war, that Yugoslavia’s integrity would be protected against alien invaders, especially Italy, that Yugoslavia would not have to go into war on the behalf of the Axis powers and that no troop transportation would occur on Yugoslav lands — Prince Pavle also wanted the agreement to be published. Hitler agreed to everything, except the last part.
Prince Pavle held a council two days later, March 6, 1941, to consider Hitler’s offers with his government. General Petar Pesic — minister of the army & navy, favoured the agreement under the pretext that Yugoslavia was ‘unable to defend itself militarily’. Vladko Macek, leader of the Croatian Peasant Party, asked whether the Germans were trustworthy, to which the Foreign minister Aleksandar Cincar-Markovic replied that they were. Four days later, on March 10, a second Crown Council was held. At this stage. the minister of the Royal Court, Milan Antic, proposed that the Yugoslavs would accept the terms and ask for additional terms, such as more Greek territories besides Thessaloniki. Macek and Kulovec disagreed with territorial aggrandisement.
Finally, it was decided that the pact would be signed. A coup d’état was carried out — among the participants of the complot was General Simovic, who installed Momcilo Nincic as the foreign minister. This is a clear sign of where the complotters actually stood; Nincic was the president of the Nemacko-Jugoslovensko drustvo (German-Yugoslav Society) of Belgrade, a man with excellent contacts with official Italian circles.
Following his appointmenton March 27, Nincic’s first order of business was to assure the German ambassador, Viktor von Heeren, that Yugoslavia would uphold the terms of the Tripartite Pact. Unaware of this double game, British prime minister Winston Churchillprocclaimed that “early this morening the Yugoslav nation found its soul” and officially recognized the Simovic government on the very day of the coup.
In Serbian nationalist historiography, the March 27 coup has been interpreted as a popular Serbian revolt against the Tripartite Pact. The coup, however, was the work of the British intelliegence service and a handful of British-funded high-ranking Serbian officers. The motivations of the British and the Serbs were quite different. While the British sought to undermine Yugoslavia’s cooperation with the Axis, the Serbian officers wanted to remove Pavle largely because of his accommodations to the Croats. Moreover, there was a rival coup faction, which was entirely pro-German and supported by Ljotic’s Zbor.
The coup was, with other words, not inspired by anti-fascist feelings and a sense of solidarity with Hitler’s victims — it was an attempt to undermine Croatian influence in the Yugoslav state. This is confirmed by the fact that Serbian fascists also wanted to overthrow Pavle; Hitler and the German intelligentsia only refused to assist since Pavle was about to sign the pact, so they saw no reason to intervene.
One of the main men behind the coup was general Borivoje Mirkovic, whose dreams of Greater Serbia conflicted with Pavle’s liberal stance towards the Croats.
It is doubtful that Mirkovic’s were particularly anti-German, since in his own quarters he prominently displayed a signed photograph of his fellow airman, Marshal Hermann Göring.
For those of you who do not know, this is Hermann Göring.
The events that followed, however, bore little resemblance to British expectations. The new government not only continued the policy of accommodation of Hitler but began to recruit Serbian pro-Axis supporters. In one of its first acts, the coup government released all of Ljotic’s followers from prison and halted judicial proceedings against them. Moreover, the newly appointed minister of the army and navy Gen.Bogoljub Ilic — one of the British-funded coup leader and known as notoriously hostile to the Croats — promplty invited Ljotic, the vocal Nazi supporter, to join the new government. Ljotic had previously been encouraged to join the new government by Bishop Nikolaj Velimirovic, who had foreknowledge of the impending coup d’état.
Thus the March 27 coup d’état, carried out by a relatively small number of conspirators, was more a testimony to the efficacy of the British intelleigence service and the opportunism of its plotters than to any wide-spread popular Serbian sympathy for the Allied cause. In reality, the coup was never so clearly anti-Axis as it was anti-Pavle and anti-Croatian, and from the begining iut was in part driven by pro-Axis Serbs. Despite revisionist attempts to portray pre-World War II Serbia as staunchly anti-fascist, Serbia indeed bred its own fascist movement.
As Philip Cohen accurately describes it, Hitler (who was planning the invasion of Russia at this time) had little confidence for the coup leaders who were de facto financed by Great Britain. Therefore, he decided to take the matter into his own hands. On April 6, 1941, Hitler’s forces invaded Yugoslavia and successfully so. Here follows more interesting and revealing quotes;
The Royal Yugoslav Army had been poorly equipped and poorly trained. Most of the weapons and uniformsWorld War I-era, and the air force consisted of World War I-vintage biplanes with open cockpits. Furthermore, almost all of the Yugoslav commanding generals — virtually all Serbs – were opposed to fighting the Nazis and sought an armistice.
Page 28. Same generals that had been against “fascist Pavle” were themselves fascist sympathizers, we can conclude.
This war continued for twelve days; the result was 345,000 captured Yugoslav soldiers. German losses were small; 151 killed, 392 wounded and 15 missing in action. King Petar, who had replaced Prince Pavle after the (in)famous coup, as well as general Simovic and others, took the cabinet and fled to Greece. Meanwhile, Hitler dissapointed with how thing had undergone previously, decided to divide Yugoslavia, much to thé distress of territory-hungry Serbs. But this did not hinder collaboration; Dragisa Cvetkovic was put to power. Soon, collaborators from all Yugoslav territories converged on Belgrade, like retired general Djura Djokic from Sarajevo, Bosko Kostic from Gorazde, Bozidar (Bosko) Becarevic from Montenegro, Velibor Jonic from Foca, Col.Tanasije Dinic and journalist Danilo Gregoric from Nis etc.
Soon, the government or local administration was created, where notable men and Nazi sympathizers were included, fascists such as Milan Acimovic, Dimitrije Ljotic, Dragi Jovanovic, Djordje Peric, Stevan Klujic, Tanasije Dinic, Stanislav Josifovic, Momcilo Jankovic, Dusan Pantic, Milosav Vasiljevic etc.
On August 13, 1941, under the leadership of Velibor Jonic, 546 Serbs, including some of the country’s moasr prominent and influential figures, issued an “Appeal to the Serbian Nation,” which called for loyalty to the Nazis and condemned the Partisan resistance as unpatriotic.
The list of the signatories was published over two days. The first three to sign were bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The list of signatores basically represented the intellectual, political and artistic elite of Serbia.
On August 29, 1941, 1941, two days after the Belgrade emergency meeting, The German authorities installed General Nedic and his Vlada narodnog spasa (Government of National Salvation) in power.
Now things quickly ensued. A local Gestapo force was created in Serbia under the supervision of Dragomir (Dragi) Jovanovic and Gestapo officers Karl Kraus and Hans Helm as well as Col.Ernst Moritz von Kaisenberg. The unit, intially consisting of 45 agents, grew up to 878 police guards and 240 agents in less than one month, July 1941.
The Serbs’ own SS-unit also came to existance; it was called Srpska Dobrovljacka Komanda (Serbian Volunteer Command) and later renamed to Srpski dobrovljacki korpus (Serbian Volunteer Corpus).
The Volunteers were sent immedately into combat missions — jointly with Nedic’s newly formed detachments and the Chetniks of Kosta Pecanac — against the Partisans.
Note that the Chetniks also were pro-Nazi. Which brings us to Draza Mihailovic, the alleged anti-Nazi pro-royalist warrior. Now we will see the true role played by his cameleont organization. Dragoljub (Draza) Mihailovic was appointed minister of the army and navy by the government in exile in London. De facto, he was the leader of irregular guerrilla units commonly known as the Chetniks (cetnici) who played a most dubious role in WWII.
The Chetniks under the command of Mihailovic initially had planned to resist the German occupation but soon fell into a pattern of military passivity compared to Communist resistance groups.
By the late 1941, Mihailovic’s Chetniks effectively had abandoned resistance to the Axis in favor of the struggle against Tito’s Partisans, and thereafter maintained a pattern of collaboration with both Germans and Italians against the Partisans, notwithstanding sporadic acts of anti-Axis sabotage. Indeed, during late 1943 and 1944, and especially after Allied support had shifted to Tito, the Chetniks made a point to openly fight the Axis in the presence of American and British military observers.
Thus, we can clearly see the treacherous and cameleont features and characteristics of the royalist Chetnik organization, which essentially collaborated with Nazis and only fought against them when they knew that the Allies were gradually but surely winning the war — they needed any strong power’s support to establish monarchy again in Serbia/Yugoslavia. Imagine if the coup against Pavle never had taken place. The collaboration in Serbia with the fascists would have been total. Hitler initially actually wanted a Serb-dominated Yugoslavia.
In a report sent to Berlin on September 11, more than five months after the Nazi occupation, the plenipotentiary of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Serbia, Felix Benzler, wrote that there had been no battles between German forces and Chetniks. In fact, Mihailovic’s efforts to establish cooperation with the Germans had so favorably impressed Capt.Josef Matl of Abwehr (German military intelligence) that, in October of 1941, Matl reported that the Chetnik detachments of the Yugoslav army under the command of Col.Draza Mihailovic had placed themselves at the disposal of the German Wehrmacht.
At Mihailovic’s request, as Philip Cohen extensively describes it, he and his men met with the German military command in mid-November to further establish and confirm collaboration. The German delegation was headed Colonel Kogard — Mihailovic was assisted by Col.Branislav J. Pantic, Maj.Aleksandar Misic and Capt.Nenad Mitrovic. Mihailovic stated that the common enemy were the communists and that his forces would not attack the Germans. In return, Mihailovic wanted to request 20,000 rifles, 200 heavy machine guns, 100 mortars, 100,000 hand-grenades and 20,000 Yugoslav army uniforms and boots.
During the meeting, Kogard and Mihailovic agreed that their common enemy was the Partisans. Kogard, however, stated that he could not trust the Chetniks because, unlike “Nedic, Ljotic, Pecanac, and many others, who had openly sided with us from the beginning,” Mihailovic’s Chetniks “were waging an open struggle against the German Wehrmacht.” According to Pantic’s eyewitness account, Mihailovic protested that “he had never issued any order to attack the German forces. Just the opposite. All of his orders were directed to avoid that struggle, except when his forces are attacked by the Germans. Thus had it been until that moment, thus would it be in the future.”Kogard then produced several photographs of the mutilated bodies of German soldiers killed near Kragujevac in October, 1941. Their penises had been cut off and inserted into their mouths — a form of mutilation typically practiced by the Chetniks. He maintained that Mihailovic must be held responsible for crimes committed by his Chetniks. Mihailovic stated that the crime had been committed by Partisans, not by his men. Kogard, however, insisted that he had information to the contrary. Mihailovic then conceded that it was possible his men were responsible, but that he was aware of neither the attack nor the mutilations. Kogard responded, “That does not diminish your responsibility as the commander. You are responsible for the crimes commited by your subordinates.” Largely because of Nazi suspicions regarding the Chetniks’ role in the mutilations, the mid-November meeting ended without any agreement between the two sides. The meeting, however, would not be Mihailovic’s final overture to the Germans.
Perhaps Kogard would have better understood the Serb culture and manners in warfare — mutilation was a common practice. Often, lips and noses would be involved, but occasionally also genitals. During the Balkan Wars, this was extensively used. And in Montenegro, heads were cut off in an almost ceremonial manner. With other words; Kogard might not have taken a ‘random’ Serbian practice so harshly and dismissed cooperation if he knew more about the Serbian nation and their ways.
Prior to the November meeting, Mihailovic also had attempted to forge cooperative relationships with committed Axis collaborators. As early as May, 1941, a little more than one month after the Germans had invaded Yugoslavia, Mihailovic sent his second lieutenant, Vladimir Lenac, to Belgrade to meet with Ljotic. Lenac, who had headed the Zbor youth movement at Zagreb University, informed Ljotic of Mihailovic’s interest in collaboration and asked for the names of Belgrade civilians who could provide financial ssistance to the Chetniks.
On January 9, 1946, Nedic testified in the court about Mihailovic’s true intentions, ambitions and goals;
(1) To establish order and peace in Serbia. (2) To begin a joint fight against the communist-led Partisan detachments, precisely against units of the Communist Party. (3) That I should establish a connection with [the Germans] and legitimize Draza to the Germans. (4) To remit him [Draza] a certain sum of money for paying the wages of his officers and non-commissioned officers. (5) Having pacified Serbia, to take military action in Bosnia for pacification. (6) To assist the government of [General Blazo] Djukanovic in Montenegro for its pacification. All these proposals and conditions were accepted by my side. Draza got money, and the Germans approved this.
Under this time, Mihailovic had also met with Tito on two occasions, discussing the possibility of joining forces against the Germans. The meetings were held in September 19 and October 26 — no common ground was reached. And though Mihailovic was a serpant, his promises held more value when given to the Germans than the Partisans. Thus, during November 1941, a combined force of one German battalion, the Hungarian Danube flotilla, Ljotic’s 6th Volunteer Detachment, two of Nedic’s detachments, six Chetnik detachments led by Pecanac and Mihailovic’s Chetniks, attacked Partisan controlled territories near Pozarevac.
On November 25, however, Mihailovic’s Chetniks joined German troops and other Serbian collaborationist forces in an intensive attack on the Partisan stronghold in the western Serbian town of Uzice, where Tito’s headquarters and armaments factory were located. By December 5, 1941, with Serbian help, the anti-Nazi uprising in Serbia effectively was crushed.
In their pursuit of Greater Serbia during the Second World War, the Chetniks regarded non-Serbian populations with a contempt that paralleled the Nazis’ attitude toward non-Aryan populations.
Serbian Chetnik ideologists, such as Stevan Moljevic, formulated Chetnik dreams of establishing a homogenous Greater Serbia that would get rid of non-Serb or ‘undesirable’ elements.
A Chetnik directive of December 20, 1941, specified their goal to create an “ethnically pure” Greater Serbia, consisting of Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Vojvodina, “cleansed … of all national minorities and non-national elements.” This directive further specified the necessity of “cleansing the Muslim population from Sandzak and the Muslim and Croatian populations from Bosnia and Herzegovina.” Between 86,000 and 103,000 Muslims died during the Second World War. The majority of these perished at the hands of the Chetniks.
It is also interesting to mention, briefly, the role certain Chetnik figures played (besides Draza), such as Pavle Djurisic, to whom StankoIsaSerb claims relation to (if I am not mistaken) as well as Father Momcilo Djujic, two noteworthy Chetnik figures.
In one campaign in the early 1943, Djurisic’s forces forces killed ten thousand Muslims, ninety percent of whom were civilians, in the vicinity of Foca in southeastern Bosnia. Chetnik losses were reported to be thirty-six dead and fifty-eight wounded.After the capitulation of Italy in 1943, Djurisic established closer ties with Dimitrije Ljotic, whose Serbian Volunteer Corps provided weapons, food, typewriters, and other supplies. Nedic promoted Djurisic to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and appointed him assistant commander of the Serbian Volunteer Corps, and, on October 11, 1944, Adolf Hitler awarded Djurisic the Iron Cross.
In the figure of Pavle Djurisic, we see the personification of Serb policy in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which is that of continuous attempts to Serbianize the regions, especially the towns and regions adjacent to Serbia, such as Foca or even Srebrenica and Zvornik etc — towns which today belong to Republika Srpska. In essence, what the Serbs did in the 1990s, was a continuation of the Chetnik legacy of Djurisic. Mladic and Karadzic lived up to their predecessors’ standards.
One prominent Orthodox clergyman and Chetnik leader was Father Momcilo Djujic. Born in Knin, Croatia, in 1907, and a self-proclaimed vojvoda (warlord), he operated in northern Dalmatia and western Bosnia, where, as early as April, 1941, his Chetniks began murdering and mutilating Croatian civilians.
Following the surrender of Italy in September, 1943, some of Djujic’s Chetniks fled to the hills or defected to the rapidly growing Partisan movement, but a few thousand almost immediately began to collaborate with the Germans. This new Chetnik-Nazi relationship was reinforced when, in a short-wave transmission on November 19, 1943, Mihailovic instructed Djujic to cooperate with the Germans, adding that Mihailovic himself could not openly do so “because of public opinion”.
This quote is interesting. Obviously, the fascist ideology of the Chetnik movement had much in common with the Nazi ideology, and there was a common platform which provided the possibility of cooperation. Mihailovic, however, was a devote royalist, and as such he could not, atleast openly, collaborate with the Nazis for the sake of “public opinion”. Obviously, the government he was loyal to had uninentionally gotten into war with Hitler’s Germany because of the coup against Prince Pavle; this even though they tried to reassure the Germans of their loyalty to the Triparite Pact. Understandably, however, the Germans could not trust the new government — they had even denied assisting fascist Serbs, such as Ljotic, to conduct a coup.
If things had been different, collaboration between Chetniks and Nazis would have been full-scaled and open, much like that between the Ustasha and the Nazis. And in many cases, it was so, as in Djujic’s case. An ‘unforunate’ misunderstanding between the government of King Petar and General Simovic and Hitler probably saved the other ethnic groupations within Old Yugoslavia from a strong Greater Serbia which would have aimed at establishing a homogenous state cleansed from minorities.
By the end of 1944, with Partisan victories and the demoralization of his own troops on the increase, Djujic urgently appealed to the Germans to permit him and his Chetniks to take refuge in German-controlled Slovenia. When the German authorities in Zagreb refused, Ljotic, now headquartered in Slovenia, traveled to Vienna and obtained Hermann Neubacher’s approval. Djujic’s escape to safety along with six thousand Chetniks was assisted by the Nazis and Ustashas, at the request of Ljotic.
These fascists were funny. On one side, Chetniks fought the Croats, and on the other, they did not hesitate receiving help from Ustasha.
On November 25, 1944, Partisan forces began to attack the town of Knin, which was defended by fourteen thousand German troops, forty-five hundred Chetniks under Djujic, and about fifteen hundred Ustasha. After six days of fighting, Djujic was wounded, and, on December 1, he sent an emissary to Gen.Gustav Fehn of the German 264th Division in Knin with the following message:The Chetnik Command with all of its armed forces has collaborated sincerely and loyally with the German Army in these areas from September last year. Our common interests demanded this. This collaboration has continued to the present day …. The Chetnik Command wishes to share the destiny of the German Army in the future too …. The Command requests that [the village] Padjene be the base for supplying our units, until a further common agreement is reached.
Djujic’s forces continued collaborating with the Nazis throughout the war. They were supplied with food and ammunition, and their wounded were taken to the Third Reich and treated. Djujic even got guarantees from Ante Pavelic for his troops secure evacuation to German controlled lands.
This same man, a fascist and Chetnik and even a Nazi one could say, lived for decades in the US. He was found guilty 1947 in absentia by the communists in Yugoslavia, but he got away. This very man gave the title vojovda (duke) to Vojislav Seselj, leader and founder of the large(st) party in Serbia, SRS (Radical Party). This party has fascist tendencies, and unsurprisingly its leader was fancied by Momcilo Djujic who died 1999, on September 11, long enough to understand that Croatia was independent, Bosnia had seceeded and Kosova was liberated.
SRS …. fascist Serbia on the rise … ? Or has it been on the rise since … well, its foundation!? Philip Cohen accurately describes why the misconception of the Chetniks’ alleged anti-fascist image prevailed;
The final step of the Chetnik plan was to seize power after the Germans were ousted in an anticipated invasion by the Allies. Thus, Serbia would be restored to full autonomy under the Serbian monarchy, and the Chetniks would establish their miltary authority over the ethnically homogenous Serbia. It is this part of the Chetniks’ endgame — their anticipation that the Allies would eventually oust Germans — that has provided the basis for the claim that the Chetniks were really a resistance force all along. In the final analysis, however, the Chetniks’ legacy was principally one in which opportunism overshadowed resistance in a near total eclipse.
To say that the Chetniks weren’t fascists is to be delusional. Their very ideology, as formulated by the likes of Stevan Moljevic and his likes, was fundamentally fascist; they dreamt of establishing Greater Serbia and cleanse it from unwanted minorities, which is all minorities. Infact, they were worse than many other collaborationist movements, because their cameleont ways made it unclear where they stood … and as such, they switched allegianeces continuously, making them untrustworthy. Nevertheless, their crimes were numerous. Just Foca alone echoes Srebrenica.
For example, the safe evacuation of 417 Allied pilots, including 343 Americans, from Chetnik-held territories in Serbia during the latter half of 1944 has often been cited as evidence of the Chetniks’ strong pro-Allied sympathies. Indeed, with Allied support shifted from Mihailovic to Tito, Mihailovic’s Chetniks were courting renewed Allied support and made great efforts to demonstrate their willingness to assist the Allies. Hoiwever, none of these sources mentions that the Chetniks rescued German aviators as well, as indicated in a Nedic government report of February, 1944, and, on still other occasions, Mihailovic’s men hunted down Allied aviators on the behalf of the Germans.
I think the Chetnik movement’s true role has been neglected by historians due to successfull historical revisionism from the Serbs’ side.
Although much of the evidence related to Serbian concentration camps was destroyed under orders of the retreating Nazis, the memoirs of survivors of the Banjica concentration camp in Belgrade offer insight into the role played by the Serbs in exterminating members of the resistance. After the German military command gave orders for the creation of the concentration camp, Belgrade mayor Jovanovic took steps to convert the former 18th Infantry army barracks into a camp, which operated from July 5, 1941, until October 3 or 4, 1944. One-half of the inmates were dispatched to Banjica by the SS, and another one-third were sent by the Serbian State Guard, Ljotic’s Volunteers, Pecanac’s Chetniks, various urban police units, and the Special Police of Belgrade.The Banjica camp, which mainly held members of the resistance, was run by the Belgrade police commissioner Svetozar Vujkovic, remembered by concentration camp survivors for his enthusiastic collaboration with the Gestapo, his role in ordering murders, and his penchant for devising tortures. In the early days of Banjica, the camp was guarded jointly by the Gestapo and the Serbian State Guard, but later this function devolved to the Serbian State Guard alone. Execution lists in Banjica were drawn up by Vujkovic, who often selected victims at random. Executions of inmates were a daily event.
Jewish and Gypsy prisoners increasingly were used to fill the quotas for the German reprisal policy, which called for the execution of fifty to one hundred Communists for every German soldier killed. By the end of 1941, most Serbian Jewish males between the ages of fourteen and seventy had been shot by the Wehrmacht firing squads. In October, 1941, the German authorities ordered the construction of Sajmiste (Semlin in German), just across the Sava River from Belgrade, for the purpose of concentrating the remaining Jewish women and children.
Besides the horrible fact that concentration camps were present in Serbia, what is also noteworthy here is the German policy of reprisal. Serbs like to claim that the Nazis had ordered the execution of fifty-one hundred Serbs, when infact it was the label Communist they used in association with the term reprisal, and most of these ‘Communists’ were apparently Jews and Gypsies.
During February, 1942, more Jewish women and children from towns uch as Smederevo, Nis, and Sabac were brought to Sajmiste, which by that time held roughly sixty-three hundred prisoners, ten percent of whom were Gypsies. Between March and May, 1942, the inmates of Sajmiste were exterminated in a gassng van. Approximately seventy-five hundred Jews, half all Serbian Jews, perished at Sajmiste.
It is indisputable that the executioners of most of Serbia’s Jews were German army personnel or regular police. However, the role of the Serbs as active collaborators in the destruction of the Jews has remained underexplored in the Holocaust literature. According to widely held belief, while the Germans were murdering the Jews of Serbia, were helping or saving them. This was certainly true for some. Yet, a large segment of Serbian society willingly and enthusiastically joined in the destruction of the Jews and profited materially from their demise.
The Serbs assisted the Nazis actively in executing and bringing in Jews, especially the latter. But also in terms of propaganda, Serbian intellectuals did their share in trying to dehumanize the Jews (as many Serbs do currently with their neighbours — this forum being an excellent example) in order to justify their extermination.
Collaborationist newspapers in Belgrade with the largest circulation included Obnova (Renewal; editor in chief Stanislav Krakov), Novo vreme (New Time; editor in chief Milos Mladenovic), Srpski narod (The Serbian Nation; editor in chief Velibor Jonic), and Nasa borba (Our struggle; editor in chief Ratko Parezanin). Obnova was the successor to the pre-war Politika. Nasa borba, which began publication on September 7, 1941, was established at the suggestion of Dimitrije Ljotic, who chose the name as homage to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf (My Struggle).
Nasa borba and Obnova proclaimed that Jews were the ancient enemies of the Serbian people and that the Serbs should not wait for the Germans to begin the extermination of the Jews. An article titled “Borba za cistocu rase” (The Struggle for Racial Purity) vowed that Jews “never again shall be physicians, pharmacists, lawyers, and judges in Serbia.”
Zbor was active in publishing tracts such as Srpski narod u kandzama jevreja (Serbian People in the Claws of the jews), which urged that “Jewry has to be quickly and energetically liquidated, because otherwise the destruction of Christian civilization … is inevitable.”
The book mentioned in the quote above was written by Milorad Mojic, a Serbian intellectual and veteran from World War I. It was written prior to the Nazi invasion, and was ready for printing in 1940. Political reasons hindered this, however. But, during the Nazi occupation, the work was published by Zbor. With other words, it was not the Nazis who introduced the obsession with the exterminating of Jews to Serbia. It existed prior to the Nazis coming to Serbia, and this sets Serbs apart from many other Balkanian collaborators, where a deep-rooted anti-Semitism was not as evident in intellectual circles, let alone institutionalized as it was in Serbia for a long while.
On October 22, 1941, the Grand Anti-Masonic Exhibition opened in Belgrade. The exhibition focused on an alleged Jewish-Masonic-Communist conspiracy for world domination and contained vicious anti-Jewish propaganda. Funded by the city of Belgrade and prepared primarily by Serbs loyal to the Nazis, the exhibition was initially suggested by Djordje Peric, Nedic’s chief of the Section of State Propaganda who had served as a German intelligence agent before the war. The general directors of the exhibition Peric’s State Propaganda colleagues, Lazar Prokic and Stevan Klujic. Both were prominent members of Zbor as well as publishers of the Serbian edition of the Nazi propaganda magazine Signal. Klujic was also an agent of the German Security Police. The Jewish section of the Anti-Masonic Exhibition was prepared by Professor Momcilo Balic from State Propagandaand a contributor to Nasa borba.
The exhibition was a great ’success’ with tens of thousands visitors during its first weeks. Prominent personalities, including Milan Nedic himself, attended the exhibition. The exhibition conitnued until January 19, 1942.
In the destruction of Serbia’s Jews, Zbor’s military arm , known as the Serbian Volunteer Command (later renamed the Serbian Volunteer Corps), in general prooved a highly reliable auxiliary to the Gestapo. The Serbian Volunteer Command sprang from Ljotic’s 1st Detachment of Serbian Volunteers, which was organized as a labor brigade in Smederevo and sent to Belgrade in late July, 1941, to support the German authorities.
On July 27, after 1,200 Belgrade Jews had voluntarily surrendered to the occupation authorities, Ljotic’s Volunteers were responsible for dividing them by profession, sending 1,080 to forced labor, and setting aside about 120 as hostages. Two days later, all 120 hostages were executed as a reprisal for the Partisan uprising. On the streets of Belgrade, Ljotic’s Volunteers closely worked with the Volksdeutsche in capturing mostly elderly Jews, who were then sent to forced labor. After mid-September, 1941, when the Volunteers were armed and became known as the Serbian Volunteer Command, they continued to hunt for Jews in hiding.
Also noteworthy is the role Chetniks played. Initially, some Jews fought in Chetnik ranks, but as the anti-Semitic sentiments in the Chetnik movement prevailed and became more evident as time passed by, the Jews abandoned the Chetniks for the sake of Tito’s Partisans;
As the Chetniks became overt collaborators, they also began to scour the countryside for Jews in hiding. Often they murdered the Jews in Chetnik style — which meant torture, throat-slitting, and mutilation. Alternatively, the Chetniks handed their prey over to the German authorities for reward money, after stripping the Jews of whatever money they posessed. Jewish survivors testified that the Chetniks, particularly those under the command of Draza Mihailovic, “persecuted Jews mercilessly”, and slaughtered them “in a bestial way” — a reference to the similiarity between the Chetnik practice of slitting a victim’s throat and the methods used in butchering a pig.
The role of the Serbian Orthodox Church is also worthy of exploration. The church did not play a passive role in regards to the extermination of Jews. On the contrary, it assisted it by supporting the fascist regime of Nedic and through other means;
In late October, 1941, in a highly publicized meeting between Nedic and representatives of the Serbian Episcopal Synod, Metropolitan Josif, the acting head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, promised Nedic the church’s full support.
The Serbian clergy did not settle with this.
On January 20, 1942, Metropolitan Josif officially prohibited conversions of Jews to Serbian Orthodoxy, and, by doing so, destroyed for Jews a potential means of survival.
Philip Cohen dedicates several pages to the role the Serbian Orthodox Church played in World War I. Among other things, he writes extensively on the true role played by the martyrized Bishop Nikolaj Velimirovic, an anti-Semite. But for now, what has written so far will suffice.
An additional thing which is highly interesting, is that the extermination of the Jews was more or less (in)directly made rather obvious to the Serbian opinion, yet no noticable reactions were recorded.
Serbia’s pro-Nazi newspapers reinforced the message of the exhibition, observing that the interests of the “Jewish-Masonic internationalists” and that of Serbs have always been divergent, and “therefore, their personal fate cannot move us, for they deserved it.”
Firstly, let us establish the meaning of fascism. Fascism is, shortly put, a political ideology that revolves around an authoritative principle (which is in accordance with what D.Mihailovic wanted, namely a monarchy and an authoritarian rule, as in the ‘old days’); terms that are associated with this infamous ideology are nationalism, militarism, anti-communism, authoritarianism, etc. Basically, facists try to put the ultimate loyalty to the nation which is, by fascists, defined by biological and historical circumstances. Additionally, fascists are anti-liberal and do not like the concept of minorities having rights — preferable, they want to expell them and create a homogenous authoritarian state.
Taking this into account, the Chetnik movement falls very well within the frames of fascism. Being anti-Axis did not necessarely mean being anti-fascism, anyless than being an opponent of Hitler’s Nazis automatically meant you were good — Hitler’s main enemy was Joseph Stalin, whose crimes against humanity compare successfully to the crimes committed by Nazis. Additionally, Chetnik ideology was thouroughly formulated by scholars such as Stevan Moljevic, who worked as an adviser of General Draza Mihailovic during the war. In his memorandum, Moljevic writes (among other things) following;
‘In this regard, the Serbs today have a primary and basic duty:
- to create and organize a homogeneous Serbia which must consist of the entire ethnic territory on which the Serbs live, and to ensure the necessary strategic and transportation lines and hubs, as well as economic areas which would enable and secure free economic, political and cultural life and development for all times.’
‘Moving and exchanging inhabitants, especially Serbians for Croatians and Serbians from Croatian areas, is the only way to establish a border and create better relations between them, and this prevents the possibility that the frightful crimes which happened in the last war and especially those in the present war in all areas where Croatians and Serbians are intermingled (and where Croats and Muslims planned the extermination of Serbs) are not repeated.’
These ambitions were prioritated by Draza Mihailovic. That is why the Chetniks committed the crimes they committed in Bosnia, Sandzak and Croatia — especially in Eastern Bosnia, where the Muslim population of Foca and the vicinity suffered harshly under the Chetniks of Pavle Djurisic. Momcilo Djujic, on the other hand, committed crimes against Croatian civilians in Western Bosnia and Dalmatia, as well as Istra later on.
Chetniks also tried to invade Kosova, pillaging and killing, but they were driven back by Albanian volunteers who continued their march-victory into Sandzak, where they protected local Bosniaks.
Conclusively, the only reason for the Chetniks not being called Axis-collaborators (not fascists, which they were), was because they anticipated that the Allies would eventually win. Therefore, they limited their actions in regards to the Germans and Italians to passivity, even collaborating with them in many respects, e.g. hunting down and killing Jews. In harsh words, the Chetnik movement was like a whore selling itself to the highest bidder, which was initially Hitler and then the Allies. They even collaborated with the Ustasha, which goes to show how good they really were. And, more importantly, they were criminals down to the bones, committing vicious crimes against civilians, practicing mutilation in particular.
Draza Mihailovic supported the exile government, which after the coup had tried to accommodate Hitler and the Nazis. Had Germany accepted this, Draza Mihailovic and the Serbian royalists would have been open collaborators with the Axis. Because Hitler’s suspicions, they settled with unofficial collaboration … which meant that Chetniks avoided confrontations with Nazis until the Allies gained serious upper-hand, by which time they started rescuing Allied aviators etc.
But some Chetniks maintained their loyalty to the Nazis throughout the war, like Momcilo Djujic.
Conclusively, I would like to say that Serbia has successfully falsified its role during WWII, by dressing herself as a victimized martyr at the hands of Nazis, surrounded by collaborationist neighbours, namely Ustashas, Handzars and Ballists, whilst she fought brvaely against a merciless invader. The truth, as evident by the facts presented above, was quite different. Fascism was not introduced to Serbia, it existed there prior to the Nazis. Notable Serbian intellectuals, such as Vaso Cubrilovic, Stevan Moljevic, Nikola Stojadinovic and others, formulated what this fascism was about, namely the creation of a homogeneous Serbian state that extended beyond its natural borders.
This through expulsion and extermination!
By inflating the number of Serbian civil casualties in Jasenovac and other sites, the Serbs have even tried to equate themselves to the Jews, whom they mercilessly hunted down and handed over to the Nazis, even killing them, as they did in the Banjica concentration camp, which was essentially a Serb-run camp; there, some 23,697 victims passed through, including many Jews, of whom atleast 798 were children. All in all, 94 percent of Serbia’s 16,000 Jews were killed because of the extensive collaboration between Serbs and Nazis.
This part of Serbian history has been successfully supressed by Serbian revisionists, whom liked the idea of forging an alliance between the powerfull Jews in the US and Serbia. With a past like Serbia’s, Serbs needed to divert the Jews’ concentration from the Serbs’ deeds, and emphasize the collaborators in neighbouring countries. But Serbian fascism remains nonetheless unique. While fascist collaborators existed in all Balkan countries/among all Balkanian peoples, Serbia differed from Albania and Croatia, for instance, in the sense that fascism and anti-Semitism at an institutional level was not introduced by the German occupier, but existed there prior to 1941, infact, long before. Bearing this in mind, it sounds rather ridiculous when Serbs try to project the terms Nazi or fascist to their neighbours, in particular the Croats, when infact the Serbs themselves had a deeply rooted anti-Semitic tradition which covered almost all circles in Serbian society, be it the intellectual sphere, the political elite or even the “holy” Serbian Orthodox “Church”!!!
Bearing all this in mind, the Serbian propaganda of the alleged victim-role Serbia played during WWII, how it protected its Jews and never persecuted them etc, sounds especially cynical and evil. An example is the year 1988, when Serbs issued an émigré publication titled “Srbi i Jevreji” (The Serbs and the Jews). Its principal author was Laza Kostic. When asked what he thought of the Jews, he stated following; “I am a fanatical friend of the Jews in general and of the Serbian ones in particular”. This man was a commissar in Milan Acimovic’s Nazi-collaborationist government. The two editors of the book possesed no less dubious biographies; Radisa M.Nikasinovic had recently printed a book by Lazar Prokic titled Literarni pabirci (Literary Gleanings). L.Prokic was a prominent member of Zbor and a publisher of the Serbian version of the Nazi propaganda magazine titled Signal. The other editor, Ilija M.Pavlovic was a former officer in Nedic’s Serbian Border Guard. Ironic then, one must say, that these men wrote following passages in the book mentioned above;
The Serbs are one of the rare peoples in the world who have lived with the Jews in peace and … love throughout the whole history of their settlement in our lands. …… The Serbs never persecuted the Jews, never carried out any demonstrations against them. Not one anti-Semitic text has ever appeared in the press, and hatred against them was not spread orally either. …… There was no more tolerant country toward the Jews. Cinsiderably later, many other countries copied the so-called “emancipation of the Jews” from the Serbs. …
… Never did Nedic’s government or (Acimovic’s) Government of Comissars even contemplate participation in any aspect of the ezterminationof the Jews by the Germans.
The book claims it was Jews who betrayed this historical friendship, that Jews are ungrateful of what Milan Nedic did for them. The echo of such vicious lies is ugly. But, as Dobrica Cosic puts it, Serbian patriotism is the ability to fabricate lies to serve the nation’s interests. And in regards to WWII, the Serbs have succeeded, because collaborationists there are mostly always associated with the Ustasha of Croatia, or Bulgaria and Antonescu’s Romania, but infact, Serbia had primitive forms of concentration camps as early as the 1800s.
Finally, a little visual display of photos as well as images from the grand Anti-Masonic exhibiton in Belgrade;
Milan Nedic and Adolf Hitler
Dragoljub “Draza” Mihailovic
Vojislav Seselj — Djujic’s heir
Serbian Volunteer Corps
“Come and see the anti-masonic exhibition. The Jewish dream of being the power of the world is now disappearing under the attack from finally awakened nationalism.”
“The anti-masonic exhibit, whose work is included; English-American autocrats; those againstg democratic immigration; bloody soviet aristocrats and all idiotic brotherhoods.”
” Which side will be heavier? Neither because the Jew is holding the scale. See the anti-masonic exhibition and then you will know for certain.”
“The Jew is holding the strings. Whose strings and how? He’ll answer you. The anti-masonic exhibit”
“Finance in the USA is 98% in Jewish hands!”
“The press in the USA is 97% in Jewish Hands.”
“His weapons: democracy, masonry, captalism and communism.”
“His weapons: democracy, masonry, captalism and communism (leads to death).”
“The Jews’ weapons: democracy, masonry, captalism and communism.”
“Worse than a wolf: taking world’s wealth”
“Here is the guilty one, the one to blame.”
“The kiss of an English Jew (like the kiss of death)”
“Be on the lookout, you’ll still not know or beaware.”
“The work of the Jews: fabrics, cement, cartels, factories. Wants everything!”
“How did it happen? Jews are doing well with Bolshevik and Plutocrats because Bolshevism and Plutocracy are the work of Jews.”
“Punish them, how are they surviving?”
“Beware, they’re coming”
“I did as you wished, the Communist International is on recess (Jewish Chairs)”
“Jewish Trickery Against Europe. Circa. 1941 English- Soviet. Alliance Against Facism.”
“The Jew’s balance Roosevelt and Churchill”
The last 20 pictures come from this site. The facts are from Philip J.Cohen’s book “Serbia’s Secret War”, foreword by David Riesman!
The first experiments in mass executions of camp inmates by poison gas were carried out in Serbia. Serbia was the first country to proudly declare itself “Judenfrei” (”cleansed” of Jews).
In August 1942, Dr. Harald Turner (the chief of the German civil administration in Serbia) announced that Serbia was the only country in which the “Jewish question” was solved and that Belgrade was the “first city of a New Europe to be Judenfrei.” Turner himself attributed this success to Serbian help.
The fight against the Jewish influence had actually started six months before the German invasion when the government of Serbia issued legislation restricting Jewish participation in the economy and university enrolment.
“The Serbian chetniks of Draza Mihailovic were represented as fighters against the occupier, while in fact they were the allies of the Nazi fascists in Yugoslavia….The documents in this collection indicate clearly and unequivocally that the Chetniks collaborated with the occupiers, both in the military and political sphere, as well as in the domain of economic activity, intelligence and propaganda… (source: the Serbian scholars, Dr. Jovan Marjanovic & Mihail Stanisic, The collaboration of Draza Mihailovic’s Chetniks with the enemy forces of occupation, 1976.)
Immunity of Serbia is not currently experiencing persecution, overt expressions of Serbian antisemitism do surface in such mainstream institutions as the Serbian Orthodox Church and the official news media. The 15 January 1992 issue of the official publication of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Pravoslavlje (Orthodoxy), carried an article entitled, “Jews Crucify Christ Again.” In this polemic, “treacherous” and “surreptitious” Israeli politicians were said to be constrained from expressing their “pathological” hatred of Christians openly because “they know that Christian countries gave them the state.” Allegedly, nuns are so frequently beaten in Israel, that one nun was actually “happy, because they only spit in her face.” Only weeks later, when Russia extended diplomatic recognition to the former Yugoslav republics of Croatia and Slovenia, the official Yugoslav (Serbian perspective) news agency Tanjug blamed “a Jewish conspiracy” against Serbia, hauntingly reminiscent of the theme of the 1941 anti-Masonic exhibit.
The essential strategy of Serbian propaganda is to portray the spiritual kinship between Jews and Serbs as victims of the Holocaust and endangered by Croats. This concept is disseminated through the Serbian-Jewish Friendship Society, founded in Belgrade in 1988 and supported by the Serbian government. In January and February 1992, Dr. Klara Mandic, the secretary-general and principal voice of this organization, syndicated a chilling article in the North American Jewish press. This article alleged that Ankica Konjuh, an elderly Jewish woman, was tortured and murdered by “Croat extremists” in September 1991. However, even as she released this story to the press, Dr. Mandic knew that Ankica Konjuh was neither a Jew nor could have been killed by Croats. Bona-fide witnesses have testified that Ankica Konjuh, a 67 year-old Croat, was one of 240 civilians massacred by Serbian forces after the last Croat defenders were driven from the region. Moreover on 23 December 1991, the Federation of Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia met in Belgrade and demanded in writing that Dr. Mandic cease and desist misrepresenting Ankica Konjuh as the first Jewish victim of the war. Nevertheless, in late February 1992, when Dr. Mandic lectured at the Hillel House of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., she provided the rabbi with a copy of that misleading article, delivered without further comment. It is noteworthy that this speaking engagement was part of a tour arranged by Wise Communications, a Washington-based public relations firm representing the Serbian oil company Jugopetrol, a thinly veiled proxy for the Communist Belgrade government. Beginning with the proposition that antisemitism has never existed in Serbia, Dr. Mandic portrayed Croatia as preparing to repeat the Holocaust. She claimed to be a “Jewish leader,” although Jews are distinctly absent from her constituency. Less than half a dozen Jews are actual members of her society of several thousand. She introduced herself as an “eyewitness” speaking on behalf of Croatian Jews, although since the war began, she has had no contact with any of the nine Jewish communities of Croatia. When Dr. Mandic was asked to comment on Serbian (Yugoslav Army) shelling of the synagogue of Dubrovnik, the second oldest surviving synagogue in Europe, she denied that the synagogue had ever been damaged at all. Meanwhile, the attack has been well documented by the Jewish community of Dubrovnik and the World Monument Fund.
Jewish sensitivity to the Holocaust is similarly exploited by the Jewish-Serbian Friendship Society of America (Granada Hills, California), an offshoot of Dr. Mandic’s organization. Its newsletter equates the Jewish and Serbian positions during World War II, both as victims of Croats, but fails to mention Serbian complicity in the Holocaust, Serbian collaboration with the Nazis, and Serbian genocide against Croats, Gypsies, and Bosniaks. It warns of an imminent Holocaust being initiated in Croatia. A contrasting portrayal of Croatia, however, emerges from a spectrum of Croatian Jews, American Jews who have visited Croatia, and international Jewish agencies monitoring events on site. All concur that there is no state-sponsored antisemitism in Croatia; the rights of the Jewish minority are respected; and antisemitic incidents are virtually unknown. Thus, only a few dozen of the 2,000 Jews of Croatia have chosen to emigrate to Israel since the war began.
Serbia of today and Germany in World War II offer striking parallels. In 1991, Vojislav Seselj, a member of the Serbian Parliament and leader of the Serbian irregulars who call themselves Chetniks, declared, “We want no one else on our territory and we will fight for our true borders.” Croats and Bosniaks in Serbian conquered regions are forced to wear red-and-white armbands, analogous to the yellow armbands worn by Jews in Serbia during the Holocaust. The stated purpose of the expulsion of Bosniaks and Croats from captured regions is “ethnic cleansing.” The indigenous non-Serbian populations of the invaded territories are being driven from their homes, exterminated, or imprisoned in concentration camps, to create regions of Serbian ethnic purity. Jewish community centres, synagogues, and cemeteries have been damaged and destroyed by characteristically indiscriminate Serbian artillery attacks. To all of this, the Jewish-Serbian Friendship Society has remained conspicuously silent.
Belgrade has promoted the myth of Serbian kinship with the Jews as fellow victims of Nazi oppression, while concealing the true extent of Serbian collaboration with the Nazis. It is ironic that Serbia is now seeking Jewish support for a war in which both the idealogy and methodology so tragically echo nazism. The European Community, the Helsinki Commission, the United Nations, and the United States have all condemned Serbia as the aggressor. Western diplomats have characterized the current Serbian regime as “a lying, terrorist criminal organization.” Serbia, however, claims to be the victim and campaigns for Jewish sympathy and support, exploiting the powerful symbolism of the Holocaust. Serbia’s professed solicitude for the Jewish people must be reexamined.
“Beware, they’re coming” “Punish them, how are they surviving?”
“The Jew is holding the strings. Whose strings and how? He’ll answer you. The anti-masonic exhibit”
=> Jasenovac: victims of war according to data from the Yugoslav Institute of Statistics(1964), Bosniak Institute, Zurich, Sarajevo, 1998.
This study - published for the first time after so many years - provides the name by name list of victims of the Jasenovac Camp, compiled by the Yugoslav government in 1964. It is the first and only official state list of victims of Jasenovac between 1941-1945. The list contains a total of 49,602 names of Jasenovac victims. Of these, 5,900 were Croats, 26,170 Serbs, 8,121 Jewish, 1,471 Roma, 789 Muslim, 174 Slovenian, 59 Hungarian, 35 Montenegrin, 7 Macedonian, others 84, and those not identified by nationality 6,792. From the Stara Gradiska camp: 9,586 victims, of which were: 646 Croats, 7,774 Serbs, 923 Jewish, 20 Slovenian, 3 Montenegrin, 1 Hungarian, not identified by nationality 58 and other 1. The total from both camps was registered as 59,188. The book can be purchased in book stores and from the Croatian News and Information Service, HINA.
=> Serbia’s Secret War: Propaganda and the Deceit of History, by Dr. Philip Cohen, Texas A&M University Press, College Station, 1996. (Croatian edition: Tajni rat Srbije: Propaganda i manipuliranje povijescu, Ceres, Zagreb, 1997. Note: Sarajevo edition also in print)
The major part of this book concerns the systematic cover-up of Serbian anti-Semitism and the fate of Jews in other areas of former Yugoslavia, and not just within the Independent State of Croatia. On several occasions, Cohen touches upon the issue of Jasenovac, providing new data on the camp. The book is available in larger bookstores. Cohen’s book has garnered numerous positive reviews from Western critics and press.
=> The World War and Contemporary Chetniks: Historical-Political Continuity and Implications for Stability in the Balkans, by Dr. Philip J. Cohen, Ceres, Zagreb, 1997.
The basic intention of this book is to educate readers (in particular foreign readers) of the historical-political continuity of the Serbian Chetnik movement from the time of the Second World War until the present day, where Chetniks continue to play a significant role in contemporary society, in the military and political institutions of Serbia, Yugoslavia, the so-called Republika Srpska and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The book is available (in Croatian and English) in most Croatian bookstores