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2009.06.19. – Holocaust of Jews in Serbia

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Serbia Participated in the Holocaust of Jews, Helsinki Report

A group of Chetniks pose with German soldiers in an unidentified village in Serbia.
Date:1941 – 1945;
Locale:[Serbia] Yugoslavia;
Credit:
United States Holocaust
Memorial Museum
Saturday, 13 June 2009 23:21 .A Nazi-backed puppet government in Serbia
participated in the Holocaust of Jews during World War II. Serbian
Chetniks collaborated with Nazi fascists and committed horrendous
genocide against Jews and Bosnian Muslims. Here is a full report about
Serbia’s fascist legacy published by the Helsinki Committee for Human
Rights in Serbia. Will Serbia ever acknowledge its involvement in the
extermination of Jews and Bosnian Muslims? Will the Government of
Serbia ever apologize?
Anti-Semitism
Ouster
of Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000 did not lead to a complete break
with the legacy of his regime. Aside from a continuing formal-legal
framework and mechanism of power, the persisting legacy is mirrored in
non-relinquishment of the (defeated) Greater Serbia Project,
nationalism, denial of recent crimes and atrocities, and reluctance to
face up to recent wartime responsibility. Absence of repression, as the
last defence line of the former regime (it was practically the only
important change on the domestic plane) encouraged far-right
organisations (notably still unidentified "Orao"), groups and
individuals to step up their public activities. Ideological profile of
current authorities, self-styled "democratic nationalism" is just a
cover for makeover of ethnic nationalism and slide of society into
clericalism, traditionalism, anti-globalisation, xenophobia. In the
political and social arena, which failed to articulate options and
forces bent on fundamental reformation of society and re-definition of
general social goals in direction of modernisation and acceptance of
existing European and international civilisational standards, criteria,
old ideas are again gaining an upper hand. In such a general context,
escalating anti-Semitism is more than an accompanying phenomenon, and
merits special attention.
Pre-WW1 period
In
his book "Yugoslavia and the Jewish Problem" (1938) E.B. Gajic
maintained that in Yugoslavia there was no formal or genuine
discrimination of Jews. He furthermore argued that all forms of
anti-Semitism are "alien to the Yugoslav, and notably Serb mind-set and
people." Historical sources maintain otherwise.
When
in 1806-1807 Belgrade was liberated from Turks many Jews were killed
and vilified, and even outlawed. Majority of surviving Jews was killed
in 1813 on the eve of the new Turkish conquest of Belgrade because of
economic competition and plundering. Until the 1878 Berlin Congress
Jews had reasons to regret the fact that they were no longer under the
Turkish occupation, for the Empire was religiously tolerant.
Primitive
milieu of the Dukedom of Serbia was hostile towards foreigners,
including domestic Jews. In a series of discriminating actions the
authorities as early as in 1845 banned Jews to settle in the interior.
That is why about 2,000 Jews moved to Belgrade 1, although the nature
of their professions and crafts linked them to villages/ hamlets and
small towns.
During the reign of Duke Mihailo in
1860 the authorities issued a decree on banishment of 60 families from
the interior of the dukedom, but under pressure of big powers repealed
it. The British sources in the second half of the 19th century spoke
about stringent measures taken against the Jews in Serbia.
1 Laslo Sekelj, Vreme 31 August 1992
A
month after publication of a series of stridently anti-Jewish articles
in paper "Svetovod," in 1865, in Sabac two Jews were killed, and in a
local church a forcible conversion of a 11-year old Jewish girl was
effected. Those events caused outrage and resistance of the Jewish
community, whose prominent members wrote a series of protest letters.
But publishing of those letters was banned by the government. In 1867,
in a response to the appeal of Sabac Jews, the British MPs discussed
the status of Jews in Serbia. They told the Belgrade government to
comply with obligations stemming from the 1856 Paris Agreement, under
which the big powers guaranteed autonomy of Serbia, if it "shows
respect for full freedom of exercise of religion." But the British MPs
assessed that "the Orthodox Serbs understood as freedom of religion
only the exercise of religion by the majority people." Hence they
demanded a permanent diplomatic pressure on Belgrade, in order to
compel Serbia to comply with its international obligations. Despite
that pressure and parliamentary interpellations in 187O, anti-Semitic
laws from 1856 and 1861 remained in force. Because of those laws a
large number of Jews left Serbia. From Sabac, Smederevo and Pozarevac
Jews were expelled. Only three years later, in 1876, 11 Jewish families
were driven out of Smederevo.
The Berlin Treaty set
as a condition for independence of Serbia: repeal of anti-Semitic
decrees from the 1869 Constitution. Only the 1888 Constitution
provisions in full met with obligations of the Treaty. As a consequence
the legal status of Jews was improved, but they still represented "an
alien body" in society. They were sidelined in the social sphere until
early 20th century, when 6 Jews became members of government.
According
to the 1890 census 3,600 Jews ( 2,600 in Belgrade) lived in Serbia. In
1884 the Serb-Jewish Association of Singers was founded in 1884.
Period between the two wars and the WW2
In
the territory of the newly-emerged Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and
Slovenes there were several hundred Jewish communities, while in 1919
the Alliance of Religious Communities was set up. Those Jewish
communities are still operational.
According to the
1939 census there were 71,000 Jews in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and
they were registered ad members of the Jewish religious denomination.
Before the outbreak of the WW1 many Jewish refugees from Germany,
Austria and other Nazi-ruled countries found refuge in Yugoslavia.
According to the data of the Federation of Jewish Communities in
1939-1941 period 55,000 emigrants came to Yugoslavia. And part of them
shared the fate of domestic Jewish population.
Lazar
Prokic writes that "among Serbs an autochthonous anti-Semitic movement
emerged, which Jews, before 6 April 1941, sometimes by diplomatic and
sometimes by forcible means repressed, as thanks to the their financial
might they were able to influence governments as much as they wanted.
That anti-Semitism was not related to the German occupation. Jews were
guilty of that original Serb anti-Semitism. Serbs do not want to feel
solidarity for Jews, for the latter declined to show solidarity for the
former in 1804, 1862 and 1875."
Anti-Semitism as the official policy of Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Yugoslav
Foreign Secretary, Anton Korosec, stated in September 1938, that
"Jewish issue did not exist in Yugoslavia…. Jewish refugees from the
Nazi Germany are not welcome here." Three months later, the only Jewish
member of government, Rabbi Isaac Alkalai was dismissed from the
government at the express request of Prime Minister Milan Stojadinovic.
The peak of anti-Semitism, elevated to the level of the official policy
of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, were anti-Semitic acts of Cvetkovic-Macek
government, enforced as of 5 October 1940. Decree on Registration of
Persons of Jewish Descent introduced a numerus clausus of 0.5%, which
meant that the number of Jews admitted to secondary school and
universities could not be superior to their % share in total
population. Under the second anti-Semitic law Jews were banned from
performing certain professions (wholesale trade in foodstuffs), and
under the third one they were excluded from some military branches,
could not pass officers’ exams and could not be promoted.
Anti-Semitism in the publishing activity
Prime
movers of anti-Semitism between the two World Wars were publishers.
Protocols of the Zion Elders were for the first time translated and
published in 1929, in Split, under title Real Basis or Protocols of
Zion Elders, signed M. Tomic. The next edition, titled, Protocols of
Assembly of Zion Elders was published in 1934 in Belgrade by certain
Patriciousus. The Public Prosecutor in March 1935 banned distribution
of both editions. Despite the ban the second edition was published
again in 1936. In 1933-40 more than 10 anti-Semitic brochures were
published. On the eve of the war more than 10 anti-Semitic brochures
came out and 6 as a response to anti-Semitic attacks. Ljotic’s Zbor
published most editions with anti-Semitic contents. Intense
anti-Semitic campaign was conducted by newspapers like Obnova, Novo
Vreme, Srpski narod and Nasa Borba 3, promoters of the Fascist
ideology, several years before the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia. Those
papers urged retributive actions against Jews 4, vilified Jews as
ancient enemies of Serbs 5, and stressed that "the final settlement of
the Jewish issue" could be effected without Germany. Zbor published a
brochure titled Serb People in Claws of Jews, penned
2 Lazar Prokic, "Our problems: Jews in Serbia," Obnova, 15 November 1941
3 Founder of Nasa Borba is Dimitrije Ljotic. The paper was modelled on Mein Campf.
4 In line with principles of conspiracy theory.
5 Obnova and Nasa Borba

by Milorad Mojic. He advocated "a swift and energetic liquidation of
Jewry unless we want to witness destruction of the Christian
civilisation." 6 In 1941-45 period 51 anti-Semitic brochure were
published.
Zbor
A leading
Yugoslav exponent of Nazi ideology, Dimitrije Ljotic, founded Zbor, a
pan-Serbian, pro-Nazi and Fascist party in 1935. It was a small but
very active organisation which published a large number of papers,
books and brochures, including most extreme anti-Semitic literature. In
Vojvodina, an ethnically mixed milieu, boasting a community of about
500,000 volskdeutchers, Zbor published newspapers in German language
Die Erwache (Awakening), and in Serbian language, Nas put. Both
publications instigated war against Jews. Association of Jewish
Communities in 1936 filed a libel lawsuit against publisher of the
paper, but the court dropped the charges.
Serb Orthodox Church
Patriarch
(Petar Rosic) Varnava in 1937 showed "live interest in Hitler and his
policy which serves the whole mankind." In May 1937 the SOC in its
official publication indicated that "Jews are a force hiding behind the
Free Masonry, Capitalism and Communism, the three biggest evils of the
world."7
Jews, representatives of Free Masonry,
Jews, representatives of capitalism, and Jews, representatives of
proletariat revolution have all similar view on the world. They are
just Jews and nothing else…Therefore enemy is as sly as a snake and
appears in several shapes. That is why it is dangerous."8
Anti-Masonic Exhibition
On
22 November 1941 a major anti-Masonic exhibition was opened. It was
widely promoted by the media. Exhibition was funded by city
authorities, at proposal of DJordje Peric, Head of Nesic’s state
propaganda, while its directors, Lazar Prokic and Lazar Kljujic, also
members of the state propaganda department, were firebrands of Zbor.
Representatives of German authorities attended the opening ceremony.
According to first information exhibit was seen by 10,000 Serbs and
General Nedic. The press hyped up the message of the exhibit: "Jews
deserved their fate, for interests of the Jewish internationalists
never coincided with those of Serbs." 9 In early 1942 a series of
stamps …
6 Milorad Mojic, Secretary of Zbor, 1941, page 40
7
Foreign Review; "Patriarch Varnava urges fight against Communism,"
Gazette of the SOC Patriarchy, Belgrade, 1 and 2 February 1937.
8 Through the church press; Three spectres, Gazette of the SOC, 12 May 1937
9 Major anti-Masonic exhibit. Obnova, 27 November 1941
… promoted that exhibit.
World War 2
Serbia
was the first area in Europe which according to proud German claims in
summer 1942, was "Judenrein" (cleansed of Jews) Milan Nedic and his
national salvation army10, Ljotic Movement members, gendermerie, and
special police helped Germans and volksdeutchers effect that cleansing.
11 But some Jews were killed by the Chetnik Movement of Draza
Mihajlovic.
First repressive measures against Jews
were implemented in Serbia and Banat: arrests, looting, harassment,
passing of anti-Semitic decrees, forcible contributions, desecration
and demolition of cemeteries, sinagogues and other Jewish institutions.
On 19 April 1941 all Jews were ordered to wear a yellow armband and to
register. Several hostages had been shot down before October 1941 when
mass liquidations of Jews began.12 Jews were taken to Toposka suma
detention centre in Belgrade, and kept as hostages there. Imprisoned
Jews (and Romany) were used to fill up quotas for the German policy of
retaliation, that is, killing of 100 persons for one assassinated
German soldier. By the end of 1941 most male Jews were shot down by
Vermacht firing squads. In November 1941 German authorities ordered
construction of a detention centre Sajmiste (Fair grounds) for
remaining Jewish women and children. Over 5,000 Jews were transported
to Sajmiste in December 1941 and in the following months most of them
died of hunger and cold.
In the WW2 four fifths of
Jews in Yugoslavia were killed. Among the survivors were those who had
fled to the Italian-occupied territory, those who had joined the
Partisan units, or had gone into hiding. Of 59 Jewish municipalities in
the pre-war period, only 15 with small memberships resumed their
activities after 1945.
10 Nedic’s contribution to
elimination of Jews was historically confirmed. Milan Nedic and his
government of national salvation took on the task of "cleansing Serbia
of Jews, renegades, and Gypsies." Nedic personally used anti-Semitic
rhetoric to discredit partisans, whom he labelled "Criminal
Jewish-Communist gang."
11 According to historical
sources even a military part of Zbor renowned as the Serbian Voluntary
Guard acted as a reliable ally of Gestapo in elimination of Jews. They
searched flats, kept in custody detained communists and Jews and fought
against partisans.
12 On 27 July 1941 in
retaliation for attempted torching of a German vehicle by a Jewish boy,
122 persons were shot down by firing squads.
The post-WW2 period
In
the post-WW2 period new wave of assimilation of Jews began. 13 The
number of Jews declaring themselves as members of that nation and
participating in the work of Jewish communities dwindled.
Creation
of the state of Israel created a new dilemma of the stay- or- emigrate
kind for many Jews. Under a decree of the Yugoslav authorities Jews who
opted for emigration were allowed to take with them only movable
possessions, while they had to renounce their real estate to the
benefit of the state. Property of big Jewish landowners and capitalists
(owners of plants) was nationalised or impounded through agrarian
reform. In 1948-1951 period about 9,000, almost half of survivors,
emigrated.
In the pre-WW2 period Jews fostered
their identity and traditions within the family fold. Membership of the
Jewish community played a central role in their life too. Large
communities had a sinagogue, and rabbi, other priests and a teacher
were involved in religious education classes imparted in sinagogues and
Jewish communities. In the post -WW2 period that role was taken on by
municipalities, which also organised cultural activities. Jewish
communities also kept in touch with Israel and international Jewish
organisations.
Anti-Semitic incidents have
gradually increased since 1967, after severance of diplomatic ties
between the SFRY and Israel. But then they were only a marginal
phenomenon 14, for the state decried them. "Anti-Israeli publications
bore all the hallmarks of the Communist, political authoritarianism,
but in a stark contrast to similar incidents Europe-wide, anti-Semitism
was consciously avoided. Very small number of anti-Semitic texts and
critical reactions to them, attests to the aforementioned. 15
In
the Seventies anti-Semitic texts came out occasionally. Their linchpin
was the book Protocols of Zion Elders. In 1971 a Titograd-based
literary magazine Ovjde ran a text by Aleksandar Loncar which inter
alia16 alleged a high documentary value of facts presented in the
Protocols of Zion Elders. In a literary magazine Delo, Dragos Kalajic
made a similar claim, that is, maintained that Protocols was an
authentic, documentary source for making judgement about the character
of the Jewish religion. 17 Milo Glavurtic paraphrased Protocols in his
private edition Satan in 1978. Alliance of Jewish Communities filed a
lawsuit against Glavurtic, but did not win the case. Ilustrovana
Politika ran a feature of Mihailo Popovski Secret World of Masonry
which included excerpts from Protocol. After several political
interventions the magazine stopped running the feature. The book with
the same title was published in 1984 by Nova Knjiga.
13
In that period the party membership and not national descent counted
most. Religion was not an important factor. A larger number of war
veterans were not demobilised after the war. Mixed marriages were
commonplace.
14 Laslo Sekelj, Vreme bescasca, Belgrade, 1995
15 Idem, page 76
16
The same author wrote in the same text about "power of Jews" as a cause
of "a sad fate of two major authors, Celine and Ezra Pound."
17 Dragos Kalajic, Delo, 1970, page 677
Despite the ban the Macedonian version came out in 1985, and in the late Eighties it again appeared in Belgrade bookstores.
Beginning of the SFRY disintegration
According
to the data of the Jewish community of Belgrade, 177 Jews, mostly from
Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia emigrated since the
beginning of the Yugoslav crisis. "The figures speak of a small-scale
emigration," said Jasa Almuli, the then President of the Belgrade
Jewish Community. 18 But according to the official data, 1,800 Jews
left Yugoslavia, from 1991-1998. Those data can be considered
controversial, unless one takes into account the fact that many Jews
declared themselves as members of other ethnic nations. Hence it is
difficult to establish the exact number of emigrants.
Jewish
organisations in Croatia and Slovenia followed in the footsteps of
their ‘domicile’ countries. Vice President of the Jewish Community in
Croatia, Srdjan Matic, thus commented their move: "We obviously regret
our breakaway move, but it was imposed by clashing realities in
Yugoslavia….We are disappointed by conduct of national (Jewish)
Federation in Belgrade…It has not condemned the bombing of Dubrovnik
during which the old sinagogue was also damaged. Furthermore it also
declined to take part in the meeting of religious communities in
Sarajevo several months ago, which compelled us to stay away from the
meeting too"19 Matic also criticised the Jewish Federation in Belgrade
for a mild response to a bomb-planting in downtown area and in the
Jewish cemetery in Zagreb, on 19 August 1992.
David
Albahari, writer and President of the Jewish Community in Belgrade, who
tried to save the Jewish Federation, regrets the rift, but admits its
inevitability: "Before the joint meeting in Sarajevo, Jewish
communities in Slovenia and Croatia declared unilateral secession. We
thought that it was done under the pressure of their governments."
Albahari rejected allegations that the Belgrade seat of the Jewish
Federation did not condemn the bombing of Dubrovnik sinagogue.
"Sinanogue was not shelled. One shell fell in its proximity, and
several windows were broken. Under such circumstances one could easily
condemn the Serb government, as our brothers in Croatia demanded."20.
In
a bid to explain different stands of Jewish communities on developments
in the former Yugoslavia and underscore manipulation of Jews by
political actions, David Albahari says: "Initially Jewish communities
reacted as they were told, by accepting incoming information at
face-value. Despite our demands that the Jewish communities should stay
away from the conflict, some moves were made without considering
objective picture of developments. It took us almost a year to persuade
them that our best …
18 Almuli, Intervju, 7 February 1992
19 Vecernje Novosti, 19 April 1992
20 Idem
position as an organised grouping was to continue to sit on the fence, in political terms. 21
Jews in Serbia
3,000
strong Jewish community, composed mostly of Sephardic Jews lives in
Serbia (first Sephardic Jews fled from the Spanish Inquisition and
settled in the Ottoman Empire countries, including Serbia.)
The
principal generator of anti-Semitism in Serbia is the new Serbian
Right, made of so-called left-wing and right wing parties in the
political scene of Serbia, parts of the Serbian Orthodox Church and
intellectual elite, or all those who advocate the idea of the
international conspiracy against Serbia and oppose the new world order.
Misa Levi, President of the Jewish Community in Belgrade draws
attention to escalating anti-Semitism and ties between Serbia and
Russia, both on the state and church level. Added to that quite a
number of public media and prominent public figures constantly espouses
the thesis of existence of the unique Jewish opinion in the world,
decisive influence of Jews on creation of the US policy, and anti-Serb
stance of the international Jewish institutions and renowned Jewish
intellectuals. Publicist and analyst of religion Mirko DJordjevic says
that the current wave of anti-Semitism is not caused by Jews: "It is a
very belated historical response of certain circles to all things
foreign and different."
Anti-Semitism Monitoring
Commission of the FJCY, in qualifying anti-Semitism, often resorts to
euphemisms: "it is a contained, low-level anti-Semitism. Hence we did
not suggest special measures to the Executive Board of the FJCY,
barring our complaints and protests in writing to certain religious and
political factors." 23 The Jewish community stressed that it was always
sensitive to equalisation of religion and nation, and even more so to
identification between the majority nation and the state. The FJCY
communique stresses: "It is not disputable that Jews in Serbia are
under the law equal to other nations. But is it so in practice? Does
this state, in every public discussion observe the fact that all its
nationals are equal, irrespective of nationality, religion and other
features of identity?"
At the same time ambivalent
position on Jews is expressed through another extreme-equalisation of
tragic fates of the two peoples.
For example,
writer Vuk Draskovic, in 1985 described Serbs as Jews of the late
Twentieth Century: "Each inch of Kosovo is Jerusalem for Serbs: there
is no difference between suffering of Serbs and Jews. Serbs are the
thirteenth lost and most unfortunate tribe of Israel." In the first
years of war, Jews were not seen as opponents. On the contrary the
authorities tried to win them over for the "Serb cause." Frequent were
comparisons between "identical, tragic fates of Jews and Serbs as
heavenly and innocent peoples, victims of genocide." In that period
Serbian authorities were "inclined" to Jews-…
21 Borba, 8 December 1993
22 Radio B92, 20 February 2001
23 Jewish Review, Bulletin of Federation of the Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia (FJCY), January 2000

the media ran information about their activities, texts and features on
friendly relations between Serbs and Jews, and evenings of Jewish
poetry were organised.24 Federation of Jewish Municipalities was
promised that it would be given back one of the most beautiful
sinagogues in Serbia, the one in Nis (but that promise has never been
fulfilled). At the same time the media increasingly reported on
desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Serbia, notably in Zemun and
Pancevo, 25 and decried those incidents.
"Filosemitism"
Society
of the Serb-Jewish Friendship was registered on 21 November 1988, while
the founding assembly was held on 4 March 1989. According to the
proclamation the society was tasked with bringing together the two
peoples, "frequently accused of being different."26 Soon the Society’s
branch office was set up in Kosovo, and later another thirty branch
offices emerged Serbia-wide. Abortive attempts to set up such a society
were registered even in the former Yugoslavia, during the one-party
system. 27
Founding of the said Society, obviously
tasked with abusing Jews for political purposes, was criticised and
disapproved of by many Jewish intellectuals. Writer Filip David stated
that at the founding meeting he notice "many wise heads, members of the
Serbian Academy of Sciences, several prominent Serbian nationalists,
and several elderly Jews, self-styled ‘Serbs of Moses faith.’ The idea
of the founders was to help Serbia by enlisting our Jews to shore up
support for the Serbian cause in the United States, through their,
allegedly important connections. Early on I tried to say that the story
about a conspiratorial world Jewish centre, dictating the entire world
policy, was a sheer nonsense, and that the idea originated from the
notorious Protocols of Zion Elders." David went on to note: "This type
of association was nonsensical, for there was not need for Jews, as
Serbian citizens, to set up the Society of the Serb-Jewish
Friendship."28 Filip David realised that behind the project were indeed
"nationalistic hot-heads" after his meeting with Ljubomir Tadic. Namely
David, after the founding meeting, in his letter to Tadic, requested a
meeting with him and expressed his negative opinion of the very
Society.
At the first convention of the Society, in
May 1990, the SJSF Secretary Klara Mandic stated that "the Society must
persist in making public the names of all Serbs, victims of genocide,
for their names are absent from the genocide-related books. Another …

24 Politika, 7 July 1991
25 Vecernje Novosti, 25 April 1991
26 Politika, 3 July 1990
27
Socialist Alliance of Working People of Yugoslavia was against
formation of the said Society on the following grounds: "There is no
need to establish any association resting on close national or
nationalities ties, in the SFRY territory." Later Jews also opposed the
existence of such a society, and maintained that it was legitimate to
forge closer ties only between Serbia and Israel."
28 Interview with Filip David.

important task of the society was "sending of pertinent publications to
15,000 influential people and politicians in Europe, America and
Canada."29 FJCY repeatedly protested against some communiques of the
Society and distanced itself from the latter’s actions.
But
the leading Serbian politicians started emulating the society by
propagating identical historical fate of Jews and Serbs, and
preservation of friendly relations between the two peoples ( according
to the Society, Serbs stood more to gain from the latter). Author Brana
Crncevic said that "only friendship with Jews can save Serbhood," 30
while Enriko Josif argued that "Serbs and Jews are very old friends,
and shall remain friends, for they have not betrayed the most glorious
pillars of their history-Kosovo and Jerusalem." Dobrica Cosic stressed
"the historical fate, which made Serbs and Jews very similar" and "
Jews are European people from whom Serbs can learn most."
In
1991 Captain Dragan, later a leader of the Serb paramilitary units,
wore the Star of David around his neck during a Studio B interview. At
the same time members of the Serb-Jewish society, including the leading
Serb nationalists, reiterated "Our fate is similar to the fate of
Jews."
In 1993 the Federation of Jewish Communities
set up an Anti-Semitism Monitoring Committee, and its President Aca
Singer warned: "Whenever and wherever there are turmoils in the world
Jews are affected by them." 31 An ever-increasing number of
anti-Semitic incidents were condemned by a narrow circle of liberal
public figures, and also by the regime’s satellites. The authorities
tried to minimise the effects of anti-Semitic incidents by not
responding to protests and complaints lodged by the Jewish Municipality
of Belgrade and the Jewish Federation. But those incidents increased
the fear or feeling of insecurity among the Jews and non-Serbs. On the
other hand they were adroitly used by the authorities as a form of
"soft ethnic-cleansing."
The world was outraged by
wars in the territories of former Yugoslavia, and condemned actions of
Bosnian Serbs. Those condemnations became increasingly sharp and both
"domestic" and foreign Jews joined in the chorus of international
protests. This placed domestic Jews in a very delicate position. Hence
the following statement of Jasa Almuli: "anyone may exercise his
democratic right to criticise the regime in place, but such criticism
should be voiced as a purely personal opinion. Jewish community would
appreciate very much if some individuals stopped using its name in
political showdowns, and stopped making up stories about emigration."
It was a response to objections of official Belgrade that Jews were
siding with "the Serb enemies", namely criticism of international Jews
who condemned aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Anti-Semitic Incidents
There
are no precise data on the kind and number of anti-Semitic incidents in
Serbia. In the past decade many were glossed over by the authorities,
and even the Jewish …
29 Politika, 3 April 1992
30 Politika, 25 May 1990
31 Politika, 12 August 1994, page 13

community. State bodies have by and large failed to react to protests
and complaints of the Jewish Federation. Even when the latter
sporadically reacted, 32, there was no follow-up, that is, criminal
investigations were not launched.
Media-bashing
The
Jewish Federation filed a lawsuit against statements made by President
of the Serbian Royalist Movement, Sinisa Vucic, in a radio B92 program
Intervju dana. It considered that his words ("we shall seize property
of rich Jews and Communists to help alleviate the suffering of our
people,") were tantamount to "instigation of religious and national
hatred." Although hard evidence was submitted, namely the tape of
interview, the Republican Public Prosecutor’s office transferred the
case to the District Public Prosecutor’s Office (after repeated
interventions of the Jewish Community), which, however failed to act on
the case. That interview marked the start of a series of similar
statements of Vucinic made to the most influential print media 33, ran
under the following headlines: Serbian Hawks Become Terrorists, We
Threaten UNPROFOR, We Shall Seize Property of Rich Jews and Communists
to Help our Long-Suffering People. Jewish Community again reacted to
Vucinic’s hate speech on 27 May 1993 by inquiring about the course of
investigation. After a new anti-Semitic statement of Vucinic on 13 June
1993, 34 the Federation on 24 August 1993 again inquired about the
course of investigation by the District Public Prosecutor’s Office. The
Federation filed new charges after an anti-Semitic interview with
Sinisa Vucinic was ran by magazine Svet.
In June
1994, the Prijepolje Bulletin of the Serbian Popular Renewal (a party
closely affiliated with the Belgrade regime) ran a text headlined The
Jewish Ball of Vampires (by-line was -Luka Sarkotic). In the text Jews
were accused of crimes against the Holy Church of Christ, that is, the
SOC and practising Christians, murder of God, the French Bourgeoisie
Revolution, uprisings in Russia, the 1917 October Revolution,
assassination of the two Russian Tzars, poisoning of Stalin, creation
and implementation of the "Perestroika" project, destruction of the
Soviet and Russian "empires", the Chernobil nuclear plant catastrophe,
future war between Kiev and Moscow (over Krimea), collusion and
alliances with Muslims and Protestants, arming of "Green Berets" in
B&H, causing the plague epidemics in the world, poisoning of wells,
ritual slaughter of children, creation of Jasenovac concentration camp
through the Croatian state leadership, and production of AIDS virus.
The Jewish Federation immediately informed of the said publication
Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic, the SOC Patriarch Pavle, the
Montenegrin Mitropolite Amfilohije, Backa Episcope Irinej Bulovic,
Federal Human Rights Minister, Margit Savovic and Federal Information
Minister Slobodan Ignjatovic. Their response would later serve as a
model for all future reactions to anti-Semitic incidents: protests were
acknowledged, incidents were verbally condemned, but not a single
concrete action against perpetrators was taken. The Serbian Popular
Renewal then …
32 In an indirect way, through statements of some influential, public figures
33 Borba, 13 May 1993
34 Svet, 13 June 1993

issued a communique: "there is too much unnecessary buzz about the
text. We are very surprised by reaction of the Federation of the Jewish
Communities in Yugoslavia to a desperate cry of a Serbian patriot,
abandoned by the whole world. We wonder how would the Jewish people
react if all 48 Jewish Senators in the US Senate voted against the Serb
people." But after condemnatory reactions of the liberal public strata
in Serbia and Montenegro, Slavko Fustic, editor of the Bulletin, wrote
an apologetic letter because of "publishing a scandalous text, with a
very low- quality contents." He moreover stated: "I would like to give
to you and the entire Jewish people my assurances that we don’t hate
the Jewish people…"Independent media, who have followed the whole case,
also reacted: journalist of weekly Vreme wondered about the
prosecutor’s real intentions, as the latter first had told the weekly’s
journalist that he was still undecided about his next investigating
action, and then -went on holiday. Klara Mandic, secretary of the
Society of Jewish-Serb Friendship, also protested against the text run
by Bulletin in Politika. Vreme commented her protest in the following
way: "the problem with the Jew-bashing pamphlet is that it was designed
in the circles in which Mandic has an influential role."
New
edition of Ljotic’s paper Nova Iskra (October 1994), titled U ime
istine carried a text penned by S. Hadzic Hilendarski in which
prominent domestic and foreign public figures of Jewish descent were
criticised for their stands on the Bosnian war, namely: Elie Wiesel,
Madeleine Albright, Daniel Schieffer, Klara Mandic, Israel Kellman,
Enriko Josif, David Albahari, George Soros, Simon Viesenthal, Cheslav
Milos, Warren Zimmerman, Zbiegnev Brezhinski, Bernard Henri- Levy,
Allen Finkelcraut, Henri Glucksman, Loraine Fabius, Slobodanka Gruden,
Jasa Almuli, Predrag Finci, Ladoslav Kadelburg. David Kalef, etc.
In
July 1994 Glas Srpski 35 carried an interview with Dr. Radmilo
Marojevic, professor of Philological Faculty in Belgrade. In the
interview headlined, Cultural Treason is National Treason, Marojevic
pointed out that: "in the Serbian culture and science very active is
the fifth column of the Judeo-Masonic Project." In another interview
carried by the Belgrade magazine Duga under the headline Dream about
New Hazar Land, Marojevic repeated his thesis about the Judeo-Masonic
conspiracy in -Russia.
Serb Orthodox Church
A
publicist and analyst of religion Mirko DJordjevic in a host of studies
indicates that anti-Semitism is not related to Orthodox religion, but
rather to ethnicfiletism very influential among the SOC. Some SOC
circles, notably those under the influence of Priest Nikolaj
Velimirovic, joined in the anti-Semitic campaign. Velimirovic suddenly
became a martyr. Mitropolite Montenegrin banned any kind of criticism
or re-appraisal of work and ideas of Priest Nikolaj, although he has
never been canonised.
"That legendary martyrdom is
used for glossing over unpleasant pages of a repressed history-during
the Nazi occupation some members of the SOC episcopate joined Nedic,
and took strident anti-Semitic positions," writes DJordjevic. He adds:
" Priest …
35 Glas srpski from Republika Srpska is distributed in Serbia too.

Nikolaj was close to Nedic and Ljotic, he did not oppose totalitarian
political systems, but in fact favoured them. Therefore it is not clear
how his body of work can be a treasure trove of spiritual inspiration
and a veritable golden mine of spirituality and Orthodox faith, as
Radovan Bigovic qualified it in his doctoral thesis (his mentor was
Amfilohije Radovic.)"
Book of Priest Artemije New
Golden-Mouth, published in Belgrade in 1986, is one of many books which
glorified Priest Nikolaj: "he is the only Serb who can be considered an
intellectual and spiritual peer of St. John the Golden-Mouth, hence his
nickname-the Serbian Golden-Mouth. Mirko DJordjevic writes that "the
Serbian contemporary historians failed to notice a conspicuous
similarity between St. John the Golden Mouth and the Zica orator,
Priest Nikolaj: namely St. John’s body of work also contains 8 holimies
"against Judea."
Logos 36, a magazine of students
of Theological Faculty in Belgrade in 1994 ran a text Jewish Games
behind the International Stage, penned by Predrag Milosevic and Boban
Milenkovic. That text abounds in accusations against Jews, for example,
" there is a planetary Jewish conspiracy against the Christian Orthodox
faith, and notably against the Serb people and Russia," corroborated by
citations from old documents of Priest Nikolaj Velimirovic related to
his defence of Protocols of Zion Elders." "All modern phenomena in
Europe were masterminded by Jews, who crucified Jesus, that is,:
democracy, strikes, socialism, atheism, tolerance of all denominations,
universal revolution, capitalism and communism. They were all
inventions of Jews, that is, of their father, the Devil." 37
In
July 1994 magazine Kruna carried two texts headlined How to Read
Protocols of Zion Elders, and Book of Notions. The first text praised
the said book, while the second, vilified Jews, as people, through
criticism of Mosa Pijade, the pre-war communist, Partisan, and member
of the post-war establishment.
Publishing activities
Publishing
activity played a major role in anti-Semitic campaign. Publishing
companies, Velvet and Ihtus-Hriscanske knjige published several
reprints of books of Dimitrije Ljotic, Milan Nedic, Priest Nikolaj
Velimirovic, and some other books dealing with alleged Masonic-Jewish
conspiracies. According to sociologist Laslo Sekelj, in 1990-95 12
different editions of Protocols of Zion Elders were published, and in
1995-2001 another-eight. 38 Vladimir Maksimovic, one of publishers of
Protocols of Zion Elders, part of distribution of which was impounded
in 1994, in defending himself from accusations of anti-Semitism, says
that "the only problem with this book is the fact that the publishing
activity was taken over by the Soros Foundation, whose founder is a
Jew. The Federation of Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia on 22 March
1994 condemned publication of Protocols of Zion Elders, and filed
charges against Publishing House
36 Logos, 1-4/1994
37 Priest Nikolaj Velimirovic in his documents written in defence of Protocols of Zion Elders.
38 NIN 2640, 2 August 2001, Zabrana i krivica, page 32
Velvet
and responsible editor Vladimir Maksimovic. Three days later the FJCY
got a letter from owner and director of the publishing house Sfairos in
which he decried the appeal to ban publishing and distributing the
book, and termed it "an undemocratic demand." He suggested to the
Federation joint publishing of the book with "an expert commentary,"
and future collaboration involving publishing of works dedicated to
study of literary, historical and linguistic heritage of the Jewish
people and its identity." In response to accusations by the Jewish
Federation, newspaper issued by the Serbian Radical Party, Velika
Srbija, in May 1994, ran a text, "Who burns down books, shall burn down
people too," along with a commentary " let readers, Serbs, assess what
is true and what is false in Protocols of Zion Elders."
(Deputy
District Prosecutor Milija Milovanovic in July 2001 dropped charges
against publishers of Protocol due to "the lack of evidence for further
legal proceedings.")
In December 1994 Club of
National Books Velvet in its catalogue listed its new anti-Semitic
books: Protocols of Politart Seers or Counter-initiation (Isidora
Bjelica and Nebojsa Pajkic write about ‘plagues’ of modern society,
including Judaism and advise how to fight against them); Drama of
Contemporary Mankind, Dimitrije Ljotic, -On the Semitic danger and
breaking of the Serbian backbone in WW2; Jews in Serbia, Dr. Lazar
Prokic; Why have Jews always been against Serbs? Who are they-an
anti-Semitic guide, Dr. Lazar Prokic; Jewish Conspiracy, Marcus Elie
Ravadge; Serb People in Claws of Jews, Milorad Mojic; The Jewish Issue,
F.M. Dostoevsky; Under the Star of David-Judaism and Free Masonry in
the Past and Present, Georgije Pavolovic; Religious and legal study of
Talmud or an essay on Jewish honesty, Vasa Pelagic. The aforementioned
catalogue listed also other titles: Jews in mirror of the Bible by
theologian Zivojin Savic; Evil and Damned: Torturers of Contemporary
Mankind, translation of Charles Weismann book.
Valjevo-based
Glas crkve in 1996 published a book Selected Works of Priest Nikolaj in
Ten Volumes. Book VII- Through a Prison Window includes a series of
negative commentaries on life, customs and role of Jews.
On
16 December in one of premises of the Philosophical Faculty in Belgrade
an anti-Semitic pamphlet titled A complete report-Jews and Jewry was
found. An unidentified person distributed it to students. Teaching
council of the faculty in its communique, issued in the paper
Protest-Three Uprisings in 1996, qualified the pamphlet as
anti-Semitic, and condemned its author and the like-minded
intellectuals.
Publisher Ratibor DJurdjevic
spearheaded the anti-Semitic campaign through reprints and new
editions. Promotions of his books usually started with a blessing and
prayer of retired priest and notorious anti-Semite Zarko Gavrilovic.
Whenever he uttered the word "Jews," the audience booed. In the study
Syndrome of Fear of Judeans in America DJurdjevic says that
behind-the-scenes masters of the US policy intentionally nominate week
presidential candidates to control them easily. According to him "such
candidates are aplenty, as the US public and private morals are weak
and lax. A man of integrity and strong sense of morals, namely Pat
Buchanan, a Christian and renowned anti-Semite, could not succeed in
unprincipled US "democracy." 39 In the book Zionism,
Communism
and the "New" World Order, DJurdjevic stated: "it is very important
that Christians understand that Communism-that major ill of Western
societies-was spawned by Jewish institutions and circles…it was guided,
channelled and evolved by official Israeli secret councils." 40
After
DJurdjevic’s book Lies and Shortcomings of US Democracy came out
(publisher was Ihtus-Hriscanks knjiga, Beograd), the Jewish Federation
on 16 October sent a protest letter, describing the nature and contents
of the book, to Information Minister Ratomir Vico, Human Rights
Minister, Margit Savovic, Mayor of Belgrade, Nebojsa Covic, Minister
Zoran Bingulac, Minister of Religions Dragan Dragojlovic, the SOC
Patriarchate, Irinej Bulovic, members of the Society of Serb-Jewish
Friendship, and the media. It moreover informed the Serbian Justice
Minister that charges were filed against Publishing House Ihtus and its
editor Zarko Gavrilovic. The media responded differently to the Jewish
Federation’s protest. Daily Politika on 18 October ran a text Who Fuels
Anti-Semitism penned by Rade Rankovic, and later an interview with Aca
Singer President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Serbia
(Anti-Semitic Incidents Should Not Be Glossed Over) about dire effects
of anti-Semitism both on those who propagate it and those who close a
blind eye to it. Nasa Borba on 18 October 1995 carried a text State
Bodies Keep Silent, which focused on "non-reactions of the state bodies
to anti-Semitic incidents."
Contrary to Politika
and Nasa Borba, Politika Ekspres on 7 October 1995 ran a text
Conspiracy against Christianity in which the author Visnja Vukotic
quoted excerpts from Lies and Shortcomings of US Democracy, and backed
all allegations and ideas contained therein. The same paper on 8
October carried a text headlined A man who knew too much ends in a
lunatic asylum, full of quotations from the aforementioned book. On 23
October 1995 Vecernje Novosti carried an article by Dejan Lucic, Who
are instigators of hatred? in which Lucic tried to justify positions
espoused by DJurdjevic in Lies and Shortcomings of US Democracy.
Politika Ekspres on 23 October 1995 ran a reaction of President of the
Society of Serb-Jewish Friendship, Ljubomir Tadic, to DJurdjevic’s
book. Namely Tadic challenged and criticised some of positions
disclosed in the book.
Holy Synod of SOC on 24
October 1995 informed the Jewish Federation that it "regrets
publication of the anti-Semitic book" and "shall do its utmost to
prevent publishing of similar books." Saint Sava Youth and Students’
Movement followed suit by condemning activities of Ratibor DJurdjevic,
one of its principal ‘donors’ and Zarko Gavrilovic, assessing them as
"retirees who only acted as counsellors to the Movement" and stressing
that "Anti-Semitism has always been contrary to the spirit of Saint
Sava Movement." Despite the SOC condemnation of DJurdjevic’s book and
assurances that its circles did not disseminate anti-Semitism, in April
1997 the very book appeared in the …
39 Dr. Ratibor DJurdjevic, Five bloody revolutions of Jewish bankers and of their Judeo-Masonry, Ihtus, Belgrade
40 Idem, page 196
… SOC’s bookstore Zadruga pravoslavnog svestenstva. In its 11 April 1997 letter to the
 
SOC
Patriarchy the Jewish Federation expressed its concern over appearance
of DJurdjevic’s book in the said bookstore. In their replies the
official SOC spokesman and the Patriarchy Cabinet regretted the event,
and informed that the bookstore’s manage was instructed to immediately
stop selling the book. .
At the promotion of the
book Kuril Manuscripts by author Hugo Karamata, held in the Association
of Writers of Serbia on 25 January 1996, DJurdjevic stated: "Judeans
are the worst world evil….they bankroll all national and international
Masonic activities and pull the strings of the world conspiracy." 41
In
autumn 1996 DJurdjevic’s new book, On Absurdity of Anti-Semitism
(publisher was again Ihtus-Hriscanska knjiga) came out. Federation of
the Jewish Communities on 30 October 1996 inquired with the District
Prosecutor’s Office about actions taken regarding its complaint of 16
December 1995, and simultaneously informed it that the same author
published a new book. In its reply of 22 November 1996 the Public
Prosecutor’s office quoted all criminal proceedings taken against
Sinisa Vucinic, Publishing House Velvet from Belgrade, editor Vladimir
Maksimovic, and publishing house Ihtus and Zarko Gavrilovic.
In
its letter of 28 November 2000 to the Holy Synod of the Serbian
Orthodox Church, the Jewish Federation indicated growing anti-Semitism:
"Among those who spread hate of Jews excels Dr. Ratibor Rajko
DJurdjevic, founder of Ihtus-Hriscanska knjiga and author of the bulk
of 50 books published by that house. Since his return from emigration
in 1992 DJurdjevic launched an anti-Semitic campaign. He remained
undeterred in his intentions even in the face of an express
condemnation of his activities by the Holy Synod of SOC, of 24 October
1995. The very name of his publishing house (Ichtus-Christian Books)
suggests his links to the Orthodox Christian faith and church. Moreover
all the books bear the symbol of cross on the covers."
Reprint editions
In
the Serbian Academy of Sciences bookstore in October 1995 the book New
World Order and Free Masonry (reprint of the Belgrade edition from
1939) appeared. The book accused Jews of an anti-global conspiracy. On
27 November the Jewish Federation informed the District Public
Prosecutor in Belgrade of the aforementioned.
Reprint
of the 1943 anti-Semitic book Under the Star of David and Free Masonry
in the Past and Present by Georgije Pavlovic came out in 1995. Author
of introduction was Dimitrije Ljotic, and publishers were Koloseum
Beograd, Velvet Beograd, Sloga Novo Sarajevo and Slobodna knjiga
Beograd. In 1995 Planeta Beograd published a reprint of anti-Semitic
book Jews and the Serbian Issue by Jasa Tomic. Some recent reprints
with markedly anti-Semitic contents had been published first during the
Nazi occupation: Serbian People in Claws of Jews by Milorad Mojic,
Secretary General of pre-war "Zbor," Legal and Religious Teachings
about Talmud or an Essay on Jewish Honesty by Vasa Pelagic. Reprint of
Pro-Ljotic paper Nova iskra was also published.
41 Documentation of the Jewish Federation
Patriotic Movement "Obraz"
The
far-right organisation, Patriotic Movement "Obraz", founded in 1993 to
back and disseminate ideas espoused by the name-sake magazine, in late
2000 and early 2001 became very active and evolved into a political
organisation. Graffiti with symbols of this organisation, cross, alpha
and beta, with slogans "Only unity can save Serbs," "Let’s fight with
dignity for Serbhood," "Let’s defend our dignity," are drawn on many
private and public buildings.
Public at large first
learnt about existence of that organisation after the incident at the
Assembly of Association of Writers of Serbia, in November 2000. Namely
then a group of writers clashed with management, demanded its dismissal
and establishment of new, democratic, relations within the association.
42 Security agents, members of "Obraz" reportedly removed the
‘disobedient’ from the conference hall.
"Obraz" is
not registered as a political party for its followers "don’t believe in
pluralism of interest of the Serbian people, but they believe in their
ability to gather together and to accept a unique set of values and
fate for all Serbs." They also think that "no Serb victim was useless,
as our existence proves…We are Serbs of these evil times." They are
convinced that efforts of "Obraz" and all other honourable Serb
contemporaries shall be a lasting mainstay for future generations of
Serbs who "shall fully complete the oath." "Let us make concerted
efforts to more successfully and easily, with God’s assistance, attain
our patriotic goals and carry out our statehood-making tasks," is the
principal message of the movement. Web-site of "Obraz" is rife with
texts denying democratic achievements, espousing a strident
anti-Americanism, and glorifying Serbhood. After the NATO intervention,
the following communique was placed on the web-site: "During the last
war waged by NATO Satanists against the Serb people from 24 March to 10
June 1999, "Obraz" was the only organisation which indicated "black
magic, and occult nature of that war." During the bombardment "Obraz"
issued two communiques, "Why are Serbs Invincible?" and "NATO-Satanism
in the Name of Democracy," which the media refused to run. 43 Nebojsa
Krstic, President of "Obraz" maintained that "the Serb people are most
threatened now,"44 and urged a national state, a society of sound
Serbs, an economically rich and strong Serbia, instead of a state of
citizens and an open society." Wording of texts indicates that at work
is a Neo-Ljotic group, whose size cannot be easily estimated. "Obraz"
stated that it had stepped up its activities in late 2000 for "then the
time was ripe for advent of Serbian nationalism. Then the Serb people
were most threatened." The following statement coincided with the
political changeover in Serbia: "We are nationalists, and not fascists.
Our slogan is: Loyal to God and to Serb people." When asked if he
backed Ljotic’s policy, Krstic responded: "We appreciate and love all
Serb nationalists, Priest Nikolaj Velimirovic, and Serb martyrs Draza
Mihajlovic, Milan Nedic, and Dimitrije Ljotic. We fight against
everything …
42 Republika, 16-31 December 2000
43 Knjizevne novine, "Obraz", 28 November 2000
44 Glas javnosti, 12 February 2002 "Nationalists, and not Chauvinists"

that separates us from the Serb tradition, that is, against
globalisation, atheism, secularism and abuses of human rights and
liberties." He added that the organisation was several thousand strong,
and that branch offices were set up in Vrsac, Odzaci. Novi Sad,
Jagodina, Velika Plana, and in America, Canada, and Europe." According
to Krstic the organisation has about 30.000 members. According to some
sources active, but secret followers of "Obraz" are Dragos Kalajic and
Dragoslav Bokan,45 former contributors to magazine "Nasa ideja," and
magazine Duga.
March 2001 incident is linked to
"Obraz." Graffiti "Korac-Jewish Conspiracy-"Otpor" and
"Kostunica-DJindjic Cheated Us," were painted on the building of the
Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade. According to Korac, Vice Prime
Minister of Serbia, and the faculty’s professor, those scandalous
messages "are very similar to ones placed on the "Obraz" web-site."
Students of the faculty confirmed that "Obraz" was behind the incident.
Police did not issue any communique, but the media reported that
several policemen visited the building. 46 Ratibor Trivunac, member of
the Students’ Union of Faculty of Philosophy, stated: "We are no longer
a spawning ground of liberal ideas, but rather the one of conservative
and fascist ideas." He added: "Majority of our students believe that a
group of History Department students and professors, who even at
lectures propagate far-right, nationalistic ideas, are behind the
graffiti incident." Trivunac also said that majority of students saw
the similarity between the graffiti messages and the web-site ones."
Electronic media
TV
Palma and its owner Miki Vujovic, aired a large number of political
programs focusing on the international Judeo-Masonic conspiracy. This
largely contributed to spreading of anti-Semitism in early months of
2001.
Jews were accused of being "murderers and
criminals," "the biggest evil of the world history," and "instigators
of all failures of modern history, starting from the October
Revolution, WW1 and WW2, to bombardment of Yugoslavia. According to TV
Palma Jews should apologise for actions taken by US Administration
against Yugoslavia. Many guests and Vujovic himself frequently
mentioned "Jewish conspiracy" against Serbs or entire mankind, negative
character traits and mind-set of Jews, and their hate of Serbs. Such
messages were intended for Jews living abroad, notably in the US.
‘Domestic’ Jews were criticised for not having persuaded their
fellow-nationals to change their stance on Serbs, for not having done
anything to eliminate negative image of Serbs. Unfortunately other TVs
also disseminated similar, Jew-bashing propaganda. Similar messages
were voiced on other channels, notably Radio Television Serbia, which
occasionally re-broadcast the old, wartime, programs about the
international, and Jewish world conspiracy against Serbs.
45 Interview with Helsinki Committee
46 "Borba", "Obraz" Manipulated by Remote Control, 20 March 2001
47 "Politika," "Obraz" Fights ‘Enemies of Serbhood", 22 March 2001
In
a program of Radio Yugoslav Airlines on 17 May 2000 Dejan Lucic accused
Jews of having staged a military and state coup on 27 March 1941, when
the Trilateral Pact was rejected, and later a military uprising in
Montenegro. Lucic also held them accountable for attacks on Belgrade
and attempts to revive civil war. According to Lucic "they are assisted
in their endeavours by the British and US intelligence services." He
divided Jews into "two subversive groups, Jews and Khazars…they are
quite similar, but still different: Jews shall do their utmost to help
Israel, and Khazars to amass -money."
Graffiti
Anti-Semitic
slogan Death to Jews with Nazi swastikas was drawn twice on the central
building of Belgrade University in September 1995. The same slogan was
written on the wall of the hall of the Jewish Municipality building in
Belgrade on 22 October 1995.
On 27 October 1995 the
Jewish Community sent a memo on incident to the Stari Grad police and
requested it to launch a pertinent investigation. Three days later, on
30 October a police patrol scouted the building, and later slogans were
removed.
On 24 October 1995 the Assembly of
Belgrade sharply condemned the graffiti on the building of the
Philological Faculty. Only after repeated interventions of the Jewish
Federation, the Republican Public Prosecutor on 19 December 1995
informed the Federation that the graffiti case would be handled by the
District Public Prosecutor in Belgrade.
On the
fence of the Jewish Cemetery on 21 and 22 January three graffiti
appeared: Out with Masonic-Jewish Serb-Haters, We don’t want the Dayton
Pax Judaica. Jews, You are a Minority in Serbia. The Jewish Federation
on 25 January informed Slobodan Pavlovic, Vice President of the
Belgrade Assembly and the police of the incident and asked them to
intervene. It also filed charges against unknown perpetrators on 16
February 1996.
Graffiti Death to Filthy Jews,
Skinheads, White Power, the Racist Movement of Belgrade, crosses and
slogan Serbia to Serbs were drawn in the hall of the building housing
the Jewish Federation, the Jewish Community of Belgrade and the Jewish
Historical Museum on 11 February 1997.
On 26
September 1996 leaflets with the scull and slogan "Jewish lethal
vaccine kills Muslim children" were distributed in Novi Pazar. In the
text parents were told to boycott vaccine against children’s
paralysis…."for it aims to impair health of Muslim children…"
On
two occasions, in December 2000 and January 2001 Nazi swastikas and
anti-Semitic slogans in English, notably "Jews Hate Your Freedom of
Speech," were drawn on all Jewish institutions in Belgrade, the
sinagogue, Jewish cemetery, the Jewish Municipality building.
Desecration of monuments and religious institutions
Plaque
with inscription was removed from the monument "Menorah in Flames" by
Nandor Glid in the 15th -21st May week . Glid’s monument in Belgrade
has been on repeated occasions the target of vandals (several days
after wreaths had been laid on the monument in 1999 they were torn and
thrown around). Police never found perpetrators of that vandal act, nor
the ones who drew graffiti on Jewish institutions and cemetery and
threw Molotov cocktails into the yard of sinagogues in Belgrade and
Novi Sad.
In recent years singagogues have been
frequently targeted by anti-Semites. The Zemun sinagogue, a protected
municipal institution, was converted into a restaurant by the Radical
Party-led municipal authorities in the face of the city authorities ban
and protests of the Jewish Community. The then President of the
Municipal Assembly and the Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj and
director of the Business Space Tomislav Nikolic met with the
Federation’s delegation on 7 March 1997 and promised not to lease that
institution. Just a months later, on 30 March, the sinagogue was leased
and converted into a restaurant.
"That sinagogue is
very important for us, but we did not want to hype up the case and make
a too vocal demand," said Aca Singer. He added: "It is very important
for Jews as in that sinagogue Rabbi Alkalai was the first to mention
the return of Jews to their Holy Land. He had done it before Theodore
Herzl, who is considered the founder of a modern Zionist Movement."
Singer then went on to explain the long history of the embattled Zemun
sinagogue: "Until 1962 the Jewish Community was compelled to lease the
sinagogue due to lack of upkeep funds and an ever-dwindling number of
Jews. After that the sinagogue was forcibly sold to the then
authorities for a negligible amount of money. The money we got from the
lease was given to socially vulnerable categories of Jews. We had a
deal with the previous Socialist authorities. Namely the sinagogue was
to be used for cultural purposes only. But when the Radical Party took
the municipal reins in 1997 the deal fell through. That sinagogue had
been built in 1850 on foundations of the old, Eightieth Century
sinagagoue, which was badly ruined after the WW2. It bears stressing
that it has served many purposes, but was never used as restaurant. It
is very important institution for us, because it was saved by miracle
from destructive hands of Ustashi in the WW2."
Subotica
sinagogue met with a different fate. Story about Subotica Jews is a
specific one, and it marked Subotica history from the mid 18th century.
Before the opening of central sinagogue rites were officiated in the
Sremska street sinagogue. But when the Subotica Jews became
economically strong 48 they decided to erect "the temple of temples."
New sinagogue had a tent-like dome. It was possessed of a unique beauty
in terms of design and construction. "It is owned by the city and under
the World Heritage Fund document it is protected as one of the 100 key
world sinagogues." 49 In Mid-Eighties theatre director Ljubisa Ristic
50 came to work in Subotica in order to "shake up a sleepy milieu." In
late Eighties Ristic staged big spectacles with his numerous ensemble
in the singagoue. In a play a horse and a horseman both peed in the
sinagogue. Restored …
48 30 Jews counted among 184 richest residents of Subotica in early 20th century.
49 Jozef Kasa, Mayor of Subotica
50 In Milosevic era Ristic was one of the most influential leaders of the AYL, the SPS coalition partner.

dome was also again badly impaired by fumes from stoves, while the lawn
around the sinagogue was trampled upon by buses ferrying spectators to
performances.
Although the Jewish Community in
Serbia is very small, anti-Semitism tenaciously persists as a part of a
specific social phenomenology. Under the current circumstances it
relies on ideological roots of the Serbian conservative, right-wing
factions (Priest Nikolaj Velimirovic, Dimitrije Ljotic) and feeds
itself on social and economic frustration stemming from a defeated
Greater Serbia idea. Anti-Semitism in Serbia also draws on belief that
the influential, international Jewish community, notably (its prominent
representatives Madeleine Albright, Richard Holbrooke, Wesley Clark and
Robert Gelbrand) has contributed to misfortune of Serbs, notably after
the NATO air strikes. In parallel many intellectuals espoused the idea
of identical fates of Serbs and Jews in the past decade. Within the
context of the syndrome of victim, cherished in Serbia, Serbs are
equalised with Jews (Vuk Draskovic: Kosovo is our Jerusalem). One
should take into consideration that ambivalent position on the Jewish
ethnic community in any future (and necessary) public debate on
Anti-Semitism.
 
HCHRS
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