FROM FAIRY TALE TO HOLOCAUST
Serbia: Quisling Collaboration with the
Occupier during the period of the Third Reich with reference to Genocide against the
I. The Yids
I The Yids
In the past, anti-semitism was present in the collective
consciousness of all the nations of Europe, and so of course in that of the Serbian
people. One example of this can be found in the collection of folk tales assembled by the
Serbian linguist Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic, "Serbian folk tales" (Srpske narodne
pripovjetke), 1853. The story called "The Yids" (Civuti) from this collection is
remarkably like the story of "Hansel and Gretel", only with the role of the
wicked witch being taken by Jews.
"Then there came along some Yids, and when they saw
the fire, came up to the children and asked them what they were doing there and whether
there was anyone with them, and when the children had told them what and how, the Yids
told them to go along with them, saying that they would have a fine time at their house.
The children agreed and went with the Yids, and the Yids took them to their house. They
didn't have anyone else at home, only their mother, and when they came home, they shut the
boy up to get fat and made the girl a servant to their mother. One day, when the boy had
been well fed and was fat, the Yids went out on some errand and told their mother to roast
him, and then when they came home in the evening from their work, they would eat
This story about Jews, who chased after the gentile
children with knives and forks to eat them, which presents the Jews as cannibals, was very
much alive even after 1848, the year that was a turning point in Europe, after which those
who had not had civil rights previously were able to achieve them.
However, in spite of all the European movements, it was not
until 1878 and the Berlin Congress that the Jews in Serbia were, for the first time in
history, able to achieve equality before the law with the other peoples. At Berlin, the
countries taking part signed a memorandum and unanimously took the decision that Serbia
would be internationally recognized only if she proclaimed the equality of all faiths,
which meant that she had to admit full rights to the Jews.
The government and Prince Milan Obrenovic IV agreed to
fulfil these conditions, but the government was still desirous of outwitting the world
public in some way. At Berlin, the Congress had made the treaty public, including articles
34 and 35:
Art. 34 The high contracting parties acknowledge the independence of the princedom of
Serbia, binding (it) to the conditions that are set out in the following article.
Art. 35 In Serbia, differences in faith and religion shall be no hindrance, and no one may
for such reasons be excluded from or obstructed in the enjoyment of his civil or political
rights, or fail to be accepted into the public service, or be deprived of the proper
respect to his position, or be forbidden to carry out the various trades and professions
in all places whatsoever. Freedom and the public exercise of all church rituals of all
faiths and religions shall be guaranteed to all citizens of Serbia and to foreigners, and
nothing shall be done to interfere with the hierarchical ordering of the various faiths
nor with their relations with their spiritual superiors.
Serbia and other Balkan countries (for example, Bulgaria
and Monte Negro) did not abide by the undertakings they had given in the Treaty of Berlin,
including those that were concerned with the rights of minorities.
Shortly after the Berlin Congress, in August 1878, its
decisions with respect to the Jews were referred to in Serbia by Nikola Jovanovic in his
pamphlet "On the Hebrew question in Serbia" (O jevrejskom pitanju u Srbiji):
"...Europe has forced the Hebrews on us for us to grant them in our country all the
rights that we have acquired and enjoy. But that the Jews or any non-Serb elements should
have the same right as those native to Serbia, we challenge and deny."
In 1878, before the Berlin Congress, the distinguished
Serbian scientist Vasa Pelagic had published the book "The religious teaching of the
Talmud or the mirror of Yiddish honesty" (Vjerozakonsko ucenje Talmuda ili ogledalo
civutskog postenja) in which he complained that:
"Today, when European diplomats are forcing Serbia and Romania to acknowledge the
Yids and their religion, as being equal with other citizens before the law, this book is
entirely timely and 'fitting'". In the sequel, he stressed the importance of this
"Today, when the Yids are more and more worming their way not only into the towns,
but also into the villages, it is absolutely vital for every family in every province
where there are Yids to read this book and commit it well to memory; for it is the genuine
mirror of the Yids, from which it can be seen that their own divine law, The Talmud,
commands them to swindle, short-change, grab from, delude, injure, hate, ruin, pillage,
and kill all peoples that are not Yids."
It was in such an atmosphere that "a few Serbian
patriots" printed the booklet called "Don't let us give Serbia to the Yids"
(Nedajmo Srbiju Civutima) in which one of the concluding sentences was unambiguously
clear: "What then can we expect from the Hebrews in our father-land?" Nothing
good, for, as could be seen, "this is a people that is completely useless to our
country and highly dangerous for the advancement of our people. And so it is our duty to
prevent by every permissible means the spreading and settling of Hebrews in Serbia... And
for this reason all patriots are called upon to enrol in the Serbian anti-Hebrew Society,
which should be formed as soon as possible, and first of all in Belgrade, where the doors
of our fatherland are open wide to the Hebrews... And thus we shall save our fatherland
from the Yids."
(...) The historical reality of anti-semitism is apparent
not only among the Serbs in Serbia, but also among the Serbs in Croatia in the second half
of the 19th century. The "Serbian Guardian" (Srbobran), the journal of the
Serbian Independent Party, the chief representative of the Serbian minority in Croatia,
like the "Soothsayer" (Vrac-pogadjac) published by Sima Lukin Lazic, was replete
with derogatory names for Jews and sallies at their expense.
"The Soothsayer" greeted the sentence pronounced
on Dreyfus, and attacked "Croatian Right" (Hrvatsko Pravo), the journal of the
Pure Party of Rights, and the leader of the party, Josip Frank, because they had written
sympathetically about the accused.
Milan Obradovic, a Serb journalist in Bjelovar at the
beginning of the century regularly put next to his name the qualification
"anti-semite" or "the first public and main leader of the anti-semitic
movement in Croatia" and was one of the leading anti-semite Serbs in Croatia. He
wrote and published thirty brochures and pamphlets of a pronouncedly anti-semitic
His bi-weekly "traveller round the whole world"
(Putnik po cijelom svijetu", of which he was founder-owner and editor, put forward
such anti-semitic ideas in the number of April 10, 1907, that the city authorities in
Zagreb banned the magazine in 1908.
Obradovic began his overtly anti-Jewish activities in 1907,
when he published his "Excerpt from the Talmud", in the introduction to which he
"... if our brothers the Croats would study what the Talmud is, they wouldn't provoke
or cause disturbances against their brothers the Serbs and vice versa. ... There are no
friends for you among the Jews (save false ones), and why, for they do not consider you a
man but only a beast."
For the strains that existed among the Serb and Croat
political parties in Croatia at the beginning of the 20th century, Obradovic blamed the
Jews, who, according to him, had the most to gain. He explains his viewpoint in a pamphlet
of a somewhat lengthy title: "How the Jews have for forty years deceived the wretched
and ignorant Croats, that they are Croats of the Mosaic faith and thus have enslaved them,
frustrated them politically, sucked them dry materially, cramming all the Croatian money
into their own tills and pockets."
(...) The well known Bishop of Kraljevo, Nikolaj
Velimirovic, whom many members of the Serbian orthodox church look upon as "the
sainted Nikolaj", stressed the values of nationalsocialism and racism in his many
public appearances and written works. In Belgrade, two years after Hitler had come to
power in Germany, the book "The nationalism of St. Sava" was printed, in which,
among much else, Nikolaj stated:
"One has to give due respect to the present German leader, who as a simple artisan
and man of the people realized that nationalism without faith was an anomaly, a frigid and
insecure mechanism. And thus in the 20th century he came to the idea of St. Sava and as a
layman undertook for his own people that most important of all works that becomes only
saint, a genius and a hero. And for us this work was done by St. Sava... Hence Serbian
nationalism is as a reality the oldest in Europe.
He confirmed his enthusiasm for Hitler's nazism a few years
later, in 1939, in his speech on the 550th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo. On this
occasion he said quite openly in the monastery of Ravnica:
"We are the children of God, people of the Aryan race to whom fate gave the honoured
role of being the leaders of Christianity in the world...
Bishop Nikolaj's spiritual pattern, the then Patriarch of
the Serbian Orthodox Church, Varnava, also thought and wrote in the spirit of these years.
In January 1937, for example, he made a statement that was printed by the German paper
"The Fuehrer of the great German nation is leading a battle for the benefit of the
whole of humanity... the justified battle of the German people for equality deserves the
respect of all nations".
Without the slightest sense of theological incongruity,
patriarch Varnava announced, also in January 1937, to the "Muenchen Neueste
Nachristen", that nobody less than "God had sent to the German people a
far-seeing Fuehrer... We believe in the Fuehrer and in the truth of his word."
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