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Excerpts from
FROM FAIRY TALE TO HOLOCAUST


Ljubica Stefan
Zagreb, 1993

Serbia: Quisling Collaboration with the Occupier during the period of the Third Reich with reference to Genocide against the Jewish people

Contents
I. The Yids
II. Judenfrei
III. Philosemites


II Judenfrei

As nazism spread over Europe, the persecution and genocide of the Jews began in many European countries. So with the coming of the Nazi authorities in Serbia in April 1941 the occasion arose for certain circles to "finally settle" the problem of the Jews in their own milieu.

The German occupiers found collaboration across the board in Serbia:
"At the beginning of May 1941, the Germans gave the civil administration over to the so-called Council of the Commissariat for Serbia, at the head of which was Milan Acimovic. The tasks of the Commissariat were administrative and political, and economic. First of all it had to work towards the pacification of the country and the support of the system of military occupation. In effect the Commissariat was the executor of the orders of the occupier..."

After the Third Reich passed an order on August 28, 1941, abolishing the Commissariat, a civil government was formed "whose president was a general of the former Yugoslav army Milan Nedic... Nedic created armed units, the so-called Nedic army".

Apart from these units, there were also the so-called Voluntary Army of Dimitrij Ljotic and the chetniks of Kosta Pecanac and Draza Mihailovic. In 1976, documents relevant to the years 1941 - 1944 were published in Belgrade in an archival reviews under the title "The collaboration of D. Mihailovic's Chetniks with the enemy forces of occupation".

The original documents were collected by the Serbian scholars Dr Jovan Marjanovic and his collaborator Mihail Stanisic. The explanation in the forward runs:
"The chetniks of Draza Mihailovic were represented as fighters against the occupier, while in fact they were the allies of the Nazi fascists in Yugoslavia... This collection covers documents from the war years of 1941-44. Documents from 1945 have not been included here because by that time the Chetnik units of D. Mihailovic had become wholly incorporated in the German front 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..." The chetniks of Draza Mihailovic mainly "looked after" the "solving" of the problem of the communists.

The "solving" of the "problem" of the Jews began as quickly as a week after the German army catered Belgrade, with the whole- hearted support of the Serbian government.

Within the Gestapo structures in Belgrade a commission for Jewish questions was set up, in which the city administration as it then was had its representative. With the help of the Belgrade city administration the occupier formed the so-called Hebrew police, which in fact represented one section of the city of Belgrade administration."

"The chief of the Hebrew police was Otto Winzet, once employed in the Philips concern. Of Serbs there were Jovan (Joca) Nikolic, the commissar, then Nikola Nikolic, Ivan Bozicevic, Martinovic, Ljubinkovic and Djordjevic also known as Ceka..."

In the "Schedule of rules of the military commander in Serbia no. 7-8, May 31, 1941" are the "Orders relating to Jews and Gypsies", among which, among other things, state:

1. Jews

(...) Paragraph 2. Jews must report two week to ... the Serbian police registration authorities.
Paragraph 3. Jews ... must wear a yellow band on their left arm with the word "Jew" written on it.
(...) Paragraph 4. Jews may not be public servants. Their removal from all institutions must be immediately performed by the Serbian authorities.
Paragraph 5. Jews cannot be allowed to practice the professions of lawyer, physician, dentist, veterinarian and chemist.
(...) Paragraph 7. Jews are forbidden to visit theatres and cinemas.

2. Gypsies

Paragraph 18. Gypsies are considered equivalent to Jews.

Even earlier, in the "Community news" (Opstinske novine) it had been proclaimed that "jews are forbidden to appear henceforth without a yellow band".

3. The duties of the Serbian authorities

Paragraph 21. The Serbian authorities are responsible for the carrying out of the commands contained in this Order.

4. Penal Measures

Paragraph 22. Whoever resists... shall be punished with imprisonment and a monetary fine. In aggravated cases the punishment will be penal sentence or death. Belgrade, May 30, 1941. (Printed commands of the Military Commander in Serbia, No. 7-8, May 31)

Soon, thanks to various Commands, the Jews were completely deprived of their rights. They were not allowed to be editors in newspapers, academic auditors, they could not run a theatre, or a lawyer's office, a dentist's surgery, do the work of a physician, a veterinary surgeon, be the owners of educational institutions or work in them. The musicians' federation informed the Jews that their work in music was against the present rules. Jews could not be telephone subscribers or even use someone else's phone.

The following "Command" was also issued:
"All Jews resident in Belgrade must within five days give up their radios, refrigerators and electric cooling devices. The relinquishment of radios and refrigerators will take place in the building of the elementary school in Becanska street No. 8, and in this order ...
Those Jews who do not behave according to this command will be punished most severely.
President of the commune and director of the city of Belgrade Drag. Jovanovic (Agencija Rudnik)".

Sensing what it was that was ultimately awaiting them, individual Jews fled from the larger towns. Because of the flight of Jews in 1941, the quisling government issued a number of orders that again called upon the Jews to register with the authorities. One woman who survived bears witness as follows: "On the seventh of December (1941 - author) all Jews got papers delivered by Nedic's gendarmes ordering them to report the following day to the Hebrew police... It said in the paper that we should take three days' food, and as for clothing, fresh linen, and bedding, only as much as we could carry ourselves."

"All Jews are called upon to present themselves on December 12, 1941, at 8 in the morning in the courtyard of the Special Police for Jews in George Washington St. 21. Everyone may bring with him as much baggage and bedding as he can carry by himself. Apartments must be left locked up. Apartment keys must be fastened to a piece of card with the address of the apartment and the name and brought along. Whoever does not come will be most severely punished."

From all these assembly points, the Jews were led away escorted by Serbian police and German guards to concentration camps, where they were brutally put to death.

"Thus on December 8, 1941, he went to the assembly place at the building of the (Serbian - author) police for Jews in George Washington St. and ... (the number of the building varies in the witnesses' accounts, with 21 sometimes being mentioned and sometimes 23). At the assembly place there were many cars with families, and they were all taken off across the Sava to the "Sajmiste" (Fairground)."

Not even the Jewish hospital in Belgrade was spared. "The hospital was under constant supervision and was guarded by German soldiers and Ljotic's soldiers."

"The Jewish hospital at 2 Visoki Stevan St. had been founded in June or July 1941 by order of the Jewish police, which wished to stop Jews going to other hospitals. All the equipment in the hospital, down to the instruments and medicines, had been provided by the Jews themselves."

"On March 19, 1942 began the liquidation of Jews from the hospital. At the same time all the members of the families of the physicians and nurses were arrested. On March 27 all the physicians were led away."

And at the same time that members of the Jewish community in Serbia were being persecuted and murdered by the means of legislative orders signed by the president of the government of "national salvation" Milan Nedic, the minister of Internal Affairs Milan Acimovic and the head of the Belgrade police Dragi Jovanovic, on January 12, 1942, a "Regulation for the protection of animals" was announced. It had been signed by the entire Serbian government, by Prime Minister Nedic, and all ten ministers.

The Regulation states, among other things:
"An animal is mistreated by someone who causes it pain; this mistreatment is brutal if it arises from heartlessness which callously pays no attention to the pain inflicted on the animal. It is irrelevant whether the pains are inflicted deliberately or by mere negligence, for example by depriving it of food or housing it inadequately."

Meanwhile the mistreatment of human beings had become institutionalized, and deprivation of food and the heartless infliction of pain, and extermination. Those Jews who managed to flee and hide were searched for and arrested, and for every arrest a monetary reward could be obtained.
"During 1942 and until September 1944, Jews were brought to the camp at Banjica. After the capitulation of Yugoslavia they had gone and hidden in villages in Serbia, but they had been caught by Nedic's soldiers, and Ljotic's and the chetniks, and been given to the Germans, because they got a money payment for every Jews arrested. According to incomplete figures, about 455 were brought in during that period. They were killed immediately on arrival".

The so-called "Jewish question" in Serbia was astonishingly quickly settled. General Harald Turner boasted to General Loehr, the new C-in-C of the entire south east of Europe that: "Serbia (was) a country in which the question of the Jews and the question of the Gypsies was settled." (From Turner's notes for a personal report to General Loehr, August 29, 1942, Document NOKW-1846).

In a letter to the Gestapo of September 18, 1943, signed by Dragi Jovanovic, the Administration of the City of Belgrade boasted of the successes of the Serbian Special Police, which had been instrumental in arranging the disappearance of the Jews from the face of the Serbian earth:
"The administration of the city of Belgrade, with all its quarters and institutions, has for almost two and a half years impeccably performed its police service under the occupation, and with a great deal of elan and success, in a way not matched by any other police forces in the cities of occupied Europe".

Of all the places connected with the organized crime of genocide against the Jews, in which the Serbs too participated, the concentration camp Sajmiste (Fairground) by Belgrade occupied the number one position.

It was set up in December 1941, on the left bank of the Sava, in the region occupied today by New Belgrade, with the aim of the final mass destruction of the Jewish people. To this camp they brought women, children and men of all age groups from Belgrade, Sabac, Nis, Kragujevac, Smederevo, Pozarevac and other towns in Serbia.

From the figures available, historians have come to the conclusion that "over 11,000 Jews passed through the camp Sajmiste". Only a few survived. The camp was run by the German and Serbian authorities in Belgrade, as is confirmed by survivors of the camp, largely Serbs, for example Ilija Petrovic.
"... the concentration camps on Sajmiste in Belgrade, where I was imprisoned in 1941. The criminals were the same as at Banjica. There were the same masters - the Germans, Nedic's soldiers and the other Serbian fascists."

The conditions of life at Sajmiste were such that even the camp physician, the Gestapo lieutenant Dr Jung after one single tour of the camp requested a doubled ration of food. His plea was turned down. In 1942, the Germans who were in the command centre of the camp protested to the Serbian authorities about their not having sent the agreed quantity of food for the prisoners.

Dr Jasa Romano states: "After the camp administration had intervened, the Department (for social welfare and social institutions of the city authority in Belgrade - author) replied that provisions for the camp would be delivered only when all other necessities in Belgrade had been taken care of". There was great hunger, and the consequences were tragic:
... "Children died most of all, and older women..." "There were no chances of escaping from the camp, because it was surrounded by barbed wire on three sides and by the Sava on the fourth".

Concentration camps on Serbian territory were set up in Kragujevac, Sabac and Nis. At Bor Mine there was a work-camp.
"Concentration camps were set up exclusively on the territory of Serbia... The concentration camp Topovske supe was set up at the beginning of September, 1941... The Jews from Banat were brought to the camp from the previously mentioned assembly camps in Banat at the end of August, 1941... Beginning in the second half of September 1941, the Germans began to take away the inmates in groups to be shot... By the middle of October 1941, all the Jews of Banat, the men, who were in that camp, had been killed. After the liquidation of the Banat Jews, the Jews of Belgrade were brought to the camp, the men... At the beginning of December 1941 there were still about 300 Belgrade Jews left alive in the camp, and they were taken to the Sajmiste camp. After their departure the camp was run down..."

"The 'Banjica' concentration camp... The first inmates were brought to the camp as soon as July 9, 1941, even before the official command was signed for it to be set up... Svetozar Vujkovic was appointed camp commander; he had been an infamous murderer in the pre-war period, specially entrusted with arresting communists and those who sympathized with them. He stayed in the job of camp commander until the camp was run down, that is until October, 1944. His assistant was Djordje Kosmajac, who was killed by members of the resistance on March 6, 1942. He was succeeded by Prvoslav Odavic, and he by Vidosav Jeftic, with Radomir Carapic last of all. The camp administration was under the control of the Gestapo... During the first period there was a double guard round the camp: one guard composed of members of the Gestapo, and another guard composed of members of the Serbian State Guard. Later, the camp was guarded only by the Serbian State Guard... From the preserved records of the inmates of the Banjica camp, it can be seen that a total of 29,697 persons passed through this camp (21,430 men and 2,267 women). However this number is not even approximately accurate, for a great number of prisoners were immediately led away to be shot, without being entered into the record book. This was mostly the case with the Jews. There is a record of only 300 of the Belgrade Jews, who were brought into the camp at the beginning of September, 1941... The camp in Banjica was the destination for not only the Jews of Belgrade, but also for Jews from other places in Serbia, including from Backa...

It is impossible to establish even approximately how many Jews perished in this camp, for as has been mentioned, they were not entered in the book of inmates. But it is certain that a very considerable number of male Jews from Belgrade and from other places in the Serbian interior suffered in this camp... The concentration camp at Sabac (the Jewish camp)... in July, 1941 the Ortskomandatur in Sabac that is, was ordered by the Belgrade Gestapo to set up a concentration camp for the Jews living in the area. In July 1941, Jewish refugees were first of all interned in the camp...

The shooting of Jews and Gypsies from the Sabac camp was carried out on October 12 and 13, 1941, in the village of Zasavica. Those shot were buried in a communal grave. At this time about 400 Jewish males from the Sabac camp were shot, while 449 Belgrade Jews were shot on October 9 and 11 in Belgrade. Before the shooting, all their valuables were taken from them, and after the shooting their gold teeth were pulled out...

After the shooting of the Jewish men, only women and children were left in the Sabac camp. On January 26, 1941, they were moved by train to Ruma, and then walked from Ruma to Zemun, or to the Sajmiste camp, in conditions of extreme cold... After arrival at Sajmiste they were quickly liquidated...

The "Red Cross" concentration camp... In the Gestapo concept the camp was intended for the internment of male Jews from Nis and its surroundings, to be hostages, then for members of the resistance and captured partisans... After the Jewish men had been shot, women and children were brought into the camp, but at the beginning of March, 1942, they were taken to the Sajmiste camp, where they were soon killed...

At the beginning of March, 1942, Jews from several smaller surrounding towns were brought to Nis. The men were immediately shot at Bubanj, and the women and children taken to the Sajmiste. The number of Jewish men is unknown, while there were about 70 women and children.

In July, 1942 Jews from Leskovac, Zajecar and Jagodina were brought to Nis. The men were immediately shot at Bubanj, and the women and children taken to the Sajmiste. In parallel with the physical destruction of the Jewish people, the Germans and the Serbian quisling government organized the theft of all Jewish property. So that the theft should be the more effective, an order was first of all proclaimed requiring the registration of all companies the owners of which were Jews:
"Jewish business companies which after April 5, 1941 were still Jewish must register with the competent district commands by June 15, 1941. That district command is competent in whose district private persons have their places of residence or juridical persons their headquarters".

Soon all Jews had to report their wealth to the authorities, which was announced by all the papers in Serbia:
"Registration of the wealth of Jews"
Registration of the wealth of Jews and their spouses is carried out, according to paragraph 11 of the Regulation that relates to Jews and Gypsies, in the City Authority-Legal Department (Cika Ljubina 20/II, every day from 8 to 12, and from 15 to 17 hrs".

Jewish property was to belong to a new owner by a decision of the Nedic government:
"Regulation concerning the belonging of Hebrew property to Serbia"
"On the basis of article 1 of the Order for changes in the existing regulations and the passing of new ones, Cabinet Number 1118 of September 16, 1939, the Cabinet has made an order by which the property of the Hebrews belongs to Serbia. This says:
Paragraph 1. The property of those Hebrews who were citizens of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia on April 15, 1941 and which lies inside Serbia belongs to Serbia without any compensation." Apart from this, the Jews, as allegedly mainly responsible for the war had to pay the German government "war damages" of 5,916,904 dinars. They also had to pay into the account of the Belgrade city administration 4,834,231 dinars, and to the Belgrade commune another 1,000,000 dinars. The chief role in the sale of Jewish real and other property was confided to the (Serbian) State Mortgage bank:
"The Germans entrusted the State Mortgage Bank with the handling of Jewish estates, and the whole value of their estates was made over to the Serbian state... All the money that it obtained by the sale of estates it credited to the account entitled "Administrative Headquarters of Jewish property-real estate".


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