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
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
"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
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
"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
"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
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:
(...) 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.
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
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
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"
Not even the Jewish hospital in Belgrade was spared.
"The hospital was under constant supervision and was guarded by German soldiers and
"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
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
"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
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
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
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
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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