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Visualizing Otherness II

Belgrade's Anti-Masonic exhibition of 1941-42

Nazi Germany occupied most of Yugoslavia by April 1941.  After a Serbian uprising of July 1941,  Gen. Hermann Bohme, was given emergency powers to govern the country.  SS - Gruppenfuhrer Harold Turner and SS Untersturmfuhrer Fritz Stracke handled the administration of Serbia. Milan Nedic was the "nomial" local ruler, comparable to the collaborationist regime of Quisling in Norway.

Under the Nedic regime a heavily anti-semitic "Grand Anti-Masonic Exhibition" opened in occupied Belgrade on 22nd October 1941 and ended January 19, 1942. It was funded apparently by the German occupiers and supported by Nedic to intensify hatred against the Jews, although the title of the exhibit suggested the Masons (Masonic Orders had been closed in Germany). While Nedic was a supporter of the German plan for extermination of the Jews, Serbian partisan groups often tried to save Jews from victimization. The history of this period is complex, filled with mutual accusations regarding the role of perpetrators and rescuers.

The central theme was an alleged Jewish-Communist-Masonic plot for world domination, similar to propaganda once put out by the Tsarist secret police before the Russian revolution in the well-known forgeries The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Besides the exhibits at the exhibition, an enormous amount of propaganda material was prepared: over 200 thousand various brochures, 60 thousand posters, 100 thousand flyers, 108 thousand of samples of 9 different types of envelopes, 176 propaganda movie clips, four different postage stamps etc. Organizers advertised that "This concept of exhibition will be unique not only in Serbia and the Balkans, not only in southeastern Europe and Europe, but in the world."

The images on the posters shown in the exhibition were hardly new, and had been seen before in Germany during "The Eternal Jew" exhibitions in Munich and Vienna during 1937-1939. Serbian newspapers such as Obnova (Renewal) and Nasa Borba (Our Struggle) praised this exhibit, proclaiming that Jews were the ancient enemies of the Serbian people and that Serbs should not wait for the Germans to begin the extermination of the Jews. A few months later, Serbian authorities issued postage stamps commemorating the opening of this popular exhibit. These stamps, which juxtaposed Jewish and Serbian symbols (but did not contain Nazi symbols), portrayed Judaism as the source of world evil and advocated the humiliation and violent subjugation of Jews. The 20 posters shown here give a sense of the vile flavor of the exhibition and the theme of Jewish domination. Of special interest is the material showing alleged Jewish domination of the American Press and "Finance," particularly control of The New York Times.

This type of anti-Semitic propaganda is useful for seeing how art and propaganda posters in particular can help create the "other." Jews were both capitalists and communists at the same time, and the alleged secret force that dominated all aspects of European, indeed world economic life. Norman Cohn has described this as a "warrant for genocide."

(click on image to enlarge).

poster 1

"Come and see the anti-masonic exhibition.  The Jewish dream of being the power of the world is now disappearing under the attack from finally awakened nationalism."

poster 1

"The anti-masonic exhibit, whose work is included; English-American autocrats; those againstg democratic immigration; bloddy soviet aristocrats and all idiotic brotherhoods."

poster 1

" Which side will be heavier? Neither because the Jew is holding the scale.  See the anti-masonic exhibition and then you will know for certain."

poster 1

"The Jew is holding the strings. Whose strings and how?  He'll answer you.  The anti-masonic exhibit"

poster 1

"Finance in the USA is 98% in Jewish hands!"

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"The press in the USA is 97% in Jewish Hands."

poster 1

"His weapons: democracy, masonry, captalism and communism."

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"His weapons: democracy, masonry, captalism and communism (leads to death)."

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"The Jews' weapons: democracy, masonry, captalism and communism."

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"Worse than a wolf: taking world's wealth"

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"Here is the guilty one, the one to blame."

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"The kiss of an English Jew (like the kiss of death)"

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"Be on the lookout, you'll still not know or beaware."

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"The work of the Jews: fabrics, cement, cartels, factories. Wants everything!"

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"How did it happen? Jews are doing well with Bolshevik and Plutocrats because Bolshevism and Plutocracy are the work of Jews."

poster 1

"Punish them, how are they surviving?"

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"Beware, they're coming"

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"I did as you wished, the Communist International is on recess (Jewish Chairs)"

poster 1

"Jewish Trickery Against Europe. Circa. 1941 English- Soviet. Alliance Against Facism."

poster 1

"The Jew's balance Roosevelt and Churchill"

While the Nedic regime was collaborationist, the Serbian people as well as the resistance fighters suffered severe reprisals. Dr. Michael Phayer, in his recent book, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE HOLOCAUST, 1933-1965 (Indiana University Press - click here for the book on Amazon), asserts there were three genocides during World War II:

  1. Croatia under the Ustashe against Bosnia and Serbia.
  2. Germany against Poland and Poles.
  3. The Holocaust against all Jews instigated by Germany and carried out by Germans, their allies and collaborationist regimes.

More information on Serbia and the Nedic regime during World War II.

stamps

Holocaust Masonic Serbia Anti-semitic FDC 1942

The Belgrade "Anti-Masonic" exhibition also issued "Anti-Masonic" stamps and first-day covers. The cover shown is dated January 1, 1942 "Anti-Masonic Exhibition, Belgrade." "Masonic" in this case, as in the exhibition itself, meant "Jewish."

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