Remembering Serbia’s Nazi Past and Mass Murders of Jews
April 28, 2009

Avraham Yehoshua, JERUSALEM - In just a few days of February 1943, the Serbian Chetniks under the leadership of Draza Mihailovich committed genocide of close to 20,000 Bosniak Muslims in the Podrinje area (around Srebrenica region) - mostly women, children and elderly. Serbian Chetniks themselves admitted killing over 9,000 people in this genocidal campaign alone.

Serbs portray themselves as the major Balkan victims of the Second World War, but conceal the Chetnik collaboration with Nazi fascists, including systematic genocide that they had committed against several peoples, including the Bosniaks and Jews.

Although Serbian historians contend that the persecution of the Jews of Serbia was entirely the responsibility of Germans and began only with the German occupation, this is self- serving fiction.

Fully six months before the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia, Serbia had issued legislation restricting Jewish participation in the economy and university enrolment. 94 percent of Serbia’s 16,000 Jews were exterminated, with the considerable cooperation of the Serbian government, the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Serbian State Guard, the Serbian police and the Serbian public.

The largest proportion of anti-fascist Bosnian partisans were Bosniaks Muslims, who were being slaughtered by all sides (Ustashas, Chetniks and Nazis). Attempts to form a pro-Axis Bosniak division failed when the Bosniak Muslim conscripts revolted against the Germans at a training base south of Le Puy, France in September 1943.

While it is true that during the War, both the Partisans and pro-German Serbian-Nazi Chetniks aided Allied pilots in escaping, they did so because they were paid in gold for each one. However, only NAZI collaborator and fascist Draza Mihailovic received Medal, due to intensive Serbian lobbying and propaganda in the U.S.

The first experiments in mass executions of camp inmates by poison gas were carried out in Serbia. Serbia was the first country to proudly declare itself “Judenfrei” (”cleansed” of Jews) The long concealed Historical Archives in Belgrade reveal that Banjica, a concentration camp located in Belgrade, was primarily staffed by Serbs.

2 Responses to “Remembering Serbia’s Nazi Past and Mass Murders of Jews”


This article is bogus propaganda piece, probably written by some Bosnian Muslim propagandist writer in order to paint Serbians in black light.
As a employee of a mentioned Banjica concentration camp museum, I find these lies to be thoroughly insulting. There is large number of historical inaccuracies in a short volume of text, so I will concentrate on just a few of them for the lack of space.
-The truth is that that Chetnic movement (Royal Army in Homeland) were responsible for large number of atrocities, especially against Muslim populations, but it is also true that most of those killings happened in communities that were supportive of Ustashi regime of genocide against Serbs. In most cases those killings were directly linked with personal paybacks against certain populations. I don’t mention this in order to justify those crimes, but to provide context why they happened in a first place.
-Neither Chetnics, nor Serbian Orthodox Church were involved in any known case of collaboration against Jews. There are small number of documents mentioning Judeo-Bolsheviks, but in the context of threat of Soviet invasion that would be supportive of communist revolution, not the Jewish population as such. In fact most of those surviving Jews only stayed alive because of selfless help provided to them by the Serbian peasants hiding them in the countryside, often at their own personal risk. Ask surviving Jews for the first hand testimony. We still have survivors coming to Banjica museum to pay their respects to their dead family members, and their stories are often about how they were hidden by the Serbian peasants from the Germans.
-The extermination of Jewish population in Serbia was entirely in hands of German occupant forces. As most of those killings took part in the first few months of occupation, at the time there were no “Serbian government” and no quisling armed or unarmed formations. There were several thousand poorly armed gendarmes Germans kept in order to provide general security, but hey had absolutely nothing to do with killings of Jews, or anybody else for that matter. It wasn’t anybody from Serbia that “proudly declare itself “Judenfrei””, but it was a report from a high ranking Nazi official sent to Germany.
-As a matter of fact there wasn’t a single Serbian solider serving in a SS, something that cannot be said about tens of thousands of Muslims serving in a “Handzar”, “Kama” amd “Scenderbeg” SS divisions.
-Although Chetnics did made temporary ceasefires with the Germans (and so did communist partisans)at the times, and some units did collaborated as anti-communist militias, they were mostly treated as much of a threat by the Germans as were partisans. Roughly half of ‘political’ prisoners imprisoned and executed in Banjica concentration camp (and other places too) belong to the royalist and half to the communist movements.
-And it is also false claim that most of the Banjica camp staff were Serbians. It is true that German authorities made use of a members of a pre-war special police unit dealing with outlawed the communist party as a specialist consultants for the interrogation of communists, but the claim that they were running (or even securing) the camp is simply not true. At all times it was run by Nazi officers and members of the Wermacht were responsibility for mass executions that took place in the nearby killing fields. Tens of thousands of Serbs lost lives along Jews and other nationalities at the hands of Nazis in Serbia alone, not to mention genocide perpetuated by the Ustashi regime of Croatia in which hundreds of thousands Serbs and others were slaughtered in a most sadistic manner, so I find this piece of revisionist propaganda utterly insulting, making a killers look like victims and vice versa. For any additional questions I am available and will be glad to answer them. There are also a number of quality histories dealing with holocaust in Yugoslavia and I can recommend those from Simon Wiesenthal Center as a most objective ones.

Lyle Courtsal

If they hate like a nazi, kill like a nazi, and lie like a nazi, thyen they must be proto-nazi mass murderers, though certainly, there are other ideologies used to justify mass murder of dependent vulnerable peoples. The nazis murdered off the disabled and the mentally ill first. And yes, I have seen a picture of an orthodox priest marching in a nazi parade with his right arm at the proper angle just like hitler; that is a deep shame for this orthodox christian. The most fundamental teaching of God in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ is Thou Shalt Not Kill (hold back that emotionalized animalistic nature that is so weak and easily deceived. Lyle Courtsal

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