Very Dirty Pictures
The Nazis occupied most of Yugoslavia by April 1941. After a Serbian uprising in July 1941, Milan Nedic was appointed the titular ruler. Under his auspices, the “Grand Anti-Masonic Exhibition” (a code for anti-semitic) opened in occupied Belgrade on October 22, 1941, and ended January 19, 1942. It was funded by the Germans to fan the flames of an already virulent hatred against the Jews. These posters are from that exhibition.
The central theme was based on the traditional blood libel, an alleged Jewish—and, in this case, Jewish-Communist-Masonic—plot for world domination. In addition to the exhibits, a river of propaganda flowed: over 200,000 different brochures, 60,000 posters, 100,000 handbills, 108,000 samples of nine different types of illustrated envelopes, 176 movie clips, four postage stamps, and more. The big lie was more believable when it was everywhere and on everything.
The posters proclaimed that Jews were the ancient enemies of the Serbian people and that Serbs should not wait for the Germans to begin their extermination. Judaism, portrayed in stereotypical orthodox guise, was the source of world evil. They furthermore advocated the “humiliation and violent subjugation” of Jews. Of special interest is the material showing alleged Jewish domination of the American press and finance, particularly control of The New York Times.
This routine type of anti-semitic propaganda conflated Jews into both capitalists and communists—the deceptive Zionist force that dominated all aspects of European—indeed, world—economic life. These pictures couldn’t be more dirty or less effective.
The imagery was produced by graphic artists and designers who drew from templates produced in Germany at the Nazi Propaganda Atelier in Berlin.
More on this and other racial and national prejudice can be discovered at the University of Minnesota Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. (Thanks to Mirko Ilic providing the originals also found in this collection and for this book on Serbian pro-Nazi and anti-semitic imagery.)