Europa Cinema, May 19th – 25th, 2013
“Anti-Masonic posters” is a thematic exhibition of Nazi propaganda posters in Serbia during the World War II. The posters are owned by world-renowned designer Mirko Ilic. The exhibition is being held as an additional program of the Festival of Tolerance and can be seen from May 19th to 25th in Europa cinema in Zagreb and from June 2nd to 8th in Mali salon in Rijeka.
Until April 1941, Nazis have occupied most part of the Yugoslavian territory. After the Uprising in Serbia that was initiated in July 1941, Milan Nedic was appointed the prime minister of Serbian marionette government. Under his auspice, the “Grand Anti-Masonic Exhibition” (a code for anti-semitism) opened in occupied Belgrade on October 22nd, 1941, and ended on January 19th, 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 most significant review of the exhibition was given by Steven Heller, the most prominent American graphic designer, theorist, critic and renowned lecturer at the New York School of Visual Arts. According to him, the central theme of the exhibition 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 exhibition, a huge amount of propaganda materials was created: over 200 000 different brochures, 60 000 posters, 100 000 flyers, 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 the Jews were the ancient enemies of the Serbian people and that Serbs should not wait for the Germans to begin with their extermination. Judaism, portrayed in stereotypical orthodox guise, was presented as the source of evil in the world. Furthermore, the posters advocated the “humiliation and violent subjugation” of Jews. Particularly interesting is the material showing the alleged Jewish domination over the American press and finances, and, especially, the 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. The imagery was produced by graphic artists and designers who drew from templates produced in Germany at the Nazi Propaganda Atelier in Berlin.
The “Anti-Masonic posters” exhibition consists of 17 original and 3 replicated (newly printed) posters with the same dimensions of the original ones. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with Mr. Mirko Ilić, Ministry of Culture, Embassy of the United States and the American nonprofit organization – AIC Foundation Inc.