In a bar in Belgrade, the far-right flames of fans of “banned” books

Klub 451, founded by former Serbian National Front member Marko Gajinovic, echoes La Citadelle, a club in the French city of Lille where members of the far-right Identity Movement meet and, according to a documentary through Al Jazeera, discuss and plan activities, promote films and build relationships with other extremists.

In November 2021, Klub 451 sent a message of support on Instagram to far-right group Alvarium based in Angers, after French President Emmanuel Macron signed a decree banning their activities, while the following month the club also welcomed representatives from France. Zentropa for a round table.

The club only really made the headlineshowever, in February this year, when left-wing bands sounded the alarm over an announced concert by Ewiger Sturm, a Swiss musician who performs arrangements of songs by far-right bands, including the one is dedicated to Donaldson.

The concert, which was to take place on March 12, the 19th anniversary of the assassination of reformist Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, has been canceled. But many other far-right promotional events took place.

One of them was the Montag Book Fair, which was held at the end of last year at Klub 451, during which Zentropa, the bookstore “Ishodiste”, and the Serbian action group d right-wingers presented their publishing activities, among them “For my legionnaires” by Romanian far-right leader Corneliu Codreanu, founder of the militant fascist movement Iron Guard in 1930.

Representing Ishodiste was Ivan Petrovic, author and editor of the right-wing magazine Identitet, which counts among its contributors Gajinovic and Marko Dimitrijevic, who both took part in a protest in early 2018 calling for the rehabilitation of Milan Nedic, leader of a group Nazi. Serbian puppet government supported during World War II.

Besides Codreanu, Ishodiste recommends a host of “banned” books, including the collected works of Serbian fascist politician Dimitrije Ljotic, founder of the fascist “Zbor” movement in 1935.

For its part, Serbian Action promotes the work of Ljotic disciple Milosav Vasiljevic, who collaborated in Nedic’s government, and Nikolaj Velimirovic, a revered Serbian bishop briefly imprisoned by the Nazis in the Dachau concentration camp but who had a high opinion of Ljotic and has been accused of anti-Semitism in his writings and sermons. In its online bookstore, Serbian Action praises Velimirovic for “exposing Jewish wickedness and the spirit of Judaized and godless modern Europe.”

The Catena mundi publishing house, founded by Branimir Nesic, a prominent member of the right-wing Dveri movement, has republished the 1956 “Book on Draza”, which romanticizes the life of Serbian nationalist World War II commander Dragoljub “Draza” Mihailovic, who was executed in 1946 by Yugoslav communist authorities for collaborating with the Nazis. The book is widely available in major Serbian bookstores.

VAK’s Srdic told BIRN: “The revision of history is common in this branch of science. When new facts are established, existing actions and attitudes are re-examined. But these cases do not revise history, they interpret it differently. It’s amazing what is justified here and how it is interpreted.

Such narratives serve to radicalize sections of society, she warned. “Everything must first start with words, in a story.”

With money and connections, “you can post anything”

About Marcia G. Hussain

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