The exhibition of Nazi propaganda posters owned by Mirko Ilić
During the Festival of Tolerance, the 7th Jewish Film Festival, an exhibition will be held of Anti-Masonic posters. It comprises of twenty WWII Nazi propaganda posters from Serbia that are owned by world-renowned designer Mirko Ilić, who is also the author of the festival’s visual identity. The exhibition will be open from the 19th to the 25th of May in Europa cinema and the 3rd to the 8th of June in Rijeka Mali salon, free admission.
The posters were part of the ‘’Great Anti-Masonic Exhibition’’ (which was synonymous with anti-Semitism). It opened October 1941 in Belgrade after the Nazi occupation of 1941. The Germans, who sought to intensify the already ignited hatred of Jews, financed it. Marko Ilic says: "It is seventeen original posters from a total of twenty that I was able to find in the U.S. It was pure propaganda, because this exhibition is trying to convince people why the Germans are good and others evil. That Jews are behind the evil that manipulates the world.’’
Steven Heller, one of America’s leading graphic designers, theorists, critics and a renowned lecturer at the New York School of Visual Arts, wrote the most important review of the exhibition. According to him, the central theme of the exhibition was based on the traditional blood libel, the alleged Jewish (or in this case Jewish-Communist-Masonic) conspiracy of world domination. In addition to the exhibition, there was a large amount of propaganda material: over 200 000 different brochures, 60 000 posters, 100 000 leaflets, 108 000 copies of nine different types of illustrated envelopes, 176 movie clips, the four stamps, etc.
The posters were conveying the message that Jews are the ancient enemies of the Serbian people and that Serbs should not wait for Germans to begin the extermination of the Jews. Judaism, portrayed in a stereotypical, orthodox way, is presented as a source of world evil. In this way anti-Semitic propaganda portrayed Jews as both capitalists and communists, as a deceitful Zionist force that governs all aspects of European, or even global economic life. Graphic artists and designers who had templates made in the Nazi propaganda studio in Berlin produced the materials.
"This exhibition is presented at the Festival because it is very important to see that some of the iconography and some dictionaries do not change with time. What was done and said in fascist Germany is relevant and happening today. It is not so well designed and cleverly conceived but is occurring. The dictionary is actually identical. And something that seems like ancient history, in effect is not." says Mirko Ilic.
The entire exhibition "Anti-Masonic posters" consists of 17 original and 3 replicated posters. The replicas are printed photos of the original posters from the 1941 exhibition. The exhibition is organized in cooperation with the Embassy of the United States, the U.S. non-profit organization AIC Foundation Inc. and the Ministry of Culture.