Belgrade (Jul. 6)
Jugoslavia is entirely free from the poison of anti-Semitism, declared Doja Marinkovic, Foreign Minister, in an interview he granted to Jacob Landau, Managing Director of Jewish Telegrapic Agency, who is now visiting Jugoslavia in his tour of European countries.
“On the contrary,” the Minister continued, “we respect and love the Jews because the historic development of the Serbs in many respects ran parallel to that of the Jews. We suffered greatly until we reached freedom. Our power, resistance and flexibility joins us with the Jews and we appreciate their loyalty and adherence to their religion.
“We highly appreciate the patriotism of the Jews who, during the war, shared our sorrows and troubles. The Jugoslavian Government treats the Jewish community similar to other religions. The Chief Rabbi is accorded the same treatment as the heads of the Catholic and Protestant churches. He is invited to official functions on the same status as the others. Chief Rabbi Alkalay is highly respected and has received the highest distinctions from the King and the country.
“The new laws, establishing the various rights of the communities, granted the Jews equal facilities with the Catholics and Protestants,” the Minister declared. “The Jewish community numbers 60,000 souls. They are engaged mainly in trade and the professions and because of their extraordinary industry, they form a valuable element of the population.
“Many of the Jews here emigrated from Spain and many families have lived in Jugoslavia since the sixteenth century.”
In reply to a question of Mr. Landau, the Minister stated that he is unaware of the existence of a law forbidding officers in the air force to marry Jewesses. If such a law exists, the Minister said, he is convinced that it will be abolished.