Dimitrije Ljotić

Dimitrije Ljotić
Dimitrije Ljotić
Born Димитрије Љотић
August 12, 1891(1891-08-12)
Belgrade
Died April 23, 1945(1945-04-23) (aged 53)
Ajdovščina
Cause of death Car accident
Nationality  Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Known for Collaboration with the Germans in World War II
Parents father Vladimir Ljotić

Dimitrije Ljotić (Serbian Cyrillic: Димитрије Љотић; August 12, 1891, Belgrade - April 23, 1945, Ajdovščina) was a Serbian politician and Nazi German collaborationist during World War II.

Although born in Belgrade he spent most of his life in Smederevo. His ancestors came to Serbia from the village of Blace in what is today Greek Macedonia during the first half of 19th century. His father Vladimir Ljotić had a notable political and diplomatic career during which he was a consul in Thessaloniki, mayor of Smederevo and a Member of Parliament in the Serbian Parliament. Dimitrije started his education in Smederevo, before going on to graduate at the age of 16 from the Serbian lycée in Thesaloniki, and concluding his education by graduating at the University of Belgrade's Law School.

During the Balkan wars he volunteered for military medical service. In 1913 he stayed in Paris where he remained until the beginning of World War I; soon after he returned to Serbia and enlisted in the Serbian Army. After the Great War he served as commander of a railway station in Bakar, Croatia where he broke a railway strike arresting 36 workers. This event proved crucial in his life and career since it determined his choice to become a politician rather than a clergyman. In Bakar he met his wife Ivka, with whom he moved back to Smederevo in 1920 and started practicing law. In Smederevo he joined the People's Radical Party soon becoming president of the Youth branch. In 1931 King Alexander I proclaimed him Minister of Justice in the government of Petar Živković, in which capacity he would make a new draft Constitution and present it to the King. He proposed voters should vote in free and secret elections whilst candidates would be nominated by non-governmental organizations. The King refused his proposal and Ljotić resigned from office.

After the resignation he worked on gathering people who shared his vision and beliefs. On January 6, 1935, Dimitrije Ljotić was elected president of the newly formed party ZBOR which some compared to fascist movements in other countries. In the same year his party won 0.86% of the vote, and continued receiving similar election ratings until the beginning of the World War II. After Yugoslavia had been attacked by Axis he volunteered to the Army and as a reserve officer went to Bjeljina, where he was greeted by news of capitulation and consequently went back to Smederevo.

He soon joined negotiations with the German occupation forces to form a civil government in occupied Serbia, the so-called Commissar administration, but refused to join in the government. After the demise of the Commisar administration, a new civil government was formed headed by Milan Nedić, a man Ljotić nominated personally. Ljotić declined once more to join the government, but two ZBOR members did not share his choice. One of the two, Mihailo Olćan, proposed the formation of the Serbian Volunteer Corps which would engage in fighting against the partisans, having Dimitrije Ljotić as their ideological leader.

As the end of the war was approaching Ljotić, together with most of Serbian anti-communist forces, sought refuge in Slovenia; there he was scheming, with Slovenian collaborators, for the restoration of the Yugoslav monarchy.

His driver Ratko Živadinović had very bad vision. During the night they had been stopped by a Slovenian road patrol and forewarned that road was severely damaged; a few minutes later they fell from a broken bridge into a river. Both Ljotić and his driver died at the scene. Dimitrije Ljotić was buried in Šempeter pri Gorici, Slovenia.

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