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Medjugorje Chap. 2 – The Ustasha

While controversy continues regarding the silence of Pope Pius XII and the German Holocaust, there is no disputing that prior to World War II the Catholic Church looked favorably upon European fascism. The usual explanation is that the Church viewed fascism as a bulwark against Soviet communism. If so, why did the Vatican not align with the democracies?

Following the French Revolution, the Vatican viewed 19th century European democratic nationalistic movements as a threat to Catholic monarchies and, by extension, the Church’s privileged position within these countries. The Vatican’s position only hardened when the unification of Italy resulted in the loss of the last territory directly under the control of the popes, the Papal States, a wide swath of land across the center of the Italian peninsula. In his 1864 Syllabus of Errors, Pope Pius IX condemned democracy, along with ninety other subjects including science, a free press and secular education, as an “error and perverse doctrine.” In an 1895 encyclical, Pope Leo XIII warned the American Catholic bishops not to export the U.S. system of separation of Church and State.

Unlike elected heads of European governments, fascist dictators Mussolini in Italy, Franco in Spain, Pilsudski in Poland, Dollfuss in Austria, Hitler in Germany, Petain in Vichy France, Tiso in Slovakia and Salazar in Portugal (all Catholics with the exception of Hitler) were willing to provide special protections for the Church’s finances and institutions. [1]

Since the Catholic laity have no option other than obedience to their prelates, additionally the Vatican would have been ill at ease aligning with nations governed by the will of the people. More so, “Democracies can legislate in ways that limit the impact of the Church’s tenets, especially in the social sphere (marriage, divorce, birth control, abortion, education, etc.) and limit the overall political impact of the Church,” observed historian Christine M. Roussel in an email to this author.

The Austro-Hungarian Hapsburgs were the last Catholic monarchs with any real power. After the country’s defeat and loss of territories following World War I, the Vatican was intent on preserving Catholic hegemony where it could.

In addition to fascist governments, “Fascist Catholic movements rose everywhere. An era…of active agitation and the swift mobilization of all the religious and political forces of Europe against Bolshevik Russia began.” [2] The Lapua in Finland, Rex in Belgium, Action Francaise all had a “special relationship” with the Church. [3]

 CROATIA

The Croatian Catholic press praised the achievements of the dictatorships under Msgr. Josip Tiso in Slovakia, Franco in Spain and the Catholic Church in Hungary. Tiso’s Slovakia, where all political power was concentrated in the hands of the clergy, was held as the ideal. [4]

As in other European countries, Catholic Action groups were formed in post-World War I Croatia. 

The main outlets for the political work of Catholic Action were the “Brotherhood and Sisterhood of the Crusaders.” The “Great Brotherhood of Crusaders” was composed of about 540 societies with some 30,000 members, while the “Great Sisterhood of Crusaders” had about 452 societies with 18,935 members. Under the cover of alleged religious work, these organizations played an important role in inculcating the spirit of fascism and religious and race hatreds on the youth. Members were indoctrinated with the Ustasha ideas of nationalistic chauvinism. At meetings of these organizations, Ante Pavelic and the Ustasha were hailed as liberators of the Croat people, Hitler and Mussolini were praised as friends and allies, hatred toward Serbs and Jews was spread and Kingdom ofYugoslavia, Great Britain, the United States and the USSR were attacked. 

Croatia’s primate, Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac, personally confirmed the choice of Crusader leaders, choosing a widely-known fascist as president. [5]

A similar role in the dissemination of Ustasha propaganda was conducted by other religious organizations. Marijina Kongregacija (Congregation of Mary) and Sveucilisno Katolicko drustvo Domagoj (The Domagoj Catholic University Society) were most prominent. These organizations operated within the framework of Catholic Action as directed by Archbishop Stepinac. [6] 

A 1946 War Crimes Commission 

found ample evidence that in pre-war Yugoslavia many churches and monasteries had served as secret meeting places for the Ustasha. To cite but a few, meetings of the leaders of the illegal Ustasha movement in Yugoslavia and of Pavelic’s delegates from Italy and Germany were held in the Franciscan monastery in Cuntic. One of the most important centers for the dissemination of Ustasha propaganda was the Franciscan monastery on Siroki Brijeg in Herzegovina, where, according to Hrvatski Narod of June 4, 1941, the Franciscan Fr. Radoslav Glavas founded a secret Ustasha organization among high school boys. [7]  

According to historian, John Cornwell, Pius XII was a long-standing supporter of Croat nationalism. He hosted a pilgrimage to Rome in November 1939 for the cause of the canonization of Nicola Tavelic and, “largely confirmed the Ustasha perception of history.” In a meeting with Archbishop Stepinac, Pius XII repeated the view of Pope Leo X that the Croats were “the outpost of Christianity,” a term which itself implied that the Orthodox Serbs were not Christians. Pius XII told Stepinac: 

The hope of a better future seems to be smiling on you, a future in which the relations between Church and State in your country will be regulated in harmonious action to the advantage of both. [8] 

Historian Michael Thayer wrote that for the Ustasha, “Relations with the Vatican were as important as relations with Germany” because Vatican recognition was the key to widespread Croat support. [9] Pavelic was received in a private papal audience in Rome in May 1941 just after becoming dictator of Croatia. “After receiving the papal blessing, Ante Pavelic and his Ustasha lieutenants unleashed an unspeakable genocide in their new country.” [10]

The Ustasha genocide was termed “The Vatican’s Holocaust” by British author, Avro Manhattan, who wrote a preface in 1986 directed specifically to readers in the United States for his book by the same name:

It is an historical fact. Rabid nationalism and religious dogmatism were its two main ingredients. During the existence of Croatia as an independent Catholic State, over 700,000 men, women and children perished. Many were executed, tortured, died of starvation, buried alive, or were burned to death. Hundreds were forced to become Catholic. Catholic padres ran concentration camps; Catholic priests were officers of the military corps which committed such atrocities. 700,000 in a total population of a few million, proportionally, would be as if one-third of the USA population had been exterminated by a Catholic militia.

[This information] should become known to the American public, not to foster vindictiveness, but to warn them of the danger which racialism and sectarianism, when allied with religious intolerance, can bring to any contemporary nation, whether in Europe or in the New World. This work should be assessed without prejudice and as a lesson; but even more vital, as a warning for the future of the Americas, beginning with that of the USA.

Two investigators to the Ustasha arrival into Zagreb in April 1941 wrote that Archbishop Stepinac immediately “offered his congratulations to Pavelic” and held a banquet to celebrate the founding of the new Nazi puppet state. He also ordered the proclamation of the independent state to be delivered from all pulpits of the Catholic Church in Croatia on Easter Sunday and arranged Pavelic’s audience with Pope Pius XII. Stepinac issued a Pastoral Letter ordering the Croatian clergy to support the new Ustasha state:

God, who directs the destiny of nations and controls the hearts of Kings, has given us Ante Pavelic and moved the leader of a friendly and allied people, Adolf Hitler, to use his victorious troops to disperse our oppressors…Glory be to God, our gratitude to Adolf Hitler and loyalty to our Poglavnik, Ante Pavelic. [11] 

Sarajevo’s Archbishop Ivan Saric, one of the most enthusiastic and early supporters of Pavelic, described him as “a treasure from heaven.” 

The Croatian Catholic Minister of Worship declared: 

The Ustasha movement is based on religion. All our work rests on our loyalty to religion and the Catholic Church…. We will kill some Serbians, deport others, and the rest will be compelled to embrace the Roman Catholic religion. [12]

Bishop Simrak of Krizevci, published directives to his clergy in the official Diocesan News of Krizevci, No. 2, 1942. Part of the text reads as follows:

Special offices and church committees must be created immediately for those to be converted…. Let every curate remember that these are historic days for our missions and we must under no circumstances let this opportunity pass…. Now we must show with our work what we have been talking about for centuries in theory.

We have done very little until now because….we are afraid of complaints from the people. Every great work has someone opposing it. Our universal mission, the salvation of souls and the greatest glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, is involved in this issue. Our work is legal because it is in accord with official Vatican policy and with the directives of the saintly congregations of the Cardinals for the Eastern Church. [13]

Archbishop Stepinac headed the committee which was responsible for the forced conversions of Orthodox to Catholicism.

Stepinac was also the Supreme Military Apostolic Vicar of the Ustasha Army, which hunted down and slaughtered those who refused to convert. One bishop after another endorsed the promotion of conversions.

On April 28, 1941, the Ustasha raided six villages in the Bjelovar district and took 250 men, including a schoolteacher and an Orthodox priest. Refusing to convert to Catholicism, the victims were forced to dig a ditch, then were bound with wire and buried alive. A few days later, at a place called Otocac, the Ustasha rounded up 331 Serbs, including the local Orthodox priest and his son. Again, the victims were forced to dig their own graves before being hacked to death with axes. The perpetrators saved the priest and his boy until last. The priest was forced to recite the prayers for the dying while the son was chopped to pieces. The priest was then tortured, his hair and beard torn off, his eyes gouged out, and finally skinned alive.

On May 14, 1941, at a place called Glina, hundreds of Serbs were brought to a church to attend a mandatory service of thanksgiving for the constitution of the new Ustasha state. Once the Serbs were inside the building, a squad of Ustasha entered with axes and knives. They asked the Serbs to show their certificates proving they had converted to Roman Catholicism. Only two had the required documents, and were released. Because the others had not converted to Catholicism, the doors of the church were locked and they were butchered by the Ustasha with axes and knives.

At Nevesinje, the Ustasha arrested a Serbian family and separated the mother and children from their father. For seven days they were tortured by starvation and thirst. Then the Ustasha brought the mother and children a roast, and told them to eat it. After they finished eating, the Ustasha told them that they had just eaten the flesh of their father.

Priests and monks, usually Franciscans, took a leading part in the massacres, and left a multitude of photographs proving their involvement. In order to impress Pavelic, and be awarded medals or singled out for “heroism,” the killers would frequently take pictures with their dead or dying victims. Captured photographs show Ustasha members beheading a Serb with an axe, driving a saw through the neck of another, and carrying the head of a Serbian Orthodox priest through the streets of Zagreb. In all of them, the Ustasha are smiling and crowding into the picture, as if to prove they had a role in the atrocity.

The Franciscan Fr. Miroslav Filipovic was the commandant at Jasenovac, the infamous Ustasha death camp. He is one of many who were proudly photographed as a member of the Ustasha killing squads. On the night of August 29, 1942, commandant Filipovic gave orders for the execution of all the prisoners at Jasenovac. Bets were made as to who could kill the largest number of inmates. Fr. Petar Brzica cut the throats of 1,360 prisoners with a curve bladed knife. Having been proclaimed the winner of the competition, he was elected “King of the Cutthroats.” A gold watch, a roasted pig, and wine were his rewards.

Fr. Bozidar Bralow, known for the machine gun that was his constant companion, was accused of performing a dance around the bodies of 180 massacred Serbs at Alipasin-Most. In September 1941, an Italian reporter wrote of a Franciscan he had witnessed south of Banja Luka urging on a band of Ustasha with his crucifix. Individual Franciscans committed murder, set fire to homes, sacked villages, and laid waste to the countryside as the heads of the Ustasha killing squads. They also used the manner in which a person gave the sign of the cross as a way of telling if they were of Orthodox background. Not only did priests and monks contribute and organize many of the killings, they also performed many forced conversions of Orthodox Serbs to Roman Catholicism. [14]

In June 1941, the Ustasha told the Serbian villagers of Prebilovci that they were being deported to Belgrade. They were herded together with other Serbs from the western part of Herzegovina into six train carloads. When they arrived at Surmanci, 559 Serbs were thrown into a pit and hand grenades thrown on top of them. Bishop Misic of Mostar, one of the few Catholic officials to protest, wrote a letter to Archbishop Stepinac:

“Men are captured like animals,” Misic wrote, “they are slaughtered, murdered; living men are thrown off cliffs….From Mostar and from Capljina a train took six carloads of mothers, young girls, and children…to Surmanci….They were led up the mountains and…thrown alive off the precipices….In Mostar itself they have been found by the hundreds, taken in wagons outside the town and then shot down like animals.” [15]

The Ustasha had German support to eliminate the Serb population in Croatia. “In total, about 300,000 Serbs had been deported or fled from Croatia by the end of World War II.” [16]

For those not so fortunate, many were sent to the Jasenovac extermination camps, the second largest concentration camp system in World War II, run by Fr. Filipovic who admitted killing “40,000 Serbs with his own hands.” One location also included a camp for children run by Catholic nuns who used toxic soda to save bullets. [17] 

Several Franciscans were among the concentration camps’ officials in addition to Filipovic: Fr. Grga Blazevitch, Assistant to the Commandant of the concentration camp of Bosanski-Novi; Br. Tugomire Soldo, organizer of a great massacre of Serbs in 1941 and Fr. Zvonko Brekalo who was decorated in 1944 by the Pavelic with the “Order of King Zvonimir.” [18] 

The Ustasha interned, tortured and executed men, women and children in Jasenovac. The largest number of victims was Serbs, but other victims included Jews, Gypsies (the Roma) and Croatian resistance members opposed to the regime (i.e., Partisans or their sympathizers, categorized by the Ustasha as “communists”) ….

Inside the camp, squalor and lack of sanitation reigned: clutter, blood, vomit and bodies filled the barracks, which were also full of pests and of the foul scent of the often overflowing latrine bucket. Due to exposure to the elements, inmates suffered from impaired health leading to epidemics of typhus, typhoid, malaria, pleurisies, influenza, dysentery and diphtheria. During pauses in labor (5:00-6:00; 12:00-13:00, 17:00-20:0) inmates had to relieve themselves at open latrines, which consisted of big pits dug in open fields, covered in planks. Inmates would tend to fall inside, and often died. The Ustasha encouraged this by either having internees separate the planks, or by physically drowning inmates inside. The pit would overflow during floods and rains, and was also drained into the lake, from which inmate drinking water was taken. 

The Ustasha cremated living inmates, who were sometimes drugged and sometimes fully awake, as well as corpses. The first cremations took place in the brick factory ovens in January, 1942. Engineer Hinko Dominik Picilli perfected this method by converting seven of the kiln’s furnace chambers into more sophisticated crematories. Crematories were also placed in Gradina, across the Sava River….Some bodies were buried rather than cremated, as shown by exhumation of bodies late in the war. 

The Ustasha, in following the Nazi example, as set in Auschwitz and Sajmiste, tried to employ poisonous gas to kill inmates that arrived in Stara-Gradiska. They first tried to gas the women and children that arrived from camp Djakovo with gas vans that Simo Klaic called “green Thomas”. The method was later replaced with stationary gas-chambers with Zyklon B and sulfur dioxide. 

Manual methods, the Ustasha’s favorites, were liquidations which utilized sharp or blunt craftsmen tools: knives, saws, hammers, et cetera. These liquidations took place in various locations. 

Granik was a ramp used to unload goods off Sava boats. In the winter 1943-44, large transports of new internees arrived and the need for liquidation, in light of the expected Axis defeat, was large. Therefore, “Maks” Luburic devised a plan to utilize the crane as a gallows on which slaughter would be committed, so that the bodies could be dumped into the stream of the flowing river. The Ustasha NCO’s came in every night for some 20 days with lists of names of people who were incarcerated in the warehouse. They were stripped, chained, beaten and then taken to the “Granik” where weights were tied to the wire that was bent on their arms, and their intestines and neck were slashed, and they were thrown into the river with a blow of a blunt tool in the head. The method was later enhanced so that inmates were tied in pairs, back to back, their bellies were cut before they were tossed into the river alive. 

The Ustasha utilized empty areas in the vicinity of the villages Donja Gradina and Ustice, where they encircled an area marked for slaughter and mass graves in wire. The Ustasha slew victims with knives or smashed their skulls with mallets. When gypsies arrived in the camp, they did not undergo selection, but were rather concentrated under the open skies at a section of camp known as “III-C”. From there the gypsies were taken to liquidation in Gradina, working on the dike (men) or in the corn fields in Ustice (women) in between liquidations. Thus Gradina and Ustice became Roma mass grave sites. Furthermore, small groups of gypsies were utilized as gravediggers who actually participated in the slaughter at Gradina. Thus the extermination at the site grew until it became the main killing-ground in Jasenovac. 

According to the state commission, as many as 50,000 people were killed in Velika Kustaria in the winter of 1941-1942. There is evidence suggesting that killings took place there afterwards also. 

Mlaka and Jablanc were two sites used as collection and labor camps for the women and children in camps III and V, but also as places where many of these women and children, as well as other groups, were liquidated at the Sava bank in between the two locations. [19]

Special camps for children were set up in many parts of Croatia. Nine of the concentration camps for children were at Lobor; Jablanac, near Jasenovac; Mlaka; Brocice; Jstici; Stara Gradiska; Sisak; Jastrebarsko; and Ciornja Rijeka. According to one witness:

At that time fresh women and children came daily to the Camp at Stara Gradiska. About fourteen days later, Ante Vrban [Commandant of the Camp] ordered all children to be separated from their mothers and put in one room. Ten of us were told to carry them there in blankets. The children crawled about the room, and one child put an arm and leg through the doorway, so that the door could not be closed. Vrban shouted: ‘Push it!’ When I did not do that, he banged the door and crushed the child’s leg. Then he took the child by its whole leg, and banged it on the wall till it was dead. After that we continued carrying the children in. When the room was full, Vrban brought poison gas and killed them all. 

At his trial, Vrban protested that he had not killed hundreds of children personally, “but only sixty-three.” 

In 1942 there were some 24,000 children in the Jasenovac camp alone, 12,000 of whom were murdered. A very large portion of the remainder, having subsequently been released following pressure by the International Red Cross, perished wholesale from intense debilitation. Dr. Katicic, Chairman of the Red Cross, shocked by these mass murders, lodged the strongest protest, threatening to denounce to the world this mass slaughter of infants. As a reply, Pavelic had Dr. Katicic flung into the concentration camp of Stara Gradiska. [20]

Orthodox children who survived extermination were placed in public homes directed by Catholic priests or sisters under the auspices of Caritas, a charity run by the Croatian bishops. In many cases they were put in the care of private Catholic families. 

Their religious assimilation was speedy, ruthless, and efficient. Officially converted to Catholicism, re-baptized with Catholic names, growing up in Catholic surroundings, these children quickly lost all contact with their original ethnic and religious group. Their assimilation was so thorough that even after Pavelic’s collapse it became impossible to trace most of them, documents relating to their origin often having been willfully destroyed. Fleeing Ustasha took a number of such children with them to their main country of refuge, Argentina. Others were taken to Italy. The wholesale kidnapping of Orthodox children was a characteristic feature of the forcible conversion, through terror, of Orthodox adults. [21]

The atrocities committed by the Ustasha stunned observers.

Brigadier Sir Fitzroy MacLean, Chief of the British military mission to the Partisans commented, “Some Ustasha collected the eyes of Serbs they had killed, sending them, when they had enough, to [Pavelic] for his inspection or proudly displaying them and other human organs in the cafés of Zagreb.” [22]

German military commanders gave different figures for the number of Serbs, Jews and others killed in the territory of the Independent State of Croatia during the World War II. They circulated figures from 300,000 to 600-700,000. Herman Neubacher calculated the number killed based on the stated goal of the Pavelic regime towards non-Catholics:

“A third must become Catholic, a third must leave the country, and a third must die!” This last point of their program was accomplished. When prominent Ustasha leaders claimed that they slaughtered a million Serbs, that is, in my opinion, a boastful exaggeration. On the basis of the reports submitted to me, I believe that the number of defenseless victims slaughtered to be three quarters of a million. (Neubacher, Dr. Hermann. Special Assignment in the Southeast, p. 18-30.)

Italian generals, overwhelmed by the Ustasha slaughter, also reported similar figures to their commanders. [23]

 (“Subsequent data gathering in the 1980s by historians showed that the actual number of dead was about 1 million. Of that number, 330,000–390,000 ethnic Serbs perished from all causes in Croatia and Bosnia.”) [24]   

Archbishop Stepinac was summoned to Rome in April 1942 where he delivered a nine-page document detailing various misdeeds by the Ustasha. This document described the atrocities as “anomalies” that were either unknown or unauthorized by Pavelic himself. However, by 1942 the Vatican “preferred to have Stepinac try to rein the fascists in rather than risk the effect that a papal denunciation would have on the unstable Croatian state.” [25]

According Phayer, “it is impossible to believe that Stepinac and the Vatican did not know that the Ustasha murders amounted to genocide” [26] Phayer contrasts the Vatican’s “limited and sketchy” knowledge of the genocide in Poland with “the Croatian case, in which both the nuncio and Stepinac, were in continuous contact with the Holy See while the genocide was being committed.” [27]  

The future Dean of the College of Cardinals, Eugene Tisserant wrote, “we have the list of all clergymen who participated in these atrocities and we shall punish them at the right time to cleanse our conscience of the stain with which they spotted us.” [28] One author counted “743 Roman Catholic priests were members of the Ustasha and personally murdered Serbs, Jews and Gypsies.” [29]

Although well-informed of the involvement of Croatian Catholic clergy with the Ustasha regime, Pius XII decided against condemning the regime or even taking action against the involved clergy who had joined in the slaughter fearing that it would lead to schism in the Croatian Church or undermine the formation of a future Croatian state. [30]  

Few prominent members of the Catholic hierarchy objected to the Ustasha violence. One of them was the already-mentioned Aloysius Misic, bishop of the Bosnian city of Mostar. One bishop in Slovenia allowed Jews who had converted to Catholicism and fled from Croatia into his diocese to remain there, with assistance from a Jesuit priest in obtaining the permission of the Italian civil authorities. [31]

The Ustasha’s genocidal massacre of its minorities provoked mass movements of resistance, inspired in part by royalist Chetniks and, more effectively, by Partisan ideologies, but driven primarily by a determination to fight back by any means. On June 22, 1941, the First Partisan Brigade had been formed near Sistak, Croatia. This was to be celebrated as the first armed resistance unit formed in occupied Europe during World War II. Croats, Serbs, Bosniaks, and citizens of all nationalities and backgrounds began joining the pan-Yugoslav Partisans led by Josip Broz Tito who was half Slovene, half Croat. The Partisan movement was eventually able to control large areas of the Independent State of Croatia. Before long the cities of occupied Bosnia and Dalmatia in particular were surrounded by these Partisan-controlled areas, with their garrisons living in a de-facto state of siege and trying to maintain control of the rail-links. [32]

Many Serbs sought revenge by killing Croatians and Muslims in Bosnia. According to Phayer, “Even before the end of the war, Tito had begun to settle the score with the Ustasha which meant with the Catholic Church as well because of the close relations between the two.” [33]

After the Allied victory, Archbishop Stepinac was indicted in September 1946 on charges of supporting the Ustasha government, urging forced conversions of Orthodox Serbs, and encouraging Ustasha resistance in Yugoslavia. [34] The state produced evidence and witnesses concerning the killings and forced conversions performed by members of Stepinac’s military vicariate explaining that “forced conversions” were more often than not followed by the slaughter of the new “converts.” The state pointed out that even if the archbishop did not explicitly order them, he also did nothing to stop them, condemn them or punish those within his Church who were responsible. They also pointed out the disproportionate number of chaplains in the Independent State of Croatia armed forces and attempted to present in detail his relationship with the Ustasha authorities. The Vatican was not excluded of implication in these accusations. [35]

The evidence produced by the state prosecutor in support of these charges consisted of files of the Catholic press, confiscated letters and reports and the sworn statements and testimony of numerous witnesses. All officials participating in the trial were Croatian and Roman Catholic. [36]

Phayer argues that Stepinac (who remained silent during his trial) could have defended himself from the charge of supporting forced conversions, but not the other two charges. [37] Although Phayer agrees in part with criticisms of the Stepinac conviction as a “show trial,” he states, “the charge that he supported the Ustasha regime was, of course, true, as everyone knew”, and that “if Stepinac had responded to the charges against him, his defense would have inevitably unraveled, exposing the Vatican’s support of the genocidal Pavelic.” [38] Most incriminatingly, Stepinac had allowed the state papers of the Ustasha to be stored in his episcopal residence, papers that would be crucial to the Ustasha in retaking control of the country and which contained volumes of incriminating information against Ustasha war criminals. [39]  

Stepinac was sentenced to 16 years in prison. Following the conviction, the Vatican excommunicated all persons who had taken part in or were considered responsible for the prosecution of the archbishop, on the grounds that no member of the Catholic clergy could be prosecuted without consent of the Vatican. [40] 

After five years during which he received preferential treatment, Stepinac was released and offered a choice of emigration or confinement to his home parish of Krasic. He chose the latter. In 1952 he was elevated to cardinal by Pope Pius XII. In 1998, Pope John Paul II declared him a martyr and beatified him. [41]   

Fr. Filipovic, head of Jasenovic, was convicted of war crimes by both a German military court and a Yugoslav civil court and hanged in Belgrade.

Ante Pavelic died in exile in Franco’s Spain in 1959 after seeing his Ustasha terrorist movement firmly transplanted to Argentina, the U.S., Canada, and Australia after the war.

  1. In a column appearing January 16, 2011, in the British newspaper, The Guardian, journalist Nick Cohen wrote: “It is not too hyperbolic to say that the dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko is raping Belarus….So it was with a little hope that opposition leaders asked to meet Archbishop Martin Vidovic, the papal nuncio in Belarus. They carried a letter to the Pope, which said: “Today Belarus is enshrouded in darkness. Arrests of activists, raids and pogroms at independent websites and newspaper offices, searches of apartments continue. The authorities are blackmailing the political prisoners using their little children. We are seeking your help.” The nuncio refused to meet them. Later he relented, but Ratzinger has not protested against the oppression or promised to break diplomatic relations with the outlaw state. The Vatican that still claims to be a force for good is staying silent because it is seeking a concordat with a state that still has a KGB and statues of Lenin on its streets, just as it sought accommodation with Nazi Germany in the 1930s.The advantages for the papacy are hard to judge, because the terms of concordats are secret, but we can assume it wants what it has always wanted: public money and control of children’s schooling.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jan/16/belarus-catholic-church-the-pope
  2. Avro Manhattan “The Vatican Holocaust” http://www.reformation.org/holocaus.html
  3. Walter Laqueur Fascism: Past, Present, Future (Oxford University Press US, 1997) p.44
  4. “The Case of Archbishop Stepinac” Published by the Embassy of the Federal Peoples Republic of Yugoslavia, Washington 1947 http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/62/123.html
  5. Ibid  
  6. Ibid  
  7. Ibid  
  8. John Cornwell Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII (Viking 1999) p. 250  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_clergy_involvement_with_the_Usta%C5%A1e 
  9. Michael Phayer The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930–1965 (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2000) p. 32 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_clergy_involvement_with_the_Usta%C5%A1e
  10. Michael Phayer Pius XII, The Holocaust, and the Cold War (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2008) p. 219 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_clergy_involvement_with_the_Usta%C5%A1e
  11. Nathan Fasulo “The Ustasha and The Roman Catholic Church” http://www.ithaca.edu/hs/history/journal/papers/sp02ustasha.html 
  12. Ibid    
  13. Manhattan Chapter 10 http://www.reformation.org/holoc10.html
  14. Fasulo
  15. E. Michael Jones “The Ghosts of Surmanci: Queen of Peace, Ethnic Cleansing, Ruined Lives” http://www.culturewars.com/CultureWars/Archives/cw_feb98/surmanci.html
  16. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_State_of_CroatiaAccording to wikipedia: .
  17. Ari Rusila, “Jasenovac – Holocaust promoted by Vatican” January 26, 2010  http://arirusila.cafebabel.com/en/post/2010/01/26/Jasenovac-%E2%80%93-Holocaust-promoted-by-Vatican 
  18. Manhattan Chapter 8 http://www.reformation.org/holoc8.html
  19. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jasenovac_concentration_camp
  20. Manhattan Chapter 8 http://www.reformation.org/holoc8.html 
  21. Ibid  
  22. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_State_of_Croatia
  23. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jasenovac_concentration_camp 
  24. Staff. Jasenovac concentration camp, Jasenovac, Croatia, Yugoslavia. On the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yugoslav_Wars
  25. Phayer, 2000, p. 38
  26. Ibid
  27. Phayer, 2000, p. 30
  28. Phayer, 2008, p. 225 
  29. Rusila  
  30. Phayer, 2008, pp. 9-16
  31. Phayer, 2000, p. 39
  32. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_clergy_involvement_with_the_Usta%C5%A1e
  33. Phayer, 2008, p. 135
  34. Phayer, 2008, p. 150
  35. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloysius_Stepinac#Trial_.281946.29
  36.  “The Case of Archbishop Stepinac”
  37. Phayer, 2008, p. 151
  38. Phayer, 2008, p. 152
  39. Phayer, 2008, p. 151
  40. “The Case of Archbishop Stepinac”
  41.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloysius_Stepinac#Trial_.281946.29

3 Responses

  1. Excellent summary of a horrific page in Catholic history. I had forgotten (but indeed it is shockingly true) that JPII actually had the temerity to beatify Stepinac.
    On another note, Arvo Manhattan conducted extensive research into the death of Pope John Paul I and was working on a book connecting that death with several prominent intelligence agencies (we all know who). He disappeared one evening from his home with the doors to his study wide open leading into the garden, together with all copies of the manuscript. His body has never been found. Wikipedia lists his year of death as 1990, but not the month or day.

    • Thanks so much, Jayden. I knew absolutely nothing about Avro Manhattan’s life or death, although your story doesn’t surprise me. There is a wonderful book titled “JFK and the Unspeakable” by James W. Douglass where he lays out an airtight case that a clique within the CIA did indeed kill Kennedy – Oswald was the patsy – because JFK wanted to withdraw US troops from Vietnam. Most chilling was the elimination of so many others who either knew, guessed or innocently witnessed certain pieces of the case against them. So, yeah, I don’t doubt that’s what happened to Manhattan. I’ve been told that that’s why my book “The Neo-Catholics” wasn’t reviewed by the main- stream Catholic press – because I state that Luciani was murdered and the election rigged for Wojtyla. In fact my editor wanted to delete that but I wanted that in because I’m still convinced that’s what happened. Thanks, again.

  2. It turns out that the Ustasha were a bizarre cult linked to the Nazis. Franco used a lot of violence to ensure that Catholics won over Communism. Tito in Yugoslavia was the supposed answer to religious turmoil. He believed in none. The Serbian militia and attacks on Muslims is a little more understandable although not acceptable. There was a great deal of fear of Communism and in many cases Catholics were on the opposite side. In this case, it was Croatian fascists. This appears to be the reason that Draza Mihailovich was sold out and executed by the Western powers. Tito brought stability through Communism. As a Catholic Navy veteran with a history degree, I am especially enamoured of Mihailoovich who supported the royalty. This is another reason why the West “sold him out”. “Down with the king or czar” and in with democracy. The problem is that democracy cannot ever be equated with Communism as many in the West now believe.

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