The Vatican’s Holocaust (Chapter 1-5)

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The Vatican’s Holocaust

The sensational account of the most horrifying religious massacre of the 20th century

By Avro Manhattan

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 Avro Manhattan (1914-1990)

About the Author:

Avro Manhattan was the world’s foremost authority on Roman Catholicism in politics. A resident of London, during WW II he operated a radio station called “Radio Freedom” broadcasting to occupied Europe. He was the author of over 20 books including the best-seller The Vatican in World Politics, twice Book-of-the-Month and going through 57 editions. He was a Great Briton who risked his life daily to expose some of the darkest secrets of the Papacy. His books were #1 on the Forbidden Index for the past 50 years!!

The Vatican’s Holocaust – Revealed at Last!

A sensational account of the most horrifying religious massacre of the 20th century. Startling revelations of forced conversions, mass murder of non-Catholics, Catholic extermination camps, disclosures of Catholic clergy as commanders of concentration camps; documented with names, dates, places, pictures and eyewitness testimony.


A Word for the Fifth Edition….

Preface to the British Editions

Preface to the American Editions


Chapter 1

New nation from old ones

The Vatican frowns on the birth of Yugoslavia – Catholic policy of penetration and disintegration – Croat Separatism and the Catholic Church – Catholic storm troopers – The Ustashi.

Chapter 2

The year of political assassinations

The murder of a Chancellor, of a Foreign Minister and of a King.

Chapter 3

The birth of a monster: the independent Catholic State of Croatia

Catholic crusaders turn into Storm Troopers – A Catholic Gestapo – How a puppet King was made – A Fascist delegation to the Pope – Ante Pavelic and Pius XII plan a secret campaign.

Chapter 4

The nightmare of a nation

The Archbishop and Bishops support a Catholic Dictator – “We have three million bullets.” – Catholic concentration camps for children – Orders: “Cremate people alive.”

Chapter 5

The triumph of terrorism

Punitive expeditions – The pattern of mass executions – The Franciscan pupil who cut the throats of 1,360 prisoners – Pushed alive into their graves – Orthodox Serbs crucified – Eyes torn from their sockets.

Chapter 6

“Christ and the Ustashi march together.”

Catholic priests and friars lead Ustashi bands – Franciscan padres as bandits – Catholic fathers as Ustashi storm troopers – Archbishop Stepinac issues a pastoral letter – Catholic padres as Ustashi commissars.

Chapter 7

Catholic friars, priests, executioners, bishops and murderers

Orthodox clergy murdered – The Canon with the bull whip – Catholic persuasion and bayonets – Certificates of honesty for re-Christening in the Catholic Church – Conversion or death – “He converted six thousand persons.” – A Franciscan monster: Father Filipovic.

Chapter 8

The true inspirer, promoter and executor of the religious massacre: the Vatican

Catholic Bishops advocate “forcible conversions.” – Archbishop Stepinac, Supreme Apostolic Vicar of the Ustashi Army – Forcible conversion legalized – Forcible conversion for the “lost souls” of Orthodox children – The Catholic Church’s directives for forcible conversions – Pope Pius XII blesses Pavelic and his Ustashi.

Chapter 9

Catholic campaign of denial, smear and falsification

How the First News reached the outside world – Dr. Sekulich and the “Gestapo.” – A Catholic liar at the White House – Winston Churchill issues a writ – What Mrs. Roosevelt said – “I write to save my soul.” – The Archbishop’s answer: “I have forwarded everything to the Vatican.”

Chapter 10

The Pope, Stepinac and Pavelic try to save Croatia

They ask the “right Allies” for guns – Archbishop Stepinac is promoted head of the Ustashi Government – Ante Pavelic hides inside the Vatican – Stepinac, Cardinal Mindszenty and Pius XII prepare for a new war.

Chapter 11

The Catholic church prepares for the future

The Pope pigeon-holes a Bishop’s memorandum, promotes a phony religious campaign – Stepinac is arrested and imprisoned – The World Press whitewash the Ustashi horror – The Ustashi Army are resurrected abroad – Pavelic forms a new Ustashi Government. Makes ready for “The Day.”

Chapter 12

The Vatican and the USA as the defenders of the Fascist criminals of World War II

The Vatican and the USA as the protectors of the Croatian war criminals – The Vatican becomes their refuge – Falsifications of passports – Fake identities “made in Rome.” – Secret Vatican-USA instructions to “validate” them.

Chapter 13

The Vatican, the Mafia and the USA. Why they enlisted war criminals, Stalin and one third of Europe

The Mafia recruited by the Vatican and the USA – The Mafia helps the Vatican save tons of holy silver – Why the Vatican and the USA enlisted war criminals – The menace of Soviet Russia – Stalin swallows up one-third of Europe – The Vatican-USA secret Alliance to stop him.

Chapter 14

The USA and the Vatican’s secret plan to rescue war criminals

American and World Jewish reaction – The Jews are mobilized against the State Department and the Pope – The State Department and the Vatican are scared – They adopt a policy of “maximum prudence.” – The USA by-passed Jewish vigilance, by massive equivocal legislation – Official classification of evidence – Estimated 10,000 Nazi collaborators still in the USA.

Chapter 15

The Vatican saves the Catholic war criminals of Croatia – Roman monasteries as their asylums -The Croatian Holocaust minimized

The Pope saves a top war criminal from execution – The Nuns of Rome who were Croatian Ustashis – Monasteries and Nunneries invaded – The Catholic American grand conspiracy – The man who escaped from Yugoslavia with the first documentation of the Croatian atrocities.

Chapter 16

The Croatian Holocaust – Invention or Reality? The Ambassador and the Cardinal – The Archbishop of Canterbury’s fit of temper

The English Cardinal who kept his silence – An Embassy buys 2000 copies of the book – Distributions to the House of Lords and Commons – The launching of a book in Northern Ireland – The Archbishop of Canterbury’s unecumenical fit of temper – The Londoner who defied him.

Chapter 17

The Ambassador and the Pope’s Nuncio in a Red Embassy, a Vatican victory

The Ambassador changes his mind  – No more books about the Croatian Holocaust – Communist amnesty for all Croatian criminals – Communist Yugoslavia makes peace with the Vatican – The Vatican Ambassador in a Communist Embassy; its political meaning – Ustashi settlements abroad.

Chapter 18

Ustashi terrorism after World War II

The silent efficiency of Ustashi killing – Dr. Sekulich’s experience – The Serbian Convention of Chicago and the Ustashi’s shadow – The lecturer who was shot and killed – The speech advocating mutual tolerance between Serbs and Croats, which saved the life of the author – The would-be killer asks for an autograph.

Chapter 19

Forty years after – crime and punishment

Effectiveness of the protective legislation of the USA for war criminals – Thirty years of efforts to have a top Ustashi arrested – Artukovic, former Interior Minister of Catholic Croatia, is extradited – He is sentenced to death – Total absence of the religious motivation of the Croatian Holocaust – Distortion of the true nature of his trial – American and world opinion hoodwinked.

Chapter 20

The Virgin Mary and the Secretary of the USA Navy call for World War III

Consecration of the World to the Virgin Mary – The Cult of Fatima – Its anti-Russian significance – Catholic volunteers with the Nazi Armies on the Russian Front – USA-Russian atomic race – USA theologians advocate atomic war – The American Secretary of Defense jumps from a 16th floor window – USA Cardinal Spellman and Pope Pius XII support “the morality of a preventive atomic war.” – Ante Pavelich and the Ustashi make ready for World War III.

Chapter 21

The Grand Central European plot – the Pope, the Cardinal and CIA

The CIA and the Vatican Intelligence unite to carry on a “revolution.” – They designate a Cardinal as the future Premier of Hungary – Cardinal Mindszenty’s failure – He is imprisoned – He is driven into Budapest by three Hungarian tanks – The CIA and the Vatican are defeated by the Soviet invasion of Hungary – Cardinal Mindszenty as the “twelve year guest” of the American Legation in Hungary – Death of Pius XII – The Secret of Fatima.

Chapter 22

The Malta Inquisition – vote Catholic or be damned

Catholic punishing expedition against their opponents – Catholic children as whistling political hooligans – Church bells to silence anti-Catholic speakers – The bells ring THREE SOLID HOURS to silence the Socialists – Father confessors as political advisers – Grilled in the flames of hell if you vote against the Church – Refusal of absolution to exert political pressure – Voters terrorized by vigilante padres –  “Vote Catholic or be damned.”

Chapter 23

Vietnam – the Croatia of Asia

The religious origins of the Vietnamese conflict – Buddhists protest against a Catholic dictatorship – The Catholic Trio of a President, an Archbishop and a Security Chief – Catholic discrimination against Buddhists – Buddha’s birthday forbidden – The first 16,000 American “advisers.” – President Kennedy cold-shoulders Catholic Diem – Consents to Diem “assassination.” The Catholic Church “loses” the war for the USA – Collapse of the USA Anti-communist front caused by Catholic intransigence.

Chapter 24

Where will be the next Inquisition?

Last photo of Mr. Manhattan before his homegoing in Nov. 1990

A shory biography of Baron Avro Manhattan

Born April 6, 1914, in Milan, Italy, of American and Swiss/Dutch parents. He was educated at the Sorbonne in Paris and the London School of Economics. He was jailed in Italy for refusing to serve in the Fascist dictator Mussolini’s army. While imprisoned in the Alps he wrote his first book on astronomy.

During the war, Mr. Manhattan operated a radio station called Radio Freedom broadcasting to the partisans in occupied Europe. For this service he was made a Knight of Malta. His aristocratic roots meant that he was a Knight of the House of Savoy as well as a Knight Templar and a Knight of the Order of Mercedes.

His more than 20 books include the best-selling The Vatican in World Politics, one of the best-selling books of all time. It was translated into most major languages including Chinese, Russian and most recently, Korean.

He was a member of the Royal Society of Literature, Society of Authors, Ethical Union, P.E.N., British Interplanetary Society, etc.

His other books include:

The Rumbling of the Apocalypse, Airoldi, 1934;

Towards the new Italy (Preface by H.G. Wells), Lindsay Drummond, 1943;

Latin America and the Vatican, C.A. Watts, 1946.

The Catholic Church Against The Twentieth Century, C.A.Watts, 1947, 2nd edition, 1950;

The Vatican in Asia, C.A. Watts, London, 1948.

Religion in Russia, C.A.Watts, London, 1949.

Catholic Imperialism and World Freedom, C.A. Watts, London 1952, 2nd edition, 1959;

Terror Over Yugoslavia, the Threat to Europe, C.A. Watts, London, 1953;

The Dollar and the Vatican, Pioneer Press, London, 1956, 3rd edition, 1957.

Vatican Imperialism in the 20th Century, Zondervan, Michigan, 1965.

The Vatican Billions, Chick Pub., Los Angeles,1983.

Catholic Terror in Ireland, Chick Pub., Los Angeles, 1988.

Vatican Moscow Washington Alliance, Chick Pub, 1982.

Vietnam . . . why did we go?, Chick Pub, Los Angeles, 1984.

The Vatican’s Holocaust, Ozark Books, Springfield, MO.1986.

Murder in the Vatican, American Russian and Papal Plots, Ozark Books, Springfield, MO. 1985.

His friends included H. G. Wells, Pablo Picasso, George Bernard Shaw, and scientist Marie Stopes.


A copy of this book was hurled across St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, to the stupefaction of a vast congregation gathered there to pray for Christian unity. A journalist bought a copy to use it as a “shield”, expecting to be attacked by the three thousand people who had participated at the launching of the book in the Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland, simply because they approved of its contents. The book was also kicked, trampled and spat upon by a Catholic student in Belfast.

None of these people had read a line of it.

The Anglican primate had lost his temper—and, even more tragically his reason—as swiftly as had the newsman and the university intellectualloid, at the mere sight of its title.

A striking demonstration, if there be need for one, of how religious disputes can still madden people beyond redemption.

If to this is added political strife, then the two turn into the most perilous explosive.

Nations react more irrationally even than single individuals. Since the cumulative weight of history, wishful thinking and vested interests will trigger off the most emotional fanaticisms within otherwise civilized lands.

Yet, wise is the nation which makes ready for the worst to happen.

Avro Manhattan,



To the readers of the British editions:

This book has been criticized, condemned, banned, mutilated, destroyed and even burned as frequently as it has been quoted, recommended, reproduced and praised in many parts of the world, because of the events and revelations it describes. The ordinary individual cannot accept as yet the startling facts that only a few years back, for instance, the Catholic Church advocated forcible conversions, helped to erect concentration camps, and was responsible for the sufferings, torturing and execution of hundreds of thousands of non-Catholics. Deeds coolly perpetrated by her lay and ecclesiastic members. Furthermore, that many of such atrocities were carried out personally by some of her Catholic priests and even monks. One of the main purposes of this book is to relate where, when and by whom such atrocities were committed. It took the author almost half a decade of painstaking investigation before he accepted what seemed unbelievable. The result is this account, documented from as authoritative and as varied sources as possible. Among them, people with whom the present writer became personally acquainted. Some of these played no mean role in the religious, political and military events herein narrated. Others were eye-witnesses. Indeed, not a few even victims of the incredible atrocities sanctioned and promoted by the Catholic Church. The names of most of the participants, Catholic laymen, military, priests, friars, bishops, archbishops and cardinals, as well as those of their non-Catholic victims, men, women and children, including clergymen, are as genuine as the names of the localities, villages and cities where the atrocities took place. Their authenticity can be verified by anyone willing to do so. Documents and photographs of Catholic concentration camps, Catholic mass executions and Catholic forced conversions, some of which are in this book, are kept in the archives of the Yugoslav Government, of the Orthodox Church, of the United Nations and of other official institutions.

The Ecumenical revolution, although seemingly alluring, has shown itself to be nothing more than a Trojan Horse via which Catholic power, apparelled in contemporary garb, continues to assert itself as effectively active as ever. The striking samples of contemporary Catholic terrorization which occurred in Malta and Vietnam, many of which took place during the days of “good old Pope John” and, indeed, under the pontificate of Pope Paul VI, need no elucidation. They are the most damning proof that the Catholic Church, notwithstanding all her alleged liberalization, fraternization and up-to-dateness, basically, has not changed an iota. The portentous significance of what is here described, therefore, should be carefully scrutinized. Lest the past be repeated in the future. Indeed, now. In the present.

Avro Manhattan,



THE VATICAN’S HOLOCAUST is not a misnomer, an accusation, and even less a speculation. 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. What has been gathered in this book will vindicate the veracity of these facts. Dates, names, and places, as well as photos are there to prove them. They 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 Americans, beginning with that of the USA.

Avro Manhattan,


The compilation of this book has required the cooperation of divers individuals, organizations and Governments. To avoid political partisanship, the author has collected documentation from all sides, using it impartially, so long as it was authenticated. Acknowledgments are due to the following:

The Government of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in exile, under King Peter.

The Government of the Federal Peoples Republic of Yugoslavia, under Marshal Tito.

The Orthodox Church of Yugoslavia.

The Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church for the USA and Canada.

Adam Pribicevic, Hon. Pres. of the Independent Democratic Party of Yugoslavia.

Dr. Vladimir Belajcic, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Yugoslavia.

Dr. Branko Miljus, former Minister of Yugoslavia. Certain members of the United Nations.

Grateful personal acknowledgments are also due to: Dom Luigi Sturzo, founder and leader of the Catholic Party of Italy (renamed Christian Democratic Party after the Second World War).

Cardinal W. Godfrey, former Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop of Westminster and Cardinal Primate of England.

Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, leader of HMO, House of Lords, London, Great Britain.

Mgr. X of Vatican City.

Count Carlo Sforza, Foreign Minister of Italy.

General D. Mirkovic, the man who overthrew the Yugoslav Government after the latter had signed a pact with Hitler (March 27, 1941). Dr. M. Sekulich, the first official bearer of the details of the religious massacres of Croatia to the Allied Governments during the Second World War. Last but not least to all those eyewitnesses and even victims of the Ustashi horrors who cared to supply the author with further documentation.

Chapter 1


When in 1917, during the First World War, the Papal Nuncio in Munich, E. Pacelli, secretly negotiated with the Central Powers to accomplish the Pope’s Peace without Victory, in order to save both Germany and Austria-Hungary from defeat, he had already made his first attempt to strangle a nation as yet unborn; Yugoslavia. If the Vatican’s attempt was directed at preserving its most useful Hapsburg lay partner, it simultaneously had another no less important goal: to prevent a motley of nationalities from springing out of the Empire’s ruins as sovereign States in their own right. In such States, Poland excepted, Catholicism would have sunk to the level of a minority. Worse, it would have been dominated by heretical churches and their political Allies: i.e. by the Protestant and Liberal in Czechoslovakia, by the Orthodox in Yugoslavia. With its last attempt to save the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Vatican therefore struck a final blow against the yet unborn “Hussite” Czechs and the Catholic Slovaks on one side, and the Orthodox Serbs and Catholic Croats and Slovenes on the other, the fulfillment of their dreams lying as it did in the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian colossus.

The Emperor Charles was advised to transform the Empire into a Federation. The idea, which originated at the Vatican, was repellent to both, as it meant, besides the loosening of Imperial control, the loosening of Catholic control over the various races of the tottering Empire. But in the circumstances the alternative was total collapse. In October Charles announced the transformation of the Hapsburg Monarchy into a Federal State. The offer—which, significantly, was made only at the last moment—although accompanied by secret papal moves, left the Allies determined to end for good the rule of the double-headed Austrian eagle. President Wilson’s reply to Charles, and thus to the Pope, was firmly hostile. The USA, said Wilson, admitted “the justice of the national aspirations of the Southern Slavs.” It was for these people, he added, to decide what they would accept.

As far as the USA was concerned, he concluded, it had already recognized Czechoslovakia as a belligerent independent State. The American reply had sealed the fate of Austria-Hungary. On October 28, 1918, the Czechoslovaks declared their independence. On the 29th the Yugoslavs proclaimed theirs. On December 1 the Yugoslav Council invited the Regent, Alexander, in Belgrade, to proclaim the Union. The new independent kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes—Yugoslavia—had come into being.

The birth was welcomed in certain quarters—e.g. by the Allies—and was unwelcome in others—e.g. the Vatican—to which the new nation, besides being the unnatural creature of the Allies’ political blindness, was a religious aberration not to be tolerated. Orthodoxy, swept away in Russia, where it had seemed unassailable, with the birth of Yugoslavia had now become paramount in a country the population of which was more than one-third Catholic. Worse still, in addition to permitting Orthodoxy to rule Catholics, Yugoslavia was preventing the latter from setting up a wholly independent Catholic community. When to the above was added the fact that Yugoslavia, by her mere existence, represented the greatest obstacle to the long-range Catholic strategy, the Vatican’s feeling, more than one of hostility, become one of implacable hatred, a wind which boded no good to the young nation. This hatred became the main inspirer of the Vatican’s anti-Yugoslav strategy, the objective of which was the destruction of Yugoslavia. Having embarked on such a course, the Vatican began a vigorous campaign, the fulfillment of which to some extent depended on another factor: the collapse of Bolshevik Russia, the early disappearance of which was, at that period, taken almost for granted by everyone, particularly by the Allies, who had dispatched sundry armies to hasten her collapse. The Vatican counted, then, on a Russian collapse in order to execute its policy of a forced Catholic domination of the Balkan peninsula through the sword of Pilsudski. The creation of the Catholic Danzig-Odessa Polish Empire would have meant one thing: the death of Yugoslavia and other Balkan Orthodox and Protestant countries. When, however, Pilsudski’s bloody adventure terminated and the Allies’ efforts to destroy Bolshevik Russia relaxed, the Vatican changed its tactics and embarked on a new policy: destruction of Orthodoxy by penetration, instead of by force. Consequently, when in 1920 Pilsudski’s Catholic Empire vanished, and the Pope set out to convert Russia, a parallel policy was pursued in connection with Yugoslavia. Although the keynote of this new anti-Orthodox strategy was penetration, its tactics were different in each country. Thus, whereas in Russia they were meant to penetrate in order, in the long run, to dominate her religious life, in Yugoslavia they consisted of penetrating Yugoslav political life in order, once Catholics had come to control it, to enhance the power of Catholicism, and thus ultimately stultify, and indeed paralyze, the Orthodox Church throughout Yugoslavia.

Such a policy, vigorously promoted, mostly by ambitious, clerically-dominated Catholic politicians in Croatia, yielded no little success. In no time Catholic clericalism became a power behind the scenes, with the result that, within a few years, the Hierarchy began to exert undue weight in the administration, not only of Croat affairs, but also of those of Yugoslavia as a whole. This alarmed several honest Catholic Croats, notably Radich, leader of the powerful Croat Peasant Party, aware of the danger that such tactics were creating both for Yugoslavia and for Croats. Defying the Hierarchy—and thus indirectly the Vatican—he began to combat the Catholic Trojan-horse tactics, warning Croatia that, by permitting their politicians to be led by the Hierarchy in political matters, they were bound, sooner or later, to lead all Croats to disaster. Radich’s counsel was followed; and for almost a decade Catholic strategy, weakened where it should have been at its strongest, was far less successful than if Radich had acted otherwise.

But in 1928 Radich was assassinated. The assassination coincided with the general overhaul of Vatican European strategy towards Communism. In that same year the Curia finally broke off its negotiations with Soviet Russia. The Papal Nuncio in Germany, E. Pacelli, led the powerful Catholic Centre Party sharply to the extreme Right, thus allying it with the forces which were to sky-rocket Hitler to power. In Italy the Vatican strengthened Fascism by signing a pact with Mussolini (1929). Fascist Catholic movements rose everywhere. An era of Catholic policy had ended, and a new one had begun. The policy of penetration had been replaced by one of active agitation and the swift mobilization of all the religious and political forces of Europe against

Strip of photographs from the Album of Terrorists, maintained by the Yugoslav Secret Police, as early as 1933. Bottom row, first left, Ante Pavelic, the future Leader of the Independent Catholic State of Croatia. Prior to the latter’s establishment, all the men above, as sworn Ustashi were engaged upon the promotion of a policy of terrorism, within and outside Yugoslavia. This they did by murdering singly or collectively, political enemies or innocent people alike. They placed explosives in public places, ships or trains. For instance, a train compartment was blown up by an Ustashi bomb at Zemum, killing the family of Professor Bruneti.

Before the Second World War these men were active all over Europe. Their most spectacular success was the simultaneous assassination of the King of Yugoslavia and of Mr. Barthou, the French Foreign Minister, during a State visit to France, 9 October 1934. The double murder was the forerunner of a series of many others which were to contribute to the birth of the Independent Catholic State of Croatia.

The Ustashi and Ante Pavelic were “protected” by Mussolini, and tacitly but effectively by the Vatican. Both supported them financially.

Bolshevik Russia. Thus, while in the West the Vatican had launched upon a global hate campaign against Communism, in the Balkans, after Radich’s death, it embarked upon a policy directed at the disintegration of Yugoslavia.

Radich’s successor, Dr. Macek, reorientated the Croatian Peasant Party into a rabid nationalist movement which, by becoming increasingly bold, became an active factor for the growing political tension inside Yugoslavia. From this period onward, Separatism became the keyword of Croat Nationalism, with the result that the latter began increasingly to play into the hands of the Catholic Hierarchy and thus into those of the Vatican. The Vatican’s policy in the first decade implied Yugoslavia’s existence as a united nation; in the second—i.e. since the emergence of a naked Separatism—it overtly aimed at Yugoslavia disintegration. In the promotion of the Vatican’s new grand strategy, Yugoslavia was reckoned a major obstacle even more than in the past, in that now it was impeding the swift Fascistization of Europe and the eventual Fascist attack on Soviet Russia, with all the ensuing Balkan commotion which, it was hoped, would cause the tumbling of Yugoslavia itself. In connection with the latter, the Vatican laid down a three-fold policy:

  1. (a) The detachment of Catholic Croatia from the rule of Orthodox Serbia,
  2. (b) the setting up of Croatia as an independent Catholic State, and, last but not least,
  3. (c) the possible creation of a Catholic Kingdom in the Balkans.

For such goals to be attained, one thing was necessary: the partial or total disintegration of Yugoslavia.

To assert that Yugoslavia succumbed thanks only to Vatican machinations would be to falsify history. On the other hand, to minimize its role would be a crude historical distortion. Factors alien to religion played into its hands. These could be summarized as: the animosities of the Croats and the Serbs in the domestic field, the political ambitions of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany in the international. Croat Separatism became an increasingly important factor as the internal and external tension grew. Its identification with Catholicism made it almost a blind tool of the Catholic Hierarchy, and thus of the Vatican, which unhesitatingly used it to further not only its local interests, but also its vaster Balkan schemes of religio-political domination.

Typical portraits of Ustashi leaders. Men like the above were the brains behind the numberless acts of terrorism carried out by the Ustashi in Yugoslavia, Austria, Hungary, Germany, France and in other countries, chiefly from their headquarters in Fascist Italy.

(Left) Mijo Bzik, known as “Miko,” was chief of the Ustashi camps in Italy, and the recruiter of the assassins who came from Yanka-Pusta. One of his main tasks was the placing of internal machines in public buildings, or crowded places.

(Centre) Eugen Kvaternik, one of Ante Pavelic’s principal accomplices. He personally accompanied from Italy to France, the assassins, who went to murder the King of Yugoslavia. Pavelic created him Minister of Police when Catholic Croatia became independent.

(Right) Zvonimir Pospishil, one of the most brutal of terrorists. He belonged to a special group of Catholic Ustashi charged with the assassination of eminent personalities. He was given the task of killing King Alexander, by blowing him up in Paris had the Marseille plot failed in 1934.

The Croat leader, Radich, never tired of warning the Croats against following the Vatican in political matters; in this he echoed the voice of another great Catholic patriot, the leader of the Polish Nationalists, Roman Dmowski, whose slogan became a by-word of certain Catholic Polish Nationalists: “Never rely upon the Vatican in political affairs.”

Hostility to Vatican political directives by Catholic political leaders was born out of bitter experience: e.g. during the First World War, when Roman Dmowski, having gone to Rome to ask for help to establish Polish independence, was greeted with open disfavour, such Vatican hostility being inspired by political interests identified with those of Austria and other great European Powers who had worked against Polish aspirations for centuries. The extraordinary result of this was that the Poles never got any support from the Vatican, even when they rose against the Czars—an attitude which incensed them to such a degree that one of their great national poets, Julius Slowacki, coined the famous warning: “Poland, thy doom comes from Rome.” Which subsequent events proved was more than prophetic.

Radich adopted the same slogan, although with more tact. When, however, his Party was taken over by Macek, the original ideal of Ante Starcevic was swiftly injected with a new overdose of undiluted extremism, which made it turn sharply to the extreme Right. The main exponent of this new trend was one Ante Pavelic, an individual obsessed by the idea of an independent Croatia, inspired by racialism, erected upon Fascism, wholly impregnated with Catholicism, a formidably compact miniature totalitarianism. A movement sprang out of this weird conception; its backbone a ruthless core of terrorist bands, led by Pavelic himself, whose policy consisted of blackmail, murder, plots, and assassinations. The shadow of powerful protectors from across the sea descended swiftly upon them, thus enabling them to carry on their activities in defiance of national or international procedure—e.g. from Italy and Germany, both of whom saw in Pavelic’s Croatia a useful instrument for Fascist and Nazi expansion in the Balkans.

The expansionist policies of these nations often ran parallel with that of the Vatican, which, by skillfully manipulating them, could frequently promote its own interests. It did that, not by remaining only an aloof spectator of various Fascist and Nazi activities, but by promoting a most vigorous anti-Yugoslav policy of its own.

The Vatican and Fascism helped each other from the beginning. Pope Pius XI (1922-1939) ordered the Leader of the Catholic Party to disband it (1926), the better to consolidate the regime of Mussolini. The latter negotiated the Lateran Treaty and Concordat with the Church (1926-1929).

By virtue of the first, the Vatican became a sovereign state within Rome. While with the second, the Church was granted immense privileges and Catholicism was declared the only religion of Fascist Italy, which it wholeheartedly supported.

Bishops took an oath of allegiance to the Fascist Dictatorship, and the clergy were ordered never to oppose it or incite their flock to harm it. Prayers were said in Churches for Mussolini and for Fascism. Priests became members of the Fascist Party and were even its officers.

One of the main supporters of the Fascist-Vatican pact was Mgr. E. Pacelli (the future Pope Pius XII), then in Germany. His brother, a lawyer, became one of the chief secret negotiators. He is seen in this photograph standing behind Cardinal …… Later, the Papal Nuncio to Germany, Mgr. E. Pacelli saw to it that his brother was made a Prince.

This yielded a rich harvest sooner than was expected. While the Vatican’s Fascist associates were busy engineering political or terrorist activities, Catholic diplomacy—as previously in Spain, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, and France—came to the fore with the promotion of a powerful Catholic fifth column. This, which had already gnawed at the internal structure of Yugoslav unity, consisted of all those Croats infected with national-religious fanaticism, of the Catholic Hierarchy of Croatia, and of an illegal Nationalist Army composed of bands of Catholic terrorists, called the Ustashi, the last led by Ante Pavelic, supported by Vladimir Macek, leader of the Croat Peasant Party, who in 1939 arranged for Mussolini to finance him with 20 million diners for the Croat Separatist Movement, and by [1] Archbishop A. Stepinac, leader of the Catholic Hierarchy in Croatia.

The specific role played by the Vatican followed the familiar pattern: use of the Hierarchy to help political and military plotters engaged in undermining or overthrowing the legal Government. Unlike its practice in other countries, however—e.g. Petain’s France or Franco’s Spain—here the Catholic Church attempted to erect, and indeed did erect, a State in complete accord with all her tenets. The result was a monster standing upon the armed might of twin totalitarianism: the totalitarianism of a ruthless Fascist State and the totalitarianism of Catholicism—the most bloodthirsty hybrid yet produced by contemporary society. What gives to such a creature of Vatican diplomacy its peculiar importance is that here we have an example of the Catholic Church’s implementing all her principles, unhampered by opposition, or by fear of world opinion. The uniqueness of the Independent Catholic State of Croatia lies precisely in this: that it provided a model, in miniature, of what the Catholic Church, had she the power, would like to see in the West and, indeed, everywhere. As such it should be carefully scrutinized. For its significance, by transcending its local background, is of the greatest import to all the freedom-loving peoples of the world.


1 See The Ciano Diaries, 1946, pp. 46,48,50-60.

Chapter 2


One day some time in 1933 an Austrian railwayman, having casually made a discovery which he thought might be of interest, was getting ready to inform his Union when he was approached by a functionary of the Austrian Government. What was the price for his silence? If he was willing to forget all about certain goods in certain carriages, a large sum would be put at his immediate disposal. The railwayman spurned the offer, passed the information to his Union, who handed it over to the Press.

Overnight an obscure occurrence became an international sensation, and what the Catholic Austrian Government had until then carried on in the utmost secrecy was promptly made known to the world. The Foreign Offices of Europe began to hum with unusual activity as the threads of a vast international plot, enmeshing half a dozen countries, gradually came to light.

What the railway trade unionist had discovered was that Austria was blatantly dealing in arms, with the connivance of Catholic Dictator Dollfuss. At this period Austria, in common with other defeated countries, was supposed neither to buy nor sell arms, nor indeed have anything to do with parties connected with arms production. The discovery disclosed to Europe that an armaments factory at Hinterberg, in Lower Austria, was in full production. More, that the Austrian factory was manufacturing rifles, not for the Austrian army, but for semi-Fascist Hungary. Highly placed officials of the Austrian Government, an extraordinary percentage of whom proved to be fervent Catholics, semi-Fascists, or, indeed, fanatical Fascists, were implicated in the smuggling.

The affair created a political furor. But more was yet to come. The rifles it was eventually discovered, were not for Hungary; they were being sent there solely as a temporary depot. The weapons in reality were intended for Fascist Italy. Had that been the end of the story, the Austrian discovery would have caused sufficiently serious international repercussions. But that was by no means all. Further investigations proved that the ultimate destination of the weapons was with certain separatists who, in accord with Mussolini, were planning an armed rising, to detach themselves from their central Government. The separatists: certain Catholic Nationalists of Croatia. The central government they wanted to fight: that of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

The association of such extremists with an aggressive great Power had thus transformed a purely regional affair into an international plot. This raised awkward international complications, not merely of a diplomatic and political nature, but of a racial and religious character as well, which, by trespassing national barriers, affected the domestic and foreign policies of various countries, of which Fascist Italy was one. Mussolini had developed a grand expansionistic design of his own in connection with the Balkans. One of the first steppingstones to its fruition was the partial or, if possible, the total dismemberment of Yugoslavia. This would have implied not only the disappearance of a stumbling-block to Fascist Balkanic ambitions, but also the incorporation into Fascist Italy of former Yugoslav provinces, the most coveted of which was Dalmatia.

Italian-Yugoslav relations at this period became so strained that Mussolini began to toy with the idea of accelerating the political disintegration of the Yugoslav Kingdom by force of arms. This could result in war. Mussolini’s aggressive plans were welcomed by none more than by certain Separatists (in Croatia). This for the obvious reason that a Fascist dismemberment of Yugoslavia would have given them the unique opportunity they dreamed of to set up an “independent Croatia.” Mussolini, the most powerful Fascist dictator at that period, being in a position to bring about such changes, became therefore the main hope of all those who backed his anti-Yugoslav policy. These, realizing that their interests ran parallel with his, soon banked upon his active help. The understanding was of a concrete nature, thanks mainly to the fact that Mussolini had become the protector of various terrorist bands operating throughout the Balkans, the chief aims of such bodies being the destruction of the Balkan status quo, which conformed with Fascist Italy’s expansionist designs.

In Bulgaria one of these bands was run by members of the GRIM or VRMO (Organization Revolutionnaire Interieure Macedonienne). Among other things, it was violently anti-Yugoslav. Because of this, one of its leaders, Ivan Mihailoff, nicknamed Vantcha, was subventioned by Mussolini with millions of lire. In April, 1929, Vantcha met Ante Pavelic, the Ustashi leader, near Sofia. Pavelic had recently fled from Yugoslavia into Catholic Austria, King Alexander having set up a special tribunal (January, 1929) for the protection of the State against the subversive Separatist activities of the Ustashi extremists, of whom Pavelic was the chief. The purpose of the meeting was to join forces against Yugoslavia, and to put the Bulgarian and Pavelic’s terrorist organizations under the joint protection of Fascist Italy. In that year ORIM was granted 44 million lire. Pavelic visited Mussolini, and asked for financial help. He got 25 million lire, plus the promise of further financial aid and political protection to come.

On July 17, 1929, the Yugoslav Government condemned Ante Pavelic to death in absentia. Pavelic, invigorated by the Duce’s money and blessing, went from Rome to Vienna to organize, with ORIM and Italian Fascist agents, nothing less than a plot for the assassination of King Alexander of Yugoslavia. The plan of the assassination had been studied in all its details by Mussolini, who, to help Pavelic’s work, granted him every facility. Pavelic organized his terrorist bands or Ustashi. At first a villa at Pessario was put at his disposal; then, when his bands grew, they were installed at the Fascist camp of Borgotaro, near Bologna, where they were reinforced by a brigade of the Fascist Secret Police, the OVRA. Pavelic was further supplied with a false passport, arms, and counterfeit Yugoslav money. All this with a view to achieving the first Mussolini-Vantcha-Pavelic objective: the assassination of King Alexander. A sum of 500,000 lire was promised by Mussolini to the Ustashi who would execute the King. The attempt took place in Zagreb in 1933. It was made by Peter Oreb, a terrorist, but failed completely. Mussolini’s anger knew no bounds. To make sure that the next attempt should not misfire, he charged his son-in-law, Count Ciano, with the task of organizing a second coup. Senator Bocini, Chief of OVRA, and Antonio Cortese, head of the Political Department of the Fascist Foreign Office, were put at Ciano’s disposal.

King Alexander of Yugoslavia, reclining on the rear seat where he was about to expire after having been shot by the Ustashi assassins during his official visit to France, October 9, 1934.

King Alexander had gone to seek French support against the terroristic activities of Mussolini and of Ante Pavelie, whose headquarters were in Fascist Italy. Pavelic, and with him the Catholic Hierarchy, wanted the collapse of Yugoslavia so as to set up an Independent self-ruling Croatia.

The plotters were all Catholic Ustashi. On October 6, 1934 they met in Paris. On October 9 King Alexander landed at the old port of Marseilles. An Ustashi approached the royal coach, and, to the cry of “Long Live the King!”, fired his revolver, killing the King and the French Minister Barthou. The assassin was killed on the spot by the police. His accomplices were imprisoned for life. Ante Pavelic was condemned to death by France, but managed to escape.

Yugoslavia and France, meanwhile, owing to the deterioration of the political situation in the Balkans, were planning to strengthen the “Little Entente,” the Entente Balkanique. Promoted partly by King Alexander himself, this went straight against the schemes, not only of Fascist Italy, but also of Nazi Germany, who had begun the promotion of a successor to the Kaiser’s Drang nach Osten. Last but not least, it was anathema to Pavelic and his followers. The better to consolidate the Entente, King Alexander planned to visit Bulgaria and France. On receiving this news, Count Ciano summoned Ante Pavelic and Vantcha Mihailoff to Rome. There, at the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, they discussed ways and means of killing the King. Mihailoff wanted to carry out the attempt at Sofia. Ciano, Boccini, and Cortese, however, were against this, fearing that Boris, the Bulgarian King, might be killed at the same time. Boris was no mean King. The interests of three Powers depended for their success on his head being left on his shoulders. Boris’ assassination, in fact, would have alienated Mussolini, the Vatican, and the House of Savoy. The preservation of Boris’ life rested in the fact that he had married King Victor’s daughter; that by such a marriage Mussolini counted on expanding Italian influence in the Balkans; and that the Vatican’s plan was to have the Royal children brought up as Catholics, in order to install a Catholic king in Orthodox Bulgaria, and thus strangle the Orthodox Church there from above.[1]

In order to avoid such risks, therefore, at the next meeting which took place at the Hotel Continental in Rome, it was finally decided to kill King Alexander in France. Following this, Pavelic would stir up trouble in Croatia, while the followers of Mihailoff rebelled in Macedonia. Mussolini would intervene to ensure their success, and thus, by setting a foot in the Balkans, carry out his expansionist scheme in those regions. Once these plans had been agreed, Mussolini met the plotters in his Villa Torlonia. These were Vlada Georgief Cernozemski, a Bulgarian, who had already killed two members of the Bulgarian Parliament in Sofia; Eugene Kvaternik, later head of the police of Zagreb in the Independent State of Croatia; and three more Catholic Ustashi, Kralj, Pospisil, and Raitch.[2]

On October 6, 1934, the plotters met in Paris. On October 9 King Alexander landed at the old port of Marseilles. As soon as the procession began, Cernozemski approached the royal coach in which King

The body of the French Foreign Minister, Barthou, immediately after the assassination.

Monsieur Barthou, who was driving in the same coach as King Alexander, was also purposely killed by the Ustashi for his support of the King’s policy. His death suited not only Mussolini but also Hitler.

Hitler had wanted to get rid of Dictator Dolfuss, of Austria, who had prevented him from incorporating Austria into Germany. On July 25, 1934, three months before the murder of King Alexander, a group of Nazis had entered the Austrian Chancellory and assassinated Dolfuss. The triple murders set the pace of Fascist, Ustashi and Nazi terror throughout Europe leading to the outbreak, in 1939, of the Second World War.

Pavelic was supported in turn by Mussolini and Hitler. But always tacitly by the Vatican, which intermittently dealt with all three to further the interests of anyone ready to further the interests of the Church.

Alexander and Louis Barthou, the French Foreign Minister, were riding, and, to the cry of “Long live the King” fired his revolver, killing both. Cernozemski was instantly killed by the police. His accomplices were arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment [3] but Ante Pavelic managed to escape, and was condemned to death,in absentia, by a French tribunal.

But if the first part of the Mussolini-Pavelic plot had succeeded, the second, the Pavelic revolt in Yugoslavia, was a complete failure: nothing happened. Pavelic and Kvaternik fled to Italy. The French Government asked for their extradition, but Mussolini refused, going so far as to declare that if Yugoslavia pressed for Pavelic’s extradition he would consider the request a casus belli. Yugoslavia appealed to the League of Nations. The League, being, like the United Nations, its successor, a pawn of the Great Powers, ignored the case and did nothing. The assassination created turmoil throughout Europe. In Berlin the reaction was ominous: Nazi Germany accelerated the promotion of her Drang nach Osten policy. At the sudden elongation of the Hitlerian shadow over the Central European landscape, Mussolini became cautious. Hesitation and, above all, the growing power of Hitler weakened his resolution, and soon the Duce-Pavelic adventure, having become unwholesomely risky, was shelved, pending better times.

Hitler, meanwhile, had not been idle. He had been plotting on his own, going so far as to develop a plan in Central Europe opposed to that of Mussolini, viz. the incorporation of Austria into Nazi Germany. This was being promoted at the very time when Mussolini and Pavelic were hatching their plot against Yugoslavia. Indeed, Hitler had decided on the assassination of the Catholic Dictator, Dollfuss, prior to Mussolini and Pavelic having carried out their plans against King Alexander. On July 25, 1934, in fact, a group of Nazis entered the Austrian Chancellory in Vienna, murdered Dollfuss, and attempted to seize the Government. Mussolini promptly dispatched two divisions to the Brenner Pass to impede Hitler from upsetting the Balkan equilibrium and thus throwing out of gear the schemes of Italian Imperialism in those regions. Hitler repaid Mussolini by cold-shouldering him after the killing of King Alexander. The two assassinations, however, awoke Europe to reality.

Mussolini and Hitler decided to forget their pride and reach a tacit agreement. Mussolini left Austria to Hitler, and Hitler supported Mussolini in his seizure of Abyssinia. From then onward Fascist-Nazi terror filled with ever-increasing echoes the political corridors of Europe and even of Asia: the assassination of the Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss and of King Alexander of Yugoslavia in 1934, the Fascist war on Abyssinia in 1935, Hitler’s occupation of the Rhineland in 1936, Japan’s attack upon China in 1937, Hitler’s incorporation of Austria in the spring of 1938, Munich in the autumn of that same year, Hitler’s dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in the spring of 1939, Hitler’s attack on Poland in the autumn of 1939.

While all these ominous events followed one another, Pavelic, directly in touch with Catholic and Fascist authorities, presided over sundry plottings and intrigues, turning now to Mussolini and now to Hitler, according to which of the ambitions of the two dictators seemed to have the greater chance of success. Pavelic’s strategy consisted of submitting plans to both Mussolini and Hitler for waging a terrorist campaign throughout Yugoslavia in order to force the Central Government to grant autonomy to Croatia. With the approaching storm of the Second World War, however, Hitler, having fitted Yugoslavia into a vaster scheme of his own, reoriented his policy and promoted one aimed at neutralizing Yugoslavia—indeed, at making her an ally. To avoid antagonizing the Yugoslav Government, Pavelic’s activities were greatly reduced and officially discouraged.

Hitler’s policy paid him handsome dividends. When the Second World War broke out, Yugoslavia remained stubbornly neutral. Indeed, on March 24, 1941, she entered the Nazi camp, signing a pact with Germany. Pavelic’s dream seemed to have been flung into the dim future. Yet he continued to wait, in the hope that the day when destiny would call on him to implement his life’s work was, perhaps, not far off.


1. For more details of the Vatican’s plan, see the author’s Catholic Imperialism and World Freedom.[Back]

2. The chief of OVRA gave them all false passports and false names. Cernozemski was given two passports, one Czechoslovakian under the name of Suck, the other Hungarian under the name of Kalemen. Kralj became Silny and Mulny; Kvaternik became Kramer; Pospisil became Nowack, while Raitch became Benes, in order to embarrass Benes, the President of the Czech Republic.[Back]

3. To be eventually liberated by the Nazis in 1940.[Back]

Chapter 3


The Yugoslavs were stunned. But not for long. Two days later, on March 27, 1941, an anti-Nazi coup d’etat, carried out by General Mirkovic, unsaddled the pro-Nazi Yugoslav Government. While the rest of Yugoslavia celebrated the event in Zagreb, circulars, full of threats, were found on the doors of Serbs. Pavelic, who only a few days before had been relegated to the background, suddenly found himself the centre of feverish activities. Orders were conveyed to all the Ustashi, inside and outside Yugoslavia, to be ready for action. Ustashi leaders from Germany and Italy moved at speed towards the Yugoslav frontier. The German Army moved with them. On April 6, 1941, Hitler attacked the Yugoslav Kingdom.

Many of Pavelic’s followers joined the Nazi invaders; others directed their arms against Yugoslavia; still others turned plain traitors—e.g. Colonel Kren, an active fanatic, a secret member of Pavelic’s army, an Ustashi who flew from Belgrade airdrome to give the Nazi Air Force the secret location of all Yugoslav aircraft, with the result that the Yugoslav war planes were destroyed on the ground by Nazi bombers, which Kren directed. Thanks to Ustashi Kren’s action, the whole of the Yugoslav Air Force was thus annihilated in one single blow.

While Belgrade was still burning after the Nazi air raids, Ante Pavelic addressed the Croats by radio: “Croat soldiers,” were his words, “use all your weapons against all the Serbian soldiers and officers. We are already fighting shoulder to shoulder with our new Allies, the Germans and the Italians.”

On April 7 the Yugoslav Government left Belgrade for Montenegro. Two days later, on April 9, Vladko Macek, its Vice-President, in his turn deserted it. Macek was a Croat, a Catholic, and the leader of the Catholic Croat Peasant Party. Yet this individual, while acting as the leader of that Party, and, indeed, as Vice-President of the Yugoslav Government, was simultaneously plotting with Fascist Italy for the disintegration of his country. As early as 1939 Macek had, in fact, established contact with Mussolini, who had agreed to pay him 20 million diners to finance his bold Separatist plot—that is, to destroy Yugoslavia in order to set up a Catholic Fascist State of Croatia, as was subsequently disclosed by none other than the Fascist Foreign Minister, Count Ciano.[1]

The Minister of Commerce, another Catholic, followed Macek’s example, soon imitated by a third Minister, who treacherously and for a long time had been a secret member, not only of the Ustashi, but also of Nazi Intelligence. He was, in fact, a liaison with the main Nazi Intelligence Agent in Yugoslavia, D. Tomljenovitch, former Austrian officer and a Catholic, to whom he passed details of all the secret deliberations on defense which took place in the Yugoslav Cabinet, of which he was a member.

Following all this, while Slavko Kvaternik, having arrived in Zagreb from Italy, announced the formation of the Independent State of Croatia, Macek incited his followers to recognize the New State: “I invite all the members of the Peasant Party of Croatia to recognize the change, to help the New Croatia, and, above all, loyally to obey all its laws.”[2] Within a few days all the secret members of Pavelic’s Catholic terrorist organization within the civil administration and the Yugoslav Army came to the fore, working havoc wherever they appeared; and this to such an extent that they quickly succeeded in paralyzing the prosecution of the war against Hitler.

Standing in sinister prominence among them all, the Ustashi initiated vigorous fighting in the rear of the Yugoslav units; while others within the Yugoslav Army carried out fifth-column activities to such an extent that nothing could be done according to plan. Ustashi officers like Colonel Kren fled to the Germans, to whom they disclosed vital military information. Units of Macek’s “Peasant Guard” immediately became Ustashi units and disarmed units of the Yugoslav Army. The widespread disorganization created by Catholic extremists was such that it turned out to be one of the paramount factors enabling the swift Nazi conquest of Yugoslavia.

This was confirmed by Lorkovitch, Minister of the Foreign Affairs of the Independent State of Croatia, in full Parliament (February, 1942):

It was thanks to the support of the Croat people and of the Croat revolution, which have shortened the duration of the war in Yugoslavia, greatly reduced the losses of the Germans and Italians, and permitted, at the Eastern frontier of Serbia, the death-blow to be given to Yugoslavia.[3]

The promotion of such a large treacherous body within the country would have been impossible without the active cooperation of the Catholic Church. Pavelic’s terrorist bands, the Ustashi, had been morally and financially encouraged and supported by her. Indeed, their backbone had been formed by priests, monks, and even bishops. Monasteries had been used as the clandestine headquarters of the Ustashi long before the Nazi attack. Secret separatist and military activities had been disguised for years under the cloak of religion. The Catholic priesthood in Croatia, Herzegovina, and Dalmatia had repeatedly convoked so-called Eucharistic Congresses which in reality were for extremist political purposes (e.g. those held in Pozega as late as 1940, under the fictitious name of Mary’s Congregation). The sundry semi-military, illegal terrorist movements were likewise screened by the mantle of religion. Most of them were affiliated with Catholic organizations under the direct supervision of Catholic Action, which was strictly controlled by the Catholic Hierarchy—e.g. the Brotherhood of the Crusaders, with about 540 societies and 30,000 members; the Sisterhood of the Crusaders, with 452 societies and 19,000 members; the Catholic Student Associations, Domagoj, and such like.

Most of the members of such religious organizations were active in sabotage, acts of terrorism, and a good number of them even participated in the treacherous disarming of the Yugoslav Army following Hitler’s attack. As soon as they came into the open, many of them appeared transformed into Ustashi authorities, functionaries in Ustashi commissions, heads of district councils, or even of concentration camps. The President of the Great Crusaders’ Brotherhood, Dr. Feliks Niedzelski, was nominated Ustashi Vice-Governor of Bosnia and administrative head for the Ustashi youth, while Father Grga Peinovic, also a director of Catholic Crusaders, was appointed President of the Ustashi Central Propaganda Office.[4] Many of the priests of the Crusaders’ Brotherhood and of Catholic Action took or

Archbishop Stepinac, Head of the Croatian Hierarchy, welcomes Ante Pavelic at the opening of the Ustashi Government in Zagreb, February 23, 1942.

Stepinac was a steady, zealous and efficient partner of Pavelic’s Dictatorship. He supported the Ustashi Government from the beginning until the end. Indeed, even after Ustashi Croatia collapsed following the disintegration of Nazi Germany.

Stepinac was not only the Head of the Council of Croatian Bishops and of the Committee which carried out a policy of forcible conversions, he was none other than the Supreme Military Apostolic Vicar of the Ustashi Army.

When Ustashi Croatia fell in 1945 as a result of the defeat of Nazi Germany and Pavelic had to run for his life, Archbishop Stepinac, in a vain effort to save the Regime, succeeded him as Head of Ustashi Croatia.

Stepinac ordered special ceremonies in all the Catholic churches on Pavelic’s birthday, and he frequently invoked the blessing of God upon the Ustashi.

gave military training, or were sworn officers of the Ustashi formations—e.g. Father Radoslav Cilavas, a Franciscan monk, who on April 10 and 11, 1941, disarmed the local gendarmerie, captured the Post Office, and drew local plans to prevent the mobilization of the Yugoslav Army; or Father Chaplain Ivan Miletic, who, in collaboration with the Nazis, led bands of guerrillas against the Yugoslav Government. In Herzegovina the centre of the Ustashi movement was located in the Franciscan monastery and in the high school of Siroki Brijeg.

On the same day as the German Army had entered the capital of Croatia, one of the chief Ustashi leaders, Kvaternik, proclaimed the Independent State of Croatia (April 10, 1941), and, while fighting between the Germans and the Yugoslav Army was still going on in the Bosnian mountains, Archbishop Stepinac called on the leader of the Ustashi and urged all Croats to support the New Catholic State. On that very day the newspapers of Zagreb carried announcements to the effect that all Serbian Orthodox residents of the new Catholic capital must vacate the city within twelve hours, and that anyone found harbouring an Orthodox would immediately be executed. On April 13 Ante Pavelic reached Zagreb from Italy. On the 14th Archbishop Stepinac went personally to meet him and to congratulate him on the fulfillment of his life-work. What was Pavelic’s life-work? The creation of perhaps the most ruthless Fascist tyranny ever to dishonour Europe.

The establishment of Pavelic’s dictatorship was rapid, efficient, and ruthless. Immediately on his return he reorganized the Ustashi throughout the New State by setting up local branches, known by the names of Stozer, Logor, Tabor, and Zbir, through which he initiated a veritable reign of terror. The objective of his systematic crimes of murder, torture, pillage, and wholesale massacre was nothing less than the total extermination of all non-Catholic, anti-Fascist elements in the New State.

Simultaneously with the reorganization of the Ustashi, Pavelic set up a political body modeled on the Nazi Gestapo and on the Fascist OVRA, called Ustashka Nadzorna Sluzba (Ustashi Supervisory Service), which exercised absolute control over the whole population. This Ustashi Gestapo was composed of thirteen different types of police: Ustashi Police; Intelligence Service; Defense Police; Security

At the opening of the Ustashi Parliament, Archbishop Stepinac, after offering special prayers to God in a ceremony in the Cathedral, ordered the singing of a solemn Te Deum, as thanks to the Almighty for the establishment of the Ustashi Dictatorship.

On April 13, 1941, Pavelic reached Zagreb. On the 14th, Archbishop Stepinac blessed him.

At Easter, 1941, Stepinac solemnly announced from Zagreb Cathedral the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia.

On April 28, 1941, he issued a Pastoral Letter, ordering the Croatian clergy to support the new Ustashi State.

On June 28, 1941, Stepinac, with other Bishops, visited Pavelic. After promising total cooperation with him, Stepinac prayed for him. “We implore the Lord of the Stars to give his divine blessings to you, the leader of our people,” were Stepinac’s words.

In the photograph, Stepinac accompanies Pavelic to the Cathedral steps after having prayed for him and for the Ustashi.

Service; Supreme Office for Public Order and Security; County Police; Gendarmerie; Military Police; Defense Squads; Security Service of the Poglavnik, a body-guard; Reserve Gendarmerie; Police Guard; and Industrial Police. Parallel with this, Pavelic set up courts extraordinary, entitled Prijeke Sud; Pokretni Prijeki Sud (Mobile Courts); Izvanredni Narodni Sud (People’s Court Extraordinary); and Veliki Izvanredni Narodni Sud (Grand People’s Court Extraordinary). These courts, thirty-four in number, passed sentences after a procedure which did not offer the defendant any possibility of defense. The judges, all sworn Ustashi, condemned without examination of the charge, on the basis of collective responsibility. The courts could pronounce only death sentences, against which no appeal was allowed.

In addition to passing special legislation against anyone who refused to accept the New Croatia, to permit police organizations to arrest, deport, and execute at will, special tribunals to condemn to death on the flimsiest of pretexts, and, indeed, to mobilize the whole machinery of the State for legalized terror, Pavelic terrorized by means of a Statutory Order “For the direction of the Undesirable and Dangerous Persons to Compulsory Detention in Concentration Camps,” dated September 25, 1941. In virtue of this, the Ustashi Supervisory Police could at will send “any undesirable persons dangerous to public order…to compulsory detention in concentration camps” (pares. I and 3). No appeal was allowed against any such decisions.

Within the briefest of periods, Pavelic and his Ustashi had become the arbiters of the freedom, the life, and the death of all men, women, and children in the New State of Croatia, which in a matter of weeks was thus converted into the most ruthless Fascist State in the world, including Nazi Germany. Yet what was the attitude of the Catholic Church when faced by such an abominable transformation? The Catholic Church, represented by the Hierarchy and the Catholic Press, following Stepinac’s example, promptly initiated a feverish campaign of praise for Pavelic and Hitler. A leader of the Crusaders wrote:

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 and enable us to create an Independent State of Croatia. Glory be to God, our gratitude to Adolph Hitler, and infinite loyalty to chief Ante Pavelic.”[5]

A few days later, on April 28, 1941, Stepinac issued a pastoral letter, asking the whole Croatian clergy to support and defend the New Catholic State of Croatia.

At Easter, 1941, Stepinac announced from the Cathedral of Zagreb the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia, thus giving the solemn sanction of Church and Vatican to Pavelic’s work. On June 28, 1941, Stepinac, with other bishops, went to see Pavelic. After promising the wholehearted cooperation of the entire Hierarchy, the Archbishop solemnly blessed Pavelic, as the leader of the Croatian people: “While we greet you cordially as head of the Independent State of Croatia, we implore the Lord of the Stars to give his divine blessings to you, the leader of our people.” Pavelic, it should be remembered, was the same man who had been sentenced to death for political assassinations: once by the Yugoslav courts, and once by the French, for the murders of King Alexander and the French Foreign Minister, Barthou.

In his hour of triumph Pavelic did not forget that all those who had helped the birth of a strong united Yugoslavia had contributed to the death of the Catholic Austro-Hungarian Empire, the political pet gendarme of the Vatican, and, significantly enough, as a belated tribute to the old Austrian-Vatican alliance in the Balkans, he ordered the confiscation of the real property of “any persons who had volunteered with the Allies against Catholic Austria-Hungary during the First World War” (Statutory Order, dated April 18, 1941).

This last move, like numerous others of a more tyrannical character, was followed with fascination by the Vatican, where the murderer of King Alexander came to be regarded as a great Catholic hero, blessed by none other than Pope Pius Xll himself, who bestowed his paternal protection upon him and the New Croatian State. That was not enough. Pius Xll, that holiest of all modern Popes, spun some of the most unholy diplomatic webs, with the specific object of bestowing upon the political creatures of the devout regicide Pavelic some kind of a king. For to the Catholic Church kings are, next to Catholic dictators, still her most cherished political dodos.

At a Ustashi Meeting. (From right to left) Archbishop Stepinac; General Roata, Commander of the Fascist forces of occupation in Yugoslavia; Field Marsbai Slavio Kvaternik; and the Commander of the German forces of occupation in Croatia.

As Supreme Military Apostolic Vicar of the Ustashi Army, Archbishop Stepinac participated in military and political functions, mingling with the Fascist, Nazi and Ustashi Commanders.

At one time Stepinac directed Ustashi guerrillas following Pavelic’s flight. He established contacts and coordinated the scattered Ustashi bands, directing priests and monks to act as liaison with them.

When, finally, on November 8, 1945, Ustashi Croatia disintegrated, Slepinac reconsecrated the Ustashi Crusaders’ force with a fiat in his own Chapel. After which he received “a pledge from Ustashi intellectuals” to fight to the end for the liberator of Ustashi Croatia.

He was in constant contact with the Ustashi detachments raiding Orthodox villages and towns. Also with the Nazi occupational forces in and outside Croatia.

Ante Pavelic, the inspirer, creator and leader of the independent Catholic State of Croatia. He employed terrorism, political extremism and religious fanaticism with such ruthlessness as to outsmart even his two main Fascist protectors, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.

He was the brains behind the assassination of King Alexander and other political murders which preceded the disintegration of Yugoslavia and thus the erection of his super-Nazi, super-Catholic independent Ustashi Croatia. He enjoyed the protection of Pope Pius XII, who helped him via diplomatic and monetary means to achieve his ultimate objective.

When Ustashi Croatia collapsed, Pavelic hid at the Vatican, then, disguised as a monk, fled to the Argentine where he set up an Ustashi Government, waiting for “the Day.” Sundry Catholic hierarchies openly helped him in exile. Pre-war acts of terrorism were begun anew. Pavelic became the victim of a murder attempt himself. He died shortly before and after the deaths of his two main ecclesiastical supporters, Pope Pius XII and Cardinal Stepinac, still dreaming of resurrecting anew Catholic Ustashi Croatia.

The throne of Croatia had originally been assigned to the scion of the Hapsburgs—i.e. Otto. As, however, Hitler suffered from anti-Hapsburg phobia, plans had to be somewhat modified. Otto had to be discarded. A feverish exploration amid the remaining forlorn royal crowned heads of Nazified Europe was speedily initiated. The new King’s paramount virtue had to be a very obvious one: he must be persona grata to the Fuehrer. Catholic Providence, which has always provided the Vatican with an uninterrupted shower of Peter’s pence—or, to be more up-to-date, with an ever-increasing shower of Peter’s dollars—again proved that her cornucopia could still supply a mankind confused by all the errors of republicanism with that increasingly rare commodity: kings. Now kings have become very rare and, in fact, exceptional. Hence the need for an exceptional man to carry out an exceptional commission. The man: Pope Pius Xll.

Pius XII had been the recipient of portents—that is, of phenomena with which only saints, it is said, are privileged. This even though such phenomena as a rule occur after death, and always when a rational scrutiny of the miracles has become impossible. During the Conclave of 1939, convened to elect a new Pope, Cardinal Pacelli was visited by Pius X in person. Pius X announced that the next Pontiff would be him, Pacelli. It was a miracle. It must have been, for Pius X had died almost three decades earlier. Pacelli was indeed elected Pope. The fact that he cast his own vote for himself did not really affect the issue. Pacelli became Pope Pius XII, choosing the name of Pius in honour of Pius X. [6]

Ten years later, in 1950, Pius XII, after patient years of self-canonization, saw the sun zig-zag in the sky of Rome. Not once, it must be noted, but on three successive days. As if this were not enough, the very Mother of God appeared to him, within the convulsed sphere, “in a spectacle of celestial movements in transmission of mute but eloquent messages to the Vicar of Christ.”[7] It was not difficult for so extra-holy a successor of St. Peter, therefore, to find a worthy king. The fact that Pius XII had to conduct down-to-earth secret, hard bargaining with Mussolini was discreetly hushed up. The chosen one? Victor Emanuel, King of Italy, whom Pius XII himself not long before had blessed as “the august and wise Emperor of Ethiopia,”[8] following Fascist Italy’s ruthless

Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) was a brilliant diplomat, a cunning politician. These characteristics made of him one of the paramount personalities of our times. A match for his fellow Fascist and Communist Dictators. He, more than anybody else outside Germany, helped Hitler to power. This he did by steering the German Catholic Party, and top Catholic leaders, to support the Fuehrer.

Pius’ pet obsession was Communism. After World War 1, he allied the Church with Italian, Spanish and German Fascism, and with the USA after World War 11. He became the main instigator of the Cold War that followed.

Besides being ruthless in political matters, he was unscrupulous in religious ones. He self-sanctified himself with alleged miracles. He claimed that the Virgin Mary worked a miracle personally for him, alone. He claimed also that none other than Jesus Christ himself visited and spoke to him.

He practiced nepotism, that is, the granting of undeserved titles, riches and privileges to his own family.

He was a paranoiac, on a par with Hitler and Stalin. He transformed the Catholic Church into a global political instrument, using the Catholic masses as gullible expendable pawns in his own ideological gambles.

conquest of Coptic Abyssinia, where Fascism and Catholicism were jointly to implant Catholic-Fascist civilization. King Victor, although physically a midget, was a very brave man. He was already resignedly suffering under the weight of two crowns: the kingly crown of Italy and the Imperial crown of Abyssinia. The idea of a third, that of Croatia, fired him with the most admirable democratic conviction that three crowns upon the head of one single man might be considered by envious masses as a genuine social injustice. So Victor, for the first time in his life, took a decision. To the chagrin of that most virtuous trinity, Pope, Duce, and Pavelic, he shouted an immortal ditty, “Now then, that’s truly much to much, even for me” and refused. Following a moment of bewilderment, and hasty confabulations with the other two members of the trio, Pius Xll, thanks to a supernatural hint, found a priceless substitute: the cousin of Victor, the Duke of Spoleto.

The life of a mere Duke nowadays is somewhat dull. The Duke of Spoleto, although a mere Duke, was born with above-average ducal ambition. Hence, when political fortune blew his way, he seized her tightly by the hair. Having first made quite sure that the somewhat moody Austrian commoner who had promoted himself to the Chancellorship of Germany approved of him, secondly that the son of a blacksmith from Romagna would smile on him, and last but not least that His Holiness Pius Xll would give him a triple blessing, he accepted the royal Croatian sceptre with a blush. A name worthy of such a crown was selected, approved, and hailed. And so it happened that a poor unknown Duke suddenly found himself the head of a new dynasty in the Kingdom of Croatia, and became His Most Gracious Exalted Majesty, Tomislav II.

At such wonderful news a massive Ustashi delegation, led by Ante Pavelic, rushed to Rome, where, in the very seat of the Fascist Empire, on May 18, 1941, Tomislav II’s gracious acceptance of the Croatian Crown took place, punctuated by clicking of military heels, Fascist salutes, and hurrahs. At the Vatican the happiness of the Pope was unbounded. Yet his fatherly heart was made a little heavy by the fact that Tomislav II, his triumphant political godchild, could not openly be given a solemn papal blessing. Pius XII was the head of the Universal Church. Catholics by the million were at that very moment fighting with the Allies to smash that very Fascist world with which Pius was on such cordial terms. In addition to that, Pius was simultaneously the head of the Vatican State and as such—oh, happy coincidence!—a king himself. To recognize his new royal colleague at that juncture would have been interpreted by the democratic camp as a breach of “papal neutrality.” His Holiness, therefore, had to use caution.

Popes claim they can unlock gates—in heaven and in hell. That is why they have St. Peter’s massive keys. But very often they can open back doors as well down here. And, the world being what it is, that is even more important. Particularly on occasions when the official gates of international diplomacy have to remain firmly closed. Adept in the age-old Catholic Macchiavelliana Pius XII solved the riddle triumphantly. He received good King Tomislav one day before the ceremony of his coronation. Who could say this was a breach of “papal neutrality?” The Duke of Spoleto was not yet officially a king. His Holiness the Pope had received him before he had legally become His Exalted Majesty, King Tomislav II.

That same day Croatia was officially proclaimed a kingdom. The devout murderer of King Alexander of Yugoslavia—that is Pavelic—was granted a long and very private audience by the Pope. Only one stenographer, who cautious Pavelic had brought with him and who was made to take the oath never to reveal what he heard, was present. Strengthened by what Pius Xll had told him, Pavelic called on Mussolini, with whom he signed a treaty. Following all this, the indefatigable Holy Father received and solemnly blessed Pavelic’s Prime Minister and his whole Ustashi delegation. Who, again, could label this a breach of “papal neutrality?” All those excellent people had been received merely as “Catholic individuals,” not as the heads of the Government of the New Croatia, declared the Osservatore RomanoHoni soil qui mat y pense. Yet the real significance of it all did not escape those who knew. Pius XII had granted all those good people a special audience, not because they were mere “Catholic individuals”: he had specially received, specially blessed, and specially praised them because, while members of the Mother Church, they were, above all, the representatives of the newly born Independent Catholic State of Croatia, a political creature stubbornly nurtured and ruthlessly promoted by that most malign of all its conceivers, the Vatican.


1. See The Ciano Diaries, foreward by Sumner Welles, Doubleday & Co, Inc., 1946, pp. 46,48-50,60,87,97.

2. Memoire de l’Organisation Musulmane Yougoslav, to the National Committee for Free Europe, New York, May, 1950.

3. W.D. Isla, CommentairessurlesvProblemes Yougoslaves, p. 45, Geneva, 1944.

4. See Nedelja, August 10, 1941.

5. See Nedelja, April 27, 1941.

6. Pius XII claimed to have seen Pius X during the conclave of 1939, and that the latter foretold him that he would become the next Pope. For more details, see The Cross, organ of the Passionist Fathers, Dublin, March, 1948.

7. This occurred on three successive days, October 30 and 31 and November 1, 1950. The official description of this repetitive miracle, given by Pius XII’s special delegate, Cardinal Tedeschini, was the following:

The Holy Father (Pius XII) turned his gaze from the Vatican gardens to the sun, and there was renewed for his eyes the prodigy of the Valley of Fatima…. He was able to witness the life of the sun under the hand of Mary. The sun was agitated, all convulsed, transformed into a picture of life, in a spectacle of celestial movements; in transmission of mute but eloquent messages to the Vicar of Christ.

Cardinal Tedeschini, at the Shrine of Fatima, Portugal, 13.10.1951. See world and Catholic Press, 14-15-16.10.1951. For more details of the concocted papal visions and the political objectives of their manufacturers see the author’s Catholic Imperialism and World Freedom (Watts 500 pp.). 

8. Words used by Pius XII, December 21, 1939, when blessing King Victor.

Chapter 4


The Independent Kingdom of Croatia, having thus officially sprung into existence, set forth with burning zeal to fulfill all the hopes so obstinately entertained by its religious and political promoters: the Vatican and Fascism. Inspired by the graciously remote majesty of good King Tomislav II, under the patronage of His Holiness the Pope, protected by Hitler, watched by Mussolini, ruled by Catholic terrorists, and policed by Catholic bayonets, the New Croatia began to transform itself into the ideal commonwealth as advocated by Catholic tenets.

A State, however, according to papal dicta must be regulated not only by civil but also by religious authority. So Pavelic, having determined that a religious equivalent of himself should partake of the rights and duties of rulership, saw to it that the head of the Hierarchy became a de facto ruler of the New Croatia. Archbishop Stepinac, the Croatian Primate, and others, members of the Hierarchy, the religious equivalent of the Ustashi, were duly elected members of the Sabor (Totalitarian Parliament). The military, political, and religious architraves of the new State having thus been erected, Pavelic and Stepinac set out to transform its whole structure into what a true Catholic-Fascist State should be. Movements, institutions, men, and everything else were made to conform to the letter and spirit of Catholicism. All potential opponents—Communists, Socialists, Liberals—were either banished or imprisoned. Trade unions were abolished, workers’ organizations became pitiful caricatures of their former selves, the Press was paralyzed when it was not altogether gagged, freedom of speech, of expression, and of thought became memories of the past. Every effort was made to dragoon youth into Catholic semi-military formations; the children were marshalled by priests and by nuns. Catholic teaching, Catholic tenets, Catholic dogma became compulsory in all schools, in all offices, in all factories, and everywhere the iron heel of the new State was felt. Catholicism was proclaimed the main religion of the State. Other religions and those professing them were ostracized, chief among these, the Orthodox; while the Jews were compelled to wear the Star of David on their clothes, all members of the Orthodox Church went in fear for their property, their personal and family safety. To be Orthodox had suddenly meant to be a potential victim. Soon, in all parks and public transport vehicles, a new inscription appeared: “Entry forbidden to all Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, and dogs.” The Ministry of the Interior, led by Andrija Artukovic, issued the following decree: “All the Serbs and the Jews residing in Zagreb, the Capital of Croatia, must leave the town within 12 hours. Any citizen found to have given them shelter will be immediately executed on the spot.”

While Ante Pavelic was transforming Croatia with a mailed fist, his religious equivalent, Archbishop Stepinac, facilitated the revolution by a timely nationwide mobilization of the whole of the Catholic Church. No opportunity was allowed to pass without Stepinac openly singing the praises of, or sprinkling with oral or holy-water blessings, the new Catholic Croatia, her great Leader Pavelic, the Duce, and the great Fuehrer. When dates commemorating the bloody ascent of Fascism to power were celebrated in Fascist Italy or in Nazi Germany, Stepinac, although in Croatia, celebrated them with no less fervour. Thus he punctiliously celebrated October 28, the day when, in 1922, the first Fascist dictatorship was installed in Italy. While Mussolini annually paraded His Black Shirt battalions in Rome on that date, Stepinac annually commemorated the march with speeches, prayers, and congratulations, distributed with equal generosity also to Hitler on his ever-gloomier succeeding April birthdays. When it came to his own new Fascist State, however, the archiepiscopal panegyrics became impassioned recommendations for everything done by the New Croatia. After Parliament was convoked in February, 1942, Stepinac, with all the sacred authority of the chief pillar of the Mother Church, asked the Holy Ghost to descend upon the sharp edged knives of the Ustashi, and to settle, at least while the parliamentary session lasted, upon the brow of Pavelic. Special prayers and extra ounces of incense were offered in all Catholic churches on Pavelic’s birthday. [1]

When the pocket-sized Ustashi Navy departed for the Black Sea, to destroy, side by side with the Germans, the Red Navy of godless

A copy of the original document dealing with the conversion to the Catholic Church of all Orthodox persons employed by the Government. Issued in Zagreb by the Ministry of Justice and Religions.

Everyone had to be or to become a Catholic. Refusal meant instant dismissal, loss of property, or arrest. And, very often, all three.

Additional decrees were issued, e.g. “Law concerning the conversion from one religion to another.” On June 1, 1941, the Ustashi Premier set up an Office of Religious Affairs, in charge of “all matters pertaining to questions connected with the conversion of the Orthodox Church” (Decree No. 11,689).

Such legislation rested upon the tenet that “the movement of the Ustashi is based upon the Catholic Church,” as enunciated by Mile Budak, July 13, 1941, at Karlovac.

Forcible conversions became the standard practice of Ustashi Croatia. The conversions were duly legalized by the State and gave immunity to the new Catholics, from arrest, from seizure of property and from execution.

A mass execution carried out by the Ustashi at Brode, early in 1941. Nazi troops were looking at some of the victims.

The Nazis, who for a time were posted in Croatia, were so horrified at the Ustashi atrocities that they set up special commissions to investigate them. The Orthodox Church of Serbia, in fact, appealed directly to the Nazi General Dulkeman to intervene and stop the Ustashi horrors.

The Germans and the Italians managed to restrain the Ustashi while they were under their supervision. When the Nazis left Croatia, however, the Ustashi multiplied their atrocities, unreprimanded by the Government. Since the latter’s policy was one of total elimination of the Orthodox Serbian population via forcible conversions, expulsion, or straightforward massacre.

Victims were executed in groups without trial on bridges and then thrown into the river. In May 1941 the Ustashi besieged Glina. Having gathered together all the Orthodox males of over fifteen years of age from Karlovac, Sisak and Petrinja, they drove them outside the town and killed 600 of them with guns, knives and sledge hammers.

Russia, Stepinac flanked by Dr. Ramiro Marcone, the representative of that lover of peace, Pius XII, celebrated the triumphal departure in Zagreb, surrounded by the Catholic Hierarchy, mumbling Latin incantations for speedy victory by those brave aquatic crusaders. Stepinac’s colleagues imitated their leader with unmatched zeal—e.g. Bishop Aksamovic, of Djakovo, who was personally decorated by Pavelic because “His Excellency the Bishop has from the very beginning cooperated with the Ustashi authorities.” Or Archbishop Saric—the bosom friend of Jure Francetic, the commander of the Black Legion—who raised his right hand in the Ustashi—that is, the Nazi—salute at every opportunity, public or private.

The transformation of the Catholic Hierarchy into a de facto Ustashi Hierarchy had a most dreadful significance. It meant that the whole machinery of the Catholic Church in Croatia had been put at the complete disposal of the ruthless individuals determined to make of the new State a compact political and military unit, cemented by the most secure guarantees of the State’s indestructibility. Such a policy implied, not only the transformation of the Croatian social, cultural, and political fabric, but also the complete extirpation of whatever was “alien” to Croatian stock and to its national religion. This required the total elimination of whoever was not a Catholic Croat. Not an easy task, as a large portion of the new State was composed of bulky racial-religious groups wholly foreign to Ustashi Catholicism. Out of a population of 6,700,000, in fact, only 3,300,000 were Croats. Of the remainder, 700,000 were Moslems, 45,000 were Jews, followed by sundry smaller minorities. Over 2,000,000 were Orthodox Serbs.

The inclusion in the New Croatia of so many alien elements was due to the territorial ambitions of Croat Separatism. These, as we have already seen, had been epitomized in the conception of the “Greater Croatia” of Ante Starcevic, who founded an extreme political party, the Croatian Law Party, subsequently elevated to the level of a fanatical National programme by Ante Pavelic. The Party’s ideology, although one of racial and religious exclusiveness, accepted geographical expansion. This meant the inclusion in an independent Croatia of disputed territories, and hence of non-Catholic elements, which became automatically the greatest obstacle to the complete Catholicization of the new Croat State. To solve the problem, a policy directed at the swift elimination of all the non-Croat, non-Catholic population was adopted and promptly set in motion. This was repeatedly and publicly enunciated by members of the Ustashi Government—e.g. on June 2, 1941, in Nova Grarfiska, Dr. Milovan Zanitch, Minister of Justice, declared:

This State, our country, is only for the Croats, and not for anyone else. There are no ways and means which we Croats will not use to make our country truly ours, and to clean it of all Orthodox Serbs. All those who came into our country 300 years ago must disappear. We do not hide this our intention. It is the policy of our State, and during its promotion we shall do nothing else but follow the principles of the Ustashi.

Dr. Mile Budak, Minister of Education and of Cults, lost no time in enlightening his listeners of the nature of such principles. During his first Press interview as a Minister, when asked what the policy of Croatia would be in relation to the non-Croat racial and religious minorities, his reply was an ominously simple one: “For them” (the minorities), he said, “we have three million bullets.” This was not the boasting of a fanatical individual. It was the epitomization of a policy, coolly planned by Pavelic in concert with the Catholic Hierarchy, which was set in motion immediately when the Nazis invaded Yugoslavia. Dr. Milovan Zanich, Dr. Mirko Puk, Dr. Victor Gutich, Ustashi Ministers, unhesitatingly declared that the New Croatia would get rid of all the Serbs in its midst, in order to become 100 per cent Catholic “within ten years.” On July 22, 1941, the plan was again officially confirmed by Dr. Mile Budak: “We shall kill one part of the Serbs,” were his words, “we shall transport another, and the rest of them will be forced to embrace the Roman Catholic religion. This last part will be absorbed by the Croatian elements.” Ways and means to enact such a scheme were swiftly adopted. The most radical and most ruthless: mass removal of Serbians from the contested zone. According to the Ministers, one-third of these were to be transported to Serbia proper, one-third would be “persuaded” to embrace Catholicism, and the remainder would be “disposed of” by other means. “Other means” soon signified biological extermination, and “persuasion” forcible conversion.

Conversion and extermination spelt one thing: the total annihilation of the Orthodox Church. That, in fact, turned out to be the official policy of the New Catholic State of Croatia. Such a policy was

“The Pit of Death” An Orthodox Serb being thrown alive into a mass grave in the notorious concentration camp of Jasenovac, in 1942.

“The Pit of Death” was reserved for those Serbs who challenged their Catholic converters. The camp, when run by the Franciscan Monk, Father Filipovic, squalled in horrors Dachau Concentration Camp. These horrors, however, were often committed in rural districts as well.

On April 28, 1941, for instance, Ustashi storm troopers encircled the villages of Gudovac, Tuke Brezovac, Klokocevac and Bolac, in the district of Bjelovar, and arrested 250 Orthodox peasants, among whom was Stevan Ivankovitch and the Orthodox priest, Bozin. Having led them all to a field, the Ustashi ordered them to dig their own graves. This done, their hands were tied behind their backs. Thereupon, they were ALL PUSHED ALIVE INTO THEIR GRAVES.

The barbarity created such a commotion, even among the Nazis, that they set up a Committee to exhume the bodies and took photographs as evidence. The oral process was incorporated in an official Nazi document, “Ustachenwerk bet Bjelovar.”

Corpses of children starved to death in the notorious Concentration Camp of Jasenovec, whose Commandant at one time was a Franciscan Monk, Father Filipovic. Father Filipovic, following the advice of Father D. Juric, let more than 2,000 other Orthodox children die while the camp was still under his rule,

Jasenovac Concentration Camp distinguished itself because of the number of young inmates sent there. In 1942 the Camp held over 24,000 Orthodox youngsters. Twelve thousand of them were murdered in cold blood by the Commandant.

Special camps for children were set up in many parts of Croatia. Those who were sick or too old to change their religion were made to perish through neglect or where simply massacred. An Ustashi named Ante Urban, a pious Catholic, protested indignantly at his trial after the war when accused of having killed hundreds of children. He asked the Judge to consider the accusation a lie, “Since,” he explained, he had killed personally “only sixty-three of them.”

formally put forward in Parliament by, among others, Dr. Mirko Puk, the Ustashi Minister of Justice and Religion: “I shall also make reference to the so-called Serbian Orthodox Church,” he said. “In this regard I must emphatically state that the Independent Croatian State cannot and will not recognize the Serbian Orthodox Church.”[2]

Pavelic’s triple programme was made to operate simultaneously everywhere, following the establishment of the New State. Its execution was simple, direct, and brutal. It ranged from hurried decrees—like that issued by his new Minister of Public Instruction only four days after Hitler’s attack (April 10, 1941), which barred members of the Serbian Orthodox Church from entering the University unless they had given up the Orthodox faith before April 10, 1941—to wholesale deportations, like those carried out on July 4 and 5, 1941, by the Ustashi in Zagreb; to the massacre of men, women, and children, like that of Kljuch, on July 31, on August 31, on September I and 2, 1941, when the “Flying Ustashi” summarily executed approximately 2,000 Serbs.[3]

In a State insanely bent on a policy of racial-religious extermination, laws and legality, when observed, were nothing but tragic mockeries. The Courts Extraordinary already mentioned, for instance, always condemned regardless of evidence, did not permit the right to appeal, and their sentences had to be carried out within three hours of pronouncement. Thus, these courts sentenced an immense number of people to death without offering them any opportunity for defense, and their sentences were strictly applied. In most cases the courts punished “collectively,” under the guise of “trials.” One bench alone, for instance, that of Zagreb, within two days—August 4 and 5, 1941—sentenced to death 185 persons; that of Stem, from August 3 to 25, 1942, 217 persons; the proceedings at the mobile court at Ruma on August 3, 1942, lasted only two and a half hours, during which twenty-six persons were sentenced to death. At Stara Pazova, on August 8, 1942, the court proceedings lasted only half an hour, and eighteen people received the death sentence. At Ruma on August 10, 1942, a defending counsel appointed by the Ustashi handled the defense of twenty-five persons, whom he met for the first time at the trial, the chairman of the bench allowing him only two minutes for each person. The Tribunals, a most tragic mockery of justice, were veritable instruments of extermination, as proved by the fact that within four years one bench alone of the mobile court extraordinary of Zagreb, headed by Ivan Vidnjevic, sentenced to death 2,500 citizens.

But while the Tribunals had at least a semblance of legality, the Ustashi found means to exterminate thousands of persons by a quicker method—i.e. by dispatching them to concentration camps and disposing of them there. The institution and supervision of these camps were exclusively in the hands of Pavelic, who personally attended to their management. The arrests and deportations to these camps rested with the Ustashi, who could send to them anyone they judged to be an “unreliable person,” and who had absolute authority to kill immediately on arrival anyone taken there. Indeed, there “was agreement,” to quote Ljubo Milos, Commandant of the Jasenovac concentration camp, “that all sentenced to three years, or not sentenced at all, were to be liquidated at once.“3 By virtue of this, inmates of the camps were murdered indiscriminately, either individually or collectively, without even a legal excuse. Thus, in March, 1943, the inmates of the Djakovo Camp were purposely infected with typhus, causing the deaths of 567 persons; on September 15, 1941, all those inmates of the Jasenovac camp who were unable to work, numbering between 600 and 700, were killed; in the camp of Stara Gradiska, 1,000 women were killed. Of 5,000 Orthodox Serbs being taken to Jasenovac camp at the end of August, 1942, 2,000 were killed en route, the remainder were transferred to Gradina, where on August 28 they were put to death with hammers. In the Krapje Camp, in October, 1941, 4,000 prisoners were murdered; while in the Brocice Camp, in November, 1941, 8,000 prisoners were killed. From December, 1941, to February, 1942, at Velika Kosutarica, at Jasenovac, over 40,000 Orthodox Serbs were massacred, while in the Jasenovac camp, in the summer of 1942, about 66,000 Orthodox Serbs, brought from the villages of the Bosnian Marches, were slaughtered, including 2,000 children.

Children were not spared, and special concentration camps were set up for them. Nine of these were at Lobor; Jablanac, near Jasenovac; Mlaka; Brocice; IJstici; Stara Gradiska; Sisak; Jastrebarsko; and Ciornja Rijeka. The destruction of infants in these places would be incredible, were it not vouched for by eyewitnesses, one of whom has testified:

At that time fresh women and children came daily to the Camp at Stara Gradiska. About fourteen days later, 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.[4]

At his trial, Ante Vrban protested that he had not killed hundreds of children personally, “but only sixty-three.”[5]

In 1942 there were some 24,000 children in the Jasenovac camp alone, 12,000 of whom were cold-bloodedly murdered. A very large portion of the remainder, having subsequently been released following pressure by the International Red Cross, perished wholesale from intense debilitation. One hundred of these infants, aged up to twelve months, for instance, died after release from the camp because of the addition of caustic soda to their food.

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.

That was not all. Even worse horrors—if worse there could be—took place in Pavelic’s concentration camps. There were cases when the victims were burned alive:

The cremation at Jasenovac took place in the spring of 1942. In this they meant to imitate the Nazi camps in Germany and Poland, so Picilli had the notion of making the brickworks into a crematorium, where he did succeed, out of 14 ovens (7 a side) in making an oven for cremating people. There was then a decision to cremate people alive, and simply open the huge iron door and push them alive into the fire already alight there. That plan, however, excited terrible reaction among those who were to be burned. People shrieked, shouted and defended themselves. To avoid such scenes, it was resolved first to kill them and then to burn them.[6]

The representatives of the “only true Church” not only knew of such horrors: not a few of them were authorities in these same concentration camps, and had even been decorated by Ante Pavelic—e.g. Father Zvonko Brekalo, of the concentration camp of Jasenovac, who was decorated in 1944 by the leader himself with the “Order of King Zvonimir”; Father Grga Blazevitch, Assistant to the Commandant of the concentration camp of Bosanski-Novi; Brother Tugomire Soldo, organizer of the great massacre of the Serbs in 1941; and others. The worst abominations could hardly have been surpassed by the deeds of these individuals, the vilest betrayers of civilization and of man.


I. Katolicki List, June 11, 1942.

2. Speech by Dr. Mirko Puk, Minister of Justice and Religion. Excerpt from stenographic record of the proceedings of a regular session of the Croatian State Assembly, held in Zagreb, February 25, 1942.

3. All the crimes described in this book are authentic. For further atrocities of this kind, see the Memorandum sent to the General Assembly of UNO in 1950 by A. Pribicevic, President of the Independent Democratic Party of Yugoslavia, and by Dr. V. Belaicic, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Yugoslavia. AlsoDokumenti, compiled by Joza Horvat and Zdenko Stambuk, Zagreb, 1946.

4. Statement made by witness Cijordana Friedlender, from the shorthand notes of the Ljubo Milos case, pp. 292-3.

5. From shorthand notes of the Ljubo Milos case.

6. Idem. See also official indictment of Ante Pavelic.

Chapter 5


To complement the wholesale manhandling, torturing, and legalized killing of the Ustashi, another terrible instrument, perhaps the most execrable of all, struck with fears an already terrorized population: the “punitive expeditions” carried out by Pavelic’s own special militia, the Ustashi, who in no time acquired such an infamous notoriety as to equal the most abominable human monsters of the past. These expeditions destroyed houses and villages, arrested, tortured, plundered, and often massacred their inhabitants, usually without even bothering about any excuse or appearance of legality. Whole districts, such as Bosanska Krajina, Lika, Kordun, Banija, Gorski Kotar, Srem, and regions of Slavonia, were completely laid waste by them. Numerous small towns, such as Vojnic, Slunj, Korenica, Udbina, and Vrgin-Most, were entirely destroyed, while wholesale massacres took place at a number of places, such as Rakov Potok, Maksimir (near Zagreb), the Vojnovic plateau at Bjelovar, the Osijek town park, and Jadovno in Lika. At the last named place victims were wired together in groups of twenty, taken to the edge of a 1000 feet cliff, where the Ustashi killed the first persons only, so that they dragged the others down alive with them.

Pavelic participated personally even against Croat villages—e.g. on December 1, 1941, when Cerje, Pasnik, and Jesenje were razed, on which occasion seven women, four children, and nine old men were killed and thrown into a burning house; or in 1945, when the village of Jakovlje was razed, after most of its inhabitants had been murdered.

In April, 1941, in the village of Gudovac, 200 Serb peasants were killed by Ustashi, followed by larger groups in the villages of Stari Petrovac, in the district of Nova Gradiska, and in Glina. There, in the early days of May, 1941, Ustashi from Karlovac, Sisak, and Petrinja gathered together all males over fifteen years of age, drove them in trucks outside the town, and executed them all.

Often the executions were committed in the homes of the victims, with the most primitive weapons. Some Ustashi specialized in disposing of their charges by crushing their skulls with hatchets, or even with hammers. Incredible but authenticated atrocities were committed wherever the Ustashi appeared. At Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, for instance, Italian soldiers took pictures of an Ustashi wearing two “necklaces.” One was a string of cut-out eyes, the other of torn tongues of murdered Serbs.[1]

Mass deportations and mass executions, mainly in isolated small towns and villages, were well-planned operations. As a rule, the procedure was a simple one. Ustashi authorities summoned groups of Serbs under the pretext of recruitment for military service or public works. Once rounded up, they were surrounded by detachments of armed Ustashi, taken outside the village, and executed. In the mountainous regions of Upper Dalmatia, like Bosnia and Herzegovina, women and children were taken to remote spots and massacred. In Brcko, the home town of Dzafer Kulenovic, Ustashi Deputy Prime Minister, the prisoners were executed on bridges and then thrown into the river.

At the beginning of May, 1941, the Ustashi besieged Glina, and, having gathered all Orthodox males over fifteen years of age from Karlovac, Sisak, and Petrinja, drove them outside the town and killed all 600 of them with guns, knives, and sledge-hammers. The following day all the other Serbs were also murdered. The center of the massacre was in the village of Bosanski Grabovac.

On August 3, 1941, over 3,000 Serbs were Likewise massacred in Vrgin-Most. On July 29, 1941, Bozidar Cerovski, chief of the Ustashi police in Zagreb, arrived in the locality of Vojnic; having rounded up more than 3,000 Serbs from Krnjak, Krstinje, Siroka Reka, Slunj, Rakovica, and other villages, he led them to Pavkovitch, where he had them all massacred near a village mill. In the villages of Baska, Perna, and Podgomolje, Bosanska Krupa district, in the summer of 1941, 540 women and children were locked in houses, which were then set on fire.

In the village of Crevarevac about 600 people were burned in their houses. In the district of Cazin, at Mlinici Smiljanic, more than sixty women and children were burned to death. Five hundred people were massacred at Bugojno. At Slavonska Pozega, 500 peasants, brought from Bosnia, were

Ustashi cutting the throat of one of their Serbian Orthodox victims. Notice how a Ustashi is holding a vessel to collect the first spurt of blood and thus prevent their uniforms from being blood stained. The brutal crime—one of many—look place near Cajaice in 1943.

This type of execution was not exceptional. Some Ustashi specialized in dispatching their Orthodox prisoners in this manner.

Catholic priests, friars, and, indeed, even some of their pupils, followed their example. The case of Peter Brzica is undoubtedly one of the most incredible in this category. Brzica was a law student and an ardent member of the foremast Catholic organization called the Catholic Crusaders. During the day and night of 29th August 1942, Brzica cut the throats of 1300 prisoners in the Concentration Camp of Jasenovac. He was rewarded with a gold watch and proclaimed King of Cutthroats. Dr. Nikola Kilolic, a Croat and a Catholic, was an eyewitness to the deed.

From left to right: Djuro Vranjesh, the author, and Slanko Djokie.

Djuro Vranjesh, Orthodox Serb, was born at Selo Cetina, Velika, Dalmatia. His uncle, Illija A. Vranjes, one day in July 1941 was arrested by a detachment of Ustashi, who without even bothering to give any legal excuse tortured him to death, hacking him to pieces, while still alive. This they did with such horrifying fiendishness that once he was finally dead, his nephew, Djuro Vranjesh, seen above, had to use a blanket in which to collect the chopped members of the body.

On the 30 January 1942 the Ustashi descended on the village of Bosanska Ribnica, where Stanko Djokic (above, right) lived with his family. While he was up in the woods the Ustashi dragged his wife and her five children to the banks of the nearby little river of Ribaica, and without even asking them if they wanted to become Catholics, massacred the lot. Six months later, when Stanko Djokic came back, he found the six corpses of his family still lying there where they had been killed. He buried them with his own hands.

killed. In some districts of Stem, in the summer of 1942, over 6,000 Serbs were killed. At Bihac, within one single day in June, 1941, 2,000 Serbs were killed; while during July and August of the same year over 12,000 more were massacred. In the Bosanska Krupa district, in the summer of 1941, a total of 15,000 people were killed.

Such mass murders were carried out in the most systematic fashion, and were often planned directly from Zagreb. At times they were semi-legalized by statutory orders. For instance, On October 2, 1941, Pavelic issued a “statutory order” that in any case of attack against the Ustashi, as a reprisal, without any court procedure, ten persons to be chosen by the police were to be shot. On October 30, 1943, in another “statutory order” he ordered reprisals by shooting, hanging, or sending to concentration camps hostages to be chosen by the police, together with their parents, children, and spouses. On June 30, 1944, he appointed a special Deputy for pronouncing such measures of reprisal. Under these orders a large number of citizens were shot, hanged, or taken to concentration camps without any trial. At Ruma on August 14, 1942, for instance, ninety hostages were shot; at Sremska Mitrovica, on August 19, 1942, another ninety; and at Vukovar, on August 24, 1942, 140 hostages.

The worst atrocities, strange as it may seem, were carried out by members of the intelligentsia. The case of Peter Brzica is undoubtedly one of the most incredible in this category. Peter Brzica had attended the Franciscan College at Siroki Brijeg, Herzegovina, was a law student, and a member of the Catholic organization of the Crusaders (Krizari). In the concentration camp at Jasenovac, on the night of August 29, 1942, orders were issued for executions. Bets were made as to who could liquidate the largest number of inmates. Peter Brzica cut the throats of 1,360 prisoners with a specially sharp butcher’s knife. Having been proclaimed the prize-winner of the competition, he was elected King of the Cut-throats. A gold watch, a silver service, and a roasted sucking pig and wine were his other rewards. A doctor, Dr. Nikola Kilolic, himself a Croat, was an eyewitness in the camp when the event took place, and subsequently testified to the authenticity of this astonishing deed.[2]

Mass murders were supplemented by the massacre of individuals and of small numbers, as part of the well-calculated policy of the Government, which had them carried out uninterruptedly in rural districts, with a view to terrorizing the populations. Cases of the utmost ferocity which occurred all over Croatia would be unbelievable were they not authenticated. In September, 1942, the Ustashi carried out a raid on the village of Dukovsko, and killed anyone on sight. Among other deeds they threw eight men into a pit. One of these saved himself by getting hold of a protruding rock. The Ustashi, noticing this, amused themselves by hurling heavy stones at him until he dropped to the bottom and died. Others—mostly people who were related, or members of the same family—were tied together and similarly thrown into a pit. In July, 1941, a youth of sixteen, Slavko Popovic, was taken by the Ustashi to a field, ordered to dig a grave, killed while doing so, and buried in it. On September 20, 1942, a group of escaping people were caught by the Ustashi. All of them—fifty-four men and women—were massacred, their bodies heaped up and set on fire. In June, 1943, the Ustashi, passing through the village of Zijimet, rounded up those who had not had time to escape—seventy-four old men, women, and children—put them into a shed, which they set on fire. All were burned alive. Among them were the aunt and her two children of Vojislav Zivanic, who lost twenty-five members of his large family, including his father and brother, massacred by the Ustashi during these raids.[3]

These were not isolated instances. The Ustashi more often than not massacred all the inhabitants of Serb villages, callously torturing and killing even children, and then setting the villages on fire. In the village of Susnjari, for instance, the Ustashi, after having killed most of the inhabitants, led away about twenty surviving children, whom they tied to the threshold of a big barn, which was then set on fire. Most of the children, of an average age of about ten, were burned alive. The few who survived, horribly scorched, were eventually killed. [4] Eye-witnesses testified to similar occurrences:

In the village of Gorevac, on September 13, 194i, children of about 3 years of age were impaled. In some places mothers threw themselves down with children in their arms, and one stake perforated mother and child. Some young girls had their breasts tied or cut, others had their hands made to pass through them. Men had their ears and noses sawn away, and eyes had been uprooted from their sockets.”[5]

On April 28, 1941, Ustashi encircled the villages of (Judovac, Tuke, Brezovac, Klokocevac, and Bolac, in the district of Bjelovar,

Orthodox worshippers, when not dispatched to concentration camps, suffered the same fate us their clergy. Congregations, unless willing to change their religion, were not only persecuted, hunted down and arrested; but, at times, besides being massacred by the Ustashi bayonets or machine guns, they were killed within their own churches.

There were instances even when they were burned alive within them.

To terrorize the population into becoming Catholic, the Ustashi very often hanged lay Orthodox Leaders and their Orthodox parish priests during mass executions under the very eyes of the faithful. This was one of the most tangible methods of “persuasion” whenever the Orthodox proved obdurate.

Those who escaped with their lives were sent to concentration camps, while about 700 that is, one quarter of the total number of Orthodox priests—were murdered by the Ustashi in this manner.

Above, Orthodox priests and Serbs, hanged together for defying the policy of the Ustashi and of the Catholic clergy.

The ordinary Orthodox clergy became the target of Ustashi Catholic ferocity. Priests were imprisoned, hunted down, or simply massacred.

Orthodox priests, before being executed or hanged, very often were horribly tortured, e.g. Father Branko Dobrosavlievich, from Velinn, who had to read the obituary of his own son, whom the Ustashi killed in his presence after horribly mutilating him.

On April 20, 1941, in the village of Svinjica, the Ustashi arrested the Orthodox priest, Father Babic, and after knifing him all over buried him, still alive, in an upright position.

Within a few weeks the Ustashi, encouraged by Catholic Padres, murdered 135 Orthodox priests, of whom eight-five came from one single Orthodox diocese.

Hundreds of Orthodox clergy perished thus only because they were priests of a religion which refused to join “the true Church.”

In this photograph: two Orthodox priests hanged in public, without trial, by the Catholic Ustashi.

arresting 250 Orthodox peasants, among whom was Stevan Ivankovitch and the Orthodox priest, Bozin. Having led them all to a field, the Ustashi ordered them to dig their own graves; after which their hands were tied behind their backs and they were pushed alive into their graves. This feat created a commotion even among the Nazis, who set up a Committee charged with the specific task of exhuming the bodies and taking photographs as evidence. The “oral process” was incorporated in an official document of Nazi Germany, under the title of Ustachenwerk bet Bjelovar. In a memorandum drafted by an officer sent to protect the Orthodox population of Eastern Bosnia during the terrible massacre of August, 1941, there was, among other things, the following:

During our journey towards the hill of Javor, near Srebrenica and Ozren, all the Serbian villages which we came across were wholly deserted. But inside the houses very often we find whole families massacred. We even came across some barrels filled with blood. In the villages between Vlasenica and Kladanj we discovered children who had been impaled upon stakes, their small members still distorted by pain, resembling insects stuck upon pins.” [6]

In the town of Sisak the Ustashi arrested an Orthodox Serb industrialist, Milos Teslitch, well known for his kindness, and burned him alive. One of those most responsible for this crime was Catholic Ustashi Faget.[7]

To crown all these horrors, some Ustashi did not hesitate to crucify their victims. To mention only two: Luke Avramovitch, former member of Parliament, and his son, who were both crucified and then burnt in their own home in Mliniste, in the district of Glamoc.[8]

Such atrocities occurred with a frequency that shocked even the Ustashi’s ideological allies: the Italian Fascists and the German Nazis. This to such an extent that on more than one occasion both the Italian and German authorities not only deprived the Ustashi of the command of whole regions, but actually ousted them altogether, replacing them with Italian or German troops, to prevent a repetition of the terrible individual and mass murders committed by Pavelic’s Catholic units. It will suffice for us to mention two typical cases which led to such a replacement. On August 2, 1941, the Ustashi authorities of Vrgin-Most and of Cemernica announced that all Serbs who did not wish to be molested had better assemble on the following day at 3 a.m. in Vrgin-Most,

Mass executions, with the Ustashi, took sundry forms. Often they assembled the members of the village outside, and then shot the lot. Or they shut a whole congregation inside their church and then set fire to it. When in a hurry, however, they became experts at individual and mass hangings. Their expertise was a regular feature of their barefaced terrorization. This was particularly so during the last years of their regime.

Here are a few examples. On August 7, 1944, they hanged ten persons: on August 26 at Jablanac, near Zapresic, thirty-six people. On September 30th, between the stations of Pusca, Bistra and Luka, ten persons. On October 4, at St. Ivan, twenty-nine persons. On October 5, again at Zapresic, five persons. On October 6th, Cucerje, twenty persons. On October 9, at Velika Gorica, thirteen persons. On the same at Svetaa Nedjelja, near Samobor, eighteen persons. On December 28, at Krusljevo Selo, fifty persons.

Above, one of their last mass hangings, in Sarajevo, prior to the collapse of Ustashi Croatia in 1945.

where Catholic priests would be waiting to convert them to Catholicism. About 5,000 people followed this advice. Instead of Catholic priests, units of Ustashi, armed with machine guns, encircled the assembled crowd, who were held prisoners until the following day, when they were all massacred. Among them were thirty-seven children under ten years of age.[9]

Not long afterwards, on August 20, 1941, another unit of the Ustashi arrested all Serbs in the neighboring region of Lijevno, took them to the woods of Koprivnica, between Bugojno and Kupres, and killed them all. A few days later they arrested all the surviving families, whom they also massacred on the same spot. Before the massacre, women and even young girls were raped, after which most of them had their breasts cut and arms and legs broken. Some old men, before being executed, were blinded by way of having their eyes cut with knives or torn from their sockets. [10]

Five hundred women and children were hurled into pits in the hills of Tusnica and Komasnica, while another eighty women and children were massacred in the village school of Celebic. The Italian Fascist authorities were so shocked by such incredible cruelty that, in addition to dispatching their troops to protect the surviving population and occupying the region of Lijevno and neighbouring places, they dispersed the Ustashi and sent a protest to Zagreb.

Ustashi were committing no less abominable atrocities in other parts of the country. In the town of Prijedor, for instance, during the night of July 31-August l, 1941, they massacred 1,400 men, women, and children, leaving their corpses to rot in the houses and in the streets. The Nazis nearby, horrified at such wholesale butchery, entered the town, compelling the Ustashi to leave. The Nazis had records of massacres of their own second to none. Yet the horrors committed by Pavelic’s Ustashi troops proved to be of such bestiality as to shock even them: a most crushing evidence that the Ustashi massacres had surpassed anything experienced even by the Germany of Hitler. The magnitude of the butchery can best be gauged by the fact that within the first three months, from April to June, 1941, 120,000 people perished thus. Proportionately to its duration and the smallness of the territory, it had been the greatest massacre to take place anywhere in the West prior to, during, or after that greatest of cataclysms, the Second World War.


1. For further atrocities, see Memorandum on Crimes of Genocide Committed against the Serbian People by the Government of the Independent State of Croatia during World War 11, dated October, 1950, sent to the President of the 5th General Assembly of the United Nations by Adam Pribicevic, President of the Independent Democratic Party of Yugoslavia; Dr. Vladimir Belajcic, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Yugoslavia; and Dr. Branko Miljus, former Minister of Yugoslavia.

2. This event is described in his book, The Concentration Camp at Jasenovac, p. 282. See also above Memorandum.

3. The eyewitness, Bojislav Zivanic (father, Duko; brother, Bogoljub) from Dukovsko, related these events under oath before a group of Serbs and Croats, among them Dr. Sekulich, General Mirkovic, and the author, at a meeting specially held on May 20, 1951 in London.

4. Martyrdom of the Serbs, p. 145, issued by the Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese for the U.S.A. and Canada.

5. Eyewitness: Pritova, Bihac, Bosna.

6. See Dokamenti o Protunarodnom Radu i Zlocinima Jednog, Dijela Katolickog Klera, Zagreb, 1946. Also above Memorandum to UNO.

7. Assassins au Nom De Dieu, Herve Lauriere, Paris, 1951.

8. See Dokumenti o Protunarodnom Radu i Zlocinima Jednog Dijela Katolickog Klera, Zagreb, 1946. Also file of Yugoslav State Commission for the Investigation of War Crimes.

9. Eyewitness: Stanko Sapitch, of Blakusa.

10. Evidence given by a survivor, Marija Bogunovitch.


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Posted by trên Tháng Sáu 28, 2011 in Uncategorized


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4 responses to “The Vatican’s Holocaust (Chapter 1-5)

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