The Vatican’s Holocaust

 

The Most Horrifying

Religious Massacre

of the 20th Century

 

By

Avro Manhattan

 

 

 

Avro Manhattan (1914-1990)

About the Author

Avro Manhattan was the world’s foremost authority on Roman Catholicism in politics.  During WW II he operated a radio station called “Radio Freedom” from London, 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 risked his life daily to expose some of the darkest secrets of the Papacy.

 

 

The Vatican’s Holocaust—Revealed!

A detailed account of the Catholic Ustashi’s ethic and religious ‘cleansing’ of the Independent State of Croatia during the Second World War.  They were the most horrifying religious massacres of the 20th century.  Startling revelations of forced conversions of Orthodox Serbians, mass murder of non-Catholic Serbs, Gypsies and Jews, Catholic Ustashi-run extermination camps, disclosures of Catholic clergy as commanders of concentration camps; documented with names, dates, places, pictures and eyewitness testimony.

 

 

Digital Edition restored by

Central Highlands Congregation of God

Revised 17th September, 2021

 

Published by

Central Highlands Christian Publications

PO Box 236 Creswick Vic 3363  Australia

info@chcpublications.net

chcpublications.net

 

 

Table of Contents

A WORD FOR THE FIFTH EDITION. . . .

FOREWORD

PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITIONS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

CHAPTER 1—New Nations 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 Pavelić 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 Massacres: 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 Pavelić 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 Pavelić Try to Save Croatia

They ask the “right Allies” for guns—Archbishop Stepinac is promoted head of the Ustashi Government—Ante Pavelić 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 phoney religious campaign—Stepinac is arrested and imprisoned—The World Press whitewash the Ustashi horror—The Ustashi Army are resurrected abroad—Pavelić 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 Two

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 Mafia, The Vatican 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 Vatican Secret Campaign 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 himCopies of a book about Croatia are burned and kicked by an Irish Catholic.

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 Two

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 Defence 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 Three.

CHAPTER 21—The Grand Central European Plot—The Pope, the Cardinal and the 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 the Next Holocaust Be?

EDITOR’S NOTES

UPDATES SINCE 1986

The Balkan Wars, 1991 to 1998

Instigator of Mass Murder is Beatified

Croatian War Criminal Arrested In Argentina

A Vow of Silence

 

 

 

A WORD FOR THE FIFTH EDITION. . . .

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,

London.

 

 

 

FOREWORD

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 were 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,

London.

 

 

 

PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITIONS

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 6.7 million, proportionally, would be as if one-tenth 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,

1986

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The compilation of this book has required the cooperation of diverse 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.

Mr. 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—New Nations From Old Ones

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 Orthodox Serbs on one side, and the  Catholic Slovaks, Croats and Slovenes on the other, the fulfilment 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 where the population 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 fulfilment 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 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. Maček, 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:

 

 
 

Strip of photographs from the Album of Terrorists, maintained by the Yugoslav Secret Police, as early as 1933.  Bottom row, first left, Ante Pavelić, 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 Pavelić were protected by Mussolini, and tacitly but effectively by the Vatican.  Both supported them financially.

———————————

 

1.  The detachment of Catholic Croatia from the rule of Orthodox Serbia,

2.  the setting up of Croatia as an independent Catholic State, and, last but not least,

3.  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, and 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.

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.

 

 
 

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 infernal machines in public buildings, or crowded places.

(Centre) Eugen Kvaternik, one of Ante Pavelić’s principal accomplices.  He personally accompanied from Italy to France, the assassins, who went to murder the King of Yugoslavia.  Pavelić 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 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.”  Subsequent events proved this was more than prophetic.

Radich adopted the same slogan, although with more tact.  When, however, his Party was taken over by Maček, 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 Pavelić, 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 Pavelić 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 Pavelić’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 skilfully 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.

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 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), being signed above.

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 Gasparri and Mussolini.  Later, the Papal Nuncio to Germany, Mgr. E. Pacelli saw to it that his brother was made a Prince.

———————————

 

The Ustashi were led by Ante Pavelić and supported by Vladimir Maček, 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 Archbishop A. Stepinac, leader of the Catholic Hierarchy in Croatia.1

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.

 

 

CHAPTER 2The Year of Political Assassinations

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 furore.  But more was yet to come.  It was eventually discovered that the rifles 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 ORIM 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 Pavelić, the Ustashi leader, near Sofia.  Pavelić 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 Pavelić was the chief.  The purpose of the meeting was to join forces against Yugoslavia, and to put the Bulgarian and Pavelić’s terrorist organizations under the joint protection of Fascist Italy.  In that year ORIM was granted 44 million lire.  Pavelić 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 Pavelić to death in absentia.  Pavelić, 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 Pavelić’s work, granted him every facility.  Pavelić organized his terrorist bands of 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.  Pavelić was further supplied with a false passport, arms, and counterfeit Yugoslav money.  All this with a view to achieving the first Mussolini-Vantcha-Pavelić 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.

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 Pavelić 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 Pavelić 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

 

 
 

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 Pavelić, whose headquarters were in Fascist Italy.  Pavelić, and with him the Catholic Hierarchy, wanted the collapse of Yugoslavia so as to set up an independent self-ruling Croatia.

The assassins 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 Pavelić was condemned to death by France, but managed to escape.

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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, Pavelić 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 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 imprisonment3 but Ante Pavelić managed to escape, and was condemned to death, in absentia, by a French tribunal.

But if the first part of the Mussolini-Pavelić plot had succeeded, the second, the Pavelić revolt in Yugoslavia, was a complete failure: nothing happened.  Pavelić 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 Pavelić’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-Pavelić adventure, having become unwholesomely risky, was shelved, pending better times.

 

 
 

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 killed in the assassination.  His death suited not only Mussolini but also Hitler.  Hitler had wanted to get rid of Dictator Dollfuss, 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 Dollfuss.  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.

Pavelić 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.

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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 Pavelić were hatching their plot against Yugoslavia.  Indeed, Hitler had decided on the assassination of the Catholic Dictator, Dollfuss, prior to Mussolini and Pavelić 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, Pavelić, 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.  Pavelić’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, Pavelić’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.  Pavelić’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.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 3The Birth of a Monster: The Independent Catholic State of Croatia

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.  Pavelić, 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 in 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 Pavelić’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 Pavelić’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 Pavelić 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 Maček, its Vice-President, in his turn deserted it.  Maček 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 Maček 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 Maček’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 defence 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, Maček 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 Pavelić’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 Maček’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.  Pavelić’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 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.

 

 

 
 

Archbishop Stepinac, Head of the Croatian Hierarchy, welcomes Ante Pavelić, which he also did at the opening of the Ustashi Government in Zagreb, February 23, 1942.

Stepinac was a steady, zealous and efficient partner of Pavelić’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 Pavelić 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 Pavelić’s birthday, and he frequently invoked the blessing of God upon the Ustashi.

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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 Pavelić reached Zagreb from Italy.

On the 14th Archbishop Stepinac went personally to meet him and to congratulate him on the fulfilment of his life-work.

What was Pavelić’s life-work?  The creation of perhaps the most ruthless Fascist tyranny ever to dishonour Europe.

The establishment of Pavelić’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, Pavelić 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; Defence Police; Security Service; Supreme Office for Public Order and Security; County Police; Gendarmerie; Military Police; Defence Squads; Security Service of the Poglavnik, a body-guard; Reserve Gendarmerie; Police Guard; and Industrial Police.  Parallel with this, Pavelić set up courts extraordinary, entitled Priyeke Sud; Pokretni Prijeki Sud (Mobile Courts); Izvanredni Narodni Sud (People’s Court Extraordinary); and Veliki Izvanredni Narodni Sud (Grand People’s Court Extraordinary).

 

 

 
 

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, Pavelić 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 Pavelić.  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 Pavelić to the Cathedral steps after having prayed for him and for the Ustashi.

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These courts, thirty-four in number, passed sentences after a procedure which did not offer the defendant any possibility of defence.  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, Pavelić 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. 1 and 3).  No appeal was allowed against any such decisions.

Within the briefest of periods, Pavelić 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 Pavelić 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 Pavelić 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 Pavelić.”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 Pavelić’s work.  On June 28, 1941, Stepinac, with other bishops, went to see Pavelić.  After promising the wholehearted cooperation of the entire Hierarchy, the Archbishop solemnly blessed Pavelić, 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.”  Pavelić, 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 Pavelić 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 XI himself, who bestowed his paternal protection upon him and the New Croatian State.  That was not enough.  Pius XII, 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 Pavelić 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 Marshal Slavko 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 Pavelić’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, Stepinac 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, and also with the Nazi occupational forces in and outside Croatia.

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Ante Pavelić, 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 brain 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, Pavelić 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.  Pavelić became the victim of a murder attempt himself.  He died shortly after and before the deaths of his two main ecclesiastical supporters, Pope Pius XII and Cardinal Stepinac, still dreaming of resurrecting anew Catholic Ustashi Croatia.

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The throne of Croatia had originally been assigned to the scion of the Hapsburgs—i.e. Otto.  As, however, Hitler suffered from an 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 Führer.  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 XII.

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 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.