Croatia’s Blessed Aloysius Stepinac, WWII Rescue Of Jews and Dr Esther Gitman’s Fact Finding Captivate Pages Of Prestigious US Catholic Historical Review

Blessed Aloysius Stepinac Front Cover Catholic Histoprical Review Summer 2015 Edition Catholic University of America Press

Blessed Aloysius Stepinac
Front Cover
Catholic Historical Review
Summer 2015 Edition
Catholic University of America Press

 

Dr Esther Gitman

Dr Esther Gitman

In 1942, during the mass deportations of Jews to concentration camps, some Jews managed to escape to the Italian Zones of Occupation on the Adriatic. When the Italian authorities realized that so many Jews were flocking to their zone they aimed to deport them back to he Independent State of Croatia ruled by the Ustashe regime controlled by Nazi Germany. When the news reached Archbishop Stepinac of the intention of the Governor of Dalmatia, he wrote to the Holy See requesting to allow the Jewish refugees to remain under the Italian occupation. The Italians did not murder Jewish refugees they protected them. Thus, in fact, Stepinac, was instrumental in saving my mother’s and my life and thousands other lives. I owe him an eternal gratitude because by his conduct, he gave me an opportunity to live and get to know my husband, daughter and my grandchildren. Archbishop Stepinac was honored by the Catholic Historical Review by having his picture posted on the cover. This picture commemorates the time he spent as a prisoner in Communist Yugoslavia. The article is found on pp. 488-529. Thank you!” Said Dr. Esther Gitman,  a few days ago

And so, I took delight and pride in translating the posting from the Catholic University of Croatia website that announces Dr. Esther Gitman’s very important achievement  – the publication of her article on the work of Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac and the rescue and the saving of Jews during WWII Croatia in such a world-renowned and prestigious scholarly journal published in the US. I hope many of you will access the article via the Catholic University of America Press website.

____

Information for the Media

Catholic University of Croatia
Zagreb
Contact: pr@unicath.hr
http://www.unicath.hr

Zagreb 29 August 2015

The American historian of Jewish descent, Dr. Esther Gitman Ph.D., has published in the Summer Edition of the scientific journal The Catholic Historical Review (CHR), third this year (pp. 488-529, vol. 101. n. 3), an article about the blessed Alojzije (Aloysius) Stepinac, titled “Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac of Zagreb and the Rescue of Jews, 1941-45”.

In the article, the author shows how the Archbishop of Zagreb undertook the action of rescuing several hundred of individuals associated with the Croatian Jewish community, how he saved more than a thousand Jews who were in mixed marriages, as well as many others for whom the Nazi regime posed a danger.

Using evidence from various archives, testimonies of surviving family members and other documents, the author discusses how Stepinac responded to the politics of the Ustasha regime under the Nazi and Fascist patronage, and how he used his position in the Church to promote the rescue of Jews. In the same article, the author talks about the collaboration between Archbishop Stepinac and Msgr. Giuseppe Ramiro Marcone, Pope Pius XII’s apostolic visitor, and how they demanded from the Vatican that the Jews who had arrived into the Italian zone not be deported back to NDH (Independent State of Croatia).

Excerpt from the article by Dr Esther Gitman published in The Catholic Historical Review Summer 2015

Excerpt from the article by
Dr Esther Gitman published in
The Catholic Historical Review
Summer 2015

The scientific journal, The Catholic Historical Review, had decided to publish Dr. Gitman’s article only after the article had been subjected to double-verification by two of our professional associates who did not know who the author of the article they were verifying was. The verifying associates were four scientists of high international reputation from Croatia and abroad. Dr. Gitman was able to provide adequate answers to all criticisms and complaints put by the versifier/s and substantiate her claims with evidence from the archives. Some complaints were irrelevant to the subject of the article and, hence, we did not seek any clarification for them. Dr. Gitman’s article contributes significantly to discussions regarding the role of Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac of Zagreb during the difficult years of World War II. The Catholic Historical Review is, therefore, very happy to be in the position of making that article available to the scholarly world. By placing the image of Archbishop Stepinac in prison on the cover of the summer issue we wanted to draw attention to this important person in the history of the Catholic Church in the 20th century – said Professor Nelson H. Minnich, editor of The Catholic Historical Review and a professor at the Department of History, the American Catholic University.
This article is yet another in the list of articles that, based on facts, show how much Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac was engaged in the defense of the dignity of every person during the difficult times of the Second World War.
About the author:

Dr Esther Gitman Delivering a talk on her work at NSW State Library (Mitchell Library) Sydney, Australia February 2014 Photo: Ina Vukic

Dr Esther Gitman
Delivering a talk on her work
at NSW State Library (Mitchell Library)
Sydney, Australia
February 2014
Photo: Ina Vukic

Dr Esther Gitman earned her doctorate at the City University, New York and the findings of her research are summarized in her book “When Courage Prevailed,” translated into the Croatian language and published by Christian Actuality in 2011. The book deals with the topic of the rescue and survival of Jews in NDH (Independent State of Croatia) and one of its chapters is devoted to the role played at the time by the Archbishop of Zagreb, Alojzije Stepinac. The author deals with issues related to Jews in Croatia during World War II and, using scientific evidence and historical facts, she points to the uniqueness and the greatness of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac in all those events.

She was a visiting professor at the Croatian Catholic University during the 2013/2014 academic year 2013/2014. and held a course on rescuing Jews in NDH (Independent State of Croatia).

 

About the Journal:
The Scientific Journal The Catholic Historical Review, founded by the Catholic University of America, has been published since 1915. That is the only university journal under the Catholic Church’s auspices in the English-speaking world dedicated to the history of the Catholic Church. The journal publishes articles, peer-reviewed articles, as well as review articles, book reviews, and lists of current periodical literature received in all areas of church history. The Journal and the article can be obtained at the following address: The Catholic University of America Press http://cuapress.cua.edu/journals/chr.cfm

Summary of Dr. Gitman’s article:
During World War II, Blessed Alojzije (Aloysius) Stepinac, Archbishop and later Cardinal of Zagreb (1898 – 1960), took action to rescue several hundred individuals associated with Croatia’s Jewish community, more than 1000 Jews in mixed marriages, and a number of others in danger from the Nazis. Using archival evidence, survivor testimonies, and other documentation, the author discusses how Stepinac reacted to the policies of the Nazi-and-fascist-sponsored Ustase regime and used his position in the Church to promote the rescue of Jews, supported by his moral convictions and Giuseppe Ramiro Marcone, Benedictine abbot and Pope Pius XII’s apostolic visitor to Croatia.

 

Prof. Minnich’s reply as to why he decided to publish Dr. Gitman’s article:

The CHR decided to publish Dr. Gitman’s article after it had gone through our double-blind refereeing process. The four referees are scholars of international standing, from within and outside Croatia. Where referees raised objection and criticisms, Dr. Gitman was able to provide appropriate responses and she backed up her claims with archival evidence. Some of the objections were irrelevant to the topic of the article and did not deserve a response. Her article makes a significant contribution to the debates concerning the role of Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac of Zagreb during the difficult years of World War II. The CHR is thus happy to make it available to the scholarly world. By putting the picture of Archbishop Stepinac in prison on the cover of the Summer issue, the journal wishes to draw attention to this important figure in the history of the Catholic Church in the twentieth century.
Translated from the Croatian language by Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Eyes of the Mind and commented:
    Just in time for Blessed Cardinal Stepinac’s feast day on September 7.

    Like

  2. It’s sad for humanity and truth that Professor Esther Gitman has met resistance from local Croatian officials and historians–children of some of the Communist Yugoslavia officials involved in putting Aloysius Stepinac on trial, on false charge of Nazi collaboration. There was no trial really – Communists concocted the charges, did the dirty trial and convicted the man who truly was a saint. The Yugoslav Communist regime’s show trial of Stepinac was a source of many of the slanders against Pius XII, including the claim that Pius XII hid money stolen from Croatian Jews in some secret Vatican vault–money that, allegedly, Stepinac had transferred to him at the end of the war. There is absolutely no credible evidence to support this claim–all evidence came from confessions coerced by the Yugoslav communists and from false witnesses; nevertheless, many slanderers of Pius XII continue to cite it as fact. And, of course, sadly many Croatian Jews were Communists and still are and they join their “colleagues” in hiding the fact that it was the Communists that kept for themselves Jewish property stolen from Jews in Croatia before, during and after WWII.

    Professor Esther Gitman is an amazing human being and the top of professional class in research and truth. Her article in the Catholic Historical Review will raise further the absolute credibility and scientific prestige of the journal.

    Like

  3. Fantastic news! Great going for dr Gitman! Her hard work being well rewarded

    Like

  4. let’s post this on B92, Balkan Insight and InSerbia…lol, maybe we should send a copy to the grave digger and his protege…their heads would explode as all evil does when confronted with the truth.

    Like

  5. Ina,

    How do I get Esther Gitman’s book?

    cheers, Branko

    Like

    • Online bookstores everywhere, Branko, eg Amazon US & UK, Booktopia in Australia etc – there’s a link to one on left side of this blog’s site. Cheers and good reading

      Like

  6. Submit a comment and link on B92 in the comments section, they will likely publish it…but an article submitted by you which is both scholarly and journalist may also be published…an Op Ed with historical facts…it’s a small part but significant in breaking through lies and myths

    Like

  7. Reblogged this on First Night History.

    Like

  8. True that the truth always prevails.

    Like

  9. Astounding, but not surprising what the Communists did. I visited Zagreb in 1972, when Tito was there. What I noticed, above all, was that the people were sad and cold and unfriendly, and it is certainly understandable due to the circumstances under which they were living.

    Like

    • Yes Patricia, and 1972 still had the added ugliness of the failed “Croatian Spring” in 1971 when Croatia wanted more freedom and autonomy within Yugoslavia and was crushed by Tito’s army and police, many jailed, movement and association limited, army tanks drove along streets looking for signs of “unrest” etc..

      Like

  10. …when the NDH was in power, not ONE synagogue or Orthodox church was destroyed, but these “serbs” destroyed many catholic churches during the Homeland war and even had a “black flag” bombing of a synagogue in Zagreb in 1991, so as to blame the croats!
    …a footnote, since the British Empire was responsible for so much for contributing to the problems of the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe, therefore, England should be receiving millions of these poor migrants, instead of France or Germany! As one Indian woman protested with a anti-discrimination sign in front of the British Embassy in New Delhi some time ago…..

    “YOU were THERE, and now WE have the RIGHT HERE!”

    Like

    • Don’t know that the British are the only ones to blame for Middle East trouble, Tempus Fugit, and when it come to colonising in Africa several EU countries had made quite a bit of wealth on the back of natural resources etc in colonies – but those were the times and political geography was driven by other things – we cannot go to “sins of the fathers” because if we do we have made no step forward in humanity, but for humanity sake (the right to be safe from harm) the UN needs to insist on camps and processing or IDing all individuals and see whether their claims justify entry and stay etc

      Like

    • esther Gitman says:

      It is not true that during the NDH no synagogues were destroy! In fact most of them were destroyed: Zagreb, Osijek and Sarajevo just to mentioned a few. But it is important to state that Archbishop Stepinac was very angry about and declared that whosoever destroy a house of worship of any religion it is as if he destroyed the house of worship of all religions. He objected strongly the act knowing well what would befell those who fight against God and his creation.

      Like

  11. All I can say is I extend all my respect towards dr. Esther Gitman. In a time when even our leaders do not do enough to stand up for truth and justice, she has done so showing us there are still good people in this world, and that we should not become so easily apathetic and disillusioned in fighting for justice.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post and agree with Kat about truth and justice, a leader needs to stand-up for their nation and not for themselves. This will be posted at 10.30GMT here Ina regards Ian
    Shortlink
    http://wp.me/p4NkMr-ci

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. […] The problem with this statement from Nikolic and all Serbia’s political and church leaders is that… (e.g. by research conducted by Dr. Esther Gitman) after government archives were opened in late 1990’s/early 2000’s when communist Yugoslavia finally fell. These facts irrefutably point to the absolute truth that Cardinal Stepinac, organising rescue missions and actions that would save lives also protested in writing against any killings done under the WWII regime, he became aware of, but his protests fell on deaf ears just as they are falling on deaf ears of Serbia today! Serbia’s Nikolic would like us to think, it seems, that an Archbishop (Stepinac) in WWII was more powerful that the country’s governmental leadership! Why else would he ignore Stepinac’s protests of which he is well aware? […]

    Like

  2. […] The problem with this statement from Nikolic and all Serbia’s political and church leaders is that… (e.g. by research conducted by Dr. Esther Gitman) after government archives were opened in late 1990’s/early 2000’s when communist Yugoslavia finally fell. These facts irrefutably point to the absolute truth that Cardinal Stepinac, organising rescue missions and actions that would save lives also protested in writing against any killings done under the WWII regime, he became aware of, but his protests fell on deaf ears just as they are falling on deaf ears of Serbia today! Serbia’s Nikolic would like us to think, it seems, that an Archbishop (Stepinac) in WWII was more powerful that the country’s governmental leadership! Why else would he ignore Stepinac’s protests of which he is well aware? […]

    Like

  3. […] The problem with this statement from Nikolic and all Serbia’s political and church leaders is that… (e.g. by research conducted by Dr. Esther Gitman) after government archives were opened in late 1990’s/early 2000’s when communist Yugoslavia finally fell. These facts irrefutable point to the absolute truth that Cardinal Stepinac, organising rescue missions and actions that would save lives also protested in writing against any killings done under the WWII regime, he became aware of, but his protests fell on deaf ears just as they are falling on deaf ears of Serbia today! Serbia’s Nikolic would like us to think, it seems, that an Archbishop (Stepinac) in WWII was more powerful that the country’s governmental leadership! Why else would he ignore Stepinac’s protests of which he is well aware? […]

    Like

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