Croatia: Rebutting Accusations Against Blessed Aloysius Stepinac

Zagreb Croatia 24 November 2015 From Right: Zeljko Reiner, Croatian parliamentarian, dr Esther Gitman, historian and author, Archbishop Zelimir Puljic, Croatian Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Josip Bozanic and Zeljko Tanjic, Rector Croatian Catholic University Photo: B. Covic

Zagreb Croatia 24 November 2015
From Right: Zeljko Reiner, Croatian parliamentarian,
dr Esther Gitman, historian and author,
Archbishop Zelimir Puljic, Croatian Bishops’ Conference,
Cardinal Josip Bozanic and
Zeljko Tanjic, Rector Croatian Catholic University
Photo: B. Covic

Beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1998, Croatia’s WWII Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac – falsely and wrongfully accused and condemned as Nazi collaborator by Josip Broz Tito and his Yugoslav communists – still awaits canonisation. In this day and age of political correctness getting in the way of truth, a new element has been introduced – it seems – in the Catholic Church’s canonisation decision-making and that element has to do with what Serb and Serbia (who are predominantly of Orthodox Church) think about Stepinac being proclaimed a Saint of the Catholic Church. What an outrage! One finds it most difficult to comprehend why opinions are sought from Tito’s communists or their descendants who wrongfully accused Stepinac as Nazi collaborator were Serbs in many cases, as well as some communist Jews, and are not likely to admit today that they and/or their political predecessors were wrong and lied!
Hence the need to defend the innocent and good Blessed Aloysius Stepinac from lies, mud and concocted history – a sad fact of today’s mad political correctness by which one permits the propagation of falsehoods so that one avoids possibly insulting the emotions of the propagator of falsehoods. The Catholic Church, with his beatification, had examined thousands of documents and testimony, and had no doubts – (see Vatican insider) – today some Serbs and some Jews (all former communists or their allies as far as I can see) have made it their business to try and stop or obstruct Stepinac’s canonisation. The latest pathetic line of “criticism” is that although Stepinac did save Jews and others from peril during WWII he could have done more!

 

 

A world leader in historical research of the truth pertaining to the rescue of Jews in WWII Croatia, Dr Esther Gitman held a lecture in Zagreb, Croatia on Monday 23 November 2015 – ” Dr. Alojzije Stepinac, Archbishop of Zagreb in the trial organised by Tito’s regime, historians and current Serbian government” – as introduction to the one day conference held on 24 November 2015: “Archbishop Stepinac and Serbs in Croatia in the context of World War II and post-war period“. The conference was organised jointly by the Archdiocese of Zagreb and the Croatian Catholic University.

 

Introducing dr. Gitman, the Croatian Catholic University Rector, dr. Zeljko Tanjic, briefly talked about her 2011 book “When courage Prevailed – the Rescue and Survival of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia 1941-1945“, after which dr. Gitman has regularly addressed issues pertaining to Jews in Croatia during World War II and the matter of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac’s innocence. She was a visiting professor at the University during the 2013/2014 academic year where she held courses on rescuing Jews, and last summer published a notable study of rescuing Jews.
Dr. Gitman proceeded to say that her presentation, based on facts and scientific research, would defend Stepinac as the man who made great efforts in alleviating human suffering and, thus, refute the allegations made against him during the last seven decades. As the guiding foundation of her lecture she used Archbishop Stepinac;’s 1941 memorandum to the Catholic priests and parishes in Croatia in response to the Croatian government’s attempts to force conversions of Orthodox and Jewish people to Catholicism:

When you are visited by people of the Jewish or Eastern Orthodox faith, whose lives are in danger and who express the wish to convert to Catholicism, accept them in order to save human lives. Do not require any special religious knowledge from them, because the Eastern Orthodox are Christians like ourselves, and the Jewish faith is the faith from which Christianity draws its roots. The role and duty of Christians is, in the first place to save people. When this time of madness and of savagery passes, those who would convert out of conviction will remain in our church, while the others, after the danger passes, will return to their church.”

Dr Esther Gitman Screenshot 24 November 2015 Croatian HRT TV

Dr Esther Gitman
Screenshot 24 November 2015 Croatian HRT TV

Dr Gitman made a point of saying that the foundation of anti-Semitism in the region that includes Serbia between the two World Wars does not lie in the Croatian Ustashe movement as some would want us to believe but in the media organisations and publishers that published and promoted books such as “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion“. Brochures were published in Serbia, despite a court ban. She reminded the audience at the conference that in 1938 Anton Korosec, Yugoslav minister of interior affairs, stated that in (Kingdom of) Yugoslavia (which by the way was under Serbian King rule) the Jewish question does not exist but pronounced the fleeing Jews as undesirables. In contrast to Korosec, Archbishop Stepinac in 1939 appealed to the faithful to help Jews, because it is a Christian duty to do so. In 1938 Stepinac hoped that Germany’s interest in Russia would keep war away from the South Slavs, and that Croats will have the opportunity to fight for their own state ruled by law and justice. In a meeting with students he said: “The love of man towards his people should not turn him into a wild animal that crashes all and acts in revenge, but rather enrich him so that he may obtain respect and love for his people from others.

Sarcophagus of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac in Zagreb, Croatia

Sarcophagus of
Blessed Alojzije Stepinac
in Zagreb, Croatia

 

Dr Gitman pointed out that some historians have criticized Stepinac’s behavior during the Ustasha regime. Their claim was that a person in his position could do and could have done much more (to save Jews and others from death…). Such statements do not prove or support the facts. Can any historian today point to any concrete action that could have been implemented then and have resulted in positive outcome? I say no, Dr Gitman was resolute and concluded: “My goal today was to portray Stepinac in his role as Archbishop of Zagreb during WWII. His position was unenviable because he found himself between ‘a hammer and an anvil’, between the Nazis and the Communists. He acted as a loyal servant of the Roman Catholic Church and humanity, never abandoning his faith, moral law as his guidance. He condemned the inhumane behaviour of the Ustashe regime at every occasion“.

She concluded her lecture with the word of the Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg: “the Churches, once with powerful presence in Europe, reached the lowest point of their influence during WWII, incapable of retaining their independence against secular regimes. Despite that, during the War years, Stepinac followed only one maxim, and that was: only one race exists, and that is God’s race“.

 

Other participants in the conference on 24 November 2014 were: dr Ivica Sute (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb), dr Tomislav Anic (Croatian Catholic University) dr. Mario Jareb (Croatian Institute of history), dr. Milan Koljanin (The Institute of Modern History, Belgrade, Serbia), dr. Radmila Radic (Institute for Newer History of Serbia, Belgrade), dr. Miroslav Akmadza (Croatian History Institute), dr. sc. Jure Kristo (Croatian History Institute and Croatian Catholic University), dr. Mario Kevo (Croatian Catholic University), dr. Robin Harris (journalist and author, Centre for culture restoration, Zagreb/ former member of UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher policy unit), mons. Juraj Batelja (head of cause of beatification of Alojzije Stepinac).

Celebrating the wonderful truth of Blessed Aloysius Stepinac and his work on saving and rescuing the Jews should not be this difficult but it is. It is difficult because others tied to Tito and Yugoslav communists – lied; the lies stick. Truth does prevail in the end, though, and that is comforting. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps.(Syd)

Comments

  1. Ina thanks so much for posting. As you know, there are more than 40,000 documents archived in the case for Blessed Stepinac’s canonization.
    These are a testament to his innocence.
    I am glad this symposium is being held but I am hoping that international coverage will come from this!
    Instead we heard in Sept, (which you widely covered), Pope Francis meeting with Serbian President Nikolic, formerly of the Serbian Radical Party to reassure him that there is no rush to canonize Blessed Stepinac. Nikolic, as you know, is a man who was involved in the aggression on Croatia in the 1990s and has repeatedly called for the creation of a Greater Serbia by eradicating non-Serbs.
    Why does the Holy See need their bogus input?
    On another note, Blessed Stepinac’s show trial was so farcical that Louis Brier, president of the American Association of Jews, said at the time that “This great man [Stepinac] was tried as a collaborator of Nazism. We protest this slander. He has always been a sincere friend of Jews and was not hiding this even in times of cruel persecution under the regime of Hitler and his followers. He was the greatest defender of the persecuted Jews.”
    Thanks again for getting the news out there Ina. Zivjela!

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    • Thank you Veronika for your feedback – innocence of Stepinac is one of the pivotal issues to assert in Croatia and abroad. Behind the false accusations against him by Yugoslav communists/Serbs mainly (among them regretfully some Jews) also stands so much a falsified history. I back the truth.

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  2. “In his human and spiritual journey, Blessed Alojzije Stepinac gave his people a sort of compass to serve as an orientation. And these were its cardinal points: faith in God, respect for man, love toward all even to the offer of forgiveness, and unity with the Church guided by the successor of Peter. He knew well that no bargains can be made with truth, because truth is not negotiable. Thus he faced suffering rather than betray his conscience…. In this courageous witness, he was not alone.”

    —homily from the Mass of beatification

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  3. Stepinac—a defender of life in its purest sense—was a restless, righteous spirit: What the Nazis sought to destroy, he fought to save. When nations turned a blind eye to those cruelly victimized, he shed a light as bright as heaven on them. He spoke for those whose own voices were muffled. Simply put, Stepinac wasn’t afraid to stand up.

    In my own life, I try to follow the lead of this holy martyr. Stepinac proves that speaking out is a noble act. The many people he saved—and the generations alive today because of him—are the fruits of his life’s work.

    Alojzije Stepinac’s life exemplifies the passage from the Talmud which states: “Whoever saves one life is as though he had saved the entire world.”

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  4. And I hold the highest possible respect for dr Esther Gitman – she is such a trooper and fighter for truth,. backed up with irrefutable and indisputable facts and documents from archives Yugoslav communists hid for decades.

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  5. I say bring on any inquest, panel of truth or what ever you call. It is an opportunity to expose the Serbs for the liars and haters they are. If conducted properly we can only win, and if we are smart we can win for Stepinac, but also make the Serbs and our own communist traitors lose a defining defeat! Let it be public, let light shine and expose the evil doing of our oppressors. Let’ stop being humiliated and take on the offensive with moral righteousness and conviction, truth and justice.

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    • That is my way also, Sunman – Croatia needs more string personalities who have the courage to stand up for the truth. Looking good so far but can be much better! Cheers

      Like

  6. Reblogged this on Eyes of the Mind.

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  7. Like

  8. There will be accusations when you are true…..As Jesus predicted that people who follow god have to suffer…in age of the Antichrist

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  9. Hi Ina.. Not having enough knowledge upon this subject, I am reading the words here which were spoken in truth.. When he said

    ““The love of man towards his people should not turn him into a wild animal that crashes all and acts in revenge, but rather enrich him so that he may obtain respect and love for his people from others.””

    So many genocides and killing has been done in the name of religion… Here it seems is a man who is speaking from his heart .

    I hope that one day Ina.. More of us can live in Love from ours..

    Love and Blessings.. Sue xxx

    Like

  10. The re-writing of history is pervasive! It leaves just a few individuals with the obligation and responsibility to try and preserve the truth for generations to come… a very large task indeed!

    Like

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