Croatia: The Horror of Communist Crimes Still Swept Under The Carpet

iFilms and Croatian Film Institute Youtube Channel – a wealth of truth

If it weren’t for truth-dedicated people like USA-based Nikola Knez and those involved in the Croatian Film Institute, iFilms and KnezTV and the wealth of truth they endow the world with, most of communist Yugoslavia and Serb crimes against the Croatian patriotic and independence-loving people would be buried deep, never to be seen and/or prosecuted in the mind if not courts of law.

As the 77th Anniversary of May 1945, the end of World War Two, approaches it is most distressing that Croatia, which seceded from communist Yugoslavia paying an enormous price in blood, still has not paid due respect and recognition to the hundreds of thousands of communist crimes victims  found so far in 1000 mass graves and pits (1,700  across Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina so far) but it has a few days ago, 27 April, raised yet another big monument to the victims of the Holocaust and the WWII Ustashi regime! It goes without saying that I do not begrudge commemorating and honouring the victims of the Holocaust, however I do think that it is an abomination to use the memory of these victims, raise monuments to them, to deny the same to all victims of the times relating to World War Two. Indeed, in Croatia, there is no doubt whatsoever that the current powers that be are made of former Yugoslav communists’ sympathisers and protectors, of those who committed horrendous crimes during and after the War against freedom-loving Croatians and they have much invested in life to cover up their or their ancestors’ sins that were within the parameters of Croatian borders many times more numerous and more murderous than any Holocaust-related events that had occurred there.  Croatian government and authorities should have also raised a monument to the victims of communist crimes on this 27 April and before since Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia in early 1990’s. Placing a wreath at a mass brave or a pit where in each say lie 15,000 or more bodies, as the government does from time to time, to show it cares for victims of communist crimes, is nothing compared to grandiose monuments communist Yugoslavia raised to victims of the Holocaust and Croatia now follows suit, ignoring completely the thousand mass graves its communist predecessors dug up and filled.  And the government and all Croatian authorities in power, laced with communist blood, tell us that respecting human rights is their priorities! The Yugoslav communists used to say the same but the human rights they respected belonged only to communist regime lovers and supporters – the same continues to this very day!

I take then this opportunity to, once again, draw the readers’ attention to an extraordinary source of historical information and accounts of communist crimes against patriotic Croats and those who during and since World War Two fought for Croatian independence and truth as well as accounts of the hard and merciless fight in the 1990’s to achieve an independent Croatia away from communist Yugoslavia. That source of course is the iFilms’ Croatian Film Institute based in Texas USA, headed by Nikola Knez, producer and film director. On the Croatian Film Institute’s Youtube channel there is an amazing selection of documentary films, interviews and presentations in both the English and the Croatian languages.

Approaching the 77th Anniversary of massacres of Croatian people by communist Yugoslavia operatives, which are many, but the massacres known as the Bleiburg Massacre are extremely well presented in the Croatian Film Institute documentary ”Bleiburg: Tito’s License for Genocide.”

“In 1945, just a few days after the end of World War II, Tito and his Partisans initiated an extermination campaign against men, women, and children they viewed as enemies of the regime. The mass slaughter began with the forced repatriation of 700,000 civilians and soldiers who fled Croatia and Slovenia seeking asylum in Austria immediately at the close of the war. The refugees, deceived by the British into believing they would be provided with a safe haven by the Americans in Italy, instead were loaded onto trains and sent back to Yugoslavia. Large numbers were massacred outright, others died on forced death marches and in mass executions across the country.

Through filmed interviews with survivors, confessed perpetrators, British officers, military intelligence officials, and scholars, as well as through the analysis of historical documents and newly released evidence of mass graves, the film traces the violations of the Geneva Conventions and international law that resulted in what has come to be known as The Bleiburg Massacre. Through analysis of historical documents, newly released evidence of mass graves, and interviews with survivors, witnesses, confessed perpetrators, military officials and scholars, the film examines the atrocities in the context of international human rights law, with discussion of subsequent promulgation of protocols for the protection of refugees, asylum seekers, and prisoners of war from crimes against humanity and genocide.

This film examines the long-term challenges to democratic nation building that have resulted from the forced repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Croatian civilians and military personnel to Yugoslavia at the end of World War II. Data suggest that violations of the Geneva Conventions led to the death of many of these asylum seekers at the hands of Tito’s Partisans in both death marches and in mass executions.”

”Bleiburg: Tito’s License for Genocide”

http://hfi.mobi/tito’slicensefor.html

Besides dealing with the World War Two and Post WWII massacres and oppressions of Croatian people Nikola Knez and his Croatian Film Institute have also produced a series of documentaries/ interviews with various known dignitaries and activists in relation to the Croatia Homeland War of 1990’s, of Serbian aggression against Croatia, of the amazing efforts that went into creating the modern independent state of Croatia.

The latest series of the interviews for the Globezoom sector of KnezTV for Croatian Film Institute and iFilms includes:

Interview with Peter Galbraith

An interview with US based Peter Galbraith (in English), United States of America Ambassador to Croatia 1993 – 1998. The interview covers the Croatian Defence War and the war for independence and independence (Homeland War), negotiation missions, about Serbian crimes in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, about Operation Storm, about driving a tractor, about Dayton, about President Franjo Tudjman.

Interview with Count Nikolai Tolstoy

An interview with UK based English-Russian Count Nikolai Tolstoy (in English) about his findings on the English repatriation of Croats, Slovenes and Cossacks (army and civilians) on the Bleiburg field in 1945. They all had assurances from the English that they would be accepted and forwarded to safe American zones in Italy. Instead, they were fraudulently handed over to Yugoslav and Russian communists who, without trial, liquidated them in massacres.

An interview in two parts with myself, Ina Vukic (in Croatian), as the most prominent Croatian woman in Australia – in this interview I talk about my contribution to the creation of the Croatian State, about the cooperation with the President of the Republic of Croatia Dr. Franjo Tudjman, about the embezzlement of money raised for Croatia from Australia, on the Croatian Spring, on my family, on the Communist Yugoslavia Security Services UDBA and the Croatian Yugoslavs in Australia, about  Croatian emigrants and their attitude towards the war in Croatia.

Interview with Ina Vukic Part I

Interview with Ina Vukic Part II

The unresolved and horrific legacy communist Yugoslavia left behind remains a terrible burden for those communist crimes’ victims left behind; the victims themselves remain unimportant as if cattle that had to be slaughtered. All that and more to ensure the life of communism!  The Croatian governments since year 2000 and all its Presidents since then have purposefully and cruelly brushed aside and trodden upon the vitally important moral reckoning and legal responsibility for the crimes committed by the communist regime of Yugoslavia.

Every day, we come across strivings to remind the world that communism is the most vicious idea in human history, one that has murdered, enslaved, and ruined more lives than any other, by a massive margin. It has already killed more than a hundred million men, women, children, infants, and unborn across the world. It has massacred, murdered, and purged hundreds of thousands of Croats, wielding knives and guns and barbed wire not only at home but also across the diaspora. How long can Croatian people endure the utter and perverse disregard for the victims of communist crimes while victims of the Holocaust keep on receiving the attention and recognition due to all. All victims of crime deserve justice, but all are not receiving it. Accountability for communist crimes can wait no longer in Croatia and until it happens, we are so fortunate to have been blessed with avenues of Croatian truth, such as Nikola Knez’s Croatian Film Institute, the world can walk along and keep the memories and truth alive. Ina Vukic

Jasenovac And The Post-War Jasenovac Camps Book Review

Co-authors Blanka Matkovic (L), Stipo Pilic (R)

It isn’t until you start reading the new book written in the Croatian language by Blanka Matkovic and Stipe Pilic “Jasenovac and the post-war Jasenovac camps – Geostrategic point of Greater Serbia politics and the propaganda driver of its spread towards the West” that you realise how much we need a book like this one at this particular time. At this moment, just over thirty years since Croatia seceded from communist Yugoslavia with the aim to transition from that totalitarian regime into democracy, only to still be wrestling with the communist fabrication of Croatian World War II history and various wild concoctions of victim numbers allegedly at the hands of Croats that float in the public space unchallenged by the official Croatia since year 2000 – as former communist operatives cling onto power with widespread corruption and deceit.

Also, this week is marking the 2022 commemorations for victims of World War Two Jasenovac Camps and the Croatian government, the President, the Jewish communities and other organisations cannot get together in one ceremony, but we are seeing, once again, several separate commemorations, clearly showing widespread disagreements regarding this part of Croatian history and how it should be commemorated. Were the truth of the camp being kept opened and operational after the war by communist Yugoslavia these commemorations at Jasenovac would honour all the victims who perished there not just the ones perished by April 1945!

Transition from the totalitarian communist regime into democracy for Croatia (and any other such country) was and is supposed to also be about correcting the history written by oppressive communists to reflect the truth. But this has not occurred yet, not to any noticeable degree as the governments support still the promulgation of communist mentality and the faceless denial of horrendous communist crimes. It is in the latter context that this book represents the long-awaited furthering of evidence of truth that in many ways serves as testimony to more communist crimes that have gone officially uncondemned and unprosecuted. Such efforts of historical research about Jasenovac camps have regretfully been left to private and personal pursuits of credible and renowned scientists and researchers without any government supports.  

Two facts about the World War Two Croatian Jasenovac Camps that cannot be disputed are the wildly fabricated numbers of people that perished in the camp and that the camp was not shut down in May 1945. The latter is a particular focus in the second part of this book, and it seeks not only to point a spotlight on communist purges likely occurring within Jasenovac Camps walls after the war and victims of those murders either not reported or added to the fabricated numbers of victims the Independent State of Croatia was falsely and is still falsely burdened with.       

Based on abundant and thorough historical research this Blanka Makovic and Stipo Pilic book is outstandingly truth revealing and draws significantly with evidence on the communist Yugoslavia hidden truth of the Jasenovac Camp being kept open after World War II ended in May of 1945 until 1952 and even until the 1960’s.  This 640-page book published in 2021 by the Croatian Society of Historians – HPD “Dr. Rudolf Horvat” presents numerous public documents that have never been brought to the public attention, as well as maps and graphs, covering the period from the beginning of the 19th century to the present with emphasis on Jasenovac and Jasenovac camps, their role in Greater Serbia ideology and anti-Croatian propaganda.

And so, the book is based on exhaustive continuous research since 2006 and argumentation of material kept by archives and museums in Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United Kingdom, so that the actual number of victims in Jasenovac could be determined, but also to raise awareness that the Jasenovac Camp was active not only until 1945 but also under the communist Yugoslavia rule when communist purges were rife and utterly vicious against patriotic Croatians, especially.

Given that we have all witnessed historical research results that prove the written or official history wrong referred to as revisionism, in a negative or unwelcome way this book, in its Introduction, aptly begins with the words James McPherson of Princeton once wrote while serving as the president of the American Historical Association: “Revision is the lifeblood of historical scholarship. History is a continuing dialogue between the present and the past. Interpretations of the past are subject to change in response to new evidence, new questions asked of the evidence, new perspectives gained by the passage of time. . . The unending quest of historians for understanding the past – that is, ‘revisionism’ – is what makes history vital and meaningful. Without revisionist historians, who have done research in new sources and asked new and nuanced questions, we would remain mired in one or another of these stereotypes.”

True to this quote Matkovic and Pillic have not only provided an abundant wealth of new documentation, new evidence that points out clearly that the history of World War Two Jasenovac Camp was strikingly different to what the world has been repeatedly told since May 1945 but they have offered suggestions and arguments that clearly direct us to the absolute need to further research on this topic especially because the written official history and research results since 1990’s, when state archives opened to the public after the break-up of former communist Yugoslavia, are at significant discord, thus creating incessant social divisions among the people as well as intolerance of the newfound but real truth. The Jasenovac Camp remains to be one of the most controversial topics in contemporary Croatian history and society. This is without doubt because the official Croatia has not dealt with World War Two Jasenovac Camp truth, or any other Croatian truth that fought to break away from Yugoslavia in that War because it suits former communists or their descendants in power not to pursue communist crimes, which also were evidently committed at Jasenovac Camps post-Word War Two until 1952 and into 1960’s.

Written well, with the flow that makes reading it compelling, with solid corroboration by way of events, names of people and detailed happenings the entire book, with its rich content and breadth of coverage, this book brings that period of Croatia’s history alive. When we couple all this then we know that this Matkovic and Pilic book is, so far, the most solid cornerstone upon which the Croatian truth will be revealed even more.

This book is a treasure chest for the Croatian truth that debunks with facts much what the Yugoslav communists have been feeding to their own people as well as the world. For example, there are numerous examples of manipulation of the number of victims that perished at Jasenovac camps and Matkovic emphasised during a book launch in 2021 that she found a file of Ante Pavelic, the head of the WWII Independent State of Croatia, in the Croatian State Archives, which contained a list of persons killed in the Jasenovac and Stara Gradiska camps. According to these data, 7,133 people died in Jasenovac, not counting men between the ages of 14 and 70, who are not listed in that list. In 1964, the Yugoslav authorities conducted research on the number of war victims throughout the former Yugoslavia, not counting those killed by partisans, the Yugoslav Army, the Communist Party and the Yugoslav regime. The number of victims was 597,323, which is much less than the imaginary number of Jasenovac victims fabricated by Yugoslav communists and Serbs and their collaborators in spreading lies and anti-Croatian propaganda.

Matkovic went on to say that it was Germany that forced Yugoslavia to make a list of Jasenovac victims due to reparations, which was declared a secret due to a large deviation from previous figures and remained unknown to the public until 1989, when Danas media outlet reported that about 60,000 people died in Jasenovac. The first unofficial exhumations in the Jasenovac area were carried out in 1961, and an official forensic investigation in 1964, but none of these excavations confirmed the theory of hundreds of thousands of victims of the Jasenovac camp fabricated largely by Serbs even to this day. Matkovic also warned that the remains found could have belonged to refugees, Croatian soldiers and civilians who were withdrawing from the country in May 1945.

The manipulation of the number of war victims, especially those from Jasenovac, was and still is an integral part of the Greater Serbia propaganda. This book demonstrates this so well.

Historian Pilic, co-author of this book , in his 2015 interview for the Croatian Cultural Council/HKV  shed light on the post-war life of the Jasenovac camp and this book presents a more thorough and more detailed continuation of that. “We have already mentioned the name and surname of the manager of the post-war Jasenovac camp Anatoli Avramov in our original scientific article published in 2014, as well as the testimony of detainee Ivan Krizanovic and his ‘magnificent eight’ who escaped from Camp III-C in August 1946. central war camp Jasenovac, where they were housed. We also mentioned the son of the Thessaloniki volunteer Đuro Lavrnja, who ended up in the Jasenovac forced labour camp / prison in June 1946 for three months. There is also Antun Einfried, who escaped from that camp in November 1945 and whose further fate is unknown. In front of the camp, the guards also killed a local Jasenovac Serb, a local pig keeper Vladimir Trivuncic. Pre-war and war gunsmiths were also killed there, as well as detainees of the Jasenovac war camp, Marko Radic and Josip Batarelo. For the latter, there is a document on release from the Ustasha Jasenovac camp, and for the former there are several documents on the liquidation in Jasenovac, and yet, both are still on the falsified victim list of the Memorial Centre Jasenovac. This was, and remains, the main problem of ‘official’ Croatian historiography, which cannot be reconciled with the documents of the party and state Yugoslav communist authorities that they had camps and execution sites and post-war cemeteries in the area after the war, it is no exaggeration to say that there are ‘historiographical bombs’ in the book – documents that speak of the existence of camps and camp sites until the sixties.

When it comes to camps and their existence, operation, and functioning, we found that in Jasenovac area there were two basic types of camps: camps for prisoners of war, captured soldiers of other countries, and camps for convicts, captured and convicted locals, soldiers and civilians as collaborators of the occupiers. As early as 1945, the central camp, i.e., the administrative centre of all domestic convicts, was the Stara Gradiska camp / prison, as was Camp III-C Jasenovac during the war. From that camp, in the future, convicts were assigned to jobs, labour camps, convict work sites throughout Croatia and Yugoslavia.

Camps / prisons existed permanently or occasionally in the area until the early 1960s, when all land around Jablanca and Mlaka was handed over to the Jasenovac Agricultural Cooperative. Thus, for example, from September 24, 1956 to September 29, 1958 in Jablanc, Šime Lončar, son of Ivan Lončar and brother of Ivan Lončar, still alive today the well-known Yugoslav diplomat Budimir / Budislav Lončar, which speaks of the continuity of these camps / prisons and what the convicts did in them. And according to the oral testimonies of the inhabitants of Jasenovac Posavina, the older son of Josip Broz Žarko often came to that hunting ground.

We also established on the basis of documents that no later than February 1946, Camp III-C Jasenovac was under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior, and until then it was under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry and Mining. Based on the available documents, we determined the movement of the number of convicts in the Stara Gradiška camp / prison from 1946 to 1950, as well as the movement of the number of deaths in the same camp from 1945 to 1952 according to available camp / prison documentation. These numbers may not be entirely accurate, but they show that the administration was guided by that as well.

We also found studies that were made for the purpose of closing that camp / prison after 1964, which was abandoned due to the famous conflict in 1966 between the two first men and their people at the time…”

At the book launch in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 2021 its co-author Stipo Pilic said that “since the middle of the 19th century, Jasenovac has become the focal point of Serbian conquests to the west and the second part of the book deals with that, as well as how this policy works propaganda to this day and what are the answers of Croatian politics and diplomacy, but also non-transparent and unclear “, while co-author Blanka Matkovic pointed out that this book tries to deepen the scientific work on the post-war Jasenovac camp as well as on Jasenovac as a settlement and camp. In this, besides the significant wealth of historical evidence and interpretations this book feels like the solid steppingstone and foundation for the assertion of truth worldwide about the post- WWII communist Yugoslavia Jasenovac camps. The camps did not close on 22 April 1945 as even the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum claims, but it continued operations for the purposes of implanting the cruel and oppressive communist regime in Yugoslavia. But then, regretfully, Holocaust Memorial Museums, Yad Vashem etc. have “taken as gospel” it seems the words written on Jasenovac history by even Jewish communist collaborators and sympathisers.

A copy of this very valuable book may be obtained by contacting the Croatia Rediviva website http://croatiarediviva.com/kontakt/

Ina Vukic

Alojzije Stepinac: From Communist False Allegations to Universal Example of Humanity

Blessed Alojzije Stepinac sarcophagus in Zagreb, Croatia, cathedral

On 10 February 1960 Croatia’s Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac passed away in his house prison or confinement, having suffered several illnesses during his imprisonment. In 1953, Pope Pius XII made him a cardinal, although he was never allowed travel to the Holy See to be officially elevated. He died in 1960 of an alleged blood disorder, which was said to have been caused by the conditions he endured in jail. Recent tests of his remains by Vatican investigators show evidence he was also poisoned.

History and historical research have proven repeatedly that Stepinac was a man whose actions were opposed to the destructive tendencies of both fascist and communist regimes and whose being was burned and defaced by his enemies in order for it not to become a Catholic relic. Croatian Catholics view Pope Francis’s ambivalent relationship towards his predecessor’s spiritual patrimony is less related to issues like universal priestly celibacy or sex abuse in the Church, and much more so with the delayed canonisation of the most significant man of faith in 20th-century Croatia.

Blessed Alojzije (Aloysius) Stepinac Oil painting Croatian Church Chicago

On his return from last year’s visit to Bulgaria and Northern Macedonia, the Holy Father was asked about Stepinac’s canonisation, a man whom St. John Paul II declared Blessed in 1998. Francis replied: “The canonisation of Stepinac is a historic case. He is a virtuous man for this Church, which has proclaimed him Blessed, you can pray [through his intercession]. But at a certain moment of the canonisation process there are unclear points, historic points, and I should sign the canonisation, it is my responsibility, I prayed, I reflected, I asked advice, and I saw that I should ask Irinej (Head of Serbian Orthodox Church), a great patriarch, for help. We made a historic commission together and we worked together, and both Irinej and I are interested in the truth. Who is helped by a declaration of sanctity if the truth is not clear? We know that [Stepinac] was a good man, but to make this step I looked for the help of Irinej and they are studying. First of all, the commission was set up and gave its opinion. They are studying other sources, deepening some points so that the truth is clear. I am not afraid of the truth; I am not afraid. I am afraid of the judgment of God.”

Serbian Patriarch Irinej, whom the Pope calls “great”, like many of his predecessors, is a politician as much as he is a priest. Known for his nationalist statements justifying Serbian imperialism—a transgenerational project which underlies every 20th-century War in Former Yugoslavia —Irinej’s observations about Stepinac, who “did not want to hear the children’s cry” in concentration camps, are a first-class manipulation. The inaccuracies of Irinej’s statements about Stepinac and other historical phenomena were reported to Francis by the Episcopal Conference of Croatia before the Pope called him “great,” which makes Francis’s statement quite problematic.

How Pope Francis could say that both he and Irinej are interested in the truth is beyond any decent and objective person’s comprehension. Irinej as head of Serbian Orthodox Church had taken a key and leading role in falsifying Croatian history and WWII. Indeed, all Patriarchs before and after Irinej have been crucial in keeping the lies alive. Pope Francis knows this I am quite sure but what I am not sure is why does Pope Francis insists on talking to pathological liars of the Serbian Orthodox Church without even trying to make them aware that they are liars.      

Dr Robin Harris presenting his new book “Stepinac – His Life and Times” In Zagreb, Croatia 21 October 2016 Photo: HKS (Croatian Catholic University of Croatia)

 The historical irony is not only that Stepinac was not guilty of the crimes he was accused of – on the contrary, he was not a persecutor (or even a supporter of the persecution) of the Serbian, Jewish and Roma populations, but their saviour. Relevant research in both the Croatian and English languages – including “Stepinac: His Life & Time” by Robin Harris and “When Courage Prevailed: The Rescue and Survival of the Jews in the Independent State of Croatia 1941-1945” and “Alojzije Stepinac: Pillar of Human Rights” by Esther Gitman -show that books on the subject written in communist Yugoslavia do not reflect the truth about the Croatian cardinal and are an ugly fabrication of history; the kind of fabrication that we know communist regimes were capable of and insisted on passing as truthful or factual.

Dr Esther Gitman and her book: “Alojzije Stepinac: Pillar of Human Rights” (Photo: Catholic University of Croatia)

In May 1943, Cardinal Stepinac openly criticised the Nazis and put his own life in danger; he is knowns to have rescued thousands of Jews, Croats, Serbs, and Roma from certain death during that Second World War that was marked by racial laws and extreme intolerance. At the end of World War Two, when communists started ruling over Yugoslavia and immediately set about falsely accusing Stepinac of Nazi collaboration because he would not separate the Croatian Catholic Church from the Vatican as the Yugoslav communist leader Josip Broz Tito sked him to do.  Without the right to defence in court Alojzije Stepinac was found guilty of Nazi collaboration at a mock trial, by the communist government and was convicted and sentenced sixteen years` hard labour on October 11, 1946. Archbishop Stepinac was denied effective representation and only met with his attorney for an hour before the trial. The government’s witnesses were told what to say, and the archbishop was not allowed to cross-examine them. After being convicted and sentenced, he spent five years in the notorious and cruel prison for political opponents to communism called Lepoglava, and in 1951, Tito`s government released him and ordered house imprisonment or confinement in the village of Krasic.

Even though the communist Yugoslavia government had forbidden him to resume his duties in the Catholic Church, Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac was elevated to Cardinal by Pope Pius XII on January 12, 1953. In 1985, his trial prosecutor Jakov Blazevic admitted publicly that Cardinal Stepinac`s trial was an entire frame-up, and that Stepinac was tried only because he refused to sever thousand-year-old ties between Croatians and the Roman Catholic Church. On October 3, 1998 in Marija Bistrica, Pope John Paul II beatified Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, and referred to him as one of the outstanding figures of the Catholic Church.

In his article dated 10 February 2022 published on HKV portal (Croatian Cultural Council) dr Josip Sabol wrote that “today we can convincingly speak of Stepinac as a witness of the time, as a visionary whose visions and ideas became real. Let’s compare the time in which Stepinac lived with ours today. The opposite can hardly be greater: then fascism and communism in Europe – today democracy and the rule of law. Then the Church was persecuted in the socio-cultural catacombs – today the Church in the legally guaranteed freedom of action and presence in public life. Then the Church in the spirit of Pope Pius IX. to Pius XII. – today the Church in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council. Then the nation-state and national consciousness as supreme cultural-political values ​​- today transnational integrations and the globalised world.

Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

We could mention other contradictions between Stepinac’s and today’s time, for example contradictions in ethics, philosophy, morality. One thing is certain: the person of Stepinac and his life’s work are even more relevant today than before. His actuality and universal respect are proved by his beatification. Its universal value and greatness for today’s world and for the further development of the culture of life and salvation in today’s civilisation is proved by the unusual, incomprehensible, and unfounded opposition to the elevation of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac to the altar of holiness by certain circles of society and politics. It is incomprehensible to a Catholic of a critical and open spirit how these unusual pressures on the Catholic Church, specifically on the Pope, could have stopped the already positive process of canonisation of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac.”

I have written before about the utterly unfair and painful moves towards the Catholic faith that Pope Francis has taken in the process of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac’s canonisation by requiring the Serbian Orthodox’s Church’s input (or blessing) when he knows very well that the Serbian Orthodox Church had moulded and controlled Serbian history of aggression towards Croats and falsifying Croatian history particularly that of WWII. If Pope Francis thinks that Stepinac’s WWII role has been one of compromised, then the Pope has a duty towards the Croatian people not to permit Croatia’s enemy and aggressor to help decide upon Stepinac’s canonisation.

Obviously, this is a purely political activity of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia and towards Croatia. The Vatican needs to know that, and it probably does and hence, regretfully, a very visible distancing of many Croatians from the Catholic Church. Catholics in Croatia are asking for an end to the politicking of Croatia’s enemies on the issue of what is sacred and most sacred to the Croatian people and its history. Pope Pius XII proved a completely different attitude towards the Catholic Croatian people by awarding the honour of Cardinal to Archbishop Stepinac in the most difficult circumstances of his life. Pope John Paul II proved the excellence of the attitude of the Holy See towards the Croats by beatifying Cardinal Stepinac. At that time, the world public proved its belief in the truth of everything that was happening in communist Croatia as part of communist Yugoslavia. The American Archbishop Fulton John Sheen is known to have said of Alojzije Stepinac that “He entered the courtroom as the Archbishop of Zagreb and left the courtroom as a universal example of humanity and as the spiritual leader of his Croatian people.”

Dr Esther Gitman 2019 in Zagreb Cathedral paying respect at the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac sarcophagus (Photo: Ina Vukic)

The inclusion of a non-Catholic religious leader in the process of proclaiming a Catholic saint is to my knowledge unprecedented. Besides writing directly to Pope Francis , receipt of which letter was acknowledged and besides writing several articles on the issue of this ugly, unprecedented canonisation process, which alienates the faithful from their church both spiritually and physically, I am confident many others have pleaded with Pope Frances to stop this ugly madness.  Sadly, Francis seems to have initiated an unprecedented number of precedents in the Catholic Church so much so that I have no memory of Catholic people resenting, showing bitter disappointments in the precedents that do not appear to be founded on the faith and Church we have known all our lives.    

In a closing statement at the 1946 trial, Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac said in court: “My conscience is clear, and the future will show that I was right.” And he was right. Historical research and fact findings have unequivocally yielded proclamations of his innocence and for years now Pope Francis has evidently not been able to bring himself to seeing truth! Let’s pray he does! Soon! Ina Vukic

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