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Pope's Bosnian Visit Whitewashes Croatia's Clerical-Nazi Past

By Ana Dacic and Petar Makara
Edited by Jared Israel
[Posted 22 June 2003]


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Pope John Paul II is scheduled to visit the city of Banja Luka in Bosnia, in former Yugoslavia, on June 22, 2003. This visit carries an ominous significance for the victims of the Nazi-satellite "Independent State of Croatia" which existed during World War II. [1]

During his visit, the Pope is scheduled to hold a mass on Sunday, 22 June, at the Petricevac monastery and to beatify Ivan Merz, founder of an organization called the Croatian Eagles.

Petricevac is a Franciscan Monastery. On February 7, 1942, Croatian Ustashe forces led by the Catholic Priest Tomislav Filipovic from that monastery massacred 2730 Serbs including 500 children in the most brutal manner. The height of the horror happened at one school where 60 children were slaughtered.

Describing that day in his book, 'Zasto Jasenovac?' ('Why Jasenovac?') Prof. Marko Ruchnov writes: [2]

[Excerpt from 'Why Jasenovac?' starts here]

The following is the transcript of a Croatian witness' account, as given at the sentencing of Fr. Filipovic who was tried for his crimes after World War II:

"The slaughter began in this way. Before slaughtering the child of one Djura Glamochanin, namely his little daughter Vasilia, Father Animal [Fr. Filipovic] said these words, which are fitting only for Satan himself: 'Ustashas! I am doing this in the name of God! I am Christening these scum. And you are to follow my lead. I will accept the entire sin on my soul. And when we are done I will absolve you and relieve you of all guilt.'"

Mara Shunjich, a school teacher of Croatian origin, said during the trial of Fr. Filipovic that Fr. Filipovic, with a few Ustashas, went to her school and ordered her to separate children according to nationality. Then, he took out a knife and uttered the following words: "Look, children!" And with those words he started to slaughter the children. Some he only cut but did not finish completely. So these half-slaughtered children, covered in blood, ran in circles screaming horribly. These children were hunted by the other Ustashas who would finish the children with the butts of their pistols.

[Excerpt from 'Why Jasenovac?' ends here]

Priest Filipovic later became a Commander at the Concentration camp complex known as Jasenovac. This was the first Nazi death camp in Europe. It was the trailblazer. At Jasenovac, Filipovic got the nickname "Fr. Satan". According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Croatian Nazi Ustashas killed 600,000 victims in Jasenovac. These were overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian Serbs. The figure also includes tens of thousands of Jews and Roma.

At Filipovic's Petricevac monastery, Pope John Paul II intends to beatify Ivan Merz who founded the Croatian Eagles in 1922. This became the breeding ground for Ustashe Youth, the Croatian version of Hitler Youth.

As far as we know, the Pope does not plan to beg forgiveness for the atrocities instigated and led by Catholic clergy 61 years ago.

In this regard, it is worth noting how Filipovic ended up as a Jasenovac camp commander. The German Nazis, afraid that the extremity of Fr. Filipovic's actions would cause a Serbian rebellion, put him on trial for his crimes. However, the head of the Jasenovac death camp complex, Maks Luburic, intervened. He gave Filipovic a new name, Filipovic-Majstorovic, and a post at Jasenovac. So where even the German Nazis wanted (for opportunist reasons) to curb this monster, the Pope now makes his infamous monastery a place of beatification.

This beatification adds insult to the injury committed in 1998 when the Pope beatified Alojzije Stepinac, the Archbishop of Zagreb during the Second World War.

"In Croatia, the church did not merely turn a blind eye to genocide, it was an active and enthusiastic participant. Priests and monks took part in atrocities, bishops promoted anti-Semitism and vilified Serbs at the very moment the Jews and Serbs were being exterminated, and forced conversions took place all across Croatia. All the while, the Vatican stood by, waiting to see whether or not this social experiment would advance its interests. The church has yet to apologize for, or even acknowledge the existence of, this genocide." [3]

The Vatican also helped scores of Ustashas escape to North and South America and Spain along the infamous 'Ratlines'.

Along similar lines, consider the following. During the Second World War, after being tortured in unbelievable ways, Serbs were often thrown half-dead into mountain crevasses, where they died slowly. After the Second World War these crevasses were cemented over, as if thereby the past could be forgotten. In the 1980s, the Catholic Church made an area less than ten miles away, called Medjugorje, one of its holiest shrines. So both with Medjugorje and with Filipovic's monastery, we see the leaders of the Catholic church, instead of begging forgiveness for horrible crimes, conducted by priests in the name of the Church, creating places of holy significance.

The Pope has been saying for years that Rome's reconciliation with the Orthodox Church is a major objective. But his planned activities in the Balkans can only deepen the schism that has divided Eastern and Western Christians for almost a thousand years.

The survivors and descendents of these terrible crimes are offended by the Pope's actions. They believe that the public should be made aware of the significance of this event and are asking the Catholic faithful to pressure their church into making a true reconciliation with the Serbian people.

Ana Dakic, Serbia, Yugoslavia
Petar Makara, USA
Jared Israel, USA

[Footnotes and Further Reading Follow The Appeal]


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* Footnotes and Further Reading *


[1] "Meet The Nazis The CIA Married: The Croatian Ustashi," By Petar Makara And Jared Israel

[2] From 'Zasto Jasenovac?' ('Why Jasenovic?') by Prof. Marko Ruchnov, Published by Nikola Pashich, Belgrade, 2001, p. 311. Prof. Ruchnov quotes from the book, 'Kozara Partisan Unit', by Dragutin Churguz and Milorad Dignjevic, Prijedor, 1982, p. 415.

[3] From "Stepinac: Patron Saint of Genocide?" by the Clero-Fascist Studies Project. Unfortunately, the Project's Website is no longer on the Web. We accessed this informative document at The url is
We may post the document on Emperor's Clothes as well.

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