The Greatest Sins of Pius XII & The Genocide of Orthodox Christians


Croatian Nationalism & Roman Catholicism are Intermeshed


With the 50th Anniversary of the death of Pius XII, the Vatican is again pushing for his sainthood. While Pius can be legitimately criticized for his tepid condemnations of the Nazi Holocaust there is no question he was complicit in the deaths of at least 500,000 Orthodox Christian Serbs, Jews and Roma murdered in Croatia, Bosnia, and Krajina during the Second World War by the Axis allied Croatian regime.


The First Sin of Pius – Genocide


The first sin of Pius, complicity in genocide of at least 500,000 Orthodox Christian Serbs, Jews and Roma in Croatia, Bosnia, and Krajina 1941-1945 by the ultra Catholic fascists known as the Ustasha. The mainstream Orthodox Christians (Pravoslavni) were killed because of their religion, the main difference between Croats and Serbs. The Ustasha ranks were swelled by clergy particularly Franciscan monks, priests and seminarians.  A Franciscan monk known as Fr. Satan was commandant at Jasenovac, the chief Croatian concentration camp, where hundreds of thousands perished and the source of much of the gold in the so called Ustasha Treasury.


The Ustasha leader Ante Pavelic was welcomed to the Vatican by Pius during the Second World War and his representative Fr. Krunoslav Drganovic became a fixture at the Holy See. While the Ustasha were busy butchering coreligionists, Pius praised Pavelic for outlawing abortion in Croatia. The Papal Legate Marcone in Croatia and


Cardinal Stepinac of Zagreb kept Pius and the Vatican well informed about the extermination and forced conversions of the Serbs.  Pius instead of condemning the Ustasha blessed them.


The Second Sin of Pius –Obstruction of Justice and Money Laundering


After the collapse of the Ustasha regime in May 1945, the Ustasha leadership fled towards Italy with their plunder, 200 million Swiss Francs mainly in gold, robbed from their many victims. Waiting in Rome for the Ustasha Treasury and Pavelic were two high ranking churchmen. One was the former Ustasha official Fr. Draganovic now Apostolic Visitor for Croatia reporting directly to Pius’ Undersecretary of State Montini (later Paul VI).  The other was the former treasurer of the Franciscan Order (OFM), Fr. Dominik Mandic, an Ustasha sympathizer who promoted bizarre racial theories of Croatian superiority.  Pavelic and his associates were hidden at safe houses in Rome until they could flee to Argentina and the Ustasha Treasury was taken to the Vatican Bank for safekeeping.


The Third Sin of Pius –Historical Cover Up


The Vatican hid Pius’ secret connection to the murderous Ustasha for decades. In 1998 the US State Department released the Eizenstat Report linking the Vatican to the Ustasha Treasury.  This in turn led to the class action lawsuit, Alperin v. Vatican Bank and Franciscan Order, still pending in the US federal court system for an accounting and return of the Ustasha Treasury to its rightful owners, the victims of the Ustasha. 


The testimony of former US intelligence agent, William Gowen, who reported on the Ustasha in 1947, has aided the lawsuit.  Gowen stated that his investigation in 1947 led him to believe that the Ustasha Treasury had been concealed at the Vatican Bank and that the Vatican was implicated at the highest level with Pavelic.  Professor Michael Phayer followed in 2007 with a well researched book, Pius XII & The Cold War, setting the record straight.


However, instead of seeking truth and reconciliation the Vatican and Franciscans have fiercely defended against the lawsuit on technical grounds while the few remaining survivors of the Ustasha atrocities dwindle to handful.


For more information contact:


Dr. Jonathan Levy

Co-counsel for Plaintiffs

Alperin v. Vatican Bank and Franciscan Order

United States District Court for Northern California, Case No. C-99-04941 MMC   tel/fax +1 202-318-206