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Vatican UN Genocide

Vatican UN Genocide

Author: Jon Levy
Date: June 16, 2000

June 15, 2000
Law Offices of Easton & Levy
Tel. (513) 528-0586
E Mail: jlevy1@cinci.rr.com

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has been called upon to investigate claims of World War II era Genocide by the Vatican and Franciscans. An open letter on behalf of Serb and Jewish survivors of wartime atrocities by the fanatical Catholic Croatians known as the "Ustasha" requests the UN Secretary General to investigate allegations of genocide committed by the Vatican and Franciscans. Specifically the victims claim:

The Vatican and Franciscans knowingly helped Croatian and Nazi war criminals escape justice by organizing and funding the Nazi smuggling ratline based at San Girolamo and the Vatican whose many beneficiaries included Eichman, Barbie, Artukovich and Pavelic. Allegations of money laundering of the Croatian Nazi (Ustasha) Treasury consisting of loot stolen from concentration camp and other victims; and as to the Croatian Franciscan order, actual participation in genocide against Serbs, Jews, and Roma comprising the over 500,000 victims of the Croatian Nazis slaughtered in

Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia during Word War II.

Victims' claims in the class action Alperin v. Vatican Bank include mass rape, beheadings, torture, mutilations, burnings, establishment of concentration and forced labor camps, destruction of Orthodox Churches and Jewish Synagogues, and looting of assets valued in the hundreds of millions by the Ustashe and Franciscans. Post war the Vatican provided sanctuary for the Ustashe killers until they could be whisked away to safety in South America via the Vatican ratline financed by Ustashe loot.

The Vatican and Franciscans have steadfastly denied involvement in these activities despite documentation by the US State Department, recently declassified documents, and numerous exposes of the ratline.

The victims through their attorneys Easton and Levy have called upon the Secretary General to consider and investigate the allegations and to call upon the Vatican and Franciscans, both of whom enjoy Observer status at the United Nations, to open their wartime archives.

For more information and full text of letter see:


June 13, 2000
Secretary-General Kofi Annan
Executive Office of the Secretary-General
U.N. Headquarters # S-3800
New York, NY 10017

Your Excellency:
We are writing to express our concerns about unresolved World War II era war crimes involving the Vatican and the Franciscans OFM.

Holy See enjoys the privilege of Non-Member State Permanent Observer status at the United Nations. In this capacity, the Vatican has the opportunity to vote with member states at UN sponsored conferences.

Franciscans International enjoys Non Governmental Organization status at the United Nations and General Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Franciscans International is an umbrella organization representing Franciscan orders internationally and whose leadership includes members of the Franciscans OFM.

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 states at Article 3:

The following acts shall be punishable:
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide.

Recently declassified American documents covering the period 1944-1962 and the 1998 US State Department Report authored by Deputy Secretary of State Eizenstadt "The Fate of the Wartime Ustasha Treasury" implicate the Vatican and Franciscans in the following postwar activities:

1. Knowingly shielding and hiding Croatian and other Balkan Nazi war criminals from justice in the Vatican including the mass murderer Ante Pavelic (The Croatian Fuhrer);

2. Organizing and funding the Nazi smuggling ratline based at San Girolamo and the Vatican whose many beneficiaries included Eichman, Barbie, Artukovich and Pavelic;

3. Money laundering of the Croatian Nazi (Ustasha) Treasury consisting of loot stolen from concentration camp and other victims; And as to the Croatian Franciscan order only:

4. Actual participation in genocide against Serbs, Jews, and Roma comprising the over 500,000 victims of the Croatian Nazis slaughtered in Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia during Word War II.

Unlike every other civilized nation the Vatican has refused to acknowledge its complicity in genocide and has refused repeated requests by the United States government, Jewish and Roma organizations to open its World War II archives to public scrutiny.

A lawsuit, Alperin v. Vatican Bank has been filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of California by survivors of Ustashe wartime atrocities. Plaintiffs' stories of genocide are horrendous and include:

Plaintiff's father and brother were tortured, then murdered. Before their death, his father asked to embrace his son, and thus they were shot together. Five years later, their bodies were exhumed and identified because still embracing one another. At the detention center Plaintiff's sister was gang raped by Ustasha; .the Ustasha burned to death 45 Serb victims in the Orthodox Serb church in the village of Vojnic; Plaintiff's teenage cousin was taken from her home in Dalmatia to Croatian capital Zagreb, along with other kidnapped Serbs, and hung to death on Serb Eastern Orthodox Christmas, January 7, 1942; Plaintiffs paternal family lost 48 family members in May 1945, when all the women and children were murdered and placed in a mass grave. They were killed by Croatian Ustasha after they descended from hiding in the mountains above their village in Korencia, Lika (Krajina) Yugoslavia. The war had just been declared "over" and they thought it was safe to return home; Plaintiff's father discovered a naked body floating down the river from Sisak and pulled it out. After removing the board nailed to its head, he recognized it as a Jewish liquor dealer from Sisak and thereafter buried his body in the Strmen Orthodox cemetery. Two days later Plaintiff's father was arrested by Ustasha for the crime of burying a Jew and sent off to Auschwitz; At the age of 13 Plaintiff was in August 1942 one of some 3,000 Serb children forcibly converted to Catholicism by the Ustasha, where he was so viciously kicked by Franciscan priests for accidently tripping into one, that his friend watching reported to his mother that he was dead; Plainitffs father, a 40 year old Serb Orthodox priest was taken along with all of the town's prominent Serbs to Velebit Mountain, tortured, and in July 1941 thrown into the Jadovno pit; plaintiffs relatives were tortured, then made to dig their own graves, chained together, and every other victim shot (to save bullets) causing them all to fall into the graves, dying and alive together. Some in her village who resisted were murdered on the spot. Plaintiff's uncle resisted and was beheaded in his own yard; an eyewitness told Plaintiff that his body stood upright for a few unbelievable seconds with blood spouting from his neck, while his wife ran out from her hiding place screaming in horror. The Ustasha then murdered her by smashing her head with their rifle butts until her brains oozed out. Another eyewitness told Plaintiff that her cousin resisted also and as punishment the Ustasha tied him up in his yard while they drove his widowed mother and wife and two small children back into the home to which they then set fire. The Ustasha only murdered him, after forcing him to listen until the dying screams of his family ended, by cutting off his extremities and finally decapitating him so that his body looked like the carcass of a slaughtered animal;

Plaintiff's father had been a very successful businessman in textile manufacturing, but all his property was looted by Ustasha and Germans. This property was valued by the Tito government in 1948 in excess of $1,500,000 in prewar dollars. No compensation has ever been received by plaintiff.

Franciscan priests encouraged pogroms and served as military chaplains in Ustashe killing squads and as command personnel at the Jasenovac complex of concentration camps.

The Vatican protected Ustashe war criminals, smuggled Nazis and processed through its banking system, loot valued at hundreds of millions of dollars taken from Serb, Jewish, and Roma victims.

Numerous scholars including Vladimir Dedijer, former Yugoslavian ambassador to the United Nations and John Loftus former US Department of Justice attorney have documented these events and found them to be true.

Therefore we call upon the United Nations to investigate these allegations and if found to be substantiated, to take appropriate action against the Holy See and Franciscan International in order to encourage them to open their archives and account for their actions during the Second World War and its aftermath.

Only by holding the Vatican and Franciscans to the minimal standards of the Anti Genocide Convention and the recent examples set by Switzerland, Austria, and Germany in settling Holocaust related financial and moral issues can justice be had within the few years still remaining to the survivors of these atrocities.

Respectfully submitted,

Jonathan Levy
Law Offices of Tom Easton and Jonathan Levy
Attorneys for Plaintiffs
Alperin v. Vatican Bank

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