Monday, January 9, 2012

ADSS 8.430 Giuseppe Marcone to Maglione: Croatian Jews

The first series of reports from Abbot Giuseppe Marcone OSB, Apostolic Visitor to Croatia appear in ADSS from July 1942, nearly a year after his arrival in Zagreb the previous August (ADSS 5.36).  There is a clear pattern that emerges in the documents showing Marcone's work in attempting to help the Jews of Croatia.  Without further material it is hard to speak of Marcone's work as overly energetic, even when the historical contexts of Ante Pavelic's regime are taken into consideration.  Marcone does not appear to have been fooled by the murderous nature of the Ustasha, but he does appear to have maintained a position of strict neutrality.

Requests to do what he could to help Croatian Jews were forwarded to the Visitor by Cardinal Maglione (ADSS 8.238, 289, 502) and Marcone replied with reports indicating what he had done to help (ADSS 8.347, 537, 557).  Domenico Tardini noted the concerns of Niko Mirosevic-Sorgo (1884-1966), the Yugoslav ambassador to the Holy See, about Croatian Jews in Italian occupied Dalmatia threatened with possible deportation by Croatian authorities.  "Of interest to Marcone" appears at the end of the ambassador's letter. (ADSS 8.450)

There was difficulty obtaining reliable information about what was happening to Croatia's Jews in the summer of 1942, which is hard to credit given the amount of information travelling between Vatican diplomats that spoke of unprecedented murder "in the East".  As we see below and in the following post, Marcone approached two of the architects of the murder of the Jews of Croatia - Andrija Artukovic and Eugene Kvaternik - asking for their advice and  help.  In an almost surreal moment, Marcone writes that his secretary, Fr Giuseppe Masucci OSB, wrote a letter of protest to the Croatian government at the suggestion of Artukovic, drafter of the anti-Jewish laws and founder of the Croatian concentration camps! (ADSS 8.430; see below)

Marcone did work with the Chief Rabbi of Zagreb, Miroslav Freiberger (1904-1943) before he was transported to and murdered in Auschwitz.  One of the plans was to try and send Jewish children out of Croatia to Turkey (ADSS 8.514) and Italy (ADSS 8.566).  Nothing appears to come of the plan.  Freiberger wrote in gratitude for the work that Marcone was doing, which indicates the Visitor was seriously trying to help. (ADSS 8.495).ADSS 8.430

Reference: Report number 417/42 (AES 5766/42, original)

Location and date: Zagreb, 17.07.1942

Summary statement: Difficulty in obtaining information about Croatian Jews.

Language: Italian

In response to the letter number 48473 of 18.04.1942 (1) I have the honour to report as follows.
In recent months requests for information about the Jews made to the Croatian authorities have met an inexplicable silence. At the suggestion of Dr [Andrija] Artukovic, [1899-1988] Minister of the Interior [04.1941-10.1942], my secretary [Giuseppe Masucci] made a protest in my absence, after which a response was made …

(1) Not published.
(2) Information omitted.

NYT Obituary of Andrija Artukovic.

Andrija Artukovic, 88, Nazi Ally Deported to Yugoslavia, Is Dead


Published: January 19, 1988

Andrija Artukovic, a former leader of the Nazi puppet state of Croatia who was extradited from the United States to Yugoslavia, died Saturday in a prison hospital in Zagreb, where he had been condemned to death for mass murder, the Yugoslav press agency announced yesterday. He was 88 years old and had won a stay of execution on the ground of poor health.

''Convicted war criminal Andrija Artukovic died of illness,'' the press agency, Tanyug, said. It did not specify the ailment but the court had previously found him to be suffering from sclerosis, heart ailments and anemia.

Mr. Artukovic's son, Radoslav, a stockbroker in Los Angeles, said yesterday that when he last saw his father in prison in December he was down to 95 pounds and was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. He said his father ''was only guilty of being on the wrong side of World War II.''

Mr. Artukovic, a longtime resident of Seal Beach, Calif., south of Los Angeles, was the highest-ranking fascist official known to have found refuge in the United States after the war. He was the Interior Minister and then Justice and Religion Minister in the government of the Croatian fascist dictator Ante Pavelic. The postwar Yugoslav Government charged Mr. Artukovic with ordering the machine-gunning of hundreds of civilians and with responsibility for the killing of more than 700,000 other Serbs, Jews, gypsies and Croats.

Charged With Killings

As the chief justice official in the German-created puppet state of Croatia, Mr. Artukovic was accused of drafting racial laws modeled after the Nazi statutes and setting up a network of concentration camps. He was directly charged with the reprisal slayings of civilians in the village of Vrgin Most.

After his long-disputed extradition to Yugoslavia in February 1986, he was tried for war crimes and convicted after a one-month trial during which he maintained his innocence. He said he never knew of any killings and had never been to Vrgin Most. The Government postponed execution of the death sentence last April.

Mr. Artukovic's 35-year effort to stave off Yugoslav demands for his return spun an extraordinary legal chronicle that illustrated both the exhaustiveness of American judicial review and the politicization of American courts, in the opinion of some experts.

After the war, according to a Justice Department investigation, Mr. Artukovic escaped to the British zone of Austria where he was questioned and inexplicably released. He fled next to Switzerland, where he adopted the alias Alois Anich, and then to Ireland.

In 1948, with his wife and three children, he traveled to California on a 90-day tourist visa that was to sustain his residency in America for the next 38 years. Identity Is Learned

As early as 1949, the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Los Angeles learned his true identity but took no action against him.

By 1951 the Yugoslavs, who had been hunting him since 1946, learned he was in California and disclosed the story to the newspapers. Mr. Artukovic was then arrested. But Croatian emigre groups and influential clerics petitioned for his release and he was let out of jail pending an extradition hearing.

An aide to Deputy Attorney General Peyton Ford instructed Immigration that Mr. Artukovic ''should not be sent to apparently certain death at the hands of the Yugoslav Communists.'' In fact, he added, ''if his only crime was against Communists, I think he should be given asylum in the U.S.''

Mr. Artukovic was ordered deported in 1952 and the Board of Immigration Appeals upheld the ruling. But other court decisions threw the question into doubt and the case seesawed back and forth until 1957 when the Supreme Court sent the case back for an Immigration rehearing. A commissioner then ruled that the Yugoslav affidavits charging Mr. Artukovic with murder were unreliable and alleged, at most, political crimes. The Case Is Revived

Yugoslavia's effort to try Mr. Artukovic languished for nearly two more decades until the Immigration Service revived the case under pressure in the late 1970's. The Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations finally won the extradition order two years ago.

Mr. Artukovic was born Nov. 29, 1899, in Croatia, then part of Austria-Hungary, studied law and grew active in the Croatian separatist movement. In 1934 he was charged with others in the assassination of King Alexander of Yugoslavia in Marseilles but he was aquitted. Afterward he fled Yugoslavia, working with the Nazis in Germany, Hungary and Austria until Hitler's formation of Croatia in 1941.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his widow, Anamarie, and four daughters, Visnja, Zorica, Ruzica and Nada, who live in California and Arizona.

The Yugoslav Government said Mr. Artukovic's remains would be disposed of in accordance with the death penalty, apparently meaning the body would be cremated and the ashes scattered to avoid creating a memorial.  

Andrija Artukovic seated far left next to
Abbot Marcone and Archbishop Stepinac.

1986 Andrija Artukovic on trial for war crimes in Zagreb.

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