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Some years after I had written “The Sub-Prefect Should Have Held His Tongue,” I was in New York and read how the Yugoslav government was urging that Artukovitch, Pavelitch’s Minister of the Interior, who was living in California, should be extradited. I went to the Yugoslav consulate to enquire about this and was handed a fat yellow booklet called ARTUKOVITCH, THE HIMMLER OF YUGOSLAVIA by three New Yorkers called Gaffney, Starchevitch and McHugh.

Artukovitch first won notoriety in October 1934. He had gone to England at the time of King Alexander’s murder at Marseilles. After his visit to Paris, the king had intended to see his son, Crown Prince Peter, at Sandroyd School, so, in case the Marseilles attempt failed, Artukovitch had been deputed to arrange for the king’s assassination in England. It did not fail, so Artukovitch waited in Czechoslovakia and Hungary till the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia. He then returned with them and held various ministerial posts under Pavelitch from 1944 to 1945 in Independent Croatia. Very few people have heard of him, yet if his story were told with remorseless candour, we would have a picture not only of Croatia forty years ago, but of all Christendom in our century. Everything that the New Yorkers relate was already known to me except for one startling paragraph, an extract from a memoir by Artukovitch himself. After describing how he escaped to Austria and Switzerland in 1945, he goes on:

I stayed in Switzerland until July 1947. Then with the knowledge of the Swiss Ministry of Justice I obtained personal documents for myself and my family, which enabled us to travel to Ireland. Using the name of Anitch, we stayed there until 15 July 1948. When our Swiss documents expired, the Irish issued new papers and under Irish papers we obtained a visa for entry into New York.

So evidently we in Ireland had sheltered this notable man for a whole year. He was not, like Eichmann, a humble executive, but himself a maker of history, dedicated to the extermination not of Jews alone but also of his fellow Christians the Serbian Orthodox. He was a member of the government which in the spring of 1941 introduced laws that expelled them from Zagreb, confiscated their property and imposed the death penalty on those who sheltered them. Some twenty concentration camps were established in which they were exterminated. Why do we know so little about his sojourn among us? Did he stay in a villa at Foxrock or in lodgings at Bundoran or in some secluded midland cloister? And who looked after him? The Red Cross? And did we cherish him because he presented himself to us as a Christian refugee from godless Communism? That seems to me rather likely.

Nowadays we usually estimate cruelty by statistics, and Gaffney and Co. use the figures normally recorded for Croatia by Jewish and Orthodox writers, that is to say, 30,000 Jews and 750,000 Orthodox massacred, 240,000 Orthodox forcibly converted to Catholicism. Even if these figures are exaggerated, it was the most bloodthirsty religio-racial crusade in history, far surpassing anything achieved by Cromwell or the Spanish Inquisitors. I am sorry that Gaffney and Co. give so many photographs of headless babies, of disembowelled shopkeepers, of burning beards soaked in kerosene, for Artukovitch was, like Himmler, a “desk murderer,” who deplored the disorderly and sadistic way in which his instructions were carried out. He was respectable, and it is the correlation of respectability and crime that nowadays has to be so carefully investigated.

The three writers tell Artukovitch’s story with much emotion, because, as is plain, they want him to be extradited and hanged. But in itself the story is of the highest importance, for no earlier crusade has been so richly documented. If the abundant material were coolly and carefully studied, how much could we learn about human weakness and hypocrisy! We could observe how adroitly religion can be used in the service of crime. When Pavelitch and Artukovitch and their armies retreated, they were sure that, on the defeat of Germany, England and America would turn upon Russia and they could return to Zagreb. Therefore nothing was destroyed, the state documents were stored in the Archiepiscopal Palace, the gold (dentures, wristwatches and all) was hidden below the deaf-and-dumb confessional in the Franciscan monastery and cemented over by the friars themselves. The newspapers of the time, secular and ecclesiastical, are still to be seen in the Municipal Library, but this huge pile of documents, the Rosetta Stone of Christian corruption, has not yet been effectively deciphered.

These terrible Church papers, 1941-45, should destroy forever our faith in those diplomatic prelates, often good and kindly men, who believe that at all costs the ecclesiastical fabric, its schools and rules, its ancient privileges and powers, should be preserved. The clerical editors published the Aryan laws, the accounts of the forced conversions, without protest, the endless photographs of Pavelitch’s visits to seminaries and convents and the ecstatic speeches of welcome with which he was greeted. Turn, for example, to Katolicki Tjednik (The Catholic Weekly), Christmas 1941, and read the twenty-six-verse ode in which Archbishop Sharitch praises Pavelitch for his measures against Serbs and Jews. Examine the Protestant papers and you will find the same story. Is it not clear that in times like those the church doors should be shut, the Church newspapers closed down, and Christians, who believe that we should love our neighbours as ourselves, should go underground and try to build up a new faith in the catacombs?

Why did our professional historians not deal with all this long ago? They seem to wait till history is dead before they dare to touch it. But does a good surgeon operate only on corpses? They have wholly misinterpreted their functions, for it is their duty to expose the liar before his contagion has spread. While Artukovitch was on his way to Ireland, a Dublin publication told us authoritatively that the massacre of the Serbian Orthodox had never happened. In Count O’Brien’s book on Monsignor Stepinac, to which I have already referred, we read:

They [the Orthodox] were offered by Pavelitch the choice between conversion to the Catholic faith or death.... But the Catholic Church as a whole, all her bishops and the overwhelming majority of her priests, led by the Archbishop of Zagreb, made this evil plan impossible.

Some of the correspondence between Artukovitch and Stepinac was published in English by Richard Pattee and, collating with Gaffney, we see how Stepinac, a brave and merciful though very simple man, was hopelessly compromised by his official connection with the state. It was only his own flock whom he could help, and even them very little. For example, he appealed to Artukovitch on behalf of one of his priests, Father Rihar, who had defied Pavelitch. His failure was absolute, for this is how Artukovitch replied:

Zagreb. 17 November 1942. In connection with your esteemed request of 2 November 1942...notice is hereby given that Francis Rihar by the decree of this office of 20 April 1942, No. 26417/1942, was sentenced to forced detention in the concentration camp at Jasenovac for a period of three years...because as pastor at Gornja Stubica he did not celebrate a Solemn High Mass on the anniversary of the founding of the Independent State of Croatia...nor did he consent to sing the psalm Te Deum Laudamus, saying that it was nowhere prescribed in ecclesiastical usage....

Stepinac appealed again, but Rihar had been already three months at Jasenovac and, therefore, according to the rules of the camp, he was killed.

How, anyway, could Stepinac defend Father Rihar, since he himself had done what Rihar refused to do? Gaffney and Co., on page 42, reproduced seven photographs of the celebration of Pavelitch’s birthday on 15 June 1942 and a letter from the Archbishop exhorting his clergy to hold a Te Deum after High Mass the following Sunday, 17 June, because of “Our Glorious Leader.”

Since Pattee omitted this very relevant letter, it is strange that he printed Stepinac’s correspondence with Artukovitch about the Jews, for this makes it clear that in acknowledging the authority of Pavelitch, the Archbishop, for diplomatic reasons, felt obliged to accept the terminology of the anti-Semites and their human classifications. For example, on 30 May 1941 he urged Artukovitch “to separate the Catholic non-Aryans from non-Christian non-Aryans in relation to their social position and in the manner of treating them.”

Much has been written about Communist distortions of history, but only recently has our own inability, as Christians, to report facts honestly been closely investigated. Now, after twenty years, the dam has burst and the truth, a turbid stream, is inundating our self-complacency and irrigating our self-knowledge. Catholic scholars are leading the way. For example, Professor Gordon Zahn has shown how selective is the documentation on which the biographies of Christian heroes of the resistance are based. Their sermons and speeches were pruned of all the compliments they paid to Hitler and the New Order and no row of dots in the text marks the excision of these now-embarrassing ecstasies.

In the long run, remorseless truth-telling is the best basis for ecumenical harmony. Hitler once explained to Hermann Rauschning how he intended to use the churches as his propagandists. “Why should we quarrel? They will swallow anything provided they can keep their material advantages.” Yet Hitler never succeeded in corrupting the churches as effectively as did Pavelitch and Artukovitch, who professed to be Christians. We shall not be able to estimate the extent of their success and how it might have been resisted, while a single fact is diplomatically “forgotten.” It is well known that those who suppress history have to relive it.

How did Artukovitch (alias Anitch) get to Ireland? I wrote to Yugoslavia, to America, France, Germany, and questioned Yugoslavs in Dublin and London. The Yugoslavs, both Communist and anti-Communist, had no information. A friend in London, who had been to Trinity College, Dublin, remembered someone saying, “I’d like you to meet a very interesting chap called Anitch,” but the meeting had never happened. In the end Branko Miljus, a former minister of the prewar government in Belgrade who now lives in Paris, got some news for me from a friend in Switzerland. If I seem to give too many names and details, it is so that his story can be checked and completed.

The first stage of the journey is fairly well known. Pavelitch and Artukovitch escaped to Austria when the Croatian state collapsed. They seem to have been arrested by the British in Salzburg and, after “a mysterious intervention,” released, and there was an interval of hiding in monasteries at Sankt Gilgen and Bad Ischl. The Yugoslavs were in hot pursuit, so Pavelitch fled to Rome disguised as a Spanish priest called Gomez. Artukovitch stayed on till November 1946, when he met the learned Dr. Draganovitch, professor of theology at Zagreb, who was touring the internment camps with a Vatican passport. He had secured the release of many hundreds of Croat priests who had fled with Pavelitch. Now he obtained for Artukovitch papers under the name Alois Anitch and put some money for him in a Swiss bank. Two other priests, Fathers Manditch and Juretitch, also came to his aid. The former, the treasurer to the Franciscan order, controlled a printing press at the Italian camp of Fermo and assisted the Ustashe refugees with funds and propaganda. Juretitch had been sent on a mission to Fribourg by Archbishop Stepinac, so he and Manditch, both former students of Fribourg University, were able to secure a welcome there for Artukovitch. Archbishop Sharitch, Pavelitch’s poet-champion, had got there ahead of him. Both Draganovitch and Juretitch had been appointed by Monsignor Stepinac to the Commission of Five for the Conversion of the Orthodox in November 1941. These three were important people to have as sponsors. The ecclesiastics of Fribourg must have been impressed.They recommended Artukovitch to the police, who got him a permis de sejour. There were other difficulties, which, according to report, Artukovitch smoothed out by the gift of a Persian carpet to an influential official.

But meanwhile the Federal Police had learned that Anitch was the war criminal Artukovitch. They told him he had two weeks in which to leave Switzerland. Once more the Franciscans came to his aid. The prior of the Maison Marianum at Fribourg recommended him to the Irish consulate at Berne. And so it happened that in July 1947 Artukovitch landed with his family on the Isle of Saints, sponsored by the disciples of that saint, who had prayed:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace!
Where there is hatred let me sow love,
Where there is sadness, joy!

I do not know where Artukovitch spent his Irish year, but one day, as a matter of history, and perhaps of religion, we shall have to know. If Artukovitch had to be carried halfway round the earth on the wings of Christian charity, simply because he favoured the Church, then Christianity is dying. And if now, for ecumenical or other reasons, we are supposed to ask no questions about him, then it is already dead.

On 15 July 1948 Artukovitch with an Irish identity card left Ireland for the United States, where he settled as a bookkeeper, near his wealthy brother in California, still under the name of Anitch. It was over two years before his true identity was discovered. The Serbian Orthodox were slow to move. Oppressed by the Communists at home, dispersed as refugees abroad, they still managed to publish the facts in books and papers in London, Chicago, Paris. In 1950 Branko Miljus and two other prominent monarchist politicians in exile sent a memorandum to the Fifth Assembly of the United Nations urging it to implement its resolution of December 1946, which had branded genocide as a crime against international law. They asked that its member states should take into custody, till a commission be appointed to try them, some 120 Croat nationals, who had taken refuge among them. On the long list appended, the names of Artukovitch, Archbishop Sharitch, Fathers Draganovitch and Juretitch and many Franciscans were mentioned, and some of the scarcely credible Franciscan story was related. It is stated that a Franciscan had been commandant of Jasenovac, the worst and biggest of the concentration camps for Serbs and Jews (he had personally taken part in murdering the prisoners, and Draganovitch, with the rank of lieutenant colonel, had been the chaplain). The memorandum relates how the focal centre for the forced conversions and the massacres had been the Franciscan monastery of Shiroki Brieg in Herzegovina (Artukovitch had been educated there), and how in 1942 a young man who was a law student at the college and a member of the Crusaders, a catholic organization, had won a prize in a competition for the slaughter of the Orthodox by cutting the throats of 1,360 Serbs with a special knife. The prize had been a gold watch, a silver service, a roast suckling pig and some wine.

How can this be true? One recalls a great hero of Auschwitz, the Polish Franciscan Father Kolbe. But it was true and rumours of it had reached Rome. Rushinovitch, Pavelitch’s representative at the Vatican, reported to his Foreign Minister in Zagreb the remarks of Cardinal Tisserant, with whom he had an audience on 5 March 1942:

I know for sure that even the Franciscans of Bosnia-Herzegovina behaved atrociously. Father Shimitch, with a revolver in his hand, led an armed gang and destroyed Orthodox churches. No civilized and cultured man, let alone a priest, can behave like that.

Tisserant had probably got some of his information from the Italian general of the Sassari division at Knin, who reported that Shimitch had come to him as local representative of the Croatian government and had told him that he had orders to kill all the Serbs. The general had had instructions not to interfere in local politics, so he could only protest. The killing, under Franciscan leadership, had begun. The following year the Superior of the Franciscan monastery in Knin was decorated by Pavelitch for his military activities with the order of King Zvonimir III.

The Croat bishops themselves were aware of what was happening. The Bishop of Kotor, Dr. Butorac, while agreeing that the moment was propitious for mass conversion, wrote to Monsignor Stepinac (4 November 1941) that the wrong type of missionaries were being sent -- “priests in whose hands revolvers might better be placed than a crucifix.”

In parenthesis, I should say how fascinating are Rushinovitch’s accounts of his audiences in Rome with Pius XII, with cardinals Tardini, Maglione, Sigismondi and Spellman. Only Tisserant and to a lesser extent Monsignor Montini, the present Pope, appear to have fully grasped what was happening in Croatia. In Cardinal Ruffini the Ustashe had a firm supporter.

The memorandum made little impression on the United Nations, since it had no member state behind it. It had accused Tito’s government, which was a member state, of sheltering many Croat criminals and using them to break down the anti-Communist resistance of the Serbs. However, in 1952 Tito appealed to the United States for the extradition of Artukovitch. The California courts to whom the case was referred argued that the extradition treaty of 1901 between the United States and Serbia had never been renewed and that therefore Artukovitch could not be handed over to Yugoslavia. Six years later the Supreme Court rejected this view (by 7 to 1) and decreed that the case must be tried again in California. In the meantime Artukovitch had become a member of the Knights of Columbus and a much-respected figure who gave lectures to institutes and interviews on television. When he was arrested again 50,000 Knights sent petitions on his behalf to Congress, and West Pennsylvania Lodges of the Croatian Catholic Union forwarded a resolution that “his only crime is his ceaseless fight against Communism” and that he was a champion of the rights and freedoms of all the peoples of the world.

That was the way his counsel, O’Connors and Reynolds, presented him, too; and Father Manditch, who had helped him in Switzerland, was once more by his side, in charge of another printing press and now Superior of the Franciscan monastery on Drexel Boulevard, Chicago. His papers Nasha Nada and Danica (Our Hope and Morning Star) not only supported him but in their issues of 7 May 1958 urged their readers to send subscriptions for the Ustashe refugee fund to Artukovitch at his address in Surfside, California.

Another very useful ally was Cardinal Stepinac’s secretary, Father Lackovitch, who had sought asylum at Youngstown, Ohio. In Europe, Stepinac had been almost beatified for his implacable hostility to Pavelitch and Artukovitch, but now The Mirror News of Los Angeles (24 January 1958) reported Lackovitch as saying that he had seen Artukovitch almost daily and that he had been “the leading Catholic layman of Croatia and the lay spokesman of Cardinal Stepinac and had consulted him on the moral aspect of every action he took.” The murderers of the Old World had become the martyrs of the New.

The American public was so ill-informed that it was possible to get away with almost anything. Pattee prints a statement that 200,000 of the converts from Orthodoxy were returning “with a right intention” to a Church, which “for political reasons” they had been forced to abandon. In fact, of course, the Serbian Orthodox had been in schism for some three centuries before the Protestant Reformation. Cardinal Tisserant, who had a rare tolerance of disagreeable truths, denounced Rushinovitch vigorously when he tried out this argument on him:

I am well acquainted with the history of Christianity and to my knowledge Catholics of Roman rite never became Orthodox.... The Germans helped you kill all the priests and you got rid of 350,000 Serbs before you set up the Croatian Orthodox Church. What right have you to accuse others and keep on telling us that you are guardians of culture and the faith? In the war with the Turks the Serbs did just as much for Catholicism as you did and perhaps more. But it was the Croats, all the same, who got the title of Antemurale Christianitatis.

When I was in California, I went to see Father Mrvicin of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral at West Garvey, near Los Angeles, and asked him why the Orthodox and the Jews of California had tolerated so many lies. He told me that at the time of the extradition trial he had circularized close on a thousand Serbs who must have known well about Artukovitch, urging them to give evidence, but very few had replied. Life in the United States was hard for them as refugees, they did not want to affront a powerful community, McCarthyism was not yet dead and they were shy of associating themselves with an appeal that came from a Communist country. A naturalized American who took the matter up died violently and mysteriously.

As for the Jews, though 30,000 with their forty-seven rabbis had been murdered in Croatia, Croatia was far away, and many who had escaped to America had owed their safety to holding their tongues. Even so, the Jewish War Veterans of California, The Valley Jewish News and some Gentile papers like The Daily Signal of California came out against Artukovitch. But most Americans felt for the unknown refugee and his five children the easy charity of indifference. Finally the Yugoslav government did some profitable deals with the United States and became indifferent, too. It is now interested only in proving that Artukovitch was a helpless stooge of the Nazis and that therefore the Bonn government should pay compensation to Yugoslavia for the damage that he and the Ustashe had done.

The other day I came across a HISTORY OF CROATIA, published by the New York Philosophical Library. The author, Mr. Preveden, acknowledges various “inspiring messages of commendation and encouragement.” One of them comes from “Dr. Andrija Artukovitch of Los Angeles.” He is quite a public figure. He may have changed his address but his telephone number used to be Plymouth 5-1147.

Now many people want him hanged but there would not be much point in it. He was an insignificant man, who got his chance because there had been a great breakdown in the machinery of Christianity and he was able to pose as its protector. Why did this breakdown occur? Can it be repaired and if so, how? So long as we are obliged to pretend that the breakdown did not happen, we shall never find out.


There has since been an easing of tension between Communism and Christianity, most notably in Yugoslavia, where diplomatic relations with the Vatican have been resumed and there has been friendship between Catholic and Orthodox. For example, in a Christmas message, Bishop Pichler begged forgiveness of the Orthodox Church and their Serbian brothers for all the wrongs done to them, and funds have been raised by Catholics to restore the destroyed Orthodox churches.

Some of the leading Orthodox are not wholly happy about all this. Is it spontaneous or government-inspired? Is it possible that Tito fears the deep-rooted and passionate nationalism of the Orthodox more than Catholic universalism, which can be manipulated by external arrangements? Under the amnesty to political offenders, many Ustashe have returned home, notably Father Draganovitch, one of the five “regulators” of the forced conversions, who escorted Pavelitch and Artukovitch to safety. He is in a monastery near Sarajevo editing the Schematismus, a sort of ecclesiastical yearbook whose publication has been suspended since 1939. Some of his returned colleagues are more active politically.

There is, of course, everything to be said for peace and conciliation, but the brotherly love that is brought about by diplomatic manoeuvres is often a little suspect.


I could not get it out of my head that Artukovitch had stayed for a year in Ireland. How had he come here? Who had sheltered him and where? In the spring of 1966 I was in Dublin for a week and I decided to find out. I was convinced that only some highly organized international body could have brought a wanted man so secretly and efficiently across Europe, and since the Franciscans had been so closely associated with the Ustashe in Croatia and had many international links, I was confident that it was they who had brought him. I have never heard anything but good of Irish Franciscans, but they were an institutionalized body and as such able and anxious to protect their members who get into trouble abroad.

There were a dozen Franciscan Houses in Ireland and I wrote to the Provincial in Merchants’ Quay, Dublin, and also to four or five other houses, which, because of their remoteness, I thought were likely. Most of them answered with polite negative replies. The Provincial told me there had been a Croat Franciscan at their Galway house for some time but his name, Brother Ivanditch, was on the list of their order and they had no doubt of his identity.

It was not till Branko Miljus sent me his copy of The Mirror News of Los Angeles that I made any progress. Artukovitch had been interviewed by the reporter Henry Frank, who for the photograph had arranged him at a piano, grouping his wife and five handsome children around him. The Rev. Robert Cross of the Blessed Sacrament Church was there, too, as a friend and advocate. He told Frank how, as Minister of the Interior, Artukovitch had helped the Jews and been a formidable foe to the Communists.

“Artukovitch listened gravely and said with quiet dignity, ‘I put my faith in God.’”

Frank spoke of Artukovitch’s “strong, seamed face” and his “modest well-lived-in living room.” He told how his daughter Zorica had won an essay competition in Orange County High School and his nine-year-old son, Radoslav, had been born in Ireland.

Here was a clue. The children had been exploited sentimentally to mask the truth, so they could be used to rediscover it. I went to the Customs House and after prolonged search I found Radoslav Anitch’s birth certificate (A. 164, No. 75). He was born on 1 June 1948 at the Prague House Nursing Home, 28 Terenure Road East; he was the son of Alois Anitch, professor of history, of 6 Zion Road, Rathgar.

On the strength of this discovery, I sent a letter to all the Dublin dailies, explaining that I was writing an account of the Independent State of Croatia (1941-45) and that I wished information about the former Minister of the Interior, Andrija Artukovitch (alias Alois Anitch) who had lived at 6 Zion Road, Rathgar, in 1947. Only The Irish Times printed my letter, turning him into a lady called Audrey.

In the meantime I visited the two houses, which were close to each other. No. 6 Zion Road is a two-storeyed house of red brick with an ivy-tangled sycamore and an overgrown privet hedge, but it had changed hands so often that it told me nothing about Artukovitch’s Irish sponsors. No. 28 Terenure Road, a tall building of red and white brick with much ornamental ironwork, has ceased for some years to be a nursing home. Nobody knew where the former owner had gone, and it was not till I had paid two visits to the Guards Barracks at Terenure that someone recalled where she now lived. It was not far off at 7 Greenmount Road and I went there immediately. The matron was a charming and intelligent woman, and after eighteen years she remembered the Anitches perfectly. She had found them a pleasant and pathetic couple. He had spoken little English, Mrs. Anitch had spoken fluently, and because of that, she had asked that he should have lunch with her in the nursing home. “He is my baby,” Mrs. Anitch said, “he wouldn’t know how to get lunch without me.” They had two little girls who were at the Sacred Heart Convent, in Drumcondra Road, and now they wanted a boy. “If it’s a girl,” said Mrs. Anitch, “don’t call him till the evening.” But when on the morning of 1 June Radoslav had been born, she was so delighted that she said her husband must be called at once. Anitch came and in his joy he had embraced the matron, much to her embarrassment. The Anitches had behaved nicely, paying all their debts with money from America. After they had gone some months Mrs. Anitch wrote a grateful letter, which the matron showed me.

Only one person besides her husband had visited Mrs. Anitch in the nursing home. He was a Franciscan who had been in Croatia, but the matron was not clear whether or not he was a foreigner. The Anitches had told her that the Communists had been particularly vindictive against the Franciscans.

My anticipation that the Franciscans had helped Artukovitch in Ireland had now been confirmed, so I went to see the Provincial at Merchants’ Quay. This time he agreed with me that the friar at the nursing home must have been the Croat at the Galway house. His name, he said, was Ivanditch. He was a supporter of Pavelitch and had often gone from Galway to Dublin.

Yet a Croat friar could not have made all these arrangements without powerful Irish assistance. Where had it come from?

The process by which a great persecutor is turned into a martyr is surely an interesting one that needs the closest investigation. I had only four days left in Dublin, so I could not follow up all the clues, but I made some progress.

First I went to the Sacred Heart Convent, 40 Drumcondra Road, a big red building on the left-hand side of the street. I was shown into a little waiting room and was received by a charming and friendly nun. I told her I was trying to trace the family of two little girls called Zorica and Vishnya Anitch, who had been at the convent in 1947 when they were four and five years old. She went away to look them up in her register, and I sat for a very long time contemplating the plate of wax fruit and the little figurine of St. Anthony. Then the nun returned and told me that the two little girls (but they were called Katerina and Aurea Anitch) had been admitted on 9 August 1947. Their parents had lived at 7 Tower Avenue, Rathgar, and had taken the children to America on 15 July 1948. She did not recall them herself but suggested that I ring up an older nun, Sister Agnes, who would certainly remember them. She was at St. Vincent’s Convent, North William Street. I rang Sister Agnes, who remembered them all vividly. The little girls were sweet and she had found the two parents “a lovely pair” and Dr. Anitch was “a marvellous musician.” She did not remember that anybody came to visit the children except their parents, but a Franciscan monk, a nephew of Dr. Anitch’s, who had escaped with them from Croatia, was with them and had helped them to find lodgings.

Next I visited 7 Tower Avenue and was directed to a previous tenant, who worked in an ironmongery in D’Olier Street. He said he did remember having a lodger with a name like Anitch. He added, “He was black, you know.” I tried other houses in Tower Avenue. Everybody was helpful and interested, but I got no further clues.

After this I returned to Mrs. O’Donoghue in Greenmount Road and found that she had been keenly interested in what I had told her and herself had been trying to find out who had been the landlord in 6 Zion Road when the Anitches had lived there. She said I should get in touch with Patrick Lawlor, 32 Hazelbrook Road, who had sold the house to some woman in 1947.

I wrote to him and the next day he rang me up. He said it was so long ago that he could not remember the woman’s name, but the auctioneer might know. After that I made some dozen visits and twenty telephone calls. They would be boring to relate but I found them exhilarating, as each clue led to another clue. I telephoned the doctor who had delivered Radoslav and examined the parish registers in Terenure and Rathgar for christenings. I went to the Valuation Office and telephoned the Voters Register, the Irish Red Cross, the Aliens Office and the International Office of Refugees. I enquired at the city hall about corporation rates. In the end I got onto the solicitor who had acted both for Mr. Lawlor and for the woman to whom he had sold 6 Zion Road. His clerk made an unsuccessful search for her name and then suggested, “Why not call on Thom’s Directory?”

I went there the next day and the secretary took down from a shelf the directories for 1947 and 1948 and found Patrick Lawlor’s name in both. “But that’s impossible,” I protested. “He sold the house to a woman in 1947.” “Yes, but there might have been a delay in publishing after we collected the information.” She took down the directory for 1949. “The woman’s name was Kathleen Murphy,” she said. I was off like a shot to a telephone box.

There were three Miss K. Murphys in the directory and five Mrs. Kathleen Murphys and several K. Murphys, who might be either male or female. It was a lengthy business, for some were out and I was asked to ring later, and some were testy at being catechised by a stranger. The fifth answered very suspiciously. “Who are you? Why do you want to know? Yes, I was at 6 Zion Road, but if you want to know more you must come down. I remember the Anitches and, if you’re friends of theirs, I’d be glad to see you. Do you know them?” I said I did not but that a friend of mine in Paris, M. Miljus, would like to get in touch with them.

So we drove down to 6 Barnhill Road, Dalkey, a fine broad street with handsome villas. My wife waited outside in the car writing letters, while Mrs. Murphy, a friendly middle-aged woman, talked to me in her drawing room. A friend of hers was just leaving when I came in, an Ulsterwoman with a nice downright manner whose husband had been a bank manager in Kilkenny. She remembered us straight off when I said my name. “Yes, I know who you are. I read your letters and articles in The Irish Times. I remember you got into a row with the Nuncio, Dr. O’Hara, and it was on the head of you he got the boot!” She and Peggy talked together while I was with Mrs. Murphy, who I could see had a powerful affection for this foreign family who had lodged with her. In particular she admired “Dr. Anish,” whom she connected with “Czechoslavakia.” This confusion is not very surprising. Artukovitch would not have mentioned Yugoslavia, which did not exist for him, and not much was known in Ireland of Croatia, though one of those who were kind to him in Dublin said he came from Craishe. In general he was befriended as a foreign refugee from Communism, and hitherto I have found no trace of sinister international intrigue among those who gave him hospitality.

Mrs. Murphy reproached herself repeatedly for not having kept in touch with the “Anishes” in California. Several times they had written charming letters. What a delightful family they were! “They made a wonderful impression all round,” she said. “I’d like to show you some snaps I have of them.” Mrs. Murphy took down a photograph album with a large bundle of snaps in the middle. She rummaged through them all the time we were talking but never found what she was looking for. I explained to her that some time after Dr. Anitch had got to California he had been the subject of bitter controversy and I showed her the picture of the family in The Mirror News. “Ah, how old he had got to look, poor man! And that big girl must be Katerina and that one Aurea. And goodness me that young chap must be Radoslav! How time flies!” When I told her what his enemies were saying she shook her head indignantly. “People will say anything! I don’t think he thought of politics at all. All he cared about was his family. He was a wonderful father and husband! He was a very good man you know. He was rather like President Kennedy. He wanted justice for everybody. And he loved the Church. They were daily communicants.”

Then I asked her how she met him in the first place and she said she thought it had been at some party. Maybe some priest had introduced them. She became a little vague on the whole in this pregnant conversation. I was being the sly one, she the candid one. I asked did she meet a Franciscan with him and she said, “Oh, yes, there was one came to lunch a couple of times. But the Anishes lived very quietly. They hardly saw anyone. You see, he was a very retiring scholarly man. He once or twice gave a lecture at UCD*, but otherwise they just thought of the children.” I subsequently made enquiries about those lectures at UCD but with no success.

Then I told her what remorseless enemies he had and explained something of the collapse of Yugoslavia. I showed her ARTUKOVITCH, THE HIMMLER OF YUGOSLAVIA, turning the pages rapidly so as to reach some not too emotive pictures of him in the days of his glory. There he was giving the Nazi salute to a German general and there again greeting Hitler’s envoy at the head of his Security Police, and there with his wife at a cocktail party in the Hungarian embassy. I skipped some horror pages, headed with heavy irony ANDRIJA ARTUKOVITCH’S HEROIC DEEDS and including a picture of a soldier scissoring off the head of a seated peasant with some shears. Except for their attribution, such photographs are probably genuine. As I have said, Artukovitch was probably a desk murderer only. Mrs. Murphy must have caught a glimpse of the scissored head, for she stiffened and started to fumble again in her album for her friendly snapshots.

“Everybody in Dublin seems to have liked him,” I said, “but why did he come here with a false name?”

“Probably he was forced to. Lots of people are. He couldn’t have been a Nazi, though he may have been forced to take that side. I’m a good judge of character. I’ve travelled in sixteen countries and know a good man when I see one.”

“But he signed all those laws against the Jews.” (I thought it would be too complicated to talk about the Orthodox; she might not know who they were.)

“Well, look what the Jews are doing to other people!” (I suppose she was thinking of the Arabs.)

Then we said goodbye. As I left, she repeated, “They just lived for their children. They thought the world of them.”

The next place I had to visit was the Franciscan House in Galway from which Dr. Anitch’s nephew, Brother Ivanditch, paid visits to Dublin to see him.

When we reached Galway I went round to the Franciscan House, which is a few streets away from Eyre Square. Beside the big church I saw a small private door through which some travelling clerics with suitcases were being hospitably ushered. I waited till they had all been welcomed before I went in and, after a few moments, the Father Superior appeared. Though he was preoccupied with his visitors he received me kindly. Seeing my attache case, he thought I was a commercial traveller, but when I explained I had come as a historian interested to find out about a Croat friar called Ivanditch, who was in Galway in 1947, he said, “I’m afraid I don’t know the good man. I’m only here three years, but if you come tomorrow, when we’ve a bit more time, I’ll get Brother Bede onto you. He was here in 1947.”

The following day I went round to the Franciscan House at eleven-thirty and Brother Bede received me. Yes. He remembered Brother Ivanditch well and had looked him up in the Schematismus of the Order. He was from the Province of Bosnia, near Sarajevo. He was a very striking-looking chap and must have been over six feet. He was born in 1913. “He wasn’t here but at our hostel, St. Anthony’s College along the Moycullen Road, so I didn’t see much of him. But they say he spent all his time at the wireless listening to the news in German, French, Italian, Spanish; he was a very intelligent fellow, learned English quickly. But he was broody, reserved and melancholy. All soul, you might say.”

Brother Bede had spent the war years in Rome. In the Franciscan headquarters the Croats had been more prominent than any other Slav group. Apart from Father Manditch, the treasurer of the Order, there was Father Jelachitch, a great canon lawyer, and Brother Balitch, an eminent palaeographer who had written about Duns Scotus. “You’ve no idea what confusion there was at Rome at that time. As for us, we put all the Slavs in one basket, a terribly passionate lot. We couldn’t unscramble them.

“Who sent him here? Oh, I suppose it was the General of our Order in Rome. I think it was Schaaf at that time, but I could look that one up. It was a question of obedience, you know.”

I told him that the Ustashe ambassador to Rome, Rushinovitch, had been given audiences by many cardinals and had sent his impressions of them back to Zagreb. It was obvious that not only the Irish but all the clerics at Rome had been highly confused by what was happening in Croatia. Only Cardinal Tisserant, I said, had a clear idea. On the other hand, Cardinal Ruffini was a vigorous supporter and protector of the Ustashe!

“Ruffini!” Brother Bede laughed. “Yes, indeed. He was a Sicilian, a great nationalist! They are as excitable as the Slavs. We took everything they said with a pinch of salt.”

As for Ivanditch, he had stayed for about a year in Galway and then gone to Canada. But there was a rumour that he was in Valencia, Spain, now. He was still alive or he wouldn’t be in the Schematismus.

Brother Bede did not think I would get much more information from St. Anthony’s College, as they were always changing their staff there, but there was a Brother David who might remember him. “Worth trying anyway. Cross the salmon-weir bridge and along the Moycullen Road till you come to a long grey building on the left.”

They were widening the road and the surface was terrible, so it must have been very close to the Brothers’ dinnertime when I got to St. Anthony’s. The most pleasant thing about the building was the fine stone wall, a new one, that surrounded it. Most of the Galway walls are still excellently built and of stone, as unlike as possible to the new walls of the midlands, which, maybe because of the rich stoneless soil, are built of concrete, which submits itself readily to many vulgar and modish fancies.

I waited in a very clean and polished parlour under a picture of Jesus meditating on the Mount of Olives, till Brother David came along. He and his colleague, Brother Edmond, remembered Ivanditch well, and Brother David showed me a photograph of himself and Brother Ivanditch and a Galway lady, Mrs. O’Halloran. They were a handsome group. Ivanditch, whose religious name was Brother Louis (Croatian Luji), was dark, clean-shaven, spectacled. A pleasant serious person he looked in his long brown habit with its white cord.

“But he was very hysterical,” Brother David said. “He’d been sentenced to death by the Communists and he spent all his time listening to the ups and downs of Communism on the wireless. He was with us about a year, sent here by the General at Rome, waiting for instructions where to go. He was a professor of dogmatic theology. According to what he said, he was second-in-command to the Provincial at Zagreb. He had been given the seal of the Province of Croatia -- he had it with him here -- when the Provincial was imprisoned.”

I asked him if Artukovitch (Anitch) had ever been to visit him. “No, he had no visitors at all, though once or twice he went to Dublin. He brooded the whole time. He said the only hope for us was to have a third world war immediately. He thought us a very weak lot. There was a milk strike in Galway at the time and he could not understand why we did not settle it straight away by shooting the milkmen. And we should invade the six counties and settle that matter, too, immediately.”

“What amazed us about him,” Brother Edmond said, “was the way he ate jam for breakfast ... sometimes nearly a whole pot, and without any bread, just a spoon. And though he got to know English very well, he used some very funny expressions. When we used to ask him if he would like another helping of anything, he would say, ‘Thank you, no, I am fed up!’ But he made a great friend in the town who could tell you more about him than I can, Joe O’Halloran of the Corrib printing works. He was working in O’Gorman’s bookshop in those days and he and Brother Louis used to see a lot of each other. Joe is the son of Mrs. O’Halloran you saw in the snapshot.”

It was difficult to believe that the Galway Brothers belonged to the same order as the Ustashe Franciscans. What was closest to Brother Edmond’s heart was a scheme for building houses for the homeless by voluntary groups. He had been considering this idea while he was with the Order in Louvain.

Joe O’Halloran was in a white coat working at the Corrib printers when I called. He asked for a few moments to change and then he joined me at the Imperial Hotel and we had vodka and orange together. He had only been eighteen when Brother Ivanditch was in Galway, and he had been hugely impressed by this glamorous and passionate foreigner who had fled from his country under sentence of death, who had seen his Provincial sentenced to five years’ penal servitude and his Primate, a world-famous cardinal, condemned to sixteen years’ imprisonment by a Communist government. They had spent every Sunday together, and Joe’s parents had been equally captivated by this engaging person, who bore with him the seals of the Franciscan Order in Croatia and the responsibility to make its sorrows known to the world. It was his dream to establish a Croatian Seminary in Dublin. Ireland must know what Croatia had suffered and was still suffering in the name of Christ. She must know that the fate that had befallen Croatia awaited all Europe. They must be prepared.

Brother Luji counted on Joe O’Halloran’s support in this sacred cause. But after a year the orders came from Rome for him to cross the Atlantic. He sailed from Liverpool to Montreal and Joe O’Halloran saw him off in Dublin. But though he had left Joe in charge of a sort of crusade, he had not replied at all regularly to his letters and slowly they lost touch with each other. Joe learned, though, that Brother Luji had been appointed chaplain to the Croat workers at Windsor, Ontario, on the Canadian side of the Detroit River. They worked in the Ford factory at Dearborn and Brother Luji built for them the Chapel of St. Joseph. Later on he had heard that he had been secularized and had left the Franciscan Order, and it now occurred to Joe O’Halloran that this might have been because the French-Canadian Franciscans did not like Ivanditch’s Croatian politics, which a few years later resulted in the murder of the Yugoslav consul in Stockholm and a curious entente with the Communists.

I asked about Artukovitch-Anitch and also about Count O’Brien, but Joe knew nothing of them. The only layman in Galway that Ivanditch saw was Mr. O’Flynn, the county manager, who invited him to tea because his niece had once taught in Zagreb. Ivanditch had, however, told Joe that he had an uncle in Dublin who had been a minister in the government of Croatia. Joe O’Halloran stressed that Ivanditch had totally failed to inflame the Franciscans in Galway and was very much disappointed in the Irish. He had been in Galway when the Republic was proclaimed in Eyre Square, and he was amazed that the government had tolerated an opposition for so long. Why had not they just shot them?

In the past eighteen years Joe had changed. Ivanditch, were he to return, would no longer have the intoxicating effect which he had had on him as a very young man. In those days he had been puzzled that his elders should be so apathetic. For example, Father Felim O’Brien, a well-known Franciscan, had been lecturing in Galway and had treated very coolly Ivanditch’s passionate appeals for a crusade. O’Brien was known all over Ireland for his dislike of “liberalism.” Two or three years later, in 1950, he engaged Owen Sheehy-Skeffington in a long controversy over The Irish Times later published as a pamphlet, THE LIBERAL ETHIC. I had contributed to this controversy, so I have kept some records of it. O’Brien had maintained that in Ireland we owe our freedom of expression more to the clerics than to the liberal doctrine of tolerance, and that in Europe the Catholic clergy are the chief champions of liberty.

We got back late from Galway and it was a day before I was able to look up Ivanditch in my books. I found only one reference to him. He was referred to on page 20 in the report of the Stepinac trial, Sudenje Lisaku, Stepincu, Salicu I Druzini, in connection with the trial of the Provincial of the Franciscan Order, Father Modesto Martinchitch. The Provincial is said to have given Brother Luji (Ivanditch), an Ustashe, a large sum of money to enable him to escape abroad. Brother Luji was not one of the five friars who helped the Provincial bury the thirty-four trunks of Ustashe treasure under the confessional in the Franciscan church in May 1945, and I find no record of any activities that in Communist eyes were criminal. I think that when he claimed to have been sentenced to death by the Communists, Ivanditch was trying to make himself more glamorous. He seems to have escaped early on with an ample travel allowance and the seals of the province. Whether or not Artukovitch was really his uncle, it may have been his task to escort him abroad in safety.

Since Brother Bede had mentioned Dr. Balitch, the eminent palaeographer, at the Vatican, I looked him up in the vast book Magnum Crimen by Professor Victor Novak of Belgrade, not expecting to find anyone so scholarly and remote in this record of horror. But there he was on page 900. “Brother Doctor Karlo Balitch, professor at the Franciscan University in Rome.” His offence seems to have been slight but significant. When Marshal Kvaternik, commander of the Ustashe forces, had arrived in Rome and visited the Institute of St. Jerome in February 1942, Balitch had been there to receive him, together with several other distinguished Croatian clerics and the whole staff of the Institute. Dr. Balitch seems to have listened appreciatively while Dr. Madjerec, the Rector, praised Kvaternik and the leader Pavelitch for their illustrious deeds in the cause of Christ.

The St. Jerome Society was a very old and established Croat institution with headquarters at Rome. Every year, even when Novak published his book in 1948, there were celebrations there in honor of Pavelitch’s birthday, attended by Croat Jesuits, Dominicans, Capuchins, Benedictines. When Marshal Kvaternik addressed the Institute praising its work for the Ustashe, there was loud and prolonged applause. This was in Rome, yet we have been told repeatedly that it was only under the strongest pressure that in Croatia itself the hierarchy lent their support to Pavelitch.

After the St. Jerome society had been suppressed in Croatia by Tito, Monsignor Stepinac declared in his speech of defence: “The St. Jerome Society has ceased to exist. Its suppression is a grave offence against the whole people.” But surely it was rightly suppressed. In an authoritarian community, when there is hypocrisy and connivance at the centre, the ripples from them spread outwards to the remote circumference: “In vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men.”

In 1985 there is news of Dr. Draganovitch, who helped Artukovitch to escape. I have been reading Tom Bower’s story of Barbie, “the butcher of Lyons,” who eluded French justice after the war in 1951 by the “Rat Line,” an escape route which the Americans set up for people who were valuable to the Central Intelligence Agency. They were equipped with fake passports and identity cards, but a contact was needed in Genoa, the port of embarkation, to supply the Rats with immigration papers for South America. Draganovitch, who had helped so many Ustashe escape to Argentina, was obviously the man for the job. His fees for the Rat Line, according to Tom Bower, were $1,000 for adults, half price for children and $1,400 for VIP treatment.

Surprisingly, though his services to the escaping Ustashe were well known and though he had been on the infamous Committee of Five for the conversion of the Orthodox, he was permitted legally to return to Yugoslavia. Is it possible that just as Barbie had useful information to give the Americans about the Communists, so Draganovitch had useful information to give the Communists about the Americans?

Artukovitch himself is still in California and, as I have related, sometime in the 1960s the Yugoslav government tired of asking for his extradition. Among other reasons, maybe, they thought that a sensational state trial in Zagreb might revive animosities between Serb and Croat.

However, in July 1981, the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals, in view of a 1979 ruling of Congress, ordered that Artukovitch be deported. This was followed by further legal proceedings, appeals, counter-appeals, hearings and rehearings. The Justice Department acted on a legal reform excluding “Nazi collaborators” from seeking refuge, and on 14 November 1984, “three carloads of federal marshals, guns drawn,” burst into Artukovitch’s house at Seal Beach and took him into custody. He is now eighty-five and, according to his Dublin-born son Radoslav, he has Parkinson’s disease, a congestive heart condition, and is also blind and suffering from delusional paranoia. It is uncertain whether he will be competent to take part in an extradition hearing and its sequel, deportation to Yugloslavia and a show trial at Zagreb.


Artukovitch was finally extradited to Yugoslavia on 12 February 1986. On 15 May, after a four-week trial, death sentence was pronounced. Twenty-six witnesses were called, evidence of much brutality given. Yet Artukovitch maintained that he was innocent and his duties chiefly administrative: “I have always acted according to my conscience and the teachings of the Catholic Church.” Security for the trial was tight; policemen patrolled neighbouring streets with machine guns and muzzled dogs. There has been no word of Artukovitch’s execution. I believe he is still alive.

*University College of Dublin-ed.
Sunday Times, 12 January 1985.


İHubert Butler. From INDEPENDENT SPIRIT, NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1996. Reprinted by permssion of The Lilliput Press, 2 Rosemount Terrace, Arbour Hill, Dublin 7, Ireland, and Farrar, Straus & Giroux , New York.

See also:

An Appreciation of Hubert Butler
Little String Game”



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