|A HISTORY UNCOVERED:
ARTUKOVITCH FILE (1970)
REFLECTIONS ON A CROATIAN CRUSADE
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,
Pavelitchs 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 Alexanders 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
kings 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
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 Artukovitchs 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 Pavelitchs 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 OBriens 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
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 Pavelitchs 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
Stepinacs 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, Id 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, Pavelitchs
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,
Pavelitchs representative at the Vatican, reported to his Foreign Minister in Zagreb
the remarks of Cardinal Tisserant, with whom he had an audience on 5
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 Rushinovitchs 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 Titos 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, OConnors 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 Stepinacs 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
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.
IN SEARCH OF A PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, 1985
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
Frank spoke of Artukovitchs 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 Anitchs 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 Artukovitchs 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 wouldnt 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 its a girl, said Mrs. Anitch, dont 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.
Vincents 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. Anitchs, 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 DOlier 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
After this I returned to Mrs. ODonoghue 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 womans 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 Thoms
I went there the next day and the secretary took down from a shelf the directories for 1947 and 1948 and found Patrick Lawlors name
in both. But thats 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 womans 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 youre friends of theirs, Id 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. OHara, 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. Id 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 dont 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
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 Hitlers 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 ARTUKOVITCHS 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
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 couldnt have been a Nazi,
though he may have been forced to take that side. Im a good judge of character.
Ive 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.
Anitchs 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, Im afraid I dont know the good man.
Im only here three years, but if you come tomorrow, when weve a bit more time,
Ill 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 wasnt here but at our hostel, St. Anthonys College along the
Moycullen Road, so I didnt 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. Youve 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 couldnt 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,
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
wouldnt be in the Schematismus.
Brother Bede did not think I would get much more information from St. Anthonys
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. Anthonys. 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. OHalloran. 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
But he was very hysterical, Brother David said. Hed 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 OHalloran of the Corrib printing works. He was working in
OGormans bookshop in those days and he and Brother Louis used to see a lot of
each other. Joe is the son of Mrs. OHalloran 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 Edmonds 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 OHalloran 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 Joes 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 OHallorans 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 OHalloran 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 OHalloran that this might
have been because the French-Canadian Franciscans did not like Ivanditchs 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 OBrien, but Joe knew
nothing of them. The only layman in Galway that Ivanditch saw was Mr. OFlynn, 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 OHalloran 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
OBrien, a well-known Franciscan, had been lecturing in Galway and had treated very
coolly Ivanditchs passionate appeals for a crusade. OBrien 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. OBrien 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 Pavelitchs 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 Bowers 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 Artukovitchs house at Seal Beach and took him into custody. He is now eighty-five and, according to his Dublin-born son
Radoslav, he has Parkinsons 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.
POSTSCRIPT, 24 SEPTEMBER 1986
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
Artukovitchs 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.
An Appreciation of Hubert Butler
Little String Game