While in exile in the United States during World War II, and after hearing news of the horrible massacres of Serbs and other targeted ethnicities in the Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia, Dučić wrote that the Croats were the bravest nation on earth, not because they feared nothing but because there was nothing of which they were ashamed. He was referring to their attempts to minimize or even completely deny the massive crimes in which, in some form, almost the entire population took part. President Roosevelt would tell his assistant Harry Hopkins that as retribution for these unspeakable atrocities, which shocked even many hardened German Nazis, the entire Croat nation should be placed under international trusteeship once peace was restored.
The Archbishop of Zagreb, Aloysius Stepinac, was a poster boy for Dučić’s terse observation. He was a narrow-minded bigot who despised Serbs and Jews and eagerly welcomed the establishment of the bloody Ustashi regime under German auspices. As primate of the Croatian Roman Catholic church, he promoted both Ustashi and Vatican agendas in the Balkans. Stepinac presided over the forced conversion of several hundred thousand Serbs and, as Vicar of the Croatian armed forces, he lent the authority of his high ecclesiastical office to the Ustashi regime led by Ante Pavelić as it engaged in a relentless campaign of mass extermination between April 1941 and May 1945 . As Germany was collapsing and the Ustashi were departing Zagreb at the beginning of May 1945, part of the valuables looted from genocide victims were deposited by Pavelić with Stepinac for safekeeping, in the episcopal palace and other locations.
On Stepinac’s watch during the war an estimated 700,000 Serbs and 80,000 Jews were murdered in the Independent State of Croatia, whose establishment he greeted rapturously with the public chant: Oculi mei mirabilis vident (my eyes are seeing miracles).
Bearing in mind Stepinac’s close association with the odious Ustashi regime and its reign of murder and terror, the video clip that follows, created obviously in a disingenuous effort to burnish Stepinac’s image as an exemplary Christian pastor, is a perfect illustration of Dučić’s maxim. The truth about Stepinac is the opposite of everything claimed in the video clip. The date of Stepinac’s birth is possibly the only factually correct statement it contains.
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