Nazi Connection To Franciscan Order Uncovered, Feb 05
News for Immediate Release
Easton & Levy, Attorneys
Siroki Brijeg, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Near the site of a World War II wartime massacre of Serb women and children by Croatian Nazis stands a Franciscan Monastery. It's just down the road from Medjugorje or "Miracle City" where the Virgin Mary is said to put in nightly appearances for the tens of thousands of Roman Catholic pilgrims who flock there each year. The Franciscan Monastery at Sirkoi Brijeg and its controversial contents are at the center of an international scandal involving the Franciscans, Croatian ultra nationalists and the Vatican Bank.
A lawsuit, Alperin v. Vatican Bank, filed in San Francisco Federal Court in November 1999 by Serb, Jewish, and Ukrainian Holocaust survivors against the Vatican Bank and Franciscans seeks return of Nazi loot stolen from wartime Yugoslavia. According to a 1998 US State Department report, the money known as the Ustasha Treasury, is thought to have been concealed in the Vatican and used in part to fund the escape of Nazi and Croatian war criminals to South America.
The Franciscans acted as facilitators and middlemen in moving the contents of the Ustasha Treasury from Croatia to Austria, Italy and finally South America. The Franciscans have denied their wartime ties to the Ustasha regime in Croatia, which slaughtered over 700,000 Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies and set the stage for today's ethnic battles in the Balkans. However, in Siroki Brijeg, plaintiffs' attorneys have obtained tangible proof of the Nazi Franciscan connection. Cameramen working for Phillip Kronzer, a staunch foe of Medjugorje and its Marian apparitions obtained entry to the Monastery and filmed a secret shrine honoring the Ustashe. A plaque dedicated to Franciscan monks who were Ustasha members was filmed along with a massive shrine lining the walls complete with photographs of Ustasha soldiers some in Nazi uniforms. The admonition, "Recognize us, We are yours" can clearly be discerned in the video footage. On a later visit to the monastery the shrine had been dismantled but the videotape preserved the evidence and has now been made available by the Kronzer Foundation.
Just as in World War II, Medjugorje in the 1990's was the site of brutal ethnic cleansing by Croat nationalists. Alperin plaintiffs have alleged that Medjugorje and its facilities are connected with the Ustasha Treasury and the monastery at Siroki Brijeg seems to provide hard evidence of the connection.