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(E,H) Stepinac and The View from Washington - by Jeffrey T. Kuhner
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  05/9/2005 | Opinions | Unrated
(E,H) Stepinac and The View from Washington - by Jeffrey T. Kuhner


Lies about Stepinac


by Jeffrey T. Kuhner


Truth & Justice
The View from Washington

Lies about Stepinac
Of all the news accounts regarding Pope John Paul II’s funeral and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s accession to the papacy, the most interesting was the American liberal media’s attempt to once again smear the reputation of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac. The New York Times published an article saying that the late Pope John Paul had “incensed” his critics by the decision to beatify Cardinal Stepinac in 1998. The article went on to claim that Stepinac was the “archbishop of Zagreb during World War II, when a Nazi puppet
regime ruled Croatia and 700,000 Serbs, Jews and others were sent to death camps.”
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour also cited the beatification of Stepinac as one of the most “controversial” acts of John Paul’s papacy. She scolded the pope for elevating to sainthood a man who was the head of the Croatian Catholic Church at a time “when the Croatian fascists
were almost aligned with the Catholic Church and had had these terrible pogroms against the Serbs during World War II.” It is easy to dismiss these claims as ignorant statements from reporters who should know better. But that would be a grave mistake. For the
charges leveled by The New York Times and CNN against Stepinac are the culmination of decades of effective propaganda by Yugoslav authorities and Serbian lobbying organizations within the United States.
The essence of this smear campaign is the allegation that Stepinac, along with the Croatian Catholic Church, collaborated with Ante Pavelic’s fascist regime. Moreover, Stepinac’s critics charge that the archbishop either tacitly supported or at the very least turned a blind
eye to the crimes perpetrated by the NDH, such as mass murder, genocide and forced religious conversions. Stepinac is largely viewed by America’s Serbian community and their political allies as a “murderer saint.” Although many in the U.S. establishment media do not take
such an extreme position, they certainly believe that Stepinac was some kind of a fascist collaborator.
What is remarkable about the “Stepinac-was-a-Nazi-quisling” myth is that it is entirely false. In fact, the allegations are directly contradicted by the overwhelming historical evidence that has come to light since the collapse of Yugoslavia. The wealth of information that has emerged
from the newly discovered archives in Moscow, Belgrade and Zagreb has been especially damaging to Tito’s communist regime. This is particularly true about Stepinac and the numerous lies propagated against him. Stepinac was not a fascist, nor even an authoritarian right-winger. Rather, he was a principled constitutional liberal who supported Vladko Macek’s Croat Peasant Party. In 1938, after he became Archbishop of Zagreb, he openly declared that he had voted for Macek in the
elections.Nor was he a Serbophobe as some of his later critics have charged. Instead, the opposite was true. For much of his youth, Stepinac had been a champion of South Slav unity. During World War I, he even volunteered to join the Yugoslav Legion to fight Austro-Hungarian
troops on the Salonika front. But his rapid disillusionment with Royalist Yugoslavia paralleled that of most Croats. It was Belgrade’s stifling brutality, its numerous pogroms against Croatian peasants, its imprisonment of leading Croatian politicians (Stjepan Radic being the most
notable) and exploitation of the Croatian economy that most disturbed him.
In fact, no other figure in Croatian history—with the possible exception of Franjo Tudjman—so closely embodied the political evolution of the wider Croatian public as did Stepinac. When he fell under the spell of South Slav unity, so did they; when he reached out for Radic’s
program of home-rule and social democracy, so did they; when he drank from the poisoned chalice of Pavelic’s pseudo-independent state
only to recoil in disgust, so did they; and when he stood up to Tito’s victorious armies in defense of human rights and national self-determination only to be crushed, so did they. Stepinac’s major flaw was that he was prone to be naïve about politics (and on this he also reflected the great weakness in the Croatian
national character, which sadly continues to this day). Nowhere was this trait more clearly on display than during the first several weeks of the NDH. Following Nazi Germany’s invasion of Yugoslavia in April, 1941, Stepinac—along with many other Croats—did initially welcome
the creation of the NDH. Yet Stepinac’s reasons were similar to those of many of his fellow countrymen: It was not a fascist state that he welcomed, but the end of Croatia’s subjugation under Serb-dominated Yugoslavia. However, he quickly realized that Pavelic’s NDH was an entirely different creature from what he had hoped and expected. The Ustashe almost immediately began to erect a racialist totalitarian state modeled on Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. Moreover, the Ustashe
quickly lost whatever mass appeal they had when the actual terms of this supposed new “independent” state were made known to the public. Croatia was truncated into several parts, with much of Dalmatia annexed to Italy and German and Hungarian troops exercising “spheres of influence” over large swaths of NDH territory, including Bosnia. In short, rather than securing genuine national independence, Pavelic had transformed Croatia into a colony of Berlin and Rome. He had simply transferred his country from one foreign dictatorship to another; only now it was not the Serbs, but the Germans and Italians who
were calling the shots. Pavelic’s dwindling popularity among most Croats was evident from the summer of 1941 and lasted until the end of the war. His regime had
alienated most people in Dalmatia. It was also deeply unpopular in Croatia’s population heartland of Slavonia, where the overwhelming  majority of citizens retained their loyalty to the Croatian Peasant Party (many of whose leaders were imprisoned by the Ustashe). Much of  the Zagreb bourgeoisie and intelligentsia were also opposed to him. However, Pavelic’s lack of support was especially evident in the fact  that, throughout his entire tenure in office, he never managed to orchestrate the kind of fascist mass rallies common under Hitler, Mussolini  and Franco. The Croatian public quickly understood that Pavelic was not their liberator, but their slave master.
Stepinac’s genius and moral greatness lay in that he realized this and sought to do something about it. In numerous letters and homilies  throughout 1941 and 1942, he chastised Pavelic and other senior members of the regime for the mass killings, rapes and state-sanctioned
racial laws directed against Jews, Serbs and Gypsies. “No one can deny that these terrible acts of violence and cruelty have been taking  place,” Stepinac wrote to Pavelic in a letter dated Nov. 20, 1941. “The Croatian nation has been proud of its 1,000-year-old culture and  Christian tradition. That is why we wait for it to show in practice, now that it has achieved its freedom, a greater nobility and humanity than
that displayed by its former rulers.”
He later denounced to Pavelic the Jasenovac concentration camp as “a shameful stain on the honor of the NDH.”
In a powerful homily delivered from Zagreb Cathedral in the fall of 1942, Stepinac assaulted the anti-human and collectivist ideologies of  Nazism, fascism and communism. “Each nation and each race has the right to life and treatment worthy of man,” he said. “This is why the Catholic Church has always
condemned, and is today condemning the injustice and acts of violence committed in the name of theories of class, race and nation.” Yet Stepinac did more than speak out against the evils of his time. He also acted, often at the risk of his own life. The Archbishop directly
intervened to save thousands of lives—Jews, Serbs and anti-fascist Croats—during the war. Amiel Shomrony, who served under the last  Chief Rabbi of Zagreb, Miroslav Freiberger, has testified that Stepinac rescued countless Jews by helping to smuggle them to Hungary and
then on to safety in Palestine. Following Stepinac’s 1946 conviction by Tito’s Partisans on trumped up charges of collaboration with the Ustashe, Louis Braier,
then-president of the Jewish Community in the United States, said that the Archbishop was “one of the few men who rose in Europe against
the Nazi tyranny precisely at the moment it was most dangerous. He spoke openly and fearlessly against the racial laws. After His Holiness,
Pius XII, he was the greatest defender of the Jews persecuted in Europe."
By the end of the war, Stepinac had become such a staunch opponent of the NDH regime that many of his closest aides urged him to flee to
the Vatican for fear that he would be murdered by Pavelic’s secret police. Until the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991, the communist
authorities sought to cover up the fact that, for much of the Second World War, Tito’s Partisans frequently incorporated Stepinac’s
speeches in their propaganda, especially his assaults on fascism, racism and Pavelic’s violation of human rights.
Upon coming to power, Tito realized that the Archbishop was his most dangerous opponent. The communist strongman was determined to
destroy Stepinac’s reputation. Tito also sought to smash the principal bulwark to his totalitarian rule: the Croatian Catholic Church.
For the Partisans, Stepinac’s great sin was that he refused to follow the example of the Serbian Orthodox Church hierarchy, which had
become co-opted by the new regime. Stepinac, however, spurned Tito’s demand that Croatia’s Catholic Church separate from the Vatican,
and form its own “national” church with the Archbishop as its head.
In the end, the Archbishop refused to be corrupted by power. His greatness lay in the fact that, more than any other individual during
post-World War II Yugoslavia, he grasped the entire evil nature of Tito’s communist empire. Stepinac courageously spoke out against all of
the crimes committed by the communists—the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Croatian dissidents; the confiscation of private
property; the restoration of a centralized, Serb-dominated autocracy anchored in Belgrade; the abrogation of basic human rights and democratic freedoms; the expulsion of 700,000 ethnic Germans; the destruction of Croatia’s economy and environment; and the imposition
of monolithic state control over the media and education.
Milovan Djilas, who was Tito’s right-hand man for much of the 1940s before he became disillusioned with the brutality and mendacity of the regime, later admitted that “we communists did not want any opposition, none whatsoever.” Stepinac understood that Tito’s Yugoslavia was a genocidal project that sought to eradicate Croatia’s distinct culture and national identity.
And that the Partisans’ main thrust of attack was to strangle the cradle of Croatian civilization, the Catholic Church. This is why the communists immediately launched a sweeping campaign to persecute the church. Hundreds of priests and nuns were slaughtered. Church property was confiscated. Numerous churches were turned into warehouses and communist “cultural centers.” Compulsory civil marriage was introduced.
Most importantly, jurisdiction over education was stripped from the Church and placed into the hands of the state, thereby enabling the Yugoslav authorities to systematically indoctrinate the youth. The schools, along with the media, were the primary vehicles by which the authorities in Belgrade brainwashed the Croatian youth. The result was that it produced generations of self-loathing Croats who were taught
to despise their culture, history and religion.The linchpin of this anti-Croatian, anti-Catholic strategy was to portray all Croats who championed national independence as “fascists”
seeking to revive Pavelic’s NDH. As part of this strategy, Tito’s Communists had to present the Catholic Church as a reactionary, pro-Ustashe organization complicit in genocide and mass murder. And Stepinac, being the most famous symbol of the Croatian Catholic Church and the Croatian national cause, had to be crucified. His 1946 show trial in Belgrade was a complete sham. The “guilty” verdict was decided before the trial even began. Djilas himself confessed that Stepinac was condemned not for any supposed collaboration with the NDH, but for his opposition to Tito. “He would certainly not have been brought to trial for his conduct in the war … had he not continued to oppose the new Communist regime,” Djilas later wrote.
“"To honestly tell the truth, I think, and not only I, that Stepinac is a man of integrity, a firm character, who is impossible to break,” Djilas
said in 1956. “He was really unjustly convicted, but how many times has it happened in history that just people were convicted out of political necessity."Only Stepinac’s international notoriety saved him from a grisly execution. Still, he suffered harsh imprisonment, and then later house arrest
and internal exile in his native village of Krasic. Moreover, evidence now shows that he was slowly poisoned to death by Tito’s secret police.
The real tragedy of Stepinac is not that he suffered and died on behalf of his people and his faith. This is the duty of all devout Christians. It is also not that the Croatian media and diplomatic corps has been weak in its defense of this great man against the barrage of propaganda emanating from Belgrade, the Serbian lobby in Washington and their hacks in the U.S. media establishment.
No. The real tragedy is that many Croats, especially those on the Mesic-Racan-Pusic Left, actually believe many of the lies told about Stepinac. They are the products of decades of Communist social engineering. And while Tito’s multinational Yugoslavia may be dead, they continue to share many of its goals and prejudices. For these hard leftists, the Catholic Church, with its opposition to abortion, euthanasia, homosexual marriage and sexual permissiveness, continues to be a reactionary force that needs to be marginalized. They continue to excuse the numerous crimes of communism. They continue to deride Croatian patriotism and the existence of a distinct national identity. And they
continue to view themselves as “anti-fascists,” insisting on perpetuating the Titoist myth that cut-throat Ustashes are lurking under every corner in Croatia.
In short, they have retained the self-hating, racist attitudes inculcated by their former communist masters. They genuinely believe that to be a
proud and authentic Croat is to be some kind of a fascist. This is why their current political agenda is to de-Tudjmanize and de-Croatianize their country, and to strip it of all national symbols and content. Their hope is for Croatia to again plunge itself into an internationalist project, whether it be a European socialist super state or a reconstituted Balkan union. Stepinac’s enduring legacy is that he offered a distinctly different vision for Croatia. He understood that God, country and family were the fundamental institutions of a just society. He saw the evils of totalitarianism and imperialism. He championed a democratic and independent Croatia, rooted in its Catholic heritage and based on human rights, social justice and constitutional self-government. Stepinac embodied the very best of Croatia—the Croatia of priests and peasants, princes and poets, knights and kings, professionals and philosophers. His Croatia
was not that of gangsters, opportunists and cheap propagandists; it was neither communist Red nor fascist Black. Rather, it was a democratic and patriotic White.It is this inspiring vision, along with his principled defense of human freedom in the face of unimaginable horror, which makes Stepinac one of the giants of the 20th century. He is Croatia’s saint.

- Jeffrey T. Kuhner is communications director at The Ripon Society (, a major Republican think tank based in Washington, D.C. He is also a regular contributor to the Commentary pages of The Washington Times. This essay is adapted from Mr. Kuhner’s upcoming book, “Fatal Embrace: The Croat-Serb Conflict in the 20th Century.” Mr. Kuhner would like to give special thanks to
Danica Ramljak for her invaluable research assistance in the writing of this article.

Nadnaslov: Novoobnovljene la┼żi o Stepincu plod su srpske propagande u Americi

Glavni Stepin─?ev 'grijeh' nije bila navodna suradnja s Paveli─çem, nego to ┼íto je bio oporba diktatoru Titu!

Pod 1) Njegova je veli─?ina u tomu ┼íto je, bolje nego itko u poratnoj Jugoslaviji, prozreo svu zlo─çu Titova komunisti─?kog carstva. Stepinac je
hrabro istupao protiv svih komunisti─?kih zlo─?ina: masovnih ubojstava stotina tisu─ça svojih hrvatskih politi─?kih protivnika; konfiskacija
privatnog vlasni┼ítva; povratka centralizirane autokracije u┼ían─?ene u Beogradu i pod prevla┼í─çu Srba; kr┼íenja temeljnih ljudskih prava i
demokratskih sloboda; protjerivanja 700.000 pripadnika njema─?ke manjine; uni┼ítenja hrvatskog gospodarstva i okoli┼ía i nametanje
monolitne dr┼żavne vlasti nad medijima i naobrazbom

Pod 2) Hrvatski mediji i diplomacija slabi su u obrani ovoga velikoga ─?ovjeka protiv propagandne bujice iz Beograda, srpskog lobija u
Washingtonu i njegovih pla─çenika u najmo─çnijim ameri─?kim medijima. Prava tragedija je ┼íto mnogi Hrvati, osobito oni s
Mesi─ç-Ra─?an-Pusi─çkine ljevice doista vjeruju u brojne la┼żi koje su re─?ene o Stepincu. One su proizvod desetlje─ça komunisti─?kog socijalnog
in┼żenjeringa. I dok je Titova Jugoslavija mo┼żda doista mrtva, oni i dalje dijele mnoge njezine te┼żnje i predrasude

Piše: Jeffrey T. Kuhner

Zanimljiviji od svih medijskih prikaza pokopa Ivana Pavla II. i izbora kardinala Josepha Ratzingera za novog papu bili su poku┼íaji ameri─?kih
liberalnih medija da još jednom okrnje ugled kardinala Alojzija Stepinca.

New York Times je tako objavio ─?lanak u kojemu stoji kako je papa Ivan Pavao 'razjario' svoje kriti─?are odlukom da 1998. godina beatificira kardinala Stepinca. U ─?lanku se dalje tvrdi kako je Stepinac bio «zagreba─?ki nadbiskup tijekom 2. svjetskog rata, u vrijeme kada
je Hrvatskom vladao nacisti─?ki marionetski re┼żim, a 700.000 Srba, ┼Żidova i drugih poslano u logore smrti».

Christiane Amanpour sa CNN-a tako─Ĺer je navela Stepin─?evu beatifikaciju kao jedan od 'kontroverznih' poteza pape Ivana Pavla. Ona ga je ukorila ┼íto je uzdigao na ─?ast oltara ─?ovjeka koji je bio poglavarom hrvatske katoli─?ke crkve u vrijeme «kada su hrvatski fa┼íisti bili
gotovo svrstani s katoli─?kom crkvom i provodili stra┼íne pogrome protiv Srba tijekom 2. svjetskog rata».

Lako bi bilo opovrgnuti ove tvrdnje kao neznanje nedoraslih izvjestitelja da to uistinu nije bila te┼íka pogrje┼íka. Optu┼żbe New York Timesa i CNN-a protiv Stepinca tek su vrhunac djelotvorne promid┼żbe jugoslavenskih vlasti i srpskih lobisti─?kih udruga u SAD-u.

Sr┼ż ove crne legende je tvrdnja kako su Stepinac i hrvatska katoli─?ka crkva sura─Ĺivali s fa┼íisti─?kim re┼żimom Ante Paveli─ça. ┼átovi┼íe, Stepin─?evi kriti─?ari tvrde kako je nadbiskup pre┼íutno podupirao ili barem gledao kroz prste zlo─?inima NDH, kao ┼íto su masovna ubojstva,
genocid i nasilno pokr┼ítavanje. Srbi u Americi i njihovi politi─?ki saveznici Stepinca uglavnom smatraju 'svecem ubojicom'. I mada mnogi vode─çi ameri─?ki mediji ne dijele takvo ekstremno stajali┼íte, oni zacijelo misle kako je Stepinac bio neka vrsta fa┼íisti─?kog suradnika.

U mitu o Stepincu kao 'nacisti─?kom kvislingu' zapanjuje ┼íto je on potpuno la┼żan. Ovim tvrdnjama, zapravo, proturje─?e neoborivi povijesni
dokazi iza┼íli na svjetlo dana nakon raspada Jugoslavije. Obilje podataka iz novootkrivenih pismohrana u Moskvi, Beogradu i Zagrebu osobito je razorno za Titov komunisti─?ki re┼żim. Ovo posebno va┼żi za Stepinca i mnogobrojne la┼żi koje su se ┼íirile o njemu.

Stepinac nije bio fa┼íist pa ni autoritarni desni─?ar. Naprotiv, bio je dosljedni ustavni liberal koji je podupirao Hrvatsku selja─?ku stranku Vlatka Ma─?eka. Nakon ┼íto je 1938. godine postao zagreba─?kim nadbiskupom, otvoreno je izjavio kako je na izborima glasovao za Ma─?eka.

Me─Ĺ) Hrvati su slijedili Stepinca, a ne Paveli─ça

Stepinac nije bio ni srbofob, kao ┼íto su mu neki kasniji kriti─?ari predbacivali. Istina je suprotna: dobar dio svoje mladosti Stepinac je
zagovarao ju┼żnoslavensko jedinstvo. Tijekom 1. svjetskog rata ─?ak je dragovoljno pristupio jugoslavenskoj legiji u borbi protiv austrougarske vojske na solunskoj boji┼ínici, ali se, kao i ve─çina Hrvata, brzo razo─?arao kraljevskom Jugoslavijom. Najvi┼íe ga je mu─?ilo
sirovo beogradsko nasilje, brojni pogromi hrvatskih seljaka, uhi─çenja vode─çih hrvatskih politi─?ara, u prvom redu Stjepana Radi─ça, kao i gospodarsko izrabljivanje.

Zapravo, ni jedno drugo ime u hrvatskoj povijesti – mo┼żda s izuzetkom Franje Tu─Ĺmana – nije tako rje─?ito utjelovilo politi─?ki razvitak ┼íire hrvatske javnosti kao Stepinac. Kad je on postao zato─?nikom ju┼żnoslavenskog jedinstva, i ona je to bila; kad je pio iz zatrovanog pehara Paveli─çeve nazovi-nezavisne dr┼żave i zatim ga s gnu┼íanjem odbio, u─?inili su to i Hrvati; kad se suprotstavio Titovoj pobjedni─?koj vojsci brane─çi ljudska prava i nacionalno samoodre─Ĺenje, plativ┼íi to skupo – i Hrvati s bili s njim.

Stepin─?eva glavna grje┼íka bila je politi─?ka naivnost (i u tome je on slika i prilika te velike mane u naravi hrvatskog naroda, koja, na┼żalost, traje do dana dana┼ínjeg). Ona je najjasnije iskazana u prvih nekoliko tjedana NDH. Nakon napada nacisti─?ke Njema─?ke na Jugoslaviju u travnju 1941. godine Stepinac je – kao i mnogi drugi Hrvati – prvotno pozdravio stvaranje NDH. Ali njegove razloge dijelili su mnogi njegovi sunarodnjaci: nisu oni klicali fa┼íisti─?koj dr┼żavi nego kraju hrvatske potla─?enosti u Jugoslaviji pod srpskim gospodstvom.

On je, me─Ĺutim, ubrzo shvatio kako je Paveli─çeva NDH potpuno druk─?ija tvorevina od one koju je o─?ekivao i kojoj se nadao. Usta┼íe su gotovo od po─?etka gradile rasisti─?ku totalitarnu dr┼żavu po uzoru na Hitlerovu Njema─?ku i Mussolinijevu Italiju. ┼átovi┼íe, usta┼íe su brzo izgubile i masovnu potporu koju su na po─?etku imali kad je javnost upoznala stvarne zasade ove navodno nove 'nezavisne' dr┼żave. Hrvatska je ra┼í─?ere─?ena na nekoliko dijelova: veliki dio Dalmacije pripojen je Italiji i Njema─?koj, a ma─Ĺarska vojska dr┼żala je vlast u 'utjecajnom podru─?ju' na velikim dijelovima zemlja NDH, uklju─?uju─çi i Bosnu.

Umjesto da osigura istinsku nacionalnu nezavisnost, Paveli─ç je pretvorio Hrvatsku u koloniju Berlina i Rima. Jednostavno, svoju je zemlju iz
ruku jedne strane diktature predao drugoj, samo su sada, umjesto Srba, gazde bile Nijemci i Talijani.

Pisma Paveli─çu

Sunovrat Paveli─çeve popularnosti me─Ĺu ve─çinom Hrvata bio je o─?it od ljeta 1941. godine i takav je ostao do kraja rata. Njegov re┼żim odbacivala je ve─çina ljudi u Dalmaciji, a bio je vrlo neomiljen u srcu hrvatske Slavonije, gdje je velika ve─çina gra─Ĺana bila i dalje odana Hrvatskoj selja─?koj stranci (─?ije su mnoge vo─Ĺe dopale usta┼íkih zatvora). I velik mu se dio zagreba─?kog gra─Ĺanstva i inteligencije odupirao. Ali, manjak potpore Paveli─çu osobito se o─?itovao u tome ┼íto tijekom cijele vladavine on nikad nije uspio orkestrirati onakve masovne skupove, uobi─?ajene kod Hitlera, Mussolinija i Franca. Hrvatska javnost brzo je shvatila kako Paveli─ç nije nikakav osloboditelj nego goni─?

Stepin─?ev genij i moralna veli─?ina je u tome ┼íto je to shvatio i poku┼íao ne┼íto poduzeti. U brojnim pismima i propovijedima tijekom cijele 1941. i 1942. godine ┼íibao je i druge visoke re┼żimske du┼żnosnike zbog masovnih ubojstava, silovanja i dr┼żavno sankcioniranih rasnih zakona, uperenih protiv ┼Żidova, Srba i Cigana. «Nitko ne mo┼że zanijekati da se doga─Ĺaju ta stra┼ína djela nasilja i okrutnosti», pisao je Stepinac Paveli─çu u pismu od 20. studenog 1941. godine. «Hrvatski narod ponosi se svojom tisu─çljetnom uljudbom i hrvatskom tradicijom. Stoga o─?ekujemo da se na djelu poka┼że, danas kad smo postigli slobodu, vi┼íe plemenitosti i ─?ovje─?nosti, nego ┼íto su to iskazivali njezini biv┼íi vladari.» (op. prev.: navodi su prijevod s engleskog).

Kasnije je Paveli─çu prokazao jasenova─?ki koncentracijski logor kao «sramnu ljagu na ─?asti NDH».
U sna┼żnoj propovijedi u zagreba─?koj katedrali u jesen 1942. godine Stepinac je napao ne─?ovje─?ne kolektivisti─?ke ideologije nacizma, fa┼íizma i komunizma.

«Svaki narod i svaka rasa ima pravo na ┼żivot i postupanje dostojno ─?ovjeka», govorio je. «Stoga je katoli─?ka crkva uvijek osu─Ĺivala pa
osu─Ĺuje i danas nepravde i nasilja koja se provode u ime klasnih, rasnih i nacionalnih teorija».

Ali Stepinac nije samo propovijedao protiv zala svoga doba. On je i djelovao, ─?esto dovode─çi u opasnost i vlastiti ┼żivot. Nadbiskup se tijekom rata izravno zalo┼żio za spas tisu─ça ┼żivota – ┼Żidova, Srba i antifa┼íisti─?kih Hrvata. Amiel Shomrony, koji je bio suradnikom posljednjeg zagreba─?kog glavnog rabina Miroslava Freibergera, posvjedo─?io je kako je Stepinac spasio bezbroj ┼Żidova poma┼żu─çi im u bijegu do Ma─Ĺarske, a zatim i do uto─?i┼íta u Palestini.

Jedan od najve─çih branitelja ┼Żidova

Nakon ┼íto su Titovi partizani 1946. godine osudili Stepinca na osnovi namje┼ítenih optu┼żaba za suradnju s usta┼íama, Louis Braier, tada┼ínji predsjednik ┼Żidovske zajednice u SAD-u, rekao je kako je nadbiskup bio «jedan od rijetkih ljudi koji su se u Europi digli protiv nacisti─?ke tiranije upravo u vrijeme kad je to bilo najopasnije. Govorio je otvoreno i neustra┼íivo protiv rasnih zakona. Nakon Njegove Svetosti Pija XII. on je bio najve─çi branitelj ┼Żidova, progonjenih u Europi».

Krajem rata Stepinac je postao tako ┼żestoki protivnik re┼żima NDH da su ga mnogi najbli┼żi prijatelji nagovarali na bijeg u Vatikan iz straha da ga Paveli─çeva tajna policija ne ubije. Sve do raspada Jugoslavije 1991. godine komunisti─?ke vlasti poku┼íavale su prikriti ─?injenicu da su, uvelike tijekom 2. svjetskog rata, Titovi partizani ─?esto umetali Stepin─?eve govore u svoju propagandu, navlastito njegove napade na fa┼íizam, rasizam i Paveli─çevo kr┼íenje ljudskih prava.

Po dolasku na vlast Tito je shvatio kako je Stepinac njegov najopasniji protivnik. Ovaj komunisti─?ki diktator odlu─?io je sru┼íiti Stepin─?ev ugled poku┼íavaju─çi ukloniti i glavni kamen spoticanja njegovoj totalitarnoj vladavini: hrvatsku katoli─?ku crkvu.

Za partizane Stepin─?ev veliki grijeh bilo je odbijanje da slijedi primjer hijerarhije Srpske pravoslavne crkve, koju je nova vlast vezala uza se. Stepinac je, pak, s prijezirom odbio Titov zahtjev za odvajanjem hrvatske katoli─?ke crkve od Vatikana i stvaranjem vlastite 'nacionalne' crkve s nadbiskupom na ─?elu.

On je na kraju odbio prodati se vlasti. Njegova je veli─?ina u tomu ┼íto je, bolje nego itko u poratnoj Jugoslaviji, prozreo svu zlo─çu Titova komunisti─?kog carstva. Stepinac je hrabro istupao protiv svih komunisti─?kih zlo─?ina: masovnih ubojstava stotina tisu─ça svojih hrvatskih politi─?kih protivnika; konfiskacija privatnog vlasni┼ítva; povratka centralizirane autokracije u┼ían─?ene u Beogradu i pod prevla┼í─çu Srba; kr┼íenja temeljnih ljudskih prava i demokratskih sloboda; protjerivanja 700.000 pripadnika njema─?ke manjine; uni┼ítenja hrvatskog gospodarstva i okoli┼ía i nametanje monolitne dr┼żavne vlasti nad medijima i naobrazbom.

Shvatio je kako je Jugoslavija genocidni projekt

Milovan ─?ilas, koji je tijekom ─?etrdesetih godina pro┼ílog stolje─ça bio Titova desna ruka, prije nego ┼íto se razo─?arao grubo┼í─çu i podmuklo┼í─çu re┼żima, kasnije je priznao da «mi komunisti nismo htjeli nikakvu oporbu».Stepinac je shvatio kako je Titova Jugoslavija genocidni projekt koji je htio iskorijeniti posebni hrvatski nacionalni identitet i kulturu pa je glavna o┼ítrica partizanskih nasrtaja bila kolijevka hrvatske civilizacije, katoli─?ka crkva. Upravo stoga su komunisti odmah pokrenuli veliku kampanju njezinog progona. Ubijene su stotine sve─çenika i redovnica, a crkvena imovina je konfiscirana. Brojne crkve pretvorene su u skladi┼íta i komunisti─?ke 'domove kulture'. Uvedena je obveza gra─Ĺanskog braka.

┼áto je najva┼żnije, naobrazba je oduzeta crkvi i dana u dr┼żavne ruke, ─?ime je jugoslavenskim vlastima omogu─çena sustavna indoktrinacija mlade┼żi. ┼ákole i mediji bile su glavna sredstva kojima su beogradske vlasti ispirale mozak hrvatskoj mlade┼żi. Posljedica su bila nara┼ítaji Hrvata koji su prezreli svoj identitet, uljudbu, povijest i vjeru.

Najja─?e oru┼żje ove protuhrvatske i protukatoli─?ke strategije bilo je prikazivanje Hrvata, koji su zagovarali nacionalnu nezavisnost, 'fa┼íistima' koji ┼żele o┼żivjeti Paveli─çevu NDH. Kao dio ove strategije Titovi komunisti morali su predstaviti katoli─?ku crkvu kao reakcionarnu, prousta┼íku organizaciju, sudionicu genocida i masovnih ubojstava. A Stepinac, kao najslavniji simbol hrvatske katoli─?ke crkve i hrvatske nacionalne stvari, morao je biti razapet.

Njegovo su─Ĺenje 1946. godine bilo je potpuna prijevara. Presuda «kriv je» donesena je jo┼í prije po─?etka su─Ĺenja. I sam ─?ilas priznao je kako Stepinac nije bio osu─Ĺen zbog navodne kolaboracije s NDH nego zbog oporbe Titu. «Zasigurno mu se ne bi sudilo zbog njegova pona┼íanja tijekom rata da se nije nastavio opirati novom komunisti─?kom re┼żimu», napisao je kasnije ─?ilas.

«Iskreno govore─çi, mislim, i ne samo ja, kako je Stepinac bio ─?astan ─?ovjek ─?vrste naravi kojega je nemogu─çe slomiti», rekao je ─?ilas 1956. godine. «On je bio doista nepravedno osu─Ĺen, ali u povijesti se ─?esto doga─Ĺalo da se ljude osudi zbog politi─?ke potrebe».

Stepinca je od u┼żasa smrtne kazne spasio samo njegov svjetski glas. Ali, nije ga spasio od te┼íkog su┼żanjstva, a kasnije i ku─çnog pritvora i unutra┼ínjeg izgnanstva u rodnom selu Kra┼íi─çu. ┼átovi┼íe, ima novih dokaza kako ga je Titova tajna policija postupno trovala.

Stepin─?eva vizija Hrvatske

Stvarna Stepin─?eva tragedija nije to ┼íto je stradao i umro za svoj narod i vjeru. To je du┼żnost svih vjernih kr┼í─çana. Nije ni istina da su hrvatski mediji i diplomacija slabi u obrani ovog velikog ─?ovjeka protiv propagandne bujice iz Beograda, srpskog lobija u Washingtonu i njegovih pla─çenika u najmo─çnijim ameri─?kim medijima.

Ne, prava tragedija je da mnogi Hrvati, osobito oni s Mesi─ç-Ra─?an-Pusi─çkine ljevice doista vjeruju u brojne la┼żi koje su re─?ene o Stepincu. One su proizvod desetlje─ça komunisti─?kog socijalnog in┼żenjeringa. I dok je Titova Jugoslavija mo┼żda doista mrtva, oni i dalje dijele mnoge njezine te┼żnje i predrasude. Za ove tvrde ljevi─?are, katoli─?ka crkva, sa svojim protivljenjem poba─?aju, eutanaziji, homoseksualnim brakovima i spolnoj razuzdanosti i dalje je reakcionarna snaga koju treba ukloniti. Oni i dalje opravdavaju brojne komunisti─?ke zlo─?ine, i dalje ismijavaju hrvatsko domoljublje i postojanje zasebnog nacionalnog identiteta, i dalje do┼żivljavaju sebe kao 'antifa┼íiste' ustrajavaju─çi na titoisti─?kom mitu kako u Hrvatskoj «usta┼ía viri iza svakog busa».
Jednom rije─?ju, zadr┼żali su rasisti─?ki stav samoporicanja i mr┼żnje koji su im usadili njihovi biv┼íi komunisti─?ki u─?itelji. Oni doista misle da biti pravi i ponosni Hrvat zna─?i biti neka vrsta fa┼íista. Stoga je njihov politi─?ki program detu─Ĺmanizacija i dekroatizacija zemlje te uklanjanje njezinog nacionalnog znakovlja i sadr┼żaja. Nadaju se da ─çe Hrvatska ponovno uroniti u jo┼í jedan internacionalisti─?ki projekt, zvao se on europska socijalisti─?ka naddr┼żava ili obnovljena balkanska unija.

Stepin─?evo trajno naslije─Ĺe je njegova druk─?ija vizija Hrvatske. On je znao da su Bog, domovina i obitelj temeljne ustanove pravedna dru┼ítva. Vidio je zla totalitarizma i imperijalizma. Zagovarao je demokratsku i nezavisnu Hrvatsku, ukorijenjenu u svojoj katoli─?koj ba┼ítini i zasnovanu na ljudskim pravima, dru┼ítvenoj pravdi i ustavnom suverenitetu. Stepinac je bio izraz onog najboljeg u Hrvatskoj – Hrvatskoj seljaka i duhovnika, pjesnika i vladara, junaka i kraljeva, znanstvenika i filozofa. Njegova Hrvatska nije Hrvatska kriminalaca, beski─?menjaka i jeftinih propagandista; nije bila ni komunisti─?ki crvena, ni fa┼íisti─?ki crna. Prije – demokratski i domoljubno kao snijeg bijela i ─?ista.

Upravo ova njegova pobu─Ĺuju─ça vizija, kao i dosljedna obrana ─?ovjekove slobode, suo─?ene s nezamislivim strahotama, ─?ine Stepinca jednim od divova 20. stolje─ça. On je hrvatski svetac.

(Jeffrey T. Kuhner direktor je komunikacija u Ripon Societyju (, uglednoj analiti─?koj skupini ('think tanku') ameri─?ke Republikanske stranke, sa sjedi┼ítem u Washingtonu u SAD-u. Redovni je komentator Washington Timesa. Ovaj esej je prilago─Ĺeni izvadak njegove knjige Fatalni stisak: hrvatsko-srpski sukob u 20. stolje─çu, koja je u pripremi. Gosp. Kuhner posebno zahvaljuje gospo─Ĺi Danici Ramljak na njezinoj dragocjenoj pomo─çi u pisanju ovog ─?lanka.)


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