CIA Lawsuit Shows Vatican Orchestration of Serbian Genocide

By Greg Szymanski, JD
Feb. 16, 2009

California attorney Jon Levy has appeared on my radio show many times over the years, providing factual information contained in CIA files and court documents of the Vatican’s clear-cut connection to the post World War II genocide in Croatia.

The information Levy provides is staggering, including a succesful lawsuit against the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act, showing a high-level Vatican priest’s actions as a double agent with connections to the Ustashi fascist military in Croatia responsible along with the Fransiscan Order’s assistance in brutally killing more than 800,000 non-Catholic Serbs, Romas and Jews.

Through deposition testimony recently taken in the case of Alperin v. Vatican Bank, filed in San Francisco, former CIA agent William Gowen verifies the Vatican’s role in money laundering gold stolen in the horrible genocide while fingering Vatican priest. Fr. Krunoslav Draganovic.

Further, Levy won a recent lawsuit to obtain information showing the Vatican connection to the genocide. Here is some of the information the lawsuit produced about Fr. Krunoslav Draganovic:

Krunoslav Draganovic:
The “Scarlet Pimpernel” of numerous fugitive war criminals and arguably the most important Ustase leader after 1945. From Rome, he supervised the “Ratline” which rescued most Ustase political leaders from arrest and transported them to countries which offered fascists a safe haven.

Studied theology after a higher education in Sarajevo and Vienna, later becoming professor of the subject at Zagreb University. Also studied at the Papal Oriental Institute in Rome. After working at Vatican Archives, became secretary to Archbishop of Sarajevo Ivan Saric, a virulent Croat nationalist and early supporter of the Ustase. After formation of the Independent State of Croatia, became an officer in the Ustase as well as a priest, and participated in brutal cleansing operations against Serbs in the Kozara region. As a high official in the Ministry for Internal Colonization, responsible for seizing assets of murdered or expelled Serbs, Jews and Roma and reallocating land among Croat and Muslim settlers in Bosnia as well as Slovene settlers purged from the enlarged German Reich.

Sent to Rome as representative of the Croatian Red Cross in 1943, probably to hedge against the fall of the NDH. Provided additional introductions to senior Vatican contacts by Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac, including Pope Pius XII. In 1945 was secretary of the Croatian Institute at the College of San Girolamo degli Illrici in Rome. With protection of college head Monsignor Juraj Magjerec and Pope Pius XII, turned San Girolamo into waystation and hiding place for fugitive Ustase, including Ante Pavelic and other members of the Ustase inner-circle (one document, so far uncorroborated, alludes to several officials of the Serbian, Montenegrin and Albanian puppet regimes granted sanctuary there as well). Kept Pavelic in Italy for two years before the latter’s flight to Argentina. In the Summer of 1947, Draganovic was approached by agents of the Counter Intelligence Corp’s Austrian branch to perform the same duties for American assets, including former Gestapo Chief of Lyon Klaus Barbie. Funded and organized former Ustase as “Krizari” (Crusaders), making terrorist raids into Yugoslavia until 1947. Believed to have participated in the shepherding away the Ustase treasury of gold looted from their victims, which has never been found.

Askect to leave San Girolamo in October of 1958, several months later Draganovic was approached again by US intelligence with an offer of employment. Was on payroll of US Army until 1962, and alleged to also be employed as an agent by British intelligence, the KGB and possibly Communist Yugoslavia as well.

Dropped as Army agent in 1962 “with prejudice, for security reasons and lack of control.” On November 15, 1967, appeared at a press conference in Belgrade denouncing the Ustase and praising Tito and Yugoslavia. Ustase groups alleged he was kidnapped, but Draganovic indicated he crossed the border of his own free will in one of the most puzzling enigmas of the Ustase’s history. Lived quietly and free of persecution at a monastery near Sarajevo until his death in 1983.


US Army File: Rome Area Allied Command to CIC
August 8, 1945: Mention of “San Gerolamo” as a Haven for Ustase in Rome Just a Few Months After VE-Day
Alleged Vatican Protection of Jugoslav War Criminals
July 12, 1946: Reference to a number of Nazi-allied figures taking sanctuary in San Girolamo

US Army File: Dr. DRAGANOVIC’ Krunoslav
Unknown: Information on Draganovic, Austria, Pavelic, the Vatican and the Krizari

US Army File: Background Material on Krunoslav Draganovic
October 10, 1946: One of the first and most crucial extant files tracing Krunoslav Draganovic’s role in the Ratline

CIA File: Organization of the Ustase Abroad
October 1946: Krunoslav Draganovic mentioned as one of the chief Ustase operatives in post-war Europe

US Army File: CIC Memorandum from Agent Gowen
January 22, 1947: Investigation of Ante Pavelic’s Vatican Sanctuary; First Appearance of Draganovic by Name in the Army Dossier

CIA File: Background Report on Krunoslav Draganovic
February 12, 1947: CIC Special Agent Robert Clayton Mudd’s background report on Draganovic’s activities

CIA File: Documentary Evidence of Krunoslav Draganovic’s Ustase Activity
September 5, 1947: CIC Agent Mudd’s report citing evidence of Draganovic’s role in the Ratline, sent without results to his superiors

US Army File: Memorandum by Agent William Gowen
September 12, 1947: “…any extradition of Subject would deal a staggering blow to the Roman Catholic Church”

CIA File: The “Alter Ego” of Ante Pavelic
November 26, 1947: A second intelligence report, this time stating Mudd’s earlier allegations as fact

CIA File: The Croatian Resistance Movement
June 14, 1948: CIA report on the organization and internal dynamics of the Krizari

US Army File: Rat Line from Austria to South America
July 12, 1948: Crucial memo from the CIC in Austria, written by the man who formed the Ratline with Krunoslav Draganovic’s assistance

News: Yugoslavs Try Fifty as Spies
July 13, 1948: News account of the Yugoslav trials of captured Krizari, mentioning Draganovic

US Army File: History of the Italian Rat Line
April 10, 1950: Comprehensive history of the Nazi smuggling program and Krunoslav Draganovic’s role

CIA File: Reported Arrival of Ante Pavelic in Argentina
December 2, 1948: Draganovic assists Pavelic’s final escape from Italy

CIA File: Franjo Cvijic and the Ustase Treasury
June 17, 1949: Report on movements of NDH bank president Franjo Cvijic and his expected emigration to Argentina, courtesy Draganovic

CIA File: CIA Internal Memo
October 16, 1950: Mentions Krunoslav Draganovic’s relations with Pavelic, Macek and other Croatian leaders

CIA File: Notes from the Foreign Language Press
November 8, 1950: Newspaper reports on Krunoslav Draganovic and Dragutin Kamber’s wartime record

CIA File: “An Uncompromising and Dangerous Extremist”
July 24, 1952: Overview of Fr. Krunoslav Draganovic’s activity from 1943 to 1952

CIA File: Irregular Activity of Krunoslav Draganovic
October 1, 1953: Report, possibly intercepted, of Krunoslav Draganovic’s alleged corruption

CIA File: Attempt to Penetrate US Guard Companies
December 10, 1954: Summary of report detailing attempts by Krunoslav Draganovic to infiltrate US guard companies in Central Europe

CIA File: Dismissal of Krunoslav Draganovic from San Girolamo
November 19, 1958: Document outlining circumstances behind Draganovic’s departure from the former nerve center of the Ratline

CIA File: Summary of Activities of the SILC
November 20, 1958: Summary of the unidentified SILC, with reference to Krunoslav Draganovic’s activities in Italy in 1944

CIA File: Request for Info, SETAF Verona
April 13, 1959: American intelligence in Verona’s request for all documents relating to Krunoslav Draganovic

CIA File: CIC Reply to SETAF Verona
April 16, 1959: The CIC responds with an extensive description of Draganovic’s Nazi-smuggling activities. Verona never mentions it again.

CIA File: The Re-Recruitment of Krunoslav Draganovic
May 2, 1959: US Army intelligence makes contact once again with Father Krunoslav Draganovic

CIA File: Report by Senior Agent “SARDI”
May 29, 1959: A senior agent, codenamed SARDI, finds glaring holes in Draganovic’s story in this report

CIA File: Krunoslav Draganovic’s Pay Records from US Intelligence, 1959-1960
May 1959-July 1960: Expense sheets from American asset DYNAMO, aka Father Krunoslav Draganovic

CIA File: The Doctor Fabiano Statement
July 8, 1959: Signed statement by Krunoslav Draganovic to sign for all money with a code-name

CIA File: Dottore DYNAMO
c. July 8, 1959: Linked with the “Doctor Fabiano statement,” reveals another Draganovic alias in negotiations with American agents

CIA File: SETAF 41 Bona Fides for Krunoslav Draganovic
ca. September 1959: Instructions for agents on methods to establish contact with Krunoslav Draganovic

CIA File: Termination Files of Krunoslav Draganovic
February 7, 1962: Files under Krunoslav Draganovic’s three codenames, detailing reasons for his termination from US intelligence

News: Priest, Termed War Criminal, Back in Yugoslavia
November 11, 1967: First confirmation in the press of Draganovic’s defection back to Yugoslavia

CIA File: State Department File on Krunoslav Draganovic
January 9, 1968: Summary of Draganovic’s public ‘career’ a few months after his defection to Yugoslavia

CIA File: DOJ/OSI Investigation of Klaus Barbie
1983: First admission of the existence of the Ratline and Krunoslav Draganovic’s role as a ‘prime mover’

News Excerpt: The Return of Bolivia’s Blood-Stained Dictator
1997: Draganovic and the Butcher of Lyons, Klaus Barbie

News Excerpt: Peron’s Bloody Ties
November 9, 1998: Krunoslav Draganovic and Argentina, the Last Redoubt of Nazism

News Excerpt: A Vow of Silence
March 30, 1998: “Did Gold Stolen by Croatian Fascists Reach the Vatican?”


Essay: The Return of the Golden Priest
The Verona Reports and the Second Recruitment of Krunoslav Draganovic, 1959
Exhibition: Top Secret
A Guide to Ante Pavelic’s Army File

Essay: The Lawsuit Against the Vatican and the CIA
An Overview of Draganovic’s Role as a Part of American – and Possibly Yugoslav – Intelligence

Here is some information from the Return of The Golden Priest:


In early October 1958, the Vatican Secretary of State ordered Father Krunoslav Draganovic to vacate the Catholic College of San Girolamo, the base from which the man dubbed the “Golden Priest” had overseen an intense and far-ranging Nazi-smuggling operation in the decade following World War II. [1.]

Nine years later, Draganovic appeared at a press conference in Yugoslavia itself. The defection (often referred to as a “kidnapping” by Draganovic’s former supporters) was a bombshell. In a coup for the communist regime, Draganovic praised his Communist hosts and denounced those he had given (and taken) so much to help – the Ustase. [2.]

The nine years between Draganovic’s dismissal and his defection to Yugoslavia have often been considered lost. Information that could be gleaned from declassified government documents, released in the aftermath of the Klaus Barbie scandal [3.] was scarce and elliptical after 1950. There was evidence that Draganovic’s employment as an intelligence asset had been terminated as late as 1962, but no way to discern the extent of the priest’s involvement through the late 1950s and ’60s.

However, in 2001, lawyers for the Central Intelligence Agency settled Levy vs. CIA, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Attorney Jonathan Levy seeking the declassification of US Army and CIA files relating to Krunoslav Draganovic. As a result, a dossier of new documents was approved for release, most of them dating from 1959 and 1960. [4.]

The reason why these documents were not released earlier, and why it took a lawsuit to secure them, may be inferred from their content. A series of reports by US intelligence agents in Verona reveal that within months of his termination from San Girolamo by the Vatican, Draganovic was “re-recruited” by a new generation of American agents in Italy. This is shocking; it is also verifiably true.

The first recruitment of Draganovic in 1947 as “one of the prime movers” in the “disposal rat-line” [5.] was indicative of the depths of immorality to which US intelligence had sunk to in the post-war years. Draganovic was an Ustase official as well as a priest; in the peculiar phrasing of the man responsible for his first recruitment, a “Fascist, war criminal, etc.” [6.] The existence of the Ratline and Draganovic’s part in it was confirmed by the United States government in 1983. [7.] But until the “Verona Reports” were declassified, little was known of the attempt by US intelligence agents in 1959 to bring their chief operative in that program back into the fold.

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