Down to the Wire: Just $4,822 left to match to win our Challenge Grant. Your gift will still be doubled!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Holy See’s apostolic visitor intervened on behalf of Croatian Jews in WWII

Catholic World News - August 10, 2011

In the months following the April 1941 establishment of the fascist Ustashe regime in Croatia, the Holy See sent an apostolic visitor who subsequently intervened on behalf of Jews, L’Osservatore Romano reported on August 10.

The Holy See instructed Abbot Giuseppe Ramiro Marcone, who governed the Italian territorial abbey of Montevergine from 1918 until his death in 1952, to “endeavor to avoid official contact with the governing authorities, in such a way that his mission be, and appear to be, in accordance with the desires of the Holy See, of a strictly religious nature … Particularly, the Most Reverend Prelate will advise and support Monsignor Stepinac and the Episcopate in combating the evil influence of neo-pagan propaganda which could be exercised in the organization of the new state.” (Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac, later beatified by Blessed John Paul II, was Archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia’s capital.)

The following year, as Croatian Jews were detained in concentration camps and ordered to report to trains to Auschwitz, Abbot Marcone was able to secure the release of Jews who were married to Catholics. “Abbot Marcone then took it upon himself to organize the transport of a small group of Jewish children--among whom was the son of the Chief Rabbi of Zagreb--through Hungary and Romania to safety in neutral Turkey,” L’Osservatore Romano reported.

Chief Rabbi Miroslav Freiberger of Zagreb expressed his gratitude to Pope Pius XII:

Full of respect, I dare come before the throne of Your Holiness to express, as Grand Rabbi of Zagreb and spiritual head of the Jews in Croatia, my most profound gratitude, and that of my congregation for the goodness, without limits, that the representatives of the Holy See and the heads of the Church have shown to our poor brothers.

Despite Blessed Stepinac’s efforts to secure Freiberger’s release, the chief rabbi was murdered at Auschwitz in 1943.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($52,302 to go):
$150,000.00 $97,698.13
35% 65%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Defender - Aug. 10, 2011 6:55 PM ET USA

    Saving just one Jewish person is enought to be honored as Righteous among the Nations, so why is there the slightest hesitation concerning Pope Pius XII?

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The gift of orthodoxy: A mercy and a challenge to mercy November 26
Getting Marriage Right November 25
O Earthly Lord, vouchsafe to us high speed Internet. November 25
No 'Francis effect' in Strasbourg November 25
What Pope Francis told European Parliament, and what Pope John Paul II said November 25

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25