Lest We Forget the Victims: The Catholic Church’s Complicity in the Croatian, Argentine and Rwandan Atrocities

Open Tabernacle blog

June 18, 2019

By Betty Clermont

On June 2, Pope Francis completed his visit to a third Balkan country this year and the sixth in that region during his pontificate, but not Croatia. Since his election, the pope has also traveled to ten Latin American nations but not Argentina, and three in Africa but not Rwanda.

Nevertheless, the millions who were tortured and killed must not be forgotten.


During World War II, Jasenovac was the third largest concentration camp in Europe by number of victims. It was operated by the German-allied and Catholic Ustaša government “whose sadistic cruelty outdid Nazi tortures,” as noted by the Jasenovac and Holocaust Memorial Foundation.

The Holocaust Education and Research Team wrote about Jasnovac:

Here the most varied forms of torture were used. Finger and toe nails were pulled out with metal instruments, eyes were dug out with specially constructed hooks, people were blinded by having needles stuck in their eyes, flesh was cut and then salted.

People were also flayed, had their noses, ears and tongues cut off with wire cutters, and had awls stuck in their hearts. Daughters were raped in front of their mothers; sons were tortured in front of their fathers.

The prisoners had their throats cut by the Ustaša with specially designed knives, or they were killed with axes, mallets and hammers; they were also shot, or they were hung from trees or light poles. Some were burned alive in hot furnaces, boiled in cauldrons, or drowned in the River Sava.

“The acts of violence and depravity committed in Jasenovac were so brutal that General von Horstenau, Hitler’s representative in Zagreb, wrote: ‘The Ustaša camps in the NDH are the Epitome of horror!’” stated the Holocaust Research Project.

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