From: Easton & Levy, attorneys, News for Immediate Release

June 1, 2000 News for Immediate Release

Franciscan Monks Accused of Funding Ethnic Cleansing, Then and Now

A lawsuit filed in federal Court in San Francisco and served on the Franciscan Province of Santa Barbara in Oakland, California. Alperin v. Vatican Bank and Franciscans OFM accuses the Croatian Franciscans OFM of Word War II atrocities including leading pogroms against Serbs and Jews, burning Serbs alive in their churches, and providing commanders for Croatian-Nazi concentration camps. This little known but shameful period in the history of Roman Catholic Church took place during World War II Yugoslavia and is well documented by both Yugoslav and independent American sources.

Declassified CIA documents, a 1998 US State Department Report, and the 1998 book "Unholy Trinity" by Mark Aaarons and John Loftus tell a story that begins with the end of World War II with a cadre of Franciscan monks hiding Nazi war criminals in the Vatican and providing passports for escape to South America along the infamous Vatican "ratlines" whose beneficiaries included the mass murderers Eichman, Barbie, Artukovic and Pavelic along with thousands of lesser known Nazis. John Loftus a former Nazi hunter for the US government is serving as expert witness for the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit in its Second Amended complaint filed May 11, 2000 in San Francisco focuses on the post war financial aspects of the Vatican Bank and Franciscan OFM alleging that these organizations acted as a conduit not only for war criminals to escape justice but for the flow of hundreds of million of dollars in loot and gold taken by the Croatian Nazis during their reign of terror 1941-1945 from Serbs, Jews, Roma, and others. At one point the chief treasurer for the Franciscans served as one of heads of a fugitive Nazi smuggling ring based in Rome The lawsuit alleges the Croatian Franciscans engaged in far ranging crimes including genocide, funding the reestablishment of the Croatian Nazi movement in South America in the 1950’s, and setting up a false religious shrine in Medjugorgje, Bosnia in 1981 to bilk pilgrims of funds.. The funds from Medjugorje were then combined with the remnants of the Croatian Nazi Treasury to fund a second round of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Kraijina in the 1990’s.

For more information about the lawsuit see:

or contact:

Jonathan Levy