By Branko Bokun

Praeger Publishers

Library of Congress # 72-93184


In April 1941, Yugoslavia was invaded by Germany and her allies.

With the surrender, a new State of Croatia was formed.

The Ustashi, a band of [Roman] Catholic fanatics, backed by the clergy, decided to eliminate all non-Catholics in Croatia.

Orthodox Serbs, Jews and Gypsies - men, women or children - were slaughtered in their thousands. One morning, inside the Orthodox Church in the village of Glina, seven hundred Serbs were brutally massacred.

This diary begins in Belgrade in June 1941, when the author is sent to Rome, with a file containing evidence of the Catholic Church's responsibility for the Ustashi's Crimes. The object of the mission was to persuade the Vatican to end the atrocities in Croatia. He describes his meetings with various members of the Vatican hierarchy, which culminated in an audience with Pope Pius XII. He stayed in Rome for the rest of the war.

Rome, a city with a history of occupation and liberation, and the Vatican, a web of intrigue for centuries, were hotbeds of treachery and double-dealing during thc war. The diary is a chronicle of wartime politicking as seen from below. From below it is possible to view the war as a tragi-comedy, a tragi-comedy in which fear plays the main part.

This tragi-comedy was particularly in evidence from 25 July to 8 September 1943, between the fall of Mussoiini and the capitulation of Italy. This period of forty-five days is seen as a unique chapter in history, a chapter of grotesque chaos. The Allies were playing parochial politics with the fate of Italy and Europe and the lives of millions, soldiers included.