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Open Letter to Pope on Ustasha Treasury

Open Letter to Pope on Ustasha Treasury

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Letter to the Pope regarding the Word War Two Ustasha Tresury and the Vatican Bank
Letter to the Pope regarding the Word War Two Ustasha Tresury and the Vatican Bank

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Dr. Jonathan Levy, PhD on Jan 22, 2014
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02/10/2014

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Attorneys & So
li
c
i
tors 1629 K Street NW Suite 300 Washington DC 20006 USA Tel/Fax 1-202-318-2406 chambers@brimstoneandcompany.com www.brimstoneandcompany.com 
January 20, 2014 His Holiness, Pope Francis Apostolic Palace 00120 Vatican City State Re: IOR Accounts and the Matter of the Ustasha Treasury Your Holiness: We are encouraged by the recent openness of the Vatican regarding the affairs of the IOR - Istituto per le Opere di Religione. However, there can be no true reconciliation of accounts without first addressing the historic case of the Ustasha Treasury. I represent several organizations and individuals in Europe and North America who are either Second World War survivors or descendents of victims or whose membership includes either survivors or descendents of Second World War victims and have an organizational interest in the Ustasha Treasury or legal claim thereto. Among the organizations I represent are the Jasenovac Research Institute, Republik Srpska Krajina in Exile, Jasenovac Memorial Centre of Belgrade, and the Independent Council of Serbian Roma. The Ustasha Treasury refers to particular events in 1946 involving the transfer of funds and assets of the defunct Independent State of Croatia (1941-1945) to various proxy accounts at the IOR. Over the past few years we have unsuccessfully tried to make contact with Cardinal Nicora and Mr. Bruelhart at the AIF as well as Mr. Lena who I know quite well from the lawsuit
 Alperin v. Vatican Bank 
, Alfred Moses at Promontory Group and Mr. von Freyburg at the IOR to no avail on a very long standing dispute we would like to resolve. Mr. Bruelhart and Mr. Moses did
 
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acknowledge receipt of my correspondence but nothing has come of it. I am now writing to you in hopes of avoiding yet more litigation and frustration. We are not requesting any specific remedy at this time; only that the IOR come to the realization that they must begin to deal with this matter in good faith. The individuals responsible for the acts committed in connection with the Ustasha Treasury by and large are deceased and their legacies well established. It is not our intention to vilify or tarnish reputations but to obtain closure for our clients and in that way bring about understanding and reconciliation to former Yugoslavia and peace to the victims and their families. At this point before we list the rather long winded details of the matter I want to express my hope that Your Holiness may take a personal interest in this matter. As in all disputes, there are extreme views on both sides. However, surely the issue of Second World War assets that were held at the IOR through accounts can finally be discussed 70 years later without acrimony? I have been working on this case since 1998 and have never lost my sense someday closure would be  possible. This is an offer to compromise our dispute with the IOR about the Ustasha Treasury and related allegations of money laundering. We have repeatedly requested the IOR and AIF begin to process our complaint about not only the historic but potentially ongoing money laundering of the Second World War era assets
commonly known as the “Ustasha Treasury” which consists of loote
d assets taken in violation of international and domestic laws. This request includes the retained remainders and the profits and unjust enrichment derived from the Ustasha Treasury by certain account holders at the IOR.
“Looted Assets”
 is defined as, but not limited to, any and all personal, commercial, real, and/or intangible property, including cash, securities, silver, gold, jewelry, businesses assets, art masterpieces, equipment, collectibles, religious items, livestock, communal and intellectual property, that was illegally and/or improperly taken from the ownership or control of an individual, organization or entity, by means including, but not limited to, theft, forced transfer, ransom and exploitation, during the period of April 1941 through May 1945 by any person, organization or entity acting on behalf of, or in furtherance of the acts of, the Ustasha Regime, its officials, agents or related entities, in connection with crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes against peace, genocide, or any other violations of fundamental human rights. The Ministry of Colonization of the Ustasha Regime carried out much of the
institutional looting. The Ministry’s mission was to ethnically cleanse regions of
 
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Serbs and Roma, liquidate their belongings for the benefit of the Ustasha Treasury and redistribute land to Croats, Muslims, and Volksdeutch. For example in the regions of Kozara and Prosara, in 1942 alone, grain and cattle worth over 100 million Kuna were confiscated from Serbs who had either fled in well founded fear of their lives, been summarily executed, or were sent to concentration camps. This was repeated nationwide as Serb regions were  plundered; livestock were driven to central locations like the fairgrounds at the Croatian town of Hrvatska Dubica and sold, the funds being deposited in the Ustasha treasury. Jews were treated similarly, for example in the town of Bihac in 1941, Jews were rounded up, their belongings expropriated by agents of Ustasha Regime and transported to Ustasha Treasury in Zagreb by rail. The property of Jews was meticulously documented and disposed of by branches of the Ustasha State Treasury Department for the benefit of the Ustasha Regime and addition to the Ustasha Treasury. The Croatian State Archives currently contains specific documentation of this stolen property including 20,000 dossiers, one for each Jewish family, including property declarations listing both moveable and immovable assets. Of particular interest to the Ustasha Regime were items of gold. A ransom of 1004 kilos of gold items was collected from the Jewish community of Zagreb alone by the Ustasha Regime in 1941. The Jewish Community of Zagreb eventually was dispossessed of 82 bags of gold items, 19 boxes of jewelry and diamonds, four boxes of pearl necklaces, six bags of gold coins, 1 bag of cast gold, and various foreign currency. This extortion from Jews was repeated throughout Croatia by the agents of the Ustasha Regime until the Jews were eventually murdered. Only 20% of the prewar Jewish population survived the Ustasha persecutions either by being named honorary Aryans by Pavelic or through the intervention of Italian military units stationed within the Ustasha
Regime’s territory or nearby.
 Organized robbing of Roma (Gypsies) began in as early as April 1941 and was in full swing by 1942. The agents of the Ustasha Regime in 1942 alone confiscated 200,000 gold coins, millions of banknotes, and various jewelry and clothing from the Roma. The Independent Council of Gypsies in Serbia has collected over one thousand claims from its members regarding Ustasha looting. Typical items looted included: gold crucifixes, rings and icons, gold and silver ducats (the ducat was the trade coin of central and eastern Europe), and livestock. The valuable items taken from Roma were shipped directly to the
Ustasha Regime’s repositories in Zagreb and the other items sold and then
transferred as cash to Zagreb and the Ustasha Treasury. The Ustasha Regime maintained a strict policy towards diversion of looted property for personal use.

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