News: Victor Gutic's Visit to Petricevac
The following text (translated in the style it was written) appeared in the Hrvatska Krajina newspaper on May 16, 1941, describing the visit of Victor Gutic, the Ustase stozernik (headquarters commander) in the area of Banja Luka, to the Franciscan monastery at Petricevac. Before the friars, he begs forgiveness from God if during the "prearranged, well-calculated plan" to "cleanse Croatia of unwanted elements," he may "overstep the narrow bounds of religious morals and ethics." On May 27, 1941 - eleven days later - Gutic ordered Ustase under his command to seize the Orthodox Bishop of Banja Luka, gouge out his eyes, cut off his nose and ears and then ignite a fire on his chest before finally putting the poor man out of his misery (Paris, Genocide in Satellite Croatia, p. 80). Gutic was also one of the first Ustase officials to be publically quoted elucidating the plan for "cleansing" (ciscenje) Croatia of "unwanted elements" - before an audience of Franciscan friars, as reported below.


At the entrance the guests were welcomed by reverend father guardian Fra Jozo, along with former guardian and dean Fra Alfonso Kudric and other friars, among whom young, veteran associates of the Stozernik stand out - fighters for Croatian freedom, who have sit venia verbo sinned a little and against blind penance, identified faith with nationalism, and entered the struggle side-by-side with the current Stozernik, who a month ago received approbation and dispensation [aprobaciju i dispens] from the bottom of the heart of their old man Fra Jozo, himself eager to fight, a well-known zealot and Croatian fighter.

Passing under the marvelously decorated arched gateway, ornamented by Croatian flags, the Stozernik and the entire escort were taken into the reception room, as these formalities represent for us Bosnians a characteristic intimacy, revealing kindred spirits and the vigor of intellectual friendship. The customary "treat" is not forgotten, which is how the visit should end - but, completely sympathetic and intolerant of objections and delays, guardian Fra Jozo directed the entire company to the dinning room, the same one where for the last two decades numerous Croatian fighters have been fed, which can pride itself on often serving even our current Stozernik, Dr. Viktor Gutic, who, by breaking the obstacles of the reactionary police laws directed only against Croats, inspired generations of young priests by his ideas, sometimes perhaps even with the disapproval of the old-fashioned elders, he whose ideas may be skeptically viewed by many, but by his merit brought about the realization the loftiest ideal of every honest Croat.

Contrary to the rule that the achievement of an ideal is accompanied by a certain disappointment, not a single honest Croat was or could have been disappointed by the realization of a Free Croatia, but feel a justified hope growing in the imminent organization and progress of the entire state apparatus...

And again the "derogation" of blind penance, breaking of the house rules, now not only by sympathetic young friars, but by the representative of the convent himself, that laws, let alone house rules, are not eternal, but adjusting them to the rhythm of life is the smartest thing to do, he ignored the very noticeable tablet with a sign "Silentium" and with a passionate and very cordial speech he greeted the Stozernik Dr. Viktor Gutic in repose at the honorary seat, evoking the memories of the activities of the Franciscans in the national struggle from the time of the creation of their Order, and then spoke about the struggle during the last two decades and pointed out the qualities and virtues of the protagonist of that struggle, the current Stozernik Dr. Viktor Gutic. Although his activities in all fields of national work could be described only in rough descriptions, the Stozernik with his proverbial modesty rejected all merits, attributed everything to God's Providence and the conscience of our Nation, passed over all personal insults, and intrigued by the early unanimity of all Croats he appealed to unity even in the future, as the only guarantee of progress of our dear Croatian homeland...

Like an angel with a sword of fire the Stozernik Dr. Gutic raised his previously low voice and declared emphatically:

"Every Croat who today solicits for our enemies not only is not a good Croat, but also an opponent and disrupter of the prearranged, well-calculated plan for cleansing our Croatia of unwanted elements..." [unaprijed smisljenog, dobro proracunatog plana za ciscenje nase Hrvatske od nezeljenih elemenata...] He appealed to the mercy of the Lord to forgive him if during his patriotic labours he sometimes overstep the narrow bounds of religious morals and ethics, knowing well that God's Majesty is in his great strictness, but also in his greatest goodness and mercy, who will approve the struggle for the preservation of independence of the distressed, but faithful-to-God Croatian people...


:: filing information ::
Title: News: Victor Gutic's Visit to Petricevac
Source: Hrvatska Krajina, May 16, 1941. Quoted in Novak, Viktor. Magnum Crimen, pp. 704-705 (First Edition, Zagreb). Translated by Sinisa Djuric.
Date: May 16, 1941 Added: February 19, 2004
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