Ante Pavelić: Wikis


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Ante Pavelić

In office
1943 – 1945
Prime Minister Nikola Mandić
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Office dissolved

In office
1941 – 1943
Monarch Aimone, Duke of Spoleto
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Nikola Mandić

Born July 14, 1889(1889-07-14)
Bradina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria-Hungary
Died December 28, 1959 (aged 70)
Madrid, Spain
Nationality Croatian
Political party Croatian Party of Rights,
Ustaše Party,
Croatian Liberation Movement
Spouse(s) Marija Pavelić (née Lovrenčević)
Occupation Politician, statesman
Profession Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholic

Ante Pavelić (14 July 1889 – 28 December 1959) was a Croatian fascist politician and Axis collaborator.[1] He ruled as Poglavnik[note 1] of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), a World War II puppet state of Nazi Germany in Axis-occupied Yugoslavia.[2] In the 1930s, he was a founding member and leader of the Croatian fascist[3] ultra-nationalist separatist movement, the Ustaše. In 1941, having been installed by the Axis occupation as leader of a Croat puppet state, he instituted a racial policy that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Yugoslav Serbs, Jews, and Roma in the NDH concentration camps, along with Croat political opponents and resistance members. At the end of the war, Pavelić escaped abroad. He died from wounds caused by an assassination attempt in Madrid on 28 December 1959.


Early life

Ante Pavelić was born in the small village of Bradina on the slopes of Ivan Mountain north of Konjic, and roughly 15 kilometers southwest of Hadžići, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His parents had moved to the Austro-Hungarian condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the southern Lika region of the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia (also a subdivison of Austria-Hungary). There they lived in the small town of Krivi Put, on the central part of the Velebit plain. In search of work, his family moved to a village outside Jajce. As an adult, Ante Pavelić decided to move to Zagreb to study law. An extremist even in his youth, Pavelić became a member of the organization known as the "Frankovci", whose founder, Josip Frank, was the father-in-law of Slavko Kvaternik, an Austro-Hungarian army officer.[4] Kvaternik had been a long-standing advocate of Croat separatism.

In 1919, Pavelić was the interim secretary of the Pure Party of Rights. In 1921, he was arrested, along with several other members of the party, but was released. Pavelić defended his fellow party members at their trial, but lost. He married Marija Lovrenčević - who through her mother's family was part Jewish - on August 12, 1922 in St. Mark's Church in Zagreb.[5]

Pavelić's quarrelsome nature was increasingly apparent in the years immediately after World War I, when he became involved in a succession of disputes with the Centralist Party and the Croat Peasant Party of Stjepan Radić. Pavelić was the sole representative of his Party in the Skupština (Yugoslav Parliament), but rarely attended sessions and, when he did, he occasionally indulged in a long harangue against some measure of which he did not approve.[6]

1920s and 1930s

In the early 1920s, Pavelić established contacts with Croat émigrés in Vienna and Budapest. Over the next few years he entered into close accord with the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization and, in 1927, defended Macedonians charged in Skopje with terrorist offences. Through his Viennese contacts, Pavelić established clandestine links with the Italian government, but he was less successful in attempting to forge similar links in Hungary, where Budapest authorities were wary of jeopardising relationships with other countries.[7][8][9]

In 1927, Pavelić was elected to the national assembly, having previously served on the municipal council of Zagreb. Pavelić was one of two elected on the Croatian Bloc's list, the other being Ante Trumbić.[10] Pavelić held the position of party secretary in the Party of Rights until 1929, the beginning of the royal government in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Shortly after the proclamation of the establishment of the government Alexander I of Yugoslavia in January 1929, Pavelić fled abroad and was subsequently sentenced to death in absentia in Belgrade for his part in anti-Serb demonstrations organized in Sofia by Bulgarian and Macedonian terrorists. Pavelić then co-founded the Ustaše extremist organization and went underground.

Pavelić and the Ustaše received support from Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who saw them as a means to help destroy Yugoslavia and expand Italian influence in the Adriatic. Mussolini allowed Pavelić to live in exile in Rome and train his paramilitaries for war with Yugoslavia. Pavelić would later cede parts of Dalmatia and some Adriatic islands to Italy in exchange for being allowed to take all of modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina into the NDH.

Ustaše training camps were set up in Italy and Hungary, chiefly at Brescia and Borgotaro in Italy and Jankapuszta in Hungary. In 1933, the Ustaše attempted an armed insurrection in Yugoslavia.[11][12] Armed by the Italians, the Ustaše attempted to invade the Yugoslavia by crossing the Adriatic sea in motorboats. This was unsuccessful but its lack of success probably was instrumental in the decision to assassinate King Alexander I of Yugoslavia. Two attempts were made, the last one successful, and Alexander was slain at Marseilles 9 October 1934 along with the French Foreign Minister, Louis Barthou.

The lack of armed protection afforded to the Yugoslav monarch, and the general laxity of security precautions when it was well-known that one attempt had already been made on Alexander's life, testify to Pavelić's organizational abilities; he had apparently been able to bribe a high official in the Sûreté General. The Prefect of Police of Marseilles, Jouhannaud, was subsequently removed from office.[13] For the second time, Pavelić was in abstentia sentenced to death, this time by a French court.

Ustaše regime

Adolf Hitler was not thrilled about putting fascists in charge of his puppet governments, so he did so only when there was no other option. This was the case with Croatia and Pavelić’s Ustashi government. Before he was ever leader of the Ustashi party, he was a young lawyer and leader in the Party of Rights (a Croatian nationalist party). It wasn’t until 1929 when he formed the Ustasha-Hrvatska Revolucionarna Organizacija (Insurgency-Croatian Revolutionary Organization, UHRO). In 1932 he wrote the charter of principles that outlined the plan for achieving an independent Croatia based on their ethnic identity and Catholic religion. This task would be the responsibility of an ustanak, or rather an armed insurgency, composed of the Croatian people, under the direction of the Ustashi.

Ethnic cleansing and land gain were at the center of the party's agenda. Pavelić believed that the new Croatian state should include most of Bosnia and all of Dalmatia. Pavelić and his party argued that Croatia had already defeated the nomads of the east and the Turkish Muslims. Their new objective was to rid the country of Eastern Slavs and communism. Around twenty-four concentration camps were set up in Croatia, the most deadly of them being at Jasenovac where Allied estimates prove that 750,000 Serbs, Jews and Gypsies were murdered. Pavelić did not consider Croatians to be Eastern or Slavic, but rather of a more Western and Gothic background. The party would use this idea later during the war to become closer to Nazi Germany. However, unlike the Nazis, who preached no escape or mercy for the Jews of Germany and other Central European powers, Pavelić originated a plan to spare Serbs and Bosnians who embraced Catholicism and were willing to convert he was quoted as saying "we shall convert one third, we shall kill one third and one third will leave willingly or unwillingly".

While Pavelić aligned himself and the party with more of an Italian fascist ideology, the Ustashi movement in Germany began to place more emphasis on race. This was most likely due to their close proximity to the National Socialists of Germany. On more than one occasion Hitler was reluctant to put Pavelić in power. The leadership role of Croatia after the German invasion was first offered to Vladko Maček, who was leader of the Peasant Party at the time. It was again offered to Macek in 1941 when Hitler considered replacing Pavelić. However, Macek refused both offers, leaving Pavelić in power. At the end of the war when Pavelić fled the country, more than 50,000 Croatian soldiers were murdered by the incoming communists.[14]

World War II

Ante Pavelić visiting Hitler at Berghof.
The personal standard of Ante Pavelić as Poglavnik of the Government from 1941 to 1943, and then as Poglavnik of the state from 1943 to 1945.

Pavelić remained in Italy until the beginning of World War II. In 1941, after the Axis powers had agreed to formation of the Independent State of Croatia, Pavelić returned to Zagreb and became leader of the State throughout its existence. In 1941, he visited Hitler in Berchtesgarten. As the leader of the State, he directly ordered, organized and conducted a campaign of terror against Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, and anti-fascist Croats. Pavelić's Ustaše regime was the most murderous, in relation to its size, in Axis-occupied Europe.[15][16] Numerous testimonies from the Nuremberg Trials, and in German, Italian and Austrian war archives, bear witness to bestialities perpetrated against the civilian population.[17]

Serbian, Jewish, and Gipsy men, women, and even children were literally hacked to death. Whole villages were razed to the ground and the people driven into barns to which the Ustaše set fire. General Edmund von Glaise-Horstenau reported to the OKW on 28 June 1941:

...according to reliable reports from countless German military and civil observers during the last few weeks the Ustaše have gone raging mad.

On 10 July, General Glaise-Horstenau added:

Our troops have to be mute witnesses of such events; it does not reflect well on their otherwise high reputation... I am frequently told that German occupation troops would finally have to intervene against Ustaše crimes. This may happen eventually. Right now, with the available forces, I could not ask for such action. Ad hoc intervention in individual cases could make the German Army look responsible for countless crimes which it could not prevent in the past.[18]

According to these testimonies, German officers themselves were dismayed by the atrocities committed by the Ustaše, to the extent that they occasionally intervened to stop the bloodshed (Jasenovac, 1941[19]), arrested one of the most notorious Ustaše (Friar Miroslav Filipović/Majstorović, Banja Luka, 1942) and disarmed an Ustaše detachment (Eastern Bosnia, 1942).
The regime declared in advance its intention to eliminate the Serbian population in NDH by killing one part, expelling a second part and converting the rest.[20] A Gestapo report to Himmler (17 February 1942) on increased Partisan activities stated that "Increased activity of the bands is chiefly due to atrocities carried out by Ustasha units in Croatia against the Orthodox population. The Ustashas committed their deeds in a bestial manner not only against males of conscript age, but especially against helpless old people, women and children. The number of the Orthodox that the Croats have massacred and sadistically tortured to death is over seven hundred thousand."

Pavelić's regime was not officially recognized by the Vatican, but the Church never condemned the genocide and forced conversions to Catholicism perpetrated by the Ustaše.[21] Soon after coming to power in April 1941, Pavelić was given a private audience in Rome by Pope Pius XII, an act for which the Pope was widely criticized.
Official policy against the Serbs was extermination, expulsion, and conversion to the Roman Catholicism. As to the Jews and Gypsies - the only policy was total annihilation of both. According to an official Yugoslav report, only 1,500 out of 30,000 Croatian Jews remained alive.[22] Approximately 26000 Gypsies were murdered by the Ustashi in the Independent State of Croatia.[23] There was approximately 40000 Gypsies living within the borders of the Independent State of Croatia. [24] A Yugoslav court ruled Pavelić responsible for approximately 700,000 deaths, though some historians and demographers believe that figure to be too high.


In May 1945, Pavelić fled from advancing Yugoslav Partisans, via Bleiburg, to Austria. After a few months, Pavelić moved to Rome, where he was hidden by members of the Roman Catholic Church (according to de-classified US Intelligence documents.)[25]

Six months after arriving in Rome, Pavelić fled to South America. Upon arriving in Argentina via the ratlines, he became a security advisor to Juan Perón.[26] Perón issued 34,000 visas to Croatians, including those who had been Nazi collaborators and had fled from the Allied advance.[26]

On 10 April 1957, the 16th anniversary of the founding of the Independent State of Croatia, the 67 year old Pavelić was shot and seriously wounded by an unknown assailant in Buenos Aires.[27] The shooting was generally attributed to Yugoslav intelligence. Despite having a bullet lodged in his spine, Pavelić elected not to be hospitalized.

Two weeks after the shooting, the Argentine authorities agreed to grant the Yugoslav government's request to extradite Pavelić, but he went into hiding before he could be extradited. Although there were reports that Pavelić had fled to Paraguay to work for the Stroessner regime, his whereabouts remained unknown until late 1959, when it was learned that he had been granted asylum in Spain. Pavelić died on December 28 1959, at the German hospital in Madrid, reportedly from complications due to the bullet in his spine.[28] Pavelić was buried in the San Isidro cemetery in Madrid.

See also


  1. ^ Poglavnik was a term coined by the Ustaše, and it was originally used as the title for the leader of the movement. In 1941 it was institutionalized in the NDH as the title of first the Prime Minister (1941-43), and then the Head-of-state (1943-45). It was at all times held by Ante Pavelić and became synonymous with him. The translation of the term varies. The root of the word is the Croatian and Serbo-Croatian word glava, meaning "head" (Po-glav(a)-nik). The more literal translation is "head-man", while "leader" captures more of the meaning of the term (in relation to the German Führer and Italian Duce).


  1. ^ "Ante Pavelic (Croatian nationalist)". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Accessed 11 November 2009.
  2. ^ "Independent State of Croatia". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Accessed 11 November 2009.
    • "Croatia". Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia. Accessed 11 November 2009.
    • "Yugoslavia". Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Accessed 11 November 2009.
  3. ^ "Ustasa (Croatian political movement)". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Accessed 11 November 2009.
  4. ^ War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: Occupation and Collaboration by Jozo Tomasevich, Stanford University Press 2001, page 417.
  5. ^ Nikad viđeni predmeti Ante Pavelića, Jutarnji List
  6. ^ Jasenovac - Donja Gradina: Industry of Death 1941-45
  7. ^ Srdja Trifkovic: Ustasha: Croatian Separatism and European Politics 1929-45, Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies (London 1998) pp41ff
  8. ^ Edmond Paris: Genocide in Satellite Croatia 1941-45, American Institute for Balkan Affairs (Chicago 1961) pp20-21
  9. ^ Jasenovac - Donja Gradina: Industry of Death 1941-45
  10. ^ Ante Pavelić: 1889-1959
  11. ^ "Croatia: between Europe and the Balkans" by William Bartlett, Routledge 2003 Page 18
    Croatian Party of Rights, had established a terrorist organization known as the Ustaše - Croatian Revolutionary Organization
  12. ^ "Organizing for Total War" by American Academy of Political and Social Science, Francis James Brown, American Academy of Political and Social Science 1942 Page 225
    As an interesting detail for the American public it may be reported that the terrorist organization Ustashe, paid by the Italians, was sending money to the ...
  13. ^ Headquarters Counter Intelligence Corps, Allied Forces Headquarters APO 512, January 30, 1947
  14. ^ A History of Fascism, 1914-1945, by Stanley G. Payne ... pages 405-411
  15. ^ Ladislaus Hory and Martin Broszat: Der Kroatische Ustascha-Staat, 1941-1945 Stuttgart, 1964
  16. ^ Edmond Paris: Genocide in Satellite Croatia, The American Institute for Balkan Affairs, 1525 West Diversey Parkway, Chicago, Illinois. Published in 1961, 1962, 1990 , Introduction
  17. ^ "All Or Nothing: The Axis and the Holocaust, 1941-1943" by Jonathan Steinberg Routledge 2002 Pages 29-30
  18. ^ The Ustasha - The Insurgents and the Swastika (Part IV)
  19. ^ See: Djuro Schwartz, "In the Jasenovac camps of death" (ג'ורו שווארץ, "במחנות המוות של יאסנובאץ".)
  20. ^ "For the rest - Serbs, Jews and Gypsies - we have three million bullets. We will kill one part of the Serbs, the other part we will resettle, and the remaining ones we will convert to the Catholic faith, and thus make Croats of them." Mile Budak, Minister of Education of Croatia, July 22, 1941 The Yugoslav Auschwitz and the Vatican, Vladimar Dedijer, Anriman-Verlag, Freiburg, Germany, 1988 p 130 See
  21. ^ Israel Gutman (ed.) Encyclopedia of the Holocaust vol 2, p.739
  22. ^
  23. ^ Genocide and Gross Human Rights Violations in Comparative Perspective: In Comparative PerspectiveBy Kurt Jonassohn, Karin Solveig Björnson Published by Transaction Publishers, 1998 ISBN 0765804174, 9780765804174 page 283
  24. ^ Yad Vashem Studies by Yad Vashem, rashut ha-zikaron la-Sho?ah ?ela-gevurah, Yad Vashem Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, 1990, page 49
  25. ^ Jasenovac - Donja Gradina: Industry of Death 1941-45
  26. ^ a b Yossi Melman, Tied up in the Rat Lines, Haaretz, 17 January 2006
  27. ^ "Yugoslav Rebel Shot in Argentina," Oakland Tribune, April 12, 1957, p3
  28. ^ "Ex-Puppet Premier of Croatia Dies," Nevada State Journal (Reno), January 3, 1960, p. 26.


  • Hermann Neubacher: Sonderauftrag Suedost 1940-1945, Bericht eines fliegendes Diplomaten, 2. durchgesehene Auflage, Goettingen 1956
  • Ladislaus Hory and Martin Broszat: Der Kroatische Ustascha-Staat, 1941-1945 Stuttgart, 1964
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, 1943 - Book of the year, page 215, Entry: Croatia
  • Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations, Europe, edition 1995, page 91, entry: Croatia
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica, Edition 1991, Macropedia, Vol. 29, page 1111.
  • Helen Fein: Accounting for Genocide - Victims and Survivors of the Holocaust, The Free Press, New York, Edition 1979, pages 102, 103.
  • Alfio Russo: Revoluzione in Jugoslavia, Roma 1944.
  • Ruth Mitchell: The Serbs Choose War, Doubleday, Doran, 1943, page 148
  • Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, vol. 2, p. 739.
  • Avro Manhattan: The Vatican's Holocaust, Ozark Books, 1986, page 48.
  • Edmond Paris: Genocide in Satellite Croatia, The American Institute for Balkan Affairs, 1525 West Diversey Parkway, Chicago, Illinois. Published in 1961, 1962, 1990
  • Cali Ruchala, Lord of the Danse Macabre: Ante Pavelic and the Independent State of Croatia, Degenerate Magazine © 1996
  • Stanley G. Payne, A History of Fascism: 1914-45, UCL Press Ltd. 1995, page 404-411

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