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Krunoslav Draganović

Krunoslav Stjepan Draganović (born 30 October 1903, Brčko, Austria-Hungary, died 3 June 1983, Sarajevo) was a Croatian Roman Catholic priest and historian. He is associated with the ratlines which aided the escape of Ustasa war criminals from Europe after World War II while he was living and working at the College of St. Jerome in Rome.[1]


Draganović was from Travnik (now part of Bosnia and Herzegovina). He attended secondary school in Travnik and studied theology and philosophy in Sarajevo. Draganović was ordained a priest on July 1, 1928.[2] From 1932-35 he studied at the Papal Oriental Institute and the Jesuit Gregorian University in Rome. In 1935 he submitted his German language doctoral dissertation Massenübertritte von Katholiken zur Orthodoxie im kroatischen Sprachgebiet zur Zeit der Türkenherrschaft (Mass conversions of Catholics to Orthodoxy in the Croatian-speaking area during the Turkish rule).

In 1935 he returned to Bosnia, initially as secretary to Bishop Ivan Šarić. In August 1943 Draganović returned to Rome, where he became secretary of the Croatian 'Confraternity of San Girolamo', based at the monastery of San Girolamo degli Illirici in Via Tomacelli. This monastery became the centre of operations for the Croat ratline, as documented by CIA surveillance files. He is believed[by whom?] to have been instrumental in the escape to Argentina of the Croatian wartime dictator Ante Pavelić. Asked by Klaus Barbie why he was going out of his way to help him escape to Juan Peron's Argentina, he responded: "We have to maintain a sort of moral reserve on which we can draw in the future." [3]

Draganović was a controversial and mysterious figure, who is central to many allegations involving the Vatican Bank, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Nazi Party. Declassified CIA documents confirm that Draganović was a member of the Ustaše, a far-right Nazi-affiliated Croatian fascist organisation that was given control of Croatia by the Axis powers in 1941 which was responsible for the deaths of between 330,000 and 390,000 orthodox Serbs and about 32,000 Jews.[4] Draganović has been accused of laundering the Ustaše's treasure of jewelry and other items stolen from war victims in Croatia.[5] In 2002, declassified CIA documents revealed that Draganović worked as a spy for the CIA from 1959-1962 for the purposes of gathering intelligence on the Communist but non-aligned regime of Yugoslavia, at the time headed by Josip Broz Tito. His employment with the CIA was eventually terminated because he was considered to be unreliable.[6]

In 1945 Draganović printed his Mali hrvatski kalendar za godinu 1945 (Small Croatian Calendar for the year 1945) in Rome for Croatian emigrants.[7] But perhaps the greatest mystery surrounds Draganović's later defection to Josip Broz Tito's Yugoslavia. After World War II he lived in Italy and Austria gathering evidence of communist crimes committed in Yugoslavia. Because of that he was wanted by the Department of State Security (UDBA). The UDBA held Draganović for 42 days in Belgrade and after 42 days of investigation he turned up in Sarajevo and gave a press conference on 15 November 1967 at which he praised the "democratisation and humanising of life" under Tito. He denied the claims made by the Croatian diaspora press that he had been kidnapped or entrapped by the UDBA Yugoslav secret police.[citation needed]

Draganović spent his last years in Sarajevo updating the general register of the Roman Catholic Church in Yugoslavia, and died in June 1983.[citation needed]


  • Izvješće fra Tome Ivkovića, biskupa skradinskog, iz godine 1630. (1933)
  • Izvješće apostolskog vizitatora Petra Masarechija o prilikama katoličkog naroda u Bugarskoj, Srbiji, Srijemu, Slavoniji i Bosni g. 1623. i 1624. (1937)
  • Hrvati i Herceg-Bosna (1940)
  • Hrvatske biskupije. Sadašnjost kroz prizmu prošlosti (1943)
  • Katalog katoličkih župa u BH u XVII. vijeku (1944)
  • Povijest Crkve u Hrvatskoj (1944)
  • Opći šematizam Katoličke crkve u Jugoslaviji (1975)
  • Katarina Kosača – Bosanska kraljica (1978)
  • Komušina i Kondžilo (1981)
  • Masovni prijelazi katolika na pravoslavlje hrvatskog govornog područja u vrijeme vladavine Turaka (1991)

See also

  • Ratlines for more details and references on Draganović escape-route activities.


  1.; Robert Ventresca, Soldier of Christ, p.259; Michael Phayer, Pius XII, the Holocaust and the Cold War, p.220-221; Norman J. W. Goda, The Ustasa, Murder & Genocide, in U.S.Intelligence and the Nazis, CUP 2005
  2. Prof. Krunoslav Stjepan Draganović (1903-1983)
  3. Mark Falcoff, Peron's Nazi Ties, Time magazine, November 9, 1998, vol 152, n°19
  5. J. Navarro Vals about Ante Pavelić's treasure, the Vatican Bank and the national Catholic Church of Croatia in Rome, St Jerome of the Illyrians pagg.100-101, Eric Salerno, Mossad base Italia: le azioni, gli intrighi, le verità nascoste, Il Saggiatore 2010.
  6. More CIA Records Opened Under Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act
  7. Berislav Jandrić, Saveznički izbjeglički logori, počeci otpora hrvatske političke emigracije komunističkom režimu u domovini (logor Fermo), 1945. Razdjelnica hrvatske povijesti. Zagreb, p. 313)


  • Mark Aarons and John Loftus, Unholy Trinity: The Vatican, The Nazis, and the Swiss Bankers, St Martins Press 1991 (revised 1998)
  • Uki Goñi: The Real Odessa: Smuggling the Nazis to Perón's Argentina (Granta Books, 2002, ISBN 1-86207-581-6)
  • Eric Salerno, Mossad base Italia: le azioni, gli intrighi, le verità nascoste, Il Saggiatore 2010. (Italian text)

External links

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