|Sažetak (engleski)|| |
The theme of this work is the trial of Aloysius Stepinac, the Archbishop of Zagreb, who was unjustly convicted of treason and collaboration with the Ustaše regime after the Second World War. In the light of the recent debates about Stepinac being cannonized as a saint, it is important to understand his role in the Croatian history, before, during and after the Second World War. Stepinac was elected as the Archbishop of Zagreb in 1937, at the time when the communist regime was already stabilised in the Soviet Union, nacism and fascism had established control in a large part of Europe, and the Second World War soon began. The Catholic Church, at the time of such a turmoil, had no choice but to condemn communism whose stances on religion had openly been anti-Catholic. As most of the Church members at that time, Stepinac too was falsely mistaken for a fascist because of his rejection of communism, but he has always worked in favour of the people, and did not judge anyone according to their race, religion or nationality. After the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) was established in 1941, Stepinac condemned the state's crimes against those of different religion, and has continued with his humanitarian work. However, after the war and the establishment of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia, Stepinac was soon accused of collaborating with the Ustaše regime by the new Yugoslav government. Having had the choice to flee the country, Stepinac chose to stay, as his conscience was clear and calm. He continued to speak out against the injusticies of the new government, that soon began to make changes which were in clear violation of the Catholic Church. That, along with his refusal to accept the separation from the Holy See, resulted in a mock trial against Stepinac. Today we know that the trial was full of irregularities. Defense witnesses were not included in the procedure, while prosecution witnesses testimonies were not relevant to the case. The court was aware that some of the documents containing Stepinac's alleged crimes were forged, but it did not influence its decision to sentence him to 16 years in prison. It is possible to conclude that the trial was just a show for the audience, while the real decision regarding Stepinac's imprisonment was made by the Yugoslav government even before the trial began.