Open main menu

Krunoslav Draganović

Krunoslav Stjepan Draganović (30 October 1903 – 3 June 1983) was a Croatian Roman Catholic priest associated with the ratlines which aided the escape of Ustaše war criminals from Europe after World War II while he was living and working at the College of St. Jerome in Rome.[1]

Krunoslav Draganović
Krunoslav Draganović.jpg
Krunoslav Stjepan Draganović

(1903-10-30)30 October 1903
Died3 June 1983(1983-06-03) (aged 79)
OccupationRoman Catholic priest and historian
Headed the Confraternity of San Girolamo ratline


Early lifeEdit

Draganović was born in Matići, Austro-Hungary (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 1 July 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).[citation needed]

In 1935 he returned to Bosnia, initially as secretary to Bishop Ivan Šarić.

World War II and RatlinesEdit

Draganović was a Ustashe lieutenant-colonel and the vice chief of the Bureau of Colonization.[3] He oversaw confiscation of Serb property in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[3] He was the Jasenovac concentration camp military chaplain for some time until Aloysius Stepinac sent him in mid-1943 to Rome as the second unofficial Ustashe representative.[3] Arriving in Rome in August 1943, Draganović 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 to have been instrumental in the escape to Argentina of the Croatian wartime dictator Ante Pavelić.[4]

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." [5]

Draganović was 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 Ustashe, which was responsible for the deaths of between 330,000 and 390,000 Orthodox Serbs and about 32,000 Jews.[6]

Draganović was accused of laundering the Ustaše's treasure of jewellery and other items stolen from war victims in Croatia.[7] In 2002, declassified CIA documents revealed that Draganović worked as a spy for the CIA from 1959–62 for the purposes of gathering intelligence on the Communist but non-aligned regime of Yugoslavia, at the time headed by Tito. His employment with the CIA was eventually terminated as he was considered to be unreliable.[clarification needed][8]

In 1945, Draganović printed his Mali hrvatski kalendar za godinu 1945 (Small Croatian Calendar for the year 1945) in Rome for Croatian emigrants.[9]

Return to YugoslaviaEdit

Some mystery surrounds Draganović's later defection to Yugoslavia. After World War II he lived in Italy and Austria gathering evidence of communist crimes committed in Yugoslavia. He was wanted by Yugoslavia's Department of State Security (UDBA). The UDBA held Draganović for 42 days in Belgrade and after 42 days of investigation, Draganović appeared 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. Draganović spent his last years in Sarajevo updating the general register of the Roman Catholic Church in Yugoslavia, and died in June 1983 in Sarajevo.[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 alsoEdit

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


  1. ^ "Press Release". Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Sažetak". Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b c David M. Crowe (2013). Crimes of State Past and Present: Government-Sponsored Atrocities and International Legal Responses. Routledge. pp. 72–. ISBN 978-1-317-98682-9.
  4. ^ "The Fate of the Wartime Ustasha Treasury" (PDF). U.S. State Department. June 1998. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  5. ^ Mark Falcoff, Peron's Nazi Ties, Time, 9 November 1998, vol 152, n°19
  6. ^ "Press Release". Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "More CIA Records Opened Under Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act",, May 2002; accessed 1 January 2016.
  9. ^ Berislav Jandrić, Saveznički izbjeglički logori, počeci otpora hrvatske političke emigracije komunističkom režimu u domovini (logor Fermo), 1945. Razdjelnica hrvatske povijesti. Zagreb, p. 313


  • Anderson, Scott & Anderson, John Lee, Inside the League: The Shocking Expose of How Terrorists, Nazis, and Latin American Death Squads Have Infiltrated the World Anti-Communist League. Dodd Mead, 1986, ISBN 0396085172
  • 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 linksEdit