The Vatican, as the open protectors of Fascist Nazi Croatia and other extreme right-wing dictatorships of Europe, with the collapse of the Fascist World, became the secretive helper of those who were buried under the ruins of the Hitlerian Empire.
After the main actors of the Nazi regime, following the Nuremberg Trial, were executed by the victorious Allies, thousands of minor war criminals took cover under the protective wings of the Catholic Church.
Many sought refuge, literally in convents, monasteries, seminaries or other religious and semi-religious institutions. Catholic authorities acted mostly in the name of "Christian" charity or on humanitarian grounds, as many of them had already done with the Jews, when these were persecuted by the Nazis.
Others, however helped the fleeing war criminals, for purely ideological motives. Amongst these not only heads of Catholic institutions, but also Bishops, and indeed even Cardinals. Because of the latter, many important war criminals, those who had prominently assisted the Vatican to set up the Catholic satrapies of Croatia or Slovakia, were welcomed within the walls of Vatican City itself.
The result of such "hospitality" was that in no time Vatican City became overcrowded with "guests" whose main concern appeared to be not piety, but an obvious anxiety to avoid identification. Thanks to the tacit cooperation of the Vatican authorities, the "guests" obtained practical immunity from any official or semi-official investigation. Even then, curiosity of newsmen or of nosey anti-Fascist organizations and individuals, were carefully avoided and successfully shunned.
The Vatican campaign of protective secretiveness was maintained, owing to the fact that Vatican City was considered a sovereign state. This was also due to the fact that many of the victorious Allies did not wish to antagonize the Pope, whose notorious past had become part of recent history in his relationship with the Nazi regime.
The immunity given by the Vatican offered the best hope for many war criminals, who had been officially branded as such, from falling into the hands of the Allies. Since the protection of the Vatican offered the best guarantee of avoiding arrest and prosecution, the number of those seeking protection augmented until the secretive corridors of the Vatican could no longer contain them.
Many therefore were given Roman abodes or were placed with Catholic families where they could live undetected; protected as they were by the discretion of their hosts, all pious Catholics, or if not pious, at least eager for the money thus paid them by clergy charged with their welfare.
The discreet patronage of the local parishes and busy monsignori going to and from the Vatican offices, and the even more discreet mobilization of Catholic institutes, soon accommodated very large numbers of "refugees" feverishly seeking concealment.
Vatican City meanwhile became a veritable beehive of bureaucratic operations, mostly centered upon paperwork. Birth certificates, visas, passports, and similar other such documentations were manufactured, prepared, and delivered with professional efficiency.
Even more important such documents were "activated" with such proficiency as to defy the most scrupulous scrutiny on the part of any over-zealous official at the sundry frontiers of the victorious Allies.
The efficiency of such false documents astonished the authorities and the Allies themselves. It soon became an industry, even outside the Vatican walls. The explanation of course was a simple one.
First of all the Allies, or rather certain departments of the Allies, had issued discreet instructions that certain passports, even if of a suspicious nature, should not be over-scrutinized. The instructions were tacitly followed. This resulted in thousands of minor officially branded war criminals escaping the official net.
Thousands managed to flee to the South American Republics, to Australia and even to the USA itself. The influx of "wanted refugees" in those countries became such a controversial issue that it affected the relationship of various Allied governments when it became obvious that there had been put in operation a general policy directed at saving fleeing war criminals from Europe.
The suspicions had been anything but baseless. The policy had been made to operate since the collapse of Nazi Germany. And, curiously enough, it had been conceived by none other than certain sections of the USA Intelligence. The CIA at that time did not yet exist, but the equivalent of its predecessor did; certain elements within were already making preparation for a forthcoming war against the Soviet Union. Hence the discreet help to potential recruits for a potential USA-Allies invasion of the Russian provinces, as we shall see presently.
The success of the joint policies of the Vatican and the USA, directed at the concealment and escape of thousands of war criminals, was due also the fact that secretive gates had been created across the frontiers, with that specific purpose. Frontier officials had been briefed with the task of "detecting and protecting" individuals holding "specific" documents; that is false papers, visas and sundry documents, beginning with phony passports.
These, if and when recognized as false by officials not in the know, were made to become "positive." In other words, certain officials were authorized to accept them as "officially" genuine, thus permitting their holders to enter into the various countries of destination which included the USA.
Such general travesty would have been impossible had it been left exclusively to the various "false documentation" factories of Europe, beginning with those based in Italy, starting with that of the Vatican.
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