, Lives Saved - The Truth About Pius XII & the Jews
In it I argue that Catholics, and in particular Pope Pius XII (), did in fact respond to the Nazi Many thought this peace initiative to be premature, as Hitler considered it pointless. .. Pius XII goes on to quote St Ignatius the Martyr: . 'On October 15,, at a meeting with Ernst Woermann, director of the Political. The public statements of Pope Pius XII on the Holocaust, or lack thereof, are one of the most Some of Pius XII's defenders have contested whether he was silent, while others have instead argued that to speak .. Blet's article does not quote any particular statements of Pius XII, although it does include numerous quotes of . Exposing the Myth of Pius XII's 'Silence' William Doino gives us a glowing review at crucial points in his narrative, uses selective and out-of-context quotations, .. a face-to-face meeting with Hitler -- and that Orsenigo did so, provoking Hitler .
No one who heard the Pontifical document read in church had any illusion about the gravity of these statements or their significance. Certainly the Nazis understood their importance.
- Pope Pius XII, Hitler, and the Jewish people
German printers who had made copies were arrested and the presses were seized. Those convicted of distributing the encyclical were arrested, the Church-affiliated publications which ran the encyclical were banned, and payments due to the Church from the Government were reduced. Vatican Secretary of State, Eugenio Pacelli the future Pope Pius XIIrebuffed German protests, noting that the German government had not been cooperative in the past when the Vatican complained about the various matters including the Nazis treatment of Jews.
For the Soul of the People: Protestant Protest Against Hitler. Oxford University Press US. The Pope worked through papal nuncios on the scene, public statements challenging Nazi beliefs, quiet negotiations for immigration, and stealth tactics of hiding Jewish refugees, baptizing when necessary, and issuing false papers.
Pius XII: War, peace and the Jewish question
This was, after all, occupied Europe with the Vatican existing on a few acres within an Axis state. Preserving Vatican neutrality, and the capability of the Church to continue to function where possible in occupied Europe and Nazi-allied states, was a far better strategy to save lives. Almagia had been at the University of Rome since but was dismissed after Benito Mussolini's anti-semitic legislation of Pius XII turned the Vatican into a centre of aid which he organized from various parts of the world.
At the request of the Pope, an information office for prisoners of war and refugees operated in the Vatican under Giovanni Battista Montini, which in the years of its existence from until received almost 10 million 9, information requests and produced over 11 million 11, answers about missing persons. In his first encyclical Summi Pontificatus 20 OctoberPius rejected anti-semitism, stating that in the Catholic Church there is "neither Gentile nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision.
Wartheland, the incubator for Hitler's persecution of the Catholic Church Hilter usually created incubator experiments before he went full out on any evil scheme. He did many gas chamber experiments before going full scale, and he also created a model for his conquest over the Catholic Church. The Wartheland area was not only the mass extermination of Jews, but was also an experimental area for Hitler to eliminate Christianity.
Churches would be reduced to corporations, only adults could join, Catholics were cut off from the Holy See.
Minimum age for marriage was 28 for men 25 for women. It was government controlled, with Gestapo regulation of worship times.
More than half the 2, pre-war clergy in the Warhteland had been imprisoned, deported, or expelled, priests incarcerated nuns interned. Over were either killed, imprisoned or put in concentration camps. Three polish bishops died in concentration camps. All Catholic clubs, organizations, were dissolved, all cultural, charitable and social organizations abolished, no longer a Catholic press or bookstore.
Mere words against these persecutions had no effect, they just caused greater ill treatment. The lesson was that strong words from the pulpit meant only more suffering for those in need of help.
Whenever protests were made, treatment of prisoners worsened immediately. Robert Kempner, the American who served as deputy chief of the Nuremberg war-crimes tribunal, wrote: There was only one leader of a neutral government who was trusted by the German resistance: Josef Mueller, leading lawyer and Catholic to travel to the Vatican to broker a peace agreement between Britain and anti Nazi Germans.
The Pope accepted and news of it helped build the resistance in Germany. Oster and Dohnanyi were members of German intelligence, and inducted Mueller into the organization to justify the frequent trips to Rome.
Mueller then set up a chain of communication through Robert Leiber, long time private secretary and confidant to Pius XII, in order to avoid suspicion. Mueller also brought messages to Pius from sources inside Germany concerning military plans and movements. Pius forwarded these warnings to the threatened governments. Unfortunately the information was credible and the German resistance did not get backing.
The Germans threatened reprisals if broadcasts like this continue. In Pius asked members of the clergy, on Vatican letterhead, to do whatever they could on behalf of interned Jews. When Mussolini learned of warnings and telegrams of sympathy to the Queen of the Netherlands, the King of Belgium, and the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, he took them as a personal affront and had his ambassador to the Vatican file an official protest, charging that Pius XII had taken sides against Italy's ally Germany.
Mussolini's foreign minister claimed that Pius XII was "ready to let himself be deported to a concentration camp, rather than do anything against his conscience.
Public statements of Pope Pius XII on the Holocaust
During that meeting, The German Foreign Minister suggested to the Pope an overall settlement between the Vatican and the Reich government in exchange for the Pope instructing the German Bishops to refrain from political criticism of the German government, but no agreement was reached. The Vatican diplomatic record of the meeting describes what transpired as follows: He Ribbentrop answered that at the bottom it is a question of a revolution and that compared with other revolutions the National Socialist Revolution has not caused grave harm to the churches.
To which the Pope replied that in reality there had been many injuries - and he continued to point out examples.
Ribbentrop underlined that the State spends a great deal for the clergy and the Church. The Pope replied that a great deal has been taken away from the Church, houses, institutions of education - kicking out the legitimate owners malo modo in a few hours."Hitler's Pope": Pius XII did too little too save the Jews from the Holocaust
The Holy Father insisted particularly on the schools. After delays, Orsenigo is summoned to Berchtesgaden where Hitler receives him. The meeting observes the diplomatic amenities until Orsenigo brings up "the Jewish question. Indeed, after this incident, Hitler, who often raged against the Pope to his henchmen for protecting Jews, conceived a plot—fortunately never realized--to kidnap Pius XII from the Vatican to Germany. The Slovakian charge d'affaires, told Pius that Slovakian Jews were being sent to concentration camps.
The Vatican protested to the Slovak government that it "deplore s these They want to destroy the Church and crush it like a toad.
All Polish [Catholic] intelligentsia must be exterminated. This sounds cruel, but such is the law of life If any priest acts differently, we will make short work of him. The task of the priest is to keep the Poles quiet, stupid and dull-witted. Thousands of polish priests were sent to concentration camps, 2, died there.
The primate of Poland was exiled and was forbidden to return. The German Ambassador said he was an enemy of the state. The Priester-Block priests barracks in the Dachau concentration camp lists 2, Roman Catholic priests. August 6, New York Times headline: August 27, New York Times: Pope Pius [objections] Ignored.
Ten million copies of a pamphlet attacking "the present pro-Jewish Pope," whose actions have caused "a lack of confidence in him in the Catholic world," were published and distributed by the Nazi Propaganda Minister. October 11, Times of London editorial reports: He condemns the worship of force and its concrete manifestation in the suppression of national liberties and the persecution of the Jewish race.
The New York Times editorial December 25, was specific: He is about the only ruler left on the Continent of Europe who dares to raise his voice at all. It is true, the Pope does not refer to the National Socialists in Germany by name, but his speech is one long attack on everything we stand for. On February 19, Vatican Radio condemns deportations and forced labor, saying "the curse of God" will fall on those who do these things to human beings. Despite ongoing Nazi reprisals, Vatican Radio continued to broadcast defiant words like this, reported in the New York Times on June 27, Moreover, it insists on the dignity of the individual whom God created, in his own image, and for a decade has vigorously protested against the cruel persecution of the Jews as a violation of God's Tabernacle.
This was especially difficult, because Polish nuns in German-occupied areas were often persecuted and forced into hiding themselves. In a small town near Mir, Poland, the Nazis executed 12 nuns in one day for suspicion of harboring Jews. Nuns who lived in Soviet-occupied areas did not have it much better. They were sent to work for the Soviets, in areas as far away as Siberia. As such, the courage of the priests and nuns who provided shelter to Jewish people was truly admirable.
On 26 Septemberfollowing the German occupation of northern Italy, Nazi officials gave Jewish leaders in Rome 36 hours to produce 50 kilograms of gold or the equivalent threatening to take hostages.
The Vatican offered to loan 15 kilos, but the offer proved unnecessary when the Jews received an extension. June 2,Pope addresses the College of Cardinals: German and Italian newspapers report the talk but omit the Pope's reference to race. Vatican Radio in a broadcast to France: A few days later it broadcasts to Germany a defense of Yugoslav Jews: The Gestapo seizes Jews in Rome.
Pius vigorously protests to German authorities. The Germans refuse to release those already seized, but stop additional mass round-ups.
Approximately eighty-five percent of Roman Jews escape the Nazis, many finding refuge in Church buildings Pius had ordered opened to shelter them.
October 17, New York Times headline: Eighty percent of Roman Jews were saved from deportation. President Roosevelt wrote on August 3,to Myron C. The nuncio issued at least 15, protection letters to Hungarian Jews and providing them with baptismal certificates.
As the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, he vehemently protested several times to the Hungarian Governments against the Jewish Deportations.
Pope Pius XII
He retired from diplomacy in and was recognized as Righteous among the Nations by Yad Vashem in The Pope also ordered Rotta and other papal legates to hide and shelter Jews. These protests, along with others from the King of Sweden, the International Red Cross, the United States, and Britain led to the cessation of deportations on 8 July Also inPius appealed to 13 Latin American governments to accept "emergency passports", although it also took the intervention of the U.
State Department for those countries to honor the documents. We appeal to your noble feelings, in the full trust that Your Serene Highness will do everything in your power to save many unfortunate people from further pain and sorrow. July 21, the World Jewish Congress writes to the Pope "gratefully conscious" of his "aid on behalf of sorely afflicted and menaced Jews in Hungary, which have been followed by offer of the Regent to secure release of certain categories of Jews particularly children.
His Holiness' efforts bring us new hope at the eleventh hour of saving from death the surviving remnants of decimated European Jewry. Tiso had been a priest in good standing. The Pope has this message sent to the Vatican's representative in Slovakia: Let him know also that these injustices committed under his Government damage the prestige of his country and that the adversary exploits them to discredit the clergy and the Church in the whole world.
It is time they were treated with justice and humanity. God wills it and the Church wills it. Paul tells us that the Jews are our brothers. Instead of being treated as strangers they should be welcomed as friends.
Even as total destruction is engulfing the Third Reich, fanatical Nazis continue to teach their children hatred of Christianity. On September 12, in Munich Gerda Bormann writes to her husband in Berlin—he is now probably the second most powerful Nazi in Germany— about her evening conversation with her children: Ten minutes ago another alert sounded in Munich. I explained all this to Eike and Gertrud.
Let's hope they grasped it. In SeptemberDr. Joseph Nathan—who represented the Hebrew Commission—stated "Above all, we acknowledge the Supreme Pontiff and the religious men and women who, executing the directives of the Holy Father, recognized the persecuted as their brothers and, with great abnegation, hastened to help them, disregarding the terrible dangers to which they were exposed.
Pius declares the unspeakable carnage of the war is from "the spirit of evil which sets itself in opposition to the Spirit of God. For those who have allowed themselves to be seduced by the advocates of violence, there is but one road to salvation: Montini, the director of Vatican rescue services who later became Pope Paul VI, to determine whether he would accept an award for his work on behalf of Jews during the war. He was extremely gratified and visibly touched by their words, but he declined the honor: Nobody deserves a medal for that.
The state concordats were necessary because the German federalist Weimar constitution gave the German states authority in the area of education and culture and thus diminished the authority of the churches in these areas; this diminution of church authority was a primary concern of the Vatican.
As Bavarian Nuncio, Pacelli negotiated successfully with the Bavarian authorities in and with Austria in A total of 16 concordats and treaties with European states had been concluded in the ten year period — The concordat was signed, by Pacelli for the Vatican and von Papen for Germany, on 20 July and ratified on 10 September Between andPacelli issued 55 protests of violations of the Reichskonkordat.
Numerous protests would follow over treatment of both the Jews and the direct persecution of the Church in Nazi Germany. Cornwell alleges that the 'quid pro quo' for Hitler's agreeing to grant the Vatican these rights and privileges was Pacelli's collaboration in the withdrawal of Catholics from political and social activity. The negotiations were conducted in secret by Pacelli, Kaas, and Hitler's deputy chancellor, Franz von Papenover the heads of German bishops and the faithful.
According to Cornwell, the German Catholic Church was not involved in the negotiations and had no say in the terms of the agreement. In the end, Hitler insisted that his signature on the concordat would depend on the Center Party's voting for the Enabling Actthe legislation that was to give him dictatorial powers.
Cornwell recounts that Kaas, chairman of the Center Party and a close associate of Pacelli, was the one who marshalled the votes of the party members to pass the Enabling Act. Next, Hitler insisted on the "voluntary" disbanding of the Center Party, the last truly parliamentary force in Germany.
Again, Cornwell alleges that Pacelli was the prime mover in the surrender of the Center Party. Cornwell asserts that the fact that the party voluntarily disbanded itself, rather than go down fighting, had a profound psychological effect which deprived Germany of the "last democratic focus of potential noncompliance and resistance".
The German bishops capitulated to Pacelli's policy of centralization, and German Catholic democrats found themselves politically leaderless. In the political vacuum created by its surrender, millions of Catholics joined the Nazi Party, believing that it had the support of the Pope. Thus, according to Cornwell, Pius XII facilitated the rise of Hitler first through the negotiation of the Reichskonkordat and subsequently through his passivity, silence and inaction, which ultimately condoned and enabled the Holocaust.
Rychlak in his book on the subject, Hitler, the War, and the Pope. Rychlak charged that this had been done deliberately in order to give the impression that Pius had just visited Hitler when, in fact, the photo had been taken in as Pius was leaving a reception held for German President Paul von Hindenburg.
Dalin also countered Cornwell. The Encyclopedia further assessed his role in aiding Jews during the Holocaust as follows: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism by Rychlak and Pacepa criticises Cornwell and suggests the basis for many allegations were leaks from the Soviets as an attempt to undermine Catholic influence and thus weaken it as an anti-Communist enemy.
Cornwell's later views[ edit ] According to a article in The EconomistCornwell's historical work has not always been "fair-minded" and Hitler's Pope specifically "lacked balance". The article goes on to state that Cornwell, "chastened", had admitted as much himself, in a later work, The Pontiff in Winter, citing the following quote as evidence: I would now argue, in the light of the debates and evidence following 'Hitler's Pope', that Pius XII had so little scope of action that it is impossible to judge the motives for his silence during the war, while Rome was under the heel of Mussolini and later occupied by the Germans But even if his prevarications and silences were performed with the best of intentions, he had an obligation in the postwar period to explain those actions.
While I believe with many commentators that the pope might have done more to help the plight of the Jews, I now feel, 10 years after the publication of my book, that his scope for action was severely limited and I am prepared to state this Nevertheless, due to his ineffectual and diplomatic language in respect of the Nazis and the Jews, I still believe that it was incumbent on him to explain his failure to speak out after the war.
This he never did. For this he considers Pacelli as effectively being in collusion with the Nazi cause, if not by intent.