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Jewish Knight Defends Pius XII

May 20, 2010 – 7:09 pm213 Comments

Why would a Jew Open the Investigation of Pope Pius XII?

By Gary Krupp

The answer to this question lies in a series of events that moved our foundation to decide to confront this controversial subject and break the 47 – year old academic “log jam”. Being knighted to a Pontifical knighthood by first Pope John Paul II and then raised in rank by Pope Benedict XVI enables me to have certain levels of trust and access that very few have. My wife and I decided that we should use these unusual honors to enhance relations between Jews and Catholics and so we formed Pave the Way Foundation (PTWF). We have now expanded our work to all religions by identifying non theological obstacles between the faiths and initiating historic gestures. These projects create a fertile environment in which to move the religious leaders to act to end the malevolent use of religion for private agendas. Pius XII started 4 years ago with a request for help.

Meredith, and I were having lunch with the Apostolic Nuncio to Israel, Archbishop Antonio Franco in 2006. The Nuncio asked if we could intercede to address a very disturbing problem. He said the Holocaust Memorial of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem had placed a very hurtful and historically incorrect placard of remarks next to its portrait of Pope Pius XII.

Honestly, I grew up hating Pius XII, believing him to be an anti-Semite and a Nazi collaborator. So my wife and I shrugged off this request and felt we did not want to get involved. But then providence intervened.

Upon our return to New York we received a phone call from our friend, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik. Joe asked if we would help a Jewish author and former Washington Post correspondent, Dan Kurzman, gain access in the Vatican for his research on a book he was writing on Pope Pius XII. I told him that the mission of PTWF is to remove obstacles between the faiths and that I did not want to involve us in any activity that would negatively impact Catholic-Jewish relations. He asked us to meet with Mr. Kurzman anyway and we agreed to at least hear what he had to say.

On April 7, 2006 we met with Dan. He told us that he was writing a book about the secret plot to kidnap Pope Pius XII, to kill the Curia and to seize the Vatican. I asked him how could it be possible that a collaborator and ally of Hitler, Pius XII, would be the target of such a plan. He explained that the exact opposite was true.

Dan said his information was based on his research and a long interview with SS General Karl Wolff who had served as Chief of Personal Staff to the Reichsführer-SS (Heinrich Himmler) and SS Liaison Officer to Hitler. He had interviewed General Karl Wolff just after his release from prison in 1974.

This information about Pius XII was stunning. We are talking about the person who has been called “Hitler’s Pope”. This is the person about whom so many damning books have been written regarding his silence and cold-hearted lack of concern with Jewish suffering during World War II. This was what we were taught. We hated to even hear his name.

Then I called an historian friend at Yad Vashem and was told “Well, we heard something about this Plot to kill Pius but it only shows that Pacelli (Pius) was simply too frightened to act.” Somehow, through twisted logic, this assumption further supported their firm belief that the Pope supported Hitler. Something was dreadfully wrong here.

I then received a telephone call from the Vatican’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Archbishop Celestino Migliore. He told me that he thought I should meet with Sister Margherita Marchione in New Jersey.

Meredith and I drove to Sister Margehrita’s community in Morristown, NJ. We met with this engaging then 82-year-old nun who has written over 10 books in defense of Pope Pius XII. Through this meeting, my eyes were opened to a reality that was literally shocking. My emotions went from shock to anger. We discovered that we have been deceived by those whom we trusted for historical accuracy – that is, the scholars and historians.

As we delved further into the history of this papacy and the secret works of Pacelli, examining real documents and recording eyewitness testimony, we came to the conclusion that this subject had been totally mishandled. How did this happen and who was to blame?

It started with the fictitious play by Rolf Hochhuth called The Deputy. Following that, a flurry of books were written supporting negative theories of this papacy and era. We later discovered absolute proof that this play and its impact was a well-crafted plan called “Seat Twelve” hatched and implemented by the KGB against the Catholic Church. When defenders came to reestablish the good name of Pacelli, literally no one read these books, and so this “black legend” has lasted since 1963 and to us it appeared that this was an “academic logjam” that would never be resolved.

The negativity was further fueled by one nagging question: Why won’t the Vatican open the archives of the war years and the papacy of Pope Pius XII? The reason is that the Archives just completed the cataloguing of Pope Pius XI in 2007 and the 16 million documents of Pius XII are not catalogued yet. Pope Benedict XVI has ordered the number of archivists cataloguing these documents to be increased from three to twenty to hasten the opening. The Vatican Archives will be opened the moment the cataloguing has been completed.

In 2007 Pope Benedict XVI ordered the early opening of the archives of Pope Pius XI. Why? Because the Vatican had finally completed the cataloging and now scholars and historians could come and study at least 65% of Pacelli’s life as Nuncio to Germany and as Secretary of State under Pius XI, his predecessor. To my shock, I learned that the critics and institutions had not bothered to come to these open archives.

As we moved our investigation further, Monsignor Robert Sarno, of the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints, suggested that I meet with Father Peter Gumpel, Relator (High Judge) to the Cause of Pius XII and Father Paolo Molinari, Postulator to the Cause. I had the most revealing first meeting with Fr. Peter. He recommended that I contact William Doino, Dimitri Cavalli, and Professor Ronald Rychlak for more help. After contacting these scholarly experts and learning of their extraordinary personal research, I personally became committed to righting this terrible wrong.

After almost two years of private research, I made a case to the Board of Directors at PTWF and was given the “ok” to take on this project.

Not all board members were happy with this decision, but they agreed with the project, since we are simply retrieving documents and testimonies that could only help the legitimate historians. We did this with the full knowledge that we were opening a beehive of resentment, anger and painfully proving that the long held beliefs of most Catholics and Jews were simply wrong. Yet we knew that, in the furtherance of the mission of PTWF, we had no choice. PTWF’s goal and mission is to move to eliminate obstacles between the faiths, and this obstacle impacts over one billion people.

After personally conducting video interviews (which can all be viewed with original documents on our website), we were convinced that we were 100% correct in our assessment of Pacelli’s secret actions to save more Jews than all of the world’s political and religious leaders of the period combined.  There are perhaps 3 million Jews who are alive today because of his secret but direct intervention.

Personally, as a Jew, I was determined to make this history right, especially considering how Eugenio Pacelli had been treated after his death by the very people he acted in so many ways to save. This we consider a Jewish responsibility, not an attempt to defend the Roman Catholic Church.

In Judaism, one of the most important obligations is that of charity. According to Maimonides, one of the highest levels of charity is “anonymous”, where the recipient never became aware of who helped him. In the case of Pacelli, his anonymous charity is the very tool his critics have used to strip him of any credit for the acts he ordered by so many nuncios and priests, who were actually following papal instructions through a verbal chain of command. Those critics allowed and encouraged every negative accusation against Pacelli to endure. This is a “Shonda,” a Jewish shame, which I am determined to correct.

Gary Krupp is a Papal Knight – the seventh Jew in history to receive this title.  Last month, Gary Krupp had an audience with Pope Benedict XVI in relation to the wartime record of Pius XII.

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213 Comments »

  • frosh says:

    Hi Gary,

    Thank you very much for sharing your story.

    Given the wholesale destruction of Jewish communities and support for Nazism in Catholic areas (e.g. Croatia) during WWII, one must conclude that if Pius XII did try to counter Nazism, then he, and more poignantly, his office, is grossly overestimated in terms of its power.

    I’m curious as to why you think that Pius XII’s efforts were so ineffective.

  • GAry Krupp says:

    Through our research we learned how Eugenio Pacelli (Pius XII) despised Hitler, and vice versa, from Hitler’s very beginning and condemned him publically and privately. The archives show numerous documents proving this. In 1930 the German Bishops excommunicated anyone who joined the “Hitler Party” wore the uniform or flew the flag. To join the SS a candidate had to renounce Christianity to join the new order. The pope literally had no influence on the German military and was publicly made the subject of ridicule and disdain. The political leaders in Catholic many countries also in many cases responded negatively to papal requests especially when the Vatican asked these countries to accept Jewish refugees and they were denied. On July 26, 1942, the Archbishop of Utrecht made a powerful condemnation of the arrests and deportation of the Dutch Jews. The German response was to accelerate the arrests and to further punish the church by arresting the Jews who converted first. This was also a direct violation of the Concordat signed in 1933, which provided that Jews who converted would be considered Christian. This provision in the concordat enabled the church to save tens of thousands of Jews by giving them false baptismal papers.


  • Mr. Krupp, I commend you for doing something you believe to be right. However, I think that Pave the Way Foundation is presenting research in a way that is misleading. For instance, recently PTWF announced it found new documents showing the Church opposed the Nazis. This is a half truth, because even though it is true that the church had a ban on membership to the Nazi Party, and that those who persisted in becoming members of the party even after warning them were to be denied admission to the sacraments, the ban was in effect only until shortly after Hitler became chancellor in 1933 and after Cardinal Pacelli, then to become Pope Pius XII, made overtures to Hitler which led to the signing of the Reichskonkordat shortly afterwards. Pave The Way Foundation is not making this all-important point on timing clear, and I think it’s appropriate they are asked why. So, the Foundtion’s Mr. Hasemann is technically correct when he states, “The documents clearly show an ideological war between the Catholic Church and National Socialism already in the pre-war decade. The German bishops and the Roman Curia considered the Nazi doctrine not only as incompatible with the Christian faith, but also as hostile to the Church and dangerous to human morals, even more than Communism.” Again, this was true before 1933 when Hitler took power. After that, the German Catholic bishops said,
    “Without therefore departing from the condemnation of certain religious and moral errors voiced in our earlier measures, the episcopate believes it has ground for confidence that the general prohibitions and admonitions mentioned above need no longer be regarded as necessary.”
    Once the German bishops had lifted the ban, that opened the floodgates to membership in the party and millions of Catholic Germans joined. From that point onwards the growth of the party and the pursuit of its evil policies went on unimpeded. The Church never saw fit to clearly denounce these policies, not even once the nature and extent of the genocide those policies led to became clearly understood. And as opposed to the swift and generalized excommunication of all Communists in the world in one stroke, which the Church had no qualms to do after the war, the Church never threatened to excommunicate nor excommunicated any Catholics who were part of the genocidal rampage against the Jews. Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler, Bormann, and many others in the Nazi hierarchy died as Catholics.

    Sincerely,
    Gabriel Wilensky
    —————————————————————————————————
    Author
    Six Million Crucifixions:How Christian Teachings About Jews Paved the Road to the Holocaust
    http://www.SixMillionCrucifixions.com
    —————————————————————————————————

  • Mr. Wilensky,

    it is true that the ban was lifted after Hitler took over power, due to the fact that to keep it would mean to condemn a democratically elected government and therefore condemn the constitution of the Weimar Republic. Since the German Catholic Church experienced a “cultural war” with the Prussians just half a century before, they hesitated to repeat this devastating experience and suffer persecution again at that point in time when, on the other hand, Hitler offered a Concordate and everybody hoped that he would, once in power and controlled by the Weimar constitution, follow the laws.
    Although from the point of view of the post-war-generation and certainly in our opinion this was a severe mistake, it was still the only possibility to save the Church from an open persecution at that time and make it a safe haven for all others persecuted by the Nazis as well as, at a later point, the Anti-Nazi resistance.
     
    Only the Concordate “even with the devil, in order to save souls” (Pius XI) enabled the Catholic Church to survive the Nazi terror and support all in need, first of all the Jews.
     
    Still, the de facto-excommunication before 1933 shows clearly that the Church uncompromisingly opposed the Nazis from the very beginning instead of accepting them as a “lesser evil” or even an ally against Communism, as some authors claimed.  Therefore our research is not misleading at all, but correcting a popular error, spread by unscrupulous authors.
    You are absolutely wrong when you claim “the Church never saw fit to clearly denounce these policies”, since we have enough examples of German bishops, first of all von Galen, von Preysing and von Faulhaber, who, in hundreds of homilies, condemned the Nazi policy and racism. In unity and cooperation with these bishops, Pope Pius XI condemned the Nazi ideology in general in his encyclica “Mit brennender Sorge” (With burning worries) in 1937, only four years after the Nazis took over power (after Hitler, in 1933, pleaded: “Give me four years of time…”), the harshest text ever released by the Holy See in modern times to condemn a regime. 

    It is true that Pius XII, AFTER the war and the fall of the Nazi regime, used the same excommunication policy against the communists, to avoid a communist take over in Italy. Since the Communists never ruled this country, we do not know what would have happened in case they would form the government. 

    The Church condemned first of all the persecution of the Jews in Germany and Pacelli, as Cardinal Secretary of State, discussed the possibilities of a Papal “intervention against the danger of antisemitic excesses in Germany” (Suo intervento contra il pericolo di excessi antisemitici in Germania”) as early as April 4, 1933, in the very first month of Hitler’s dictatorship (after the “Ermaechtigungsgesetz”). On April 13, 1938, in a official Papal Instruction to the Catholic Universities and Seminaries (later published in the Vatican organ “L’Osservatore Romano”), the Nazi racism was openly condemned as a “dangerous doctrine” and “absurd dogma … dangerous for the mind and against any true religion”. After the “Kristallnacht” (progrome night) in Germany on November 9, 1938, when Mussolini introduced the “Nuremberg” racial laws in Italy, Pope Pius XI. protested openly and sent a telegraph to Mussolini, warning him it would casue “a violent crisis of the anger of the Pontiff”. As the New York Times reported on August 12, 1938, the “Osservatore Romano” already declared a few month before “That (the) Church will defend persecuted Jews”.

    When Pope Pius XII followed in March 1939, his first goal was to prevent the War, which not only meant so much suffering for all Europe but also made the Holocaust possible. Still, in his first encyclica, “Summi Pontificatus” (of November 1939), “The Need and Errors of our time and their overcoming in Christ”, he condemned the “new errors”, first of all “theories denying the Unity of the human race”, what means: the Nazi racism. He repeated this appeal  “to love … those who are from another people or blood” in his encyclica “Mystici Corporis” of 1943. 

    Not any of the Nazi leaders died as a Catholic, since none of them received the sacraments during their political career. Himmler, as every SS man, had left the Church already in the 1930ies, and so did Eichmann, Heydrich and Hoess – long before the Holocaust! Indeed to leave the Church was the conditio-sine-qua-non for a career within the SS.  Bormann indeed never left the Church, since he was Protestant. Only Goebbels and Hitler died formally as Catholics with no affiliation to the Church. To excommunicate a head of state, especially of an ally of Italy, would have been a dangerous political act, especially since the neutrality of the Vatican was a condition of the Lateran treaty with Mussolini from 1929. It went wrong with Henry VIII, it went dangerously wrong with Napoleon, it certainly wouldn’t have worked with Hitler. To even think that this insane monster would have changed his policy of hate and delusion to avoid excommunication is indeed more than naive.

    Sincerely, Michael Hesemann
    PTWF Germany

     

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Adding to Michael Hesemann’s comments I would like to mention that your evaluation that “Once the German bishops had lifted the ban, that opened the floodgates to membership in the party and millions of Catholic Germans joined.” Is injecting ting your view, which is baseless, in order to make a point that is simply not true. The fervor of the Nazi movement is what opened the flood gates not reluctance to disobey the Catholic Church. The Germans who joined the SS had to renounce Christianity. The Church never had that kind of power that you suggest by your characterization. One simply needs to see the continuous anti Catholic and anti Pacelli political cartoons and propaganda of the era to realize this. I invite you to come to the Vatican Secret Archives, which are open up to 1939 where you will get a clear assessment of what was happening.

  • Dear Mr. Wilensky, A s a Jewis women with a very basic and limited understanding of the workings of the Catholic Church allow me to state canon law 101. Once one is baptized, it can never be undone, in the Church’s eyes. The Church can severely discipline or even excommunicate a Catholic, which is employed as a severe warning to the state of their souls-i.e., one who announces he is a raging apostate or commits heinous crimes,
     Martin Bormann was NEVER a Catholic, he was PROTESTANT! Himmler left the Church in 1935.
    Only Hitler and Goebbels stayed as Apostates…(definition of Apostate: a person who forsakes his religion)

  • Thank you Mr. Hesemann and Mr. Krupp for your replies. When thinking of the reason of why the German Church thought it proper to lift the ban on membership in the Nazi Party one needs to think of what the church stands for. If the church felt that the Nazi ideals were not compatible with Catholic ideals, as was the stated reason for the ban, then one needs to think of what changed that prompted the lift of the ban. I don’t agree with you that the church was simply lifting the ban to protect democracy. The church was never interested in protecting democracy. Cardinal Pacelli had no qualms in prompting the disbanding of the powerful Catholic Center Party in Germany, who could have stood up and made a difference against the Nazis. But even if the church cared about democracy, it would not have lifted the ban unless it thought that it was the right thing to do. Imagine today that the Ku Klux Klan became an official political party in the United States, and began to have traction on a platform based on discrimination against Jews, blacks, gays, or anything else. What would the church advise the faithful to do? Would they support the KKK for the sake of supporting democracy and freedom of speech? It’s interesting you mention the Kulturkampf, because that is a perfect example of what the church should have done vis-à-vis the Nazis as well. The Church opposed Bismarck, and the Church eventually won, despite the many setbacks on the way. The church stood for what they believed was right in 1870. They could and should have kept the moral high ground and done the same thing against Hitler in 1933, even if that meant another struggle. The difference is that in 1870 Bismark opposed the Church, while in 1933 Hitler opposed the Jews. Even though the Concordat was not meant to mean an endorsement or support of Nazi policies, that was actuallay the way the German Church and German Catholics widely perceived it to mean. The reason why they joined the Nazi party in droves was not just because it was successful. They joined because they agreed with its ideals, and because once the Vatican signed the Concordat and the church lifted the ban German Catholics assumed that meant it was then all right to join, and that is precisely what they did.

    Also, when the Concordat was signed neither Cardinal Pacelli nor Pope Pius XI could have known what was coming, that they were making a pact with the devil (although they must have known Hitler and Nazi ideology were evil), that it would protect the church from a a coming Nazi terror (which in any case it didn’t and even then the church did not repudiate the pact), and even less, that it would help them protect all in need, especially the Jews. This is the first time I heard the latter claim.

    I am aware some authors believe Pope Pius thought of the Nazis as an ally against the communists. I don’t subscribe to this point of view, although I do believe Pius thought of the Nazis as not only the lesser evil but also the only possibly bulwark against the communists. Irrespective of what Pius may have felt toward communists and communism, there’s no question he understood that atheistic communism was a direct, open threat to the church. I think his actions before and after the war reflect this.

    When I said “the Church never saw fit to clearly denounce these policies” I was referring to the Nazi anti-Jewish policies. I am glad you mentioned the example of von Galen, because that is a perfect case of what the church could do and did to oppose policies they felt were wrong and/or incompatible with Catholic teachings. Of course, as is well known, there were no consequences to von Galen or the many other Catholics who opposed the Euthanasia Program, which should have been a clear indication to the church hierarchy—including the Pope—that if they felt that the anti-Jewish measures were equally as bad as the Euthanasia Program then they could have opposed it. History shows they didn’t feel this way, and they did not act in even a remotely similar way. Sure, von Preysing truly opposed the Nazis and their anti-Jewish campaign, and he was one of the few that did talk about it. He also implored the pope many times to do something about it, only to be either ignored or to be told that what the German Church had done already to protect the Jews was enough. We all know this was not the case, as the German Church (with the notable exception of von Preysing, and a handful of others) not only did not protect the Jews, but rather they materially helped the Nazis identify who were the Jews among the German population.

    I am not sure in what way you feel Cardinal Faulhaber opposed Nazi anti-Jewish policies. Sure, he opposed the Euthanasia Program, but we are not discussing whether the church opposed the Nazis in general, but rather their attitude vis-à-vis the Jews. In a 1933 sermon he declared “that with the coming of Christ, Jews and Judaism have lost their place in the world.” This of course was the typical supersessionistic attitude the church had had for centuries, and was a message that resonated with the German population who was being bombarded with propaganda that said pretty much the same thing. He also declared the same year that the Church did not have “any objection to the endeavor to keep the national characteristics of a people as far as possible pure and unadulterated, and to foster their national spirit by emphasis upon the common ties of blood which unite them.” This is not exactly opposition to racial ideology. Moreover, he also declared in a 1937 sermon that “At a time when the heads of the major nations in the world faced the new Germany with reserve and considerable suspicion, the Catholic Church, the greatest moral power on Earth, through the Concordat, expressed its confidence in the new German government. This was a deed of immeasurable significance for the reputation of the new government abroad.” This affirms what I was saying earlier about church support for the Nazis after the Concordat, despite their opposition prior to it. I do recognize however that at the height of the German genocidal campaign Cardinal Faulhaber approached his colleague Cardinal Bertram and proposed they compose a manifesto protesting the murder of Jews. Bertram’s response however reflected the typical Catholic attitude toward the subject, namely that the Church should limit its influence to matters “of greater importance in the long term.”

    Mit brenneder Sorge condemned racial ideology, which is a good thing. However, I don’t think it was a condemnation of the regime, as is usually presented. In it, Nazism was never mentioned by name. This document was written years after the Jews had been persecuted in Germany and subjected to a dehumanizing process. The encyclical objected to violations of the Concordat and treatment of religion in Germany. In only six sentences among forty-three paragraphs it objected to the doctrine of race, not because it was false or inherently pernicious, but rather because some would have it take precedence over the teachings of Christianity. There was no mention of antisemitism or the persecution of the Jews.

    Cardinal Pacelli might have been concerned about excesses against Jews in Germany, and even discussed it. But actions speak louder than words, and he said very few words and acted even less. Pope Pius XI might have warned Mussolini that the racial laws might make him angry, perhaps even violently so. Yet, the racial laws stood, the pope never got past that and didn’t do anything about it other than complain about the treatment of Jews who had converted to Catholicism. The Osservatore Romano may have declared that the Church would defend the Jews, which of course surely looked good on the New York Times, but they had also declared at about the same time (June 1938) that the Jews “usurp the best positions in every field, and not always by legitimate means,” cause “the suffering of the immense majority of the native populations,” hate and struggle against the Christian religion, and favor Freemasons and other subversive groups. Father Rosa in the article called for “an equable and lasting solution to the formidable Jewish problem,” but counseled to do so through legal means. But there was a long history of antisemitism in this publications. Previously they had declared that “Antisemitism ought to be the natural, sober, thoughtful, Christian reaction against Jewish predominance” and, according to the paper, true antisemitism “is and can be in substance nothing other than Christianity, completed and perfected in Catholicism.”

    Mr. Hesemann, it’s disingenous to say that none of the Nazi leaders died as Catholics because they did not receive the sacraments during their political career. The point is that these people were not expelled from the Church, and thus it is correct to state, as I did, that they died as Catholics. Hitler even received a solemn requiem after he died. The Nazis, and particularly the SS may have tried to push Germans away from the church but the reality is that despite their strongest efforts, in December 1938 22.7% still remained in the Catholic faith and by 1940 over 95% of the German population were still tax-paying members of their respective Protestant or Catholic churches.

    Excommunicating a head of state might have been a dangerous thing to do, but it was the right thing to do, particularly after 1942 when the extent and nature of the genocide became known to the pope and some members of the curia. The Vatican was not concerned about neutrality, even though this is what they claimed. They actually breached this when they felt it was the right thing to do. Lastly, I agree with you that excommunication would not have changed Hitler or his policies, but that, combined with the threat of excommunication to any Catholics involved in the business of mass murder, and combined with strong, specific, and clear instruction to Catholics to refrain from denouncing, deporting and murdering Jews because it was a crime and a mortal sin, may have worked toward the goal of creating a moral revolt against genocide. And even if it had failed, it would have at least cemented the Church’s moral standing.

    Sincerely,
    Gabriel Wilensky

  • Ms. Krupp, excommunication would have been good enough, particularly for the men in the factories making Zyklon B, or the train engineers taking Jews to the death camps, or the members of the Einsatzgruppen or Ordungspolizei and their helpers in Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland, etc. killing hundreds of thousands of Jews in forests and ravines. Or SS guards in the camps. These were not strongly anti-religious men like Bormann or Hitler. These were men who were going to Mass on Sunday and murdering Jews on Monday.
    By the way, I must admit I am not 100% sure, but I think Bormann was indeed a Catholic. His son even studied to become a Catholic priest.

  • Gary Krupp says:

     
    Thank you Mr. Wilensky for you question and please allow me to respond. You questions are certainly reasonable today in the 21st century but are written to enflame emotion, and sell books rather than seek the truth. I often ask a question when I hear such statements. If you had the chance to put a bullet in the head of the young man who was hanging wall paper in your home in Bavaria in the early 1900’s you would probably have been jailed. No one would ever know that you might have saved the lives of millions of people. Monday morning quarterbacks are always very smart as hindsight is 20/20.
    Excommunication has in reality never worked. It has only created mortal enemies and set a fertile ground for new religions. Based on documented evidence and testimonies we discovered, the Vatican was surrounded by hostile forces, and was without question going to be invaded, The pope would be kidnapped and killed, the curia killed and the buildings would be seized. Mindful of this, Pius XII knew that if this occurred thousands of innocent people would be killed because of massive riots throughout Europe. The Vatican would lose its neutrality endangering the lives of all of the protected refugees and their clergy caretakers. We have evidence and testimony that every time the Vatican condemned Nazi atrocities (of which there were many through Vatican Radio, L’Osservatore Romano, and papal messages) concentration camp inmates would suffer through increased punishment and cutting of rations. People died every time the Vatican  made statements. Now imagine if they excommunicated everyone you suggest. Ask yourself how many would die with this grand public act? This is the same logic with the flaming public denunciation all of the critics wanted from Pius XII. What would be cost in human life? All of these measures where proven counterproductive and ineffective gestures? The Vatican learned very quickly in Holland, Poland and elsewhere how many would die. Burning his speech after the example of Holland, Pius XII said if they killed 40,000 Jews with the remarks of an Archbishop they will kill 200,000 with the remarks of the pope. Don’t forget that over 25% of the Catholic Clergy from Poland and Germany where executed and imprisoned and they were also at risk.
    I would rather have you ask why Roosevelt didn’t bomb the tracks leading to the concentration camps or the Crematorium. Why didn’t he allow the St. Louis to land in the US in 1938 sending over 1000 Jews back to the horrors of Europe? Why didn’t he allow Jewish immigration to the US? Why were there no marches and protests all of the Rabbis of the US to force the president to act to save Jews? What about a flaming condemnation by the Archbishop of Canterbury, living the relative safety of London or the Orthodox Christian clergy? We have proof of Pius XII’s direct intervention to save tens of thousands of Jewish lives secretly and effectively. These actions are always minimized by his critics and only attributed to the individual clergy rather than the Pope who ordered these actions. I compare this to saying that my dad, who liberated two concentration camps and was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, is the one who won the war … Eisenhower had nothing to do with it.
    Mr. Wilensky, as one who was fortunate to be born in the US long after the war ended and probably never really experienced looking into the eyes of death as they all had to do, try walking a mile in their shoes.

  • Mr. Wilensky,

    you might re-invent the life of Martin Bormann, but you can read in any biography that he indeed was a Protestant. His son, disgusted by the deeds of his father, converted to Catholicism and indeed became a priest which was his form of penance and compensation for his father’s crimes.

    There simply was nobody who “heard mass on Sunday and murdered Jews on Monday”, as you claim, since the KZ’s were run solely by the SS and only the most ideologically fanatic, “trustworthy” SS men were chosen, to avoid disruption in the murder machinery by any acts of compassion. SS man had to leave their Church, to enter the “Black Order” (exceptions were only allowed in the Waffen SS, the troops engaged in the war, which were not part of the “Endloesung”). That’s a matter of fact which you can’t debate. Indeed, the SS invented neo-teutonic ceremonies for their troops to replace the Christian sacraments, following the instruction by Goebbels: “We (the Nazi party) must became a Church ourselves, in order to replace the (Catholic) Church”.  So nothing is further away from the truth than your scenario.

    Your question what changed that prompteds the lift of the ban is simply answered: The election of Adolf Hitler by the German people. In the very moment the Nazis formed a democratically elected government, any a priori opposition would mean to oppose the political system of the German nation. This, the church could not afford to do, especially after the experience with the Cultural War half a century before, from which it still had not fully recovered. Its position was just too weak in a country which was (and still is) divided in a Catholic and a Protestant part with equal strength and number of population.  As Nuntius in Germany, Pacelli appreciated the Weimar Republic and certainly preferred it to the protestant-dominated Kaiserreich, since it guaranteed equal rights for Catholics. He was in best terms with some of the leading politicians of the first German democracy and appreciated them. This experience caused his definite plea for a democratic Europe after the War and his support for democratic parties all over. In this aspect, Pacelli was very modern and distanced himself from the scepticism towards democracy still demonstrated by Pius X. 

    In 1933, the Church faced the situation that a majority of the Germans supported Hitler. To fight against him in such an early state would mean to fight against the majority of the nation and therefore suffer consequences. Since the Church had no success with their very eloquent and drastic fight against the Nazi party in 1930-33, they had to realize that a continuation would end in its own extermination. Therefore it decided to secure its rights through the Concordat and remain a safe haven for the political opposition, to fight the system from within.

    Pacelli and Pius XI were fully aware that it was a pact with the devil, but Pius XI had already stated that he would certainly sign apact with the devil if it would mean to save souls. 

    Certainly Pacelli never considered the Nazis a “lesser evil” in any way. Indeed, already in 1925, in a handwritten document which you find in the Vatican Secret Archives as well as on our website, he calls Nazism “certainly the most dangerous heresy of our times” – six years after a communist gun was pointed towards him. “The most dangerous” means even more dangerous than communism. This explains why, when the US entered the war, he did not oppose the alliance with Stalin, which caused great worries and concerns among the American Catholics, but justified it with the formula “since their homeland was invaded, they just defend their country, which is legitimate”. As you certainly know, only the alliance with Russia made the victory in Europe possible.  Only Hitler dreamt of an alliance with the Western powers against Communism, but faced the harsh opposition of Pius XII. 

    You obviously still believe the myth that von Galens homilies stopped the Euthanasia program, but it didn’t. The program was continued by the Nazis, but in secret. And still, you can’t compare it with the Holocaust. From the beginning, the extermination of the Jews was covered up. The German public did not learn about it, at least not from any official source. The deportations, officially, were re-settlements in the newly conquered territories. This is the reason why the Jews themselves did not stand up in fight, but just packed their suitcases, believing in a future. Only after they were “resettled” in the Polish Ghettoes, the transports to the death camps begun. Also the situation was a different one. The Euthanasia program started in peace times, the deportations (and following Holocaust) during the War. In the War, the Nazis had more powerful means to silence any opposition.  And last but not least, the Euthanasia program was considered a “necessity” by Hitler, but with a lesser degree of importance. The extermination of the Jews was the goal of his fanatic delusion, it was the mission he lived and was willing to die for.  It was nothing he would ever compromise. Indeed, even his testament is nothing but a tirade of antisemitic hate, ending with the words:

    “Vor allem verpflichte ich die Führung der Nation und die Gefolgschaft zur peinlichen Einhaltung der Rassegesetze und zum unbarmherzigen Widerstand gegen den Weltvergifter aller Völker, das internationale Judentum.”
    “First of all I oblige the leadership of the nation and their followers to carefully keep the racial laws and to mercilessly resist the world-poisoner of the peoples, the international Jewry.”

    Not any homily, not any excommunication, nothing would have ever stopped him in his rage but would only have infuriated it, bringing even mre suffering to his victims, speeding up the rate of murder. 

    Sorry, but you are completely wrong in your comment on Mit brennender Sorge. First of all, if it was not condemning the Nazis, why was it written in German and read in every German Church? It condemned the sheer concept of race, it condemned racism, therefoire it also condemned antisemitism, calling it “an idolatry”. Wasn’t the Nazi racism the cause of the persecution of the Jews? Wasn’t it wiser to condemn the cause than the effect?

    On September 6, 1938, Pius XI stated during an audience: “Spiritually, we are all Semites” – a statement of solidarity towards the victims of antisemitism. He struggled against the Racial Laws in Italy, but still had to keep the political neutrality, according to the Lateran treaty, which, unfortunately, made the Holy See in some way a hostage of Mussolini. The personal opinionm of a Fr. Rosa in no way reflects the position of the Church. And no, there never was a Catholic Antisemitism, because the concept of race is foreign to the Catholic doctrine. Indeed there was a sad Catholic Antijudaism in some circles, as there was a Catholic Antiprotestantism, based of religious questions and far away from an racial discrimination. 

    Sure, Pius XII had every reason to excommunicate Hitler in 1942 (the performers of the genocide, the SS, already excommunicated themselves by leaving the Church), but he knew about the consequences. Still the Church was able to function in Germany and the occupied countries and gave shelter to hundred thousands of Jewish refugees. The excommunication would have been considered a “declaration of War” by Hitler and caused most severe countermeasures, from the arrest of the Bishops up to the confiscation of monasteries and convents. All the infrastructure which was efficient in helping and saving so many Jews would have been lost from one day to the other. No, Pius XII was not willing to buy the applause of future generations for the price of hundred thousands of Jewish lifes. Would you?

    Instead of a strategy of risky, unsuccessful provocations and the danger of an escalation, he cooperated with both, the German military opposition in their attempted coup d’etat (resulting in several assassination attempts on Hitler) and the suport of the allies, especially in form of his “nihil obstat” to an alliance with Stalin. He underwent a “martyrdom of silence” to be able to save Jewish lives. He was rather successful, since about 850.000 escaped the holocaust due to this policy. And at the end, actions are stronger than words and gestures.  

    Sincerely,
    Michael Hesemann
    PTWF Germany
     

  • Mr. Krupp, I don’t think that what I am doing, or the questions I am asking are unfair and are not taking into consideration the geopolitical situation of that time. As I said previously, I realize neither Cardinal Pacelli nor Pope Pius XI could really envision what the Third Reich would turn into just a few years after the Concordat, for example. But these men were very smart and savvy. Pacelli was the consummate diplomat, and understood the ways of the world. Besides, after 1939 the situation changed and nobody was under any illusions about the nature of the Nazi regime. In any case, to give these men the benefit of the doubt, maybe we can focus on what transpired after 1942, that is, after there was no doubt of what was happening to Jews on the Eastern front or what the Nazis stood for.

    Regarding excommunication, I personally think that for true believers in the church, who clearly had been saying since the 15th century that there is no salvation outside the church, it was an effective threat. If you truly believe in the teachings of the church, then you must believe that if you are excommunicated and die, you won’t go to heaven. This must be a frightening thought to a true believer, and in 1942 there were a lot more true believers in Europe than there are today. Sure, this would have been a laughable matter to Hitler but I seriously doubt it would have been taken that way by the guy driving the train to Auschwitz. In any case, I think that what matters is not whether it ultimately worked or not, but rather in what way it was used by the church. As you know, the church used this weapon before and after the Nazi period. The church never stopped using it because of fear.

    You mention the concern that any such action would have made things worse for the Jews. Please, Mr. Krupp. The reality is that millions of Jews were mercilessly murdered, including over 1000 from the pope’s neighborhood, while the Vatican looked the other way. It’s disingenuous to claim that the Pope was afraid that by speaking out on behalf of the hounded Jews things would become worse. There was no way things could have been worse; the Germans were killing about 10,000 Jews in Auschwitz every day—and that was just one of the death camps. They were not killing more because they did not have the capacity. Nothing the Pope could have done or said would have made that hell worse. The example of what happened in Holland is misleading, for two reasons. First, because those were Jews that had converted to Catholicism, that is, no longer Jews from Judaism’s perspective, and second because the Germans would have killed those converted Jews anyway. To the Germans a baptized Jew was still a Jew, so the fact that the Church spoke out did not precipitate their deportation: their ancestry did.

    The church is the self-avowed protector of morals. Instead, they proved to be the self-avowed protector of Vatican interests. Maybe if the pope and the curia were so concerned with their well-being and/or the consequences of them being killed or kidnapped they could have moved to the relative safety of London or NY and broadast and directed the faithful from there. They would not have been the first government to do that, and it would not have been the first time the papacy moved its seat elsewhere when things got uncomfortable in Rome. But the pope was obsessed with protecting Rome from bombardment. There’s a reason why the British ambassador to the Holy See, Sir Francis D’Arcy Osborne, wrote: “I am revolted by Hitler’s massacre of the Jewish race on the one hand and, on the other, the Vatican’s apparently exclusive preoccupation . . . with the possibilities of the bombardment of Rome.” Pope Pius was not in good standing with the British Foreign Office in general, actually, as after his meeting with Ante Pavelic in 1941 the Foreign Office described the pope as “the greatest moral coward of our age.”

    So, sure, if the Vatican had done the right thing and acted morally it would have forfeited its ability to protect the Vatican and its treasures, its interests in Germany, its chance to be a peace broker, and its ability to protect people, in what I believe was their priority order. But the concept of charity and sacrifice is not new to Christianity. I think there were thousands of Christians across Europe, including many nuns, priests and other members of the clergy, who displayed Christian caritas and helped Jews, sometimes even putting their lives at risk. I realize you believe, as many other apologetics for the pope, that all this was done at the behest and under direct instruction of Pope Pius, but as far as I know (and of course I could be proven wrong) there is no evidence of this. No, these people acted out of motu proprio. Sure, he may have opened the doors of Castel Gandolfo and given shelter to 2-3 thousand Jews, but what about the other thousands of other church properties scattered around Europe, including his 1000+ room palace in the Vatican? What about the other six million who were killed by men who never heard from their pope, ther bishops, their parish priests, or even by their military chaplains, that murdering Jews was a crime and a mortal sin?

    I think the question of why the Roosevelt administration did not bomb the railways to Auschwitz or the gas chambers there is a legitimate one, although perhaps irrelevant to this discussion. There were powerful antisemitic forces within his administration, particularly in the State and War Departments, forces that limited immigration quotas and preventing American bombers from destroying the gas chambers and crematoria in Birkenau. But Roosevelt only had a military option, and as he knew and said many times, there was so much he could accomplish without having boots on the ground. To him winning the war was clearly the priority. Roosevelt was in charge of soldiers and of fighting a war. Religious figures, on the other hand, were in charge of protecting souls. I do not think your comparison with your dad fighting in Europe is valid, because Eisenhower did not need to tell him to shoot a German soldier or liberate a concentration camp. Just like a soldier knows what to do at this level, a regular individual, let alone a priest or nun, knows what is the right moral thing to do without needing the pope to tell them.

    By the way, you mention the Archbishop of Canterbury as an example of another religious figure that was quiet in the face of genocide. Not so. The loudest and clearest Pope Pius spoke about the Holocaust was in his December 1942 radio address, when he spoke of “the hundreds of thousands who, without personal guilt, are doomed to death or to a progressive deterioration of their condition, sometimes for no other reason than their nationality or descent.” The Archbishop of Canterbury, on the other hand, in conjunction with the Anglican archbishop of York and of Wales, proclaimed that same month:

    “The bishops of the Church of England state that the number of victims of the cold blooded policy go into the hundreds of thousands, that Hitler himself revealed that he plans to annihilate the Jews which means the end of six million Jewish humans. The bishops of England declare that the suffering of these millions of Jews and the announced plan to kill them place upon humanity an obligation which nobody can shirk.

    There must be no delay in saving them. The bishops believe that it is the duty of the civilized nations, whether Allied or neutral, to provide havens to these victims. Therefore they appeal to the British government to take the leadership for the whole world by declaring its readiness together with the dominions and all Allied and neutral governments to provide havens within the British empire and elsewhere for all those who are threatened with annihilation and can escape from the Axis countries, as well as for those who already have escaped so as to provide space to those who so far could not escape.”

  • Gary Krupp says:

    I wish to respond to the continuous charge of the inaction of Pius XII with the arrest of the Roman Jews on October 16, 1943. These facts are provable and documented with sworn testimony from multiple sources
    When the early morning arrests began October 16, 1943, Pope Pius XII was alerted to this by Princess Enza Pignatelli Aragona Cortes. He immediately took multiple steps to force the Germans to stop the arrests. He summoned Cardinal Secretary of State Maglione and instructed him to launch a vehement protest against the arrests. Cardinal Maglione warned von Weizsacker that same morning, that the pope could not remain silent as they arrested the Jews under his very windows, in his own diocese. Pius then sent his nephew, Carlo Pacelli, to meet with a German sympathizer, Bishop Alois Hudal, to instruct him to write a letter to his German contacts to immediately stop the arrests. This too proved ineffective. Pius XII’s last effort, the most successful, was to send his close confidant, Salvatorian Superior General Father Pankratius Pfeiffer, to meet directly with the military governor of Rome, General Stahel. Father Pfeiffer warned Stahel that the pope was going to launch a loud and public protest against these arrests if they were not stopped. Fear that this public protest would result in Hitler’s ordering the invasion of the Vatican prompted Stahel to act.
    General Stahel immediately telephoned Heinrich Himmler, and fabricated military grounds to stop the arrests. Trusting Stahel’s assessment, Himmler advised Hitler to stop the arrests. The order to stop the arrests was issued at noon October 16, resulting in its implementation by 2 PM on the day they began.
    This sequence of events was independently confirmed by General Dietrich Beelitz, the liaison officer with Field Marshal Albert Kesselring’s office and Hitler’s command. Beelitz personally heard the Stahel – Himmler conversation. When Stahel’s deception later became known, Himmler punished General Stahel by sending him to the Eastern front.
    It was known that the Vatican was infiltrated with spies. The pope could only send trusted priests and confidants throughout Rome and Italy with verbal and written papal orders to lift cloister, allowing men and women to enter Catholic convents and monasteries, and ordered all ecclesiastical institutions to hide the Jews wherever they could. According to famed British historian Sir Martin Gilbert, the Vatican hid thousands of Jews in literally one day. Once hidden, the Vatican continued to feed and support their Jewish “guests” until Rome’s liberation on June 4th, 1944.
    Documents from Berlin and the Eichmann Trial in Israel also show that the 8,000 Roman Jews that were to be arrested were not supposed to go to Auschwitz, but were to be sent to the work camp at Mauthausen and held as hostages. This order was later countermanded by persons unknown and 1,007 Jews were sent to Auschwitz to their death. Sadly only 17 survived. While there are those who repeatedly criticize Pius XII for not saving the 1,007, they remain completely silent on his direct actions, which saved this 3000 year old Jewish community of Rome.
    It was recently discovered, in the American archives, that the allies had broken the German codes and knew almost a week in advance of the intended arrests of the Roman Jews. The allies decided not to warn the Romans since this might alert the Germans to this intelligence breach. This “military decision” left Pope Pius XII alone, without advance notice, to try to end the arrests.

  • Mr. Krupp, the imminent deportation of the Jews of Rome, and the meaning of said deportation, was known to the Jewish community there. Thus, most managed to go into hiding ahead of the deportation. This, and not Pope Pius’ actions, is what explains that about 7000 of them avoided the deportation. The pope may have threatened with a public denunciation of the deportation of the Jews of his dioceses, but the reality is he didn’t. As the German ambassador Weizsäcker reported to his superiors, “Although under pressure from all sides, the Pope has not let himself be drawn into any demonstrative censure of the deportation of the Jews of Rome.”
    I know you will think this to be just idle speculation, but I think that the Pope could have stood in front of the train carrying Rome’s Jews as it was departing Rome toward Auschwitz, as even if the Germans had forcibly removed him from the tracks the impression this symbolic gesture would have had would have been so powerful that it would have, if not halted the machinery of destruction, certainly saved many lives and firmly and honestly cemented the Church’s moral standing.

  • Gary Krupp says:

    The reality was that the Jewish community of Rome thought that since they paid the demanded ransom of 200 KG of gold to Col. Herbert Kappler, that they believed they were safe and they did not in mass leave Rome as you suggest. As far as Von Weizsäcker’s cables to Berlin are concerned throughout this period Ambassador von Weizsäcker sent deceptive positive messages about the pope to Berlin to calm Hitler, not to justify an order to invade. Some critics of Pope Pius XII have erroneously based their theories of papal complicity and collaboration on these intentionally misleading cables—what Weizsäcker’s assistant, Albrecht von Kessel, later called “tactical lies.” We have additional testimony from Lieutenant Nikolaus Kunkel, a German officer from the headquarters of the military governor of Rome, which corroborates documented evidence and testimony of exactly how Pius XII directly saved the Roman Jewish community and that they were expecting the  order from Berlin to invade the Vatican any day.
    Denying the Vatican did not hide any Jews as you suggest is in direct disagreement with the Israelite communities of all of Italy, which erected a marble placard honoring Pius XII for this very act in 1946. This placard has mysteriously disappeared but we do have pictures of it. Again the people who erected this placard and actually lived through the war obviously wanted to thank Pope Pius XII in some way for something. They could have done nothing if they felt differently. But then they also did not have the convenience of commenting on what should have be done 66 years later.

  • Please note I did not suggest the Jewish community left Rome en masse or that none were hidden in the Vatican. I am aware that about half of them hid in the numerous monasteries and houses of religious orders in Rome and a few dozen were sheltered in the Vatican itself. The point I am arguing is that most, if not all, those monks, priests and nuns who did this did it out of motu proprio and not under the pope’s instructions. This of course is not to say they did it behind the pope’s back. I am perfectly aware that the pope must have known and approved of this. But there is a difference between approving and ordering, and it’s not a subtle and trivial one.
    I am not convinced by the argument Weiszäcker was lying to his superiors. Why on earth would he do such a foolish thing?

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Hopefully the links I am sending will come through. You suggest that these religious people all acted independently without the pope’s knowledge is in direct contradiction to recently unearthed documents and testimonies of how Pope Pius XII sent priests around Italy with written and verbal orders to take in and protect the Jews. There were thousands of Jews and other refugees housed in the summer residence of the Pope in Castelgandolfo. We have on our website the copy of a diary from Augustan Nuns from 1943 where they state they received papal orders to take in the Jews and then names their Jewish guests. Here is the Hebrew testimony of Michael Tagliacozzo, who is an Israeli historian and archivist of the Holocaust center of the war in Italy in northern Israel he testifies that it was Pius XII that saved his life. We have notarized testimonies to the same actions from other religious in Rome. We have signed testimony from priests who physically went to the papal palace to get cash and Vatican Passports for Jews escaping Germany and Poland for Switzerland. Here is the Placard from the Italian Jewish community thank Pius XII in 1946. Here is the telegram sent by Pius XII to stop the arrest of the Hungarian Jews. Here is the interview of a 98 year old priest who physically deciphered  double encrypted telegrams sent twice a year directly from Pope Pius XII to General Trujillo of the Dominican Republic requesting at least 1600 visas for Jews leaving Europe every year from 1939-1945 that is over 10,000 that Pius XII saved directly.
    As one who was not even a twinkle in your mother’s eyes, it is really hard to accept that you are not convinced that a man who was physically present, to question that the von Weizsäcker cables from  were lies.
    If these links do not come through please go to http://www.ptwf.org and research the document and interview pages. All I ask is for you and other critics to simply show me the documented proof supporting your theories. Not assumptions based on what you think happened, documents proof. Mr. Wilensky I am personally inviting you to come to Rome with us where you will be shown all of the proof you need to see to change your mind.

  • Ron Rychlak says:

    As for futile gestures to send a message, I have two thoughts. For one thing, the Nazis would have limited the spread of that message. They controlled the press, and they would have sent forth a counter-story, just as: “Jewish partisans killed the pope.” To the extent that Italians saw what happened, they may have rioted. They would then have been slaughtered and the cover story would have been put forth.
    Regarding the thesis that Catholic rescue activity took place without papal support, Author Antonio Gaspari says: AThis is a thesis that is impossible to defend.@ His book, Gli ebrei salvati da Pio XII, recounts several instances of Pius XII intervening in his personal capacity, through the Vatican state secretariat, to save Jews. In one case, 1,000 German Jews wanted to emigrate to Brazil, and the Pontiff paid out of his own pocket the $800 each needed for the trip. In 1939, Pius organized special operations inside the Vatican Information Office to help Jews persecuted by Nazism.
    The argument that Pius knew of but did not play a role in rescue efforts, despite so many witnesses testifying that he did, was set forth by papal critic Susan Zuccotti. Of course, time and time again she discounted or dismissed the testimony of people who were there. In so doing, she denied the legitimacy of the gratitude of the Jewish victims and, as Rabbi David Dalin wrote, she denied Athe credibility of their personal testimony and judgment about the Holocaust itself.@
    On Page 264 of her book Under His Very Windows, she discusses a bishop who claimed to have been holding a letter from Pius in his hands, but she suggests that the bishop falsified this claim because he Amay have considered it useful to make his assistants believe that they were doing the Pope=s work.@
    On page 193, Zuccotti suggests that nuns who credited the Pope for having ordered their convents opened to Jewish refugees were Aeager that Pius XII receive credit for the work of their order.@ (She does, however, concede that Pius probably knew these nuns were sheltering Jews.)
    On page 143, she discusses a letter from A. L. Eastman, of the World Jewish Congress, thanking the Pope for helping free imprisoned Jews. Zuccotti however, dismisses this testimony by saying, AEastman must have known better.@
    On page 103, she quotes the papal nuncio in Vichy, praising Pope Pius XII for condemning the persecution of Jews and others. Zuccotti accuses him of fabricating the papal responses.
    On page 301, she discusses gratitude from Jewish people to the Pope following the war. She attributes their attitude to Abenevolent ignorance.@
    On page 302, in an even more disturbing analysis, she suggests that Jewish chaplains simply lied because they were Aanxious to protect and preserve the fragile goodwill between Jews and non-Jews that seems to be emerging from the rubble of the war in Italy.@
    At other points along the way she dismisses letters of thanks from Jewish people because AThe Holy See had done nothing more for the Jewish Internees than for non-Jews@ (p. 85). Favorable accounts of the Pope=s efforts to help Jews are dismissed as Aless than honest@ (p. 272). Testimony from the future Pope Paul VI is dismissed because, according to Zuccotti, he Aknew perfectly well@ that his statement was wrong (p. 169). Zuccotti does not show a lack of papal involvement in rescue efforts. All she has shown is that she does not believe the limited amount of evidence that she has reviewed.
    At the end of the day, we have Zuccotti on one side arguing that there is no evidence of papal involvement. On the other side we have a mountain of testimony from rescuers, victims, Germans, Jews, priests, nuns, the New York Times (and other papers), seven cardinals, and two Popes. We also now have the written, archival confirmation of papal involvement in the rescue of Jews that Zuccotti thought did not exist. In other words, the evidence all weighs in favor of Pope Pius XII. To ignore that evidence is to deny history. With this subject, that is a very dangerous thing to do.

  • Mr. Wilensky,
    I don’t want to rule out that one or the other Parish priest saved Jews just because he felt that’s the right thing to do. Of course the human conscience is an important factor, and thousands of Germans or Poles, for example, saved Jews just because they opposed the Nazi crimes or just felt human compassion. Thanks God, not everybody just obeyed authorities.

    But this is not what we are talking about. Our subject is the greatest humanitarian campaign to safe victims of a religious or ethnic persecution in history. It started right after the pogrom night in Germany (“Kristallnacht”) on Nov. 9, 1938 and manifested, first of all, in the request of Visa for Jews from literally all governments of the world who held diplomatic relationships with the Holy See. This campaign was initiated and coordinated by Cardinal Pacelli. Although the outcome was meager – the biggest offer was 3000 visa for Brazil, limited to “non-aryan Catholics” = Jewish converts – it demonstrates the willingness to help at a rather early phase, predating the war, predating the deportations, predating the Holocaust.

    Pacelli continued this policy after his election as Pope Pius XII. To fulfill the criteria of the governments, even thousands of false baptism certificates were issued to turn Jews into pseudo-“Non-aryan Catholics”. In several instances, Pacelli/Pius XII financed to hire ships under Vatican flag to bring these Jews safely to their destination. One documented case (we recorded his testimony) is the cooperation with Santo Domingo, when Pres. Trujillo offered to issue 800 visa for Jews every half a year. In this case, the assistant of the Nuntius, Msgr. Ferrofino, personally went to Europe each time, collected money from the Pope, distributed the Visa among the Jews, hired a ship from the Papal funds and delivered the Jews in person to the Santo Dominican authorities. More than 10.000 Jews survived because of this action.

    During the War and after the beginning of the deportations, all major efforts which indeed saved a high number of Jews, were directly ordered by Pius XII.

    * In France, Pius XII personally protested at the Vichy Government (Hitler’s puppet government) when the deportations begun in September 1942. With the help and support of Rome and the French bishops, more than 200.000 Jews were saved.
    * In Slovakia, another ally of Hitler, Pius XII protested not only againstthe introduction of the Racial Laws in September 1942, but also sent protest notes to President Tiso (a Catholic priest) each time a deportation was ordered, namely in March 1942, April 1942, and early 1944. With the exemption of the tragic deportation of 10.000 Slovak Jewish women,  no further deportations took place and the majority of the Slovak Jews were safe until, in August 1944, the Germans took over control in Slovakia and started with the deportations. In this case, a Papal protest had no success, but at least 25.000 Jews were hidden in Catholic monasteries.
    * In Romania, another ally of Hitler,  Nuntius Cassulo, ordered by Pius XII, arranged that Catholic Jews were exempt from the racial laws in 1941. Afterwards, thousands of false baptism certificates were distributed among the Jews and in 1942, the Romanian representative at the Holy See protested against the high number of  “conversions”. Still, the “baptized” Jews were not deported, when most Jews were deported to Transnistria in 1942. To help an dsupport them, Pius XII handed over large amounts of money to his Nuntius Cassulo – according to his secretary, Fr. Leiber, the private fortune of his family which he had inherited, being a Pacelli. Furthermore, in 1944, 4000 Jewish orphans were evacuated and brought to Palestine. At the end, 250.000 Romanian Jews survived. Nuntius Cassulo was honored as a “Righteous Among the Nations” at Yad Vashem, although he just followed the orders and distributed the money of the Pope. Also Nuntius Roncalli, who arranged the transport of thousands of Romanian Jews to Palestine, issueing false birth certificates and hiring ships, was honored at Yad Vashem, when he stated to the Israel Consul in Italy, Pinchas Lapide: “In all these painful affairs I contacted the Holy See and also later I simply followed the orders of th Pope: first and above all to save human lives.”
    * When the Germans took over control in Hungary in March 1944, Eichmann requested the deportation of all 800.000 Hungarian Jews. Immediately Pius XII sent a telegraph to the Head of State, Admiral Horthy (which is preserved), dated May 25, 1944, which stopped the deportations. Only when in October 1944, Horthy was replaced by the Nazis by a right-wing-extremist regime, the deportations continued. Still, about 200.000 Jews were saved in monasteries.

    As you can see from this examples, the Papal policy always was, first of all, to win time, since Pius expected a coup d’etat against Hitler as it was planned by the German military opposition which kept him informed and collaborated with him since the fall of 1939. 

    Still, a single Parish priest could surely act out of his own, but the situation was a different one in the case of cloistered monasteries. Only a direct Papal order could lift cloister. And this is exactly what happened in Italy (not only in Rome), and yes, we have evidence in the form of the diary of the cloistered Augustinian Nuns at the monastery SS. Quattri Coronati in Rome, an entry of November 1943:

    “In this horrible situation, the Holy Father wished to save his sons, also the Jews, and ordered that the convents should offer refuge and hospitality to the persecuted and also the cloistered monasteries should follow this wish of the Pope.”

    And no, we do not have a written order by the Pope, the order was delivered orally. We only have the testimony from the parties who followed it. Does it mean that the order did not exist? Of course not; it just means that it was a secret action and nobody wanted evidence fall into the hands of Hitler’s Gestapo.

    But keep in mind we also don’t have a written order by Hitler to perform the Holocaust, the “Endloesung der Judenfrage”. Does it mean that Hitler didn’t know or wasn’t allowed? This is a favorite claim of the Holocaust deniers, but as a historian I have to flatly refuse it: Of course he was responsible, nobody would have done it without his order.

    The same I say in the case of Pius XII: Of course he was responsible, nobody but him could lift cloister!
    Yes, you are right. The Holocaust is the biggest, most horrible crime in human history. It is a shame that it could happen in the 20th century and that nobody was able to prevent or stop it from the very beginning. We can only kneel down and kiss the ground of Auschwitz, holding the ashes, the physical remains of uncountable innocent victims. It is just unimaginable what happened, how human beings were able to perform such a barbaric deed.  The murder of six millions in the factories of death is unique in the human history. Nothing what ever happened in human history is more tragic. But, theoretically, what would be more tragic, more horrible than the murder of six million Jews? The holocaust with seven million victims.

    It was up to Pius XII that this did not happen. It was up to him that in so many cases the speed of murders was slowed down, that deportations were stopped, that potential victims were smuggled out of Hitlers allied nations, were shipped to South America, the Carribean and Palestine, were hidden in monasteries and Catholic insitutions, received false passports and baptism certificates, to have a future, to start a new life wether in Israel or on the American continent or, after the terror was over, in Europe.

    You might compare the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury who lived in the safety of a strong Great Britain with the words of the Pope, a hostage of Hitler’s ally Mussolini, and find them insufficient. But tell me, how many Jews did the Archbishop of Canterbury save?

    Deed count, not words. Human lives count, not rhetorics or pointless provocations.
    Whoever saved a human live, saves the whole world, the Talmud states. How many Jewish worlds were saved, due to this great Pope? 

    Sincerely,
    Michael Hesemann
    PTWF Germany

  • Mr. Wilensky,
    I don’t want to rule out that one or the other Parish priest saved Jews just because he felt that this was the right thing to do. Of course the human conscience is an important factor, and thousands of Germans or Poles, for example, saved Jews just because they opposed the Nazi crimes or just felt human compassion. Thanks God, not everybody just obeyed authorities.

    But this is not what we are talking about. Our subject is the greatest humanitarian campaign to safe victims of a religious or ethnic persecution in history. It started right after the pogrom night in Germany (“Kristallnacht”) on Nov. 9, 1938 and manifested, first of all, in the request of Visa for Jews from literally all governments of the world who held diplomatic relationships with the Holy See. This campaign was initiated and coordinated by Cardinal Pacelli. Although the outcome was meager – the biggest offer was 3000 visa for Brazil, limited to “non-aryan Catholics” = Jewish converts – it demonstrates the willingness of the Holy See to help at a rather early phase, predating the war, predating the deportations, predating the Holocaust.

    Pacelli continued this policy after his election as Pope Pius XII. To fulfill the criteria of the governments, even thousands of false baptism certificates were issued to turn Jews into pseudo-“Non-aryan Catholics” and allow them to enter the countries in question where, of course, they continued to follow their Jewish faith. In several instances, Pacelli/Pius XII financed to hire ships to bring these Jews safely to their destination. One documented case is the cooperation with Santo Domingo, when Pres. Trujillo offered to issue 800 visa for Jews every half a year. In this case, the assistant of the Nuntius, Msgr. Ferrofino (whose testmony we recorded and put on our website), personally went to Europe each time, collected money from the Pope, distributed the Visa among the Jews, hired a ship from the Papal funds and delivered the Jews in person to the Santo Dominican authorities. More than 10.000 Jews survived because of this action.

    During the War and after the beginning of the deportations, all major efforts which indeed saved a high number of Jews, were directly ordered by Pius XII.

    * In France, Pius XII personally protested at the Vichy Government (Hitler’s puppet government) when the deportations begun in September 1942. With the help and support of Rome and the French bishops, more than 200.000 Jews were saved.
    * In Slovakia, another ally of Hitler, Pius XII protested not only against the introduction of the Racial Laws in September 1942, but also sent protest notes to President Tiso (a Catholic priest) each time a deportation was ordered, namely in March 1942, April 1942, and early 1944. With the exemption of the tragic deportation of 10.000 Slovak Jewish women,  no further deportations took place and the majority of the Slovak Jews were safe until, in August 1944, the Germans took over control in Slovakia and again started the deportations. In this case, a Papal protest had no success, but at least 25.000 Jews were hidden in Catholic monasteries and survived.
    * In Romania, another ally of Hitler,  Nuntius Cassulo, ordered by Pius XII, arranged that Catholic Jews were exempt from the racial laws in 1941. Afterwards, thousands of false baptism certificates were distributed among the Jews so that in 1942, the Romanian representative at the Holy See protested against the high number of  “conversions”. Still, the “baptized” Jews were spared when the Jews were deported to Transnistria in 1942. To help and support them, Pius XII handed over large amounts of money to his Nuntius Cassulo – according to his secretary, Fr. Leiber, including the private fortune of his family which he had just inherited, being a Pacelli. Furthermore, in 1944, 4000 Jewish orphans were evacuated and brought to Palestine. At the end, 250.000 Romanian Jews survived. Nuntius Cassulo was honored as a “Righteous Among the Nations” at Yad Vashem, although he just followed the orders and distributed the money of the Pius XII. Also Nuntius Roncalli, who arranged the transport of thousands of Romanian Jews to Palestine, issueing false birth certificates and hiring ships, was honored at Yad Vashem, when he stated to the Israeli Consul in Italy, Pinchas Lapide: “In all these painful affairs I contacted the Holy See and also later I simply followed the orders of the Pope: first and above all to save human lives.”

    * When the Germans took over control in Hungary in March 1944, Eichmann requested the deportation of all 800.000 Hungarian Jews. Immediately Pius XII sent a telegraph to the Hungarian Head of State, Admiral Horthy (which you find on our website), dated May 25, 1944, which stopped the deportations. Only when in October 1944, Horthy was replaced by the Nazis and a right-wing-extremist regime took over power, the deportations continued. Still, about 200.000 Jews were saved in monasteries.

    As you can see from these examples, the Papal policy always was also to win time, since Pius expected a coup d’etat against Hitler as it was planned by the German military opposition, keeping him informed and collaborated with him since the fall of 1939. 

    Still, a single Parish priest could surely act out of his own, but the situation was a different one in the case of cloistered monasteries. Only a direct Papal order could lift cloister. And this is exactly what happened in Italy (not only in Rome), and yes, we have evidence in form of the diary of the cloistered Augustinian Nuns of the Monastery SS. Quattri Coronati in Rome, entry of November 1943:

    “In this horrible situation, the Holy Father wished to save his sons, also the Jews, and ordered that the convents should offer refuge and hospitality to the persecuted and also the cloistered monasteries should follow this wish of the Pope.”

    And no, we do not have a written order by the Pope, the order was delivered orally. We only have testimony from the parties who followed it. Does it mean that the order did not exist? Of course not; it just means that it was a secret action and nobody wanted any evidence to fall into the hands of Hitler’s Gestapo, with devastating consequences.

    But keep in mind we also don’t have a written order by Hitler for the Holocaust. Does this mean that Hitler didn’t know what happened, that he was not involved at all? This is a favorite claim of the Holocaust deniers, but as a historian I have to flatly refuse it: Of course he was responsible, nobody would have done anything without his order.

    The same I say in the case of Pius XII: Of course he was responsible, nobody but him could lift cloister!
    Yes, you are right. The Holocaust is the biggest, most horrible crime in human history. It is a shame that it could happen in the 20th century and that nobody was able to prevent or stop it from the very beginning. We can only kneel down and kiss the ground of Auschwitz, covered by the ashes, the physical remains of uncountable innocent victims. It is just unimaginable what happened, how human beings were able to perform such a barbaric act.  The murder of six millions in the factories of death is unique in the human history. Nothing what ever happened in is more tragic. But, theoretically, what would be more tragic, more horrible than the murder of six million Jews? The holocaust with seven million Jewish victims.

    It was up to Pius XII that this did not happen. It was up to him that in so many cases the speed of murders was slowed down, that deportations were stopped, that potential victims were smuggled out of Hitlers allied nations, were shipped to South America, the Carribean and Palestine, were hidden in monasteries and Catholic insitutions, received false passports and baptism certificates, in order to have a future, to start a new life, whether in Israel or on the American continent or, after the terror was over, in Europe.

    You might compare the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury who lived in the safety of a strong Great Britain with the words of the Pope, a hostage of Hitler’s ally Mussolini, and find them insufficient. But tell me, how many Jews did the Archbishop of Canterbury save?

    Deed count, not words. Human lives count, not rhetorics or pointless provocations.
    Whoever saved a human live, saves the whole world, the Talmud states. And how many Jewish worlds were saved, due to this great Pope!

    Sincerely,
    Michael Hesemann
    PTWF Germany

  • Ittay says:

    think this interview may be of interest here
    To most people he is best known for his failure to speak out clearly on behalf of Jews during the Holocaust, but he has regularly been defamed as a supporter of Hitler and an antisemite. On the 50th anniversary of his death we take another look at the wartime record of Pope Pius XII, Eugenio Pacelli – with Dr. Paul O’Shea, the Australian author of a new book about Pius, A Cross too Heavy.
    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/religionreport/stories/2008/2378841.htm
    extract:

    Stephen Crittenden: Well let’s come to the other key issue, and that is, was the Pope he an anti-Semite?
    Paul O’Shea: The answer again is No, he wasn’t. The evidence is overwhelming that he was not a racial anti-Semite. He was anti-Jewish inasmuch as most Catholics of the time had a negative picture of Judaism, if they thought of Judaism at all. He was the inheritor of 1500 year Augustinian tradition of contempt towards Judaism as a superceded religion that had no validity in the world, the Christ had come, therefore the religion of the Jews is now invalid. But Pius XII himself, person-to-person, was definitely not a racist of any description, the evidence doesn’t support that.

  • Gary Krupp says:


    Again, the slander of Pius XII being an anti-Semite or a “classic “anti-Semite is completely wrong based on the documents we have uncovered. He was not anti-Jewish as most other Catholics may have been. In fact the opposite is true. Eugenio Pacelli was a passionate lover of the Jewish people and in fact a great admirer of Jews from his youth. His closest childhood friend Guido Mendes was an Orthodox Jewish boy whose family would invite young Pacelli for Shabbat meals. Pacelli learned to speak Hebrew and borrowed the books of the great rabbis. When he became nuncio in Germany in 1917, he passionately tried to help the chief Rabbi of Munich obtain the release of the palms used for Sukkoth. In his letters he stated this is a wonderful opportunity to forge closer relations with the Jewish community. This failed since they palms were held up by the Italians and Italy and the Holy See did not have diplomatic relations. Nachum Sokolow president of the World Zionist Organization approached Pacelli also in 1917 to request that he intervene to protect the Jews of Palestine who feared they would be massacred as the Armenians were by the Ottoman Turks. Pacelli got Germany to warn the Turks that the Jews would be protected even with the use of arms. In 1925 Sokolow came back to Pacelli to discuss the notion of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Pacelli was so excited about this he personally arranged an audience with Pope Benedict XV for Sokolow. In 1926 he urged all Catholics to join the Pro-Palestine organization in Germany. In 1938 as Secretary of State Pacelli approved of the opposition of a proposed anti-Kosher slaughtering law in Poland and defeated it. He stated that this would cause great persecution for the Israelite community. In 1945, when he was pope, he greeted 80 Jewish survivors of the Holocaust who came to thank him for his great work, and he said soon you will have a Jewish homeland, this three years before the creation of Israel. In November 1947 Pacelli encouraged the 17 out of 33 states to vote in favor of the UN resolution to partition Palestine. We have numerous inter action as well up until his death showing his love for the Jewish people including his encouragement for Spain to recognize the State of Israel in 1950 and many other instances. As a Jew I can assure you that anti-Semites or anti-Jewish “classically” or otherwise do not act like this. When Catholics comment on who is anti-Semitic and who isn’t their view point and agenda must be scrutinized.
     

  • Thank you again for all your responses, and welcome, Mr. Rychlak. Between the three of you you make a formidable team, and making a complete point by point response to everything you have said would make this response very long and probably tedious to read. So you’ll have to excuse me if I generally address some of the points raised.

    Mr. Hasemann, as you know the murder of Jews occurred in many places and in many ways. Not all were commited by SS, and not all occurred in concentration and death camps. Many members of the SS, the Einsatzgruppen, the Ordungspolizei, the Waffen SS, the Wehrmact and thousands of auxiliaries in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltics, Croatia, etc. killed Jews (including in the death camps as well), and many of these men attended church or religious service. Many of them were even priests. Over a thousand military chaplains, both Catholic and Protestant, tended the souls of the perpetrators in the field. Franz Stangl, commandant of the Sobibór and Treblinka death camps, found solace for his role in mass murder from the involvement of Christian clergy during the assault on the Jews. And as I said earlier, almost a fourth of all SS men remained in the Catholic faith despite all efforts to make them leave it. Think of Spain in the 15th century for another example of pressure—and failure—to make people abandon their faith. Again, as I mentioned earlier, by 1940 over 95% of the German population were still tax-paying members of their respective Protestant or Catholic churches.

    You brought up again the point of the lifting of the ban of membership in the Nazi party. I do not think I need to repeat what I wrote earlier, but I would like to say though that the Catholic Church was not weakened by the Kulturkampf. They won that battle (even though they had losses at the time) but by the time Hitler came to power and the Konkordat was signed the church was at its strongest. The Catholic Church prospered greatly under the Weimar Repub-lic, increasing the number of priests to over 20,000 for 20 million Catholics, as opposed to sixteen thousand pastors for 40 million Protestants. Catholic organizations of every kind multiplied; new monasteries were built, new religious orders were founded, new schools were established. As the historian Karl Bachem said in 1931, “Never yet has a Catholic country possessed such a developed system of all conceivable Catholic associations as today’s Catholic Germany.”

    I disagree with you that in 1933 the majority of Germans supported the Nazis (the elections notwithstanding), and I disagree even more that fighting the Nazis would have been tantamount to suicide. The Catholic Center Party was very strong and in a coalition would have actually defeated the Nazis. We have Cardinal Pacelli to thank for the dissolution of the Center Party and for making Hitler’s absolute takeover of power possible. Even after Hitler came to power the strength and potential of the Church cannot and should not be underestimated. Just as the Catholic Germans were supportive of the Church’s admonition to stay away from the Nazis before the ban was lifted, they would have remained that way if the Church had continued to keep the ban in place or at the very least advised the faithful clearly, repeatedly and in no uncertain terms that the Nazi ideology was evil and incompatible with Catholic teachings. By not doing this the Church in essence told the flock that “Thou shall not kill” or “Do not do to others what you would not like to be done to you” did not apply to Jews.

    I am aware that the von Galen “revolt” only led to a suspension of the Euthanasia Program. The point I was making is that that was a good example to show that people, including members of the church, could and did oppose the Nazis when they felt it was the right thing to do, and faced no consequences. The Rosenstrasse Protest is another example that also illustrates this point. Just imagine if the Pope, in conjunction with the leaders of the various Protestant churches, had instructed tens of thousands of “von Galens” to “revolt” against the “Final Solution”. That is at the heart of what I am saying, that the Pope had the ears and hearts of hundreds of millions of Catholics, including many tens of thousands involved in the business of mass murder, and they would have listened. Once again, I agree with you that no amount of religious indoctrination, cajoling or excommunication would have swayed men like Hitler or Himmler, but it would have influenced the accountant killing Jews in the ravines of Poland or Ukraine, the blue collar workers in German factories making poison gas, the men driving the trains to the concentration camps, and perhaps most enlisted men (with the exception of the most rabid and fanatical SS men, I agree, but that was only a few thousand who by themselves would have been unable to carry the extermination in such vast scale).

    Regarding Mit brennender Sorge, I did not say it was not condemning the Nazis. I said it did not mention the Nazis by name. Sure, it briefly addressed the issue of racism and condemned it, but at the time racism was not a generic, abstract concept. This was a time in which the Germans had committed very serious human and civil rights violations against Jews. The problem the church was addressing was antisemitism, which is a form of hatred directed specifically toward Jews. Yet there was no mention of antisemitism or Jews. If you think it’s wrong that a priest rapes a little boy, then you should complain that the “priest” “raped” the “little boy”, not that “there are some cases of misconduct in the clergy and that’s bad”.

    Mr. Hasemann, you know L’Osservatore Romano is a Vatican publication that is very close to the pope and nothing is published in it without his knowledge and approval. This is as close to an official papal publication as it gets. To claim that the opinions of Father Rosa were his own and that it did not reflect the position of the Church is simply wrong, not true and misleading. First of all, both L’Osservatore and Civiltà Cattolica both had a horrible and long record of publishing antisemitic rants. Second, if Pope Pius XI had felt this kind of writing was innapropriate (as it would have been at any time but particularly after the anti-Jewish laws in Germany and Italy), he could have rebuked the good father and ordered him to retract it. Yet, that did not happen in that occasion, or any other of the many other occassions in which these Vatican publications published antisemitic rants.

    I think you may be underestimating the loyalty of people to the Nazis, and underestimating the loyalty to the Church and god. I agree that excommunicating Hitler would have infuriated him, but I don’t think he would have done any of the things you said. He could have easily taken over the Vatican and kidnapped the pope, but didn’t. Hitler was evil, but not stupid. Just like the Nazis did not do anything against von Galen because Goebbels knew it would turn ito a public relations disaster and would mean losing Münster, the Nazis would not have risked alienating tens of millions German and Austrian Catholics and hundreds of millions of Catholics in the occupied countries. If he had acted against the Church before winning the war, he would have found himself with a massive, uncontainable revolt. And as history shows, the faithful are quite capable and willing to fight and to die for their religion. German soldiers swore allegiance to Hitler, but they went to war with the inscription “God with us” on their belt buckles. So, to answer your question of whether I would have risked a few thousand Jewish lives in exchange for some future applause if I had been the pope, I think it’s the wrong question. If I had been the pope I would have acted much more forcefully in alliance with any other people of good faith and morals, I would have forcefully admonished the millions of people who listened and revered me, I would have clearly denounced the extermination in no uncertain terms, clearly, repeatedly and through every means of communication available to me, I would have threatened all Catholics with excommunication if they persevered in the exterminatory campaign against Jews, I would have stood in front of the train taking the Roman Jews to Auschwitz, and I would have instructed all and any cleric all the way to the lowliest parish priest or military chaplain to admonish the flock repeatledly in clear terms that killing Jews was murder and a mortal sin. If that risked my (i.e. the church’s) ability to do further good under Nazi occupation, if it meant losing monasteries and other church property, or the vast holdings and investments in Germany, then so be it. This would not have been an unsuccessful provocation. There are quite a few examples, like the Euthanasia case we discussed earlier, the Rosenstrasse protest, the actions of the Danish and Norwegian Lutheran cases, the actions of Bishop Saliège and others to show that you could successfully oppose the Nazis.

    Mr. Hasemann, I realize the Church made humanitarian efforts to save people, but it’s misleading to say they did this specifically to save Jews. As you yourself acknowledge the visas they secured were for converted Jews, that is, Catholics and not Jews. The protests against the racial laws, to the meagre extent they complained about them, were about the rights of converted Jews, that is Catholics and not Jews. I am not aware that Pope Pius issued false baptismal records, so I don’t dispute it. I do know Msgr. Angelo Roncalli did this, though.

    Mr. Krupp, please note I am not saying the pope or the church did not save any lives whatsoever. Of course in a titanic confrontation like WWII you will find people on any side and of any persuasion that will have something positive or something negative to say about anything. I don’t dispute that thousands of Jews were saved by members of the clergy, although I am skeptical about the role the pope played on that. But irrespective of the testimony of those that claim they acted on behalf of the pope, I must say that ultimately it’s irrelevant if some, or even a lot of people claim this. I realize Mr. Rychlak dismisses Zuccotti because of her refutation of several of these cases, but I must say that one needs to look at these cases carefully. It’s easy to misconstrue what they mean, and not necessarily for any nefarious reason. For instance, those that found refuge in monasteries would surely be grateful to the Church, and it stands to reason to think that in an organization like the Catholic Church this was done at the command of the Pope. But that is not necessarily so and, in any case, the fact that some were saved and some expressed gratitude should not be made to sound as “the Jewish people expressed gratitude”. You cite the telegram Pius sent Horthy asking him to stop the deportation of Hungarian Jews, but you fail to mention that the deportations were halted only after Horthy had received a deluge of protests from many countries including an ultimatum from Roosevelt, followed by an unusually heavy bombing raid on Budapest, and that the Vatican waited until that time to make a protest to halt the deportations. By then most of the 430,000 Jews the Germans would eventually deport had already been deported. However, the papal nuncio in Budapest, on conveying the message to Horthy, took advantage of the opportunity to clarify that the Vatican’s protest was not at all due to a “false sense of compassion” for the Jews. So, it’s important to be cautious with how you talk about these things, because those that do not know the entire historical context will read statements like Mr. Hesemann’s “Immediately Pius XII sent a telegraph to the Hungarian Head of State, Admiral Horthy, dated May 25, 1944, which stopped the deportations.” and think that (a) the Pope reacted immediately, which he didn’t and (b) his action stopped the deportations, which it didn’t do either. You present many examples and cases, but they may have a different meaning than the one you convey.

    For instance, Mr. Hesemann mentions the case of Jews saved in France. Well, first of all as you know, the Vichy ambassador to the Vatican reported back to the French leader Marshal Pétain in reference to the anti-Jewish racial laws in France that “there is nothing in these measures that can give rise to criticism, from the viewpoint of the Holy See.” He also said that Vatican officials “have no intention of quarreling with us over the Jewish statute.” Second, no one told the Catholic French police who willingly collaborated with the Germans in rounding up France’s Jews that that was the wrong thing to do. No one from the Vatican, that is. A few individual French clerics spoke against the anti-Jewish measures, in terms much clearer and forceful the Vatican ever said (not to mention the French bishop’s much more honest and forthcoming mea culpa after the war). So, to say that this was done “with the support of Rome” is misleading because it suggests that Rome was behind it organizing or promoting it, which is not the same as what really happened, which is they just did not oppose it and thus tacitly approved of it.

    Sure, the Vatican made a protest to Slovakia’s Father Tiso, but they didn’t necessarily do this out of compassion for the Jews impacted by the racial laws or the deportations from Slovakia. They did it because they understood the public relations disaster that could turn into, given the government was led by a Catholic priest who believed the deportations were a Christian act because Slovakia had to free itself of “its pests”, and many members of the government were clerics as well. Why didn’t the pope excommunicate Fr. Tiso? Was he concerned of retaliation in Slovakia as well? No, the admonishment to Slovakia was done publicly because, as a Vatican internal memo explains, it was important to make it look as if the Vatican cared. As the memo states, “it would not be out of place to discreetly make known to the public this diplomatic note of the Holy See (the fact of its being sent and the content of the document rather than the text). This will make known to the world that the Holy See fulfills its duty of charity.”

    Mr. Hesemann, the pope was not concerned his written orders fell into the hands of the Gestapo. The Church had means of communication that was not monitored by the Gestapo. Besides, if the church was truly worried about this, then why do you have all these notes and testimonies showing that the church was doing, namely conspiring against the Germans?

    Mr. Rychlak, please note I am not saying that rescue efforts by priests and nuns were performed without papal support. I am sure the pope knew and approved of this. But again, there is a difference between giving an order to do something, and simply approving an action one of the pople under your command does out of their own volition. You dismiss Zuccotti, but just like to you each of the cases you cite is evidence of papal rescue efforts, someone else (including her, obviously) interprets that action, or the narrative of the action, in a different way. Ultimately I think it’s counterproductive to discuss the individiual merits of each of these cases, if only because it would take forever and it may not be conclusive. It seems to me it would be better to look at the big picture. Instead of discussing whether this or that nun received a message from ther pope or not, I think it would be more productive to look at overall church efforts, both in intention and final results, to see how the church felt toward the plight of the Jews. It is from this point of view that we see a church indifferent, at best.

    Mr. Krupp, I do not believe Pope Pius was an antisemite in the racial sense of the term, although I would argue that racial antisemitism was not alien to the Church. But I think it’s a stretch to say he was a friend of the Jews and that he loved them. He couldn’t even mention them by name in the few rare instances he actually spoke out against the genocide! When he addressed the International Eucharistic Congress held in Budapest in 1938 he mentioned the Jews, “whose lips,” according to him, “curse [Christ] and whose hearts reject him even today.” Also, you mentioned that Pacelli was excited at the prospect of establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine. This is a jarring contradiction with the track record of previous Vatican officials who had opposed just that in the most callous ways. Also, as you know, the Vatican refused to recognize Israel when the state was founded in 1948 and Pope Pius was in command of the secretariat of state and in a position to do this. As a matter of fact, the Vatican would shamefully continue in this refusal until 1993, 45 years after its founding and 14 years after its greatest foe, Egypt, had recognized its right to exist in 1979. The Vatican was one of the last states in the world to do so.

    Regarding the invitation to come to Rome with you Mr. Krupp, maybe I’ll take you up on the offer sometime. :)

    Sincerely,
    Gabriel Wilensky
    —————————————————————————————————
    Author
    Six Million Crucifixions:How Christian Teachings About Jews Paved the Road to the Holocaust
    http://www.SixMillionCrucifixions.com
    —————————————————————————————————

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Mr. Krupp says that it would have been useless and counterproductive for the Vatican to condemn Nazi party membership or to condemn the enslavement and/or murder Jews.  

    He offers the same lame excuse we have been hearing for years, the claim that the Vatican was reserving its strength so as to be able to help more Jews.

    This is nonsense.  Almost all of Europe’s Jews were murdered, and almost every single one of the tens of thousands of shetlach (little Jewish villages in the countryside) were wiped from the face of the earth, their homes and synagogues burnt to the ground (often with the people in them), their cemetaries uprooted and the memorial stones uprooted and used to line latrines. The Catholic faithful of Poland and Ukraine eagerly assisted in the shooting of the people who lived in the shtetlach and in cities such as Kiev and Uman…we’ve all heard of Babi Yar.  The people of those regions were at first buried in shallow graves, and later burnt to ashes. If any few extended families had a single surviving relative, any such survivor would be unable to visit the graves of those they lost to pay them respects.  Nothing was done to indicate to the people of these almost entirely Roman Catholic regions that they were committing a sin, much less a mortal sin, in helping to shoot the three million Polish Jews and the hundreds and thousands of Ukrainian Jews, or in transporting them to concentration camps and slave labor camps and death camps. 

    But there were men and groups which, in various small ways, did successfully resist the Nazis’ demand that their regions “give up its Jews”.  Small Protestant towns in France who knew the perils of belonging to the “wrong” religion and successfully, at the risk of their lives, hid hundreds and hundreds of Jews in their homes in the French countryside.  Vatican orders or threats of mortal sin or impediment to receiving communion would have been sent forth to give pause to good Catholics who took communion on Sunday and murdered a few thousand Jews each on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc., and took communion again on Sunday, and so on through the weeks and months and years of the “Final solution of the Jewish Problem”.  The solution was enacted; there is no more Jewish problem in Europe. 

    When Topol was filming the movie, “Fiddler on the Roof,” he reported that when the local peasants asked where he was from and he said “Isarel,” they were puzzled so he said, “I am a Jew.” At that they smiled wisely, gestured negatively, and, “Oh no; we know about THAT; we took care of all of THEM,” they told him.  These good Catholics, over 20 years later, still regarded their murderous behavior as acceptable to GD and man; they told without hesitation or shame of their part in slaughtering the Jews in their midst.  How does it happen that so many good Catholics had no idea that murdering Jews was a sin, much less a mortal sin?  Who was assigned the chore of letting them know that little detail?  Herre’s FrOITR

    There WERE men and women on the ground who had 20/20 FORESIGHT but who ALSO had the COURAGE to ACT as if other people’s lives mattered. 

    Some Catholic clergy helped hide Jews in monasteries and nunneries, but many more, perhaps thousands more, would have done so if this had received open, public, official Vatican approval and encouragement, which were lacking. 

    Bulgaria’s courageous refusal to give up its Jews succeeded.  No Bulgarian cities were bombed because of this refusal. 

    The wearing of the yellow star by “all loyal Danes” and the appalled faces of the Danes at the very idea of what the Nazis were doing, produced shame in the Nazis there and impeded Nazi efforts to round up Danish Jews, most of whom thereby were enabled to escape.   
    When done openly, such an attitude made a real difference.
    It introduced doubt.
    It introduced shame.
    It introduced confusion into previously arrogant Nazi minds.
    It confused and disempowered the death machine.
    It saved many thousands of lives.
    All these except the Bulgarians’ were individual efforts.

    There were owners of munitions factories using Jewish slave labor, whose consciences were numb, as well as the personnel within the camps, who might have been roused to refuse to commit murder if the Vatican had officially reminded its faithful that “murder” applies to the murder of Jews the same as to anyone else, since Jews are humans to be respected and even cherished, rather than insect pests to be exterminated with insecticide. 

    Could the Vatican have made a difference? 

    Of course it could.  Even individuals made a difference, and some made a fair-sized difference.

    So since all these others had the wisdom and the COURAGE to do what needed to be done, cries of innocence and complaints against “20/20 hindsight” mean nothing.

    I have read the posts above.  Rather than the evidence I am looking for as to t0he Vatican’s heroic officially instigated resistance to the Nazi murder macine, I only see excuses for Pope Pius XII’s having failed to attempt any such public proclamation, and the claiming of papal credit for courageous rescues performed, without papal authorizatin or encouragement, by individual priests and nuns.  

    Pope Pius XII failed miserably.
    He was far from saintly.

    There WERE men and women on the ground who had 20/20 FORESIGHT but who ALSO had the COURAGE to ACT as if other people’s lives mattered. 

    I read that entire post and saw only excuses, without any evidence of the Pope’s having “helped” tried to help,  anything like the number of Jews who would have lived to produced children and grandchildren had he issued a public proclamation.

    He failed miserably.
    He was far from saintly.

    * * *

    One other little detail.  One of the posts above claims that Pope Pius’ subtle efforts saved three million Jews. 
    Say what?  That’s 45% of Europe’s Jewry. 
    But fewer than 10% of Europe’s Jews survived. 

    Obviously the claim that Pope Pius II saved three million Jews doesn’t fit the numbers on the ground.

    Obviously someone’s credibility is severely in question. 

  • Gary Krupp says:

     Dear Ms. Vise and Mr. Wilensky, Please tell me what damning evidence and horrific events was discovered after 1963 to change the world’s opinion of Pope Pius XII from admiration and gratitude to turning him into a despicable anti-Semitic Nazi collaborator. Those, who actually lived through the war and were in some way touched by the church in its efforts, thanked Pius XII universally. These include Israelis, Jewish organizations, and Jews worldwide. What happened that enabled the baby boomer critics of today to strip him of all of the benevolence credited to the Catholic institutions and individual Catholics who were encouraged to reach out to Jews? The current belief is that Pius XII did absolutely nothing but all of the lifesaving work  is only in the name of each priest, nun, and individual. There are hundreds of sworn testimonies from these wonderful lifesavers including 3 Popes, that all state that they acted under the direct orders of Pope Pius XII. Please tell me what is the “smoking gun” you all found in your research to prove these witnesses are not telling the truth.
    Before Pave the Way initiated our document retrieval project, I went on line to the archives of the NY Times and the Palestine Post (Jerusalem Post) and using the search words of Pope Pius, Jews, Vatican, I examined every article I could find from 1939-1958. I could not find one negative article. How do you dear Ms. Vise and Mr. Wilensky explain this? I did find many articles, which reported the exact opposite of the known perception where the Vatican spoke out on numerous occasions against the deportations and persecutions. Strange, isn’t it?
    Actually, may I suggest, that it appears that most of the research that has been  done and quoted today is really in reading the books of the other critics. Mr. Wilensky do you speak Italian, German and French the languages necessary to read the Vatican Documents? I was also informed that no one with your name has ever been on record for research in the Vatican Secret Archives, which are open to 1939. Don’t you think this would be a bare minimum requirement to writing and defending your book about the Vatican actions during this era? You also have not accessed the main Vatican document registration page on our website. We have to date collected thousands of pages of original Vatican documents. We have the summaries of the 5125 documents from the closed section to 1945 ( with a search engine to research for the 9000 pages of the Acts and document of the Holy See during the Second World War)and those of many other countries. We have posted  all 24,000 pages of every L’Osservatore Romano news paper from 1938-1945. Please site these damning anti-Semitic articles from L O you wrote about. Where did you get the evidence, as an example, that one quarter of the SS kept their religion? Please send me these documents and I will post them.
    The problem with many of the critical statements that are made by many today, is that the only research they have done is to read the books of the other critics. Mr. Robert Katz critical book earned him a lawsuit by the family of Pius XII in Italy, which he lost and was forced to pay a large sum of money and barely averted a jail sentence. By the way the official court records of this case were torn from the official court record books but we do the have the microfilm. Yet people still quote statements from this discredited book.  Rolf Hochhuth (Author of The Deputy) was also sued when he accused Churchill of ordering the murder of a Polish General as stated in a subsequent play where he was now going after Churchill years after his death. He also lost that suit and was forced to pay a large sum by a British court. John Cornwell retracted his basic theories in Hitler’s Pope in his following book Pontiff in Winter, but no one really knows this. He also was caught with flagrant inaccuracies in not just the photo-shopped cover but with his claim of his visits and access to the Vatican Secret Archives.
    All Pave the Way Foundation has tried utilize our access and level of trust to gain access to and post on the World Wide Web as many documents and video testimonies as possible and to allow the everyday person to examine these and come to their own conclusion. For this we have been criticized by those whose theories and statements have been proven wrong. Like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Many of the legitimate archival historians, however have praised our effort since we have literally spoon fed this information through search engines and complete access to these very telling documents. In fact many now admit, based on newly discovered evidence, they are changing their views on the secret actions of Pope Pius XII (please see the article in Yad Vashem’s quarterly magazine for 2010). It is our goal to end this controversy which impacts over one billion people, one way or the other. If Pius XII appears guilty of these accusations by documents and testimonies we will state this, but absolutely nothing we have found supports this notion.

  • Mr. Wilensky,

    ironically, as stubbornly as you misspell my name, you repeat much more serious errors.  Your scenario that good Catholics spent the weekdays murdering Jews and went to Mass on Sunday, to receive the body of a martyred Jew in form of the Blessed Sacrament, is just absurd and far away from the truth. Gott Catholics, first of all, did not follow the Nazi party. They knew about the excommunication ban, they listened to “Mit brennender Sorge” in 1937. Sure there were Catholics who joined the Nazi party for  opportunistic reasons and of course Catholics were forced, as every German, to serve in the Wehrmacht. In this case they had to follow orders or were flatly executed. But the Nazis were clever enough to know that Churchgoers are never loyal to their ideology. That’s why they created lists of Churchgoers, that’s why Himmler made it a condition for an SS career to leave the Church. Yes, there were some simple SS man who still officially belonged to a Church, but as soon as they intended promotion to a higher rank they had to leave the Church. In 1937, Himmler proudly announced that he already has six SS divisions which were “completely Churchfree”. This “SS Elite” was ordered to work on the “Endloesung”.

    It is a known and documented fact that the coordination of the genocide was a Top Secret Matter (“Geheime Reichssache”) and that all parties involved were under an oath of secrecy. Only the higher ranking SS officers and their contacts within the Wehrmacht and the Party were fully aware of what was going on. Not one of them was a practising, church-going Catholic. Certainly the chemical worker who participated in the production of Zyklon B or the railway worker in charge of the trains had no idea that they were a part of this satanic plan. Most of them just followed orders without considering the consequences anyway. It is not known that any of the SS murderers at the KZ’s or their Polish or Ukrainean hands was an active Churchgoer and indeed there was noi Catholic Church for Germans in or near any of the death camps; you can be sure that SS men in uniform did not go to Mass in a Polish Church. To claim that “many of them even were priests is more than absurd, excuse me.  They did have field chaplains for the Wehrmacht, the common soldiers, but NOT for the SS (the only exemption were German national volunteers of the Waffen SS which was not part of the holocaust machinery; they were allowed to have chaplains)!

    Why should the Vatican excommunicate President Tiso of Slovakia, when he ordered to STOP the deportation of the Jews three times, following a Papal appeal. Only after the Germans took over control in Slovakia, the deportations begun. Therefore, it was good and helpful to have a Head of State of a Nazi ally which was open for Papal pleas!

    Yes, the Church did have means of communication that were not monitored by the Gestapo: VERBAL communication! Therefore, we have affidavits as evidence, but only a few written instructions or protest notes. For the conspiracy with the German military resistance, our only pre-1945 document is the Kaltenbrunner report, written by the head of Gestapo in November 1944 after the members of the resistance were arrested, tortured and interrogated. Still, we do have the first protocol of an interview of the middleman of this conspiracy, Josef Mueller, by the American O.S.I. in June 1945. And we have the affidavits of the involved personalities from the post-war era.

    Mrs. Vyse, please reflect what you are saying:
    “Some Catholic clergy helped hide Jews in monasteries and nunneries, but many more, perhaps thousands more, would have done so if this had received open, public, official Vatican approval and encouragement, which were lacking.”
    Do you really think the Jews would have been safe in the monasteries and nunneries if the Vatican would have publicly stated where they are? Excuse me, but I can’t imagine a more absurd scenario. Do you know what Hitler would have replied on a Papal appeal to all Catholic institutions to hide Jews? “Thank you, Papa Pio, for letting me know where they are – we already missed them!” When you are hiding something, isn’t it the trick not to tell that publicly?

    Regarding Rome you are all right. Yes, the Pope should have left the Vatican, sit down on the trainlines and block the train with the 1007 Jews. He did not do that. Instead, he negotiated a deal with General Stahel to spare the other 7000 Roman Jews who afterwards hidden in 155 Roman monasteries and convents (ca. 4200 of them), the Vatican and Castelgandolfo. The “deal” was not to resist and indeed he was assured (and this was the original order and we have a copy of it on file!) that they were just sent to Mauthausen in Austria as hostages, which was not a death camp. He could not know that Eichmann changed the order when he learned what had happened and sent the train to Auschwitz. 

    I agree that anyway it was a deal with the devil. Who of us ever wants to be in this situation to decide what to do? Save 7000 and sacrify 1000? Or resist and experience that all 8000 get deported? I pray to God that I will never be confronted with such a decision. Pius XII. certainly suffered from it. Eventually, he decided to save the 7000.
    Was this decision wrong? Whoever replies in the positive should know that he would be personally responsible for the death of 7000 Jews. But it was even more in danger. He knew about Hitler’s order to march into the Vatican and arrest the Pope. He did not care for his own life, he already had a signed declartation of resignation in his desk: “They would only arrest Cardinal Pacelli, not the Pope”, he stated. The Cardinals were ordered to go to Portugal and elect a new Pope. BUT it would also mean that the network of help, which he built up and coordinated, would immediately collaps. The victims in this case would not be “mere” 7000, but several hundred thousands of Jews! Can you really say he made the wrong decision?
     

     
     

  • (Edited, mistakes corrected)

    Mr. Wilensky,
    ironically, as stubbornly as you misspell my name, you repeat much more serious errors.  Your scenario that good Catholics spent the weekdays murdering Jews and went to Mass on Sunday, to receive the body of a martyred Jew in form of the Blessed Sacrament, is just absurd and far away from the truth. Good, faithful Catholics, first of all, did not follow the Nazi party. They knew about the excommunication ban, they listened to “Mit brennender Sorge” in 1937. Sure there were Catholics who joined the Nazi party for  opportunistic reasons and of course Catholics were forced, as every German, to serve in the Wehrmacht. In this case they had to follow orders or were flatly executed. But the Nazis were clever enough to know that Churchgoers were never loyal to their ideology. That’s why they created lists of Churchgoers, that’s why Himmler made it a condition for an SS career to leave the Church. Yes, there were some simple SS man who still officially belonged to a Church, but as soon as they intended promotion to a higher rank they had to leave the Church. In 1937, Himmler proudly announced that he already had six SS divisions which were “completely Churchfree”. This “SS Elite” was ordered to work on the “Endloesung”.
    It is a known and documented fact that the coordination of the genocide was a Top Secret Matter (“Geheime Reichssache”) and that all parties involved were under an oath of secrecy. Only the higher ranking SS officers and their contacts within the Wehrmacht and the Party were fully aware of what was going on. Not one of them was a practising, church-going Catholic. Certainly the chemical worker who participated in the production of Zyklon B or the railway worker in charge of the trains had no idea that they were a part of this satanic plan. Most of them just followed orders without considering the consequences anyway. It is not known that any of the SS murderers at the KZ’s or their Polish or Ukrainean hands was an active Churchgoer and indeed there was no Catholic Church for Germans in or near any of the death camps; you can be sure that SS men in or without uniform did not go to Mass in a Polish Church. To claim that “many of them even were priests” is more than absurd, excuse me.  They did have field chaplains for the Wehrmacht, the common soldiers, but NOT for the SS (the only exemption were German national volunteers of the Waffen SS which was not part of the holocaust machinery; they were allowed to have chaplains)!
    Why should the Vatican excommunicate President Tiso of Slovakia, when he ordered to STOP the deportation of Jews three times, following a Papal appeal. Only after the Germans took over control in Slovakia and overthrew Tiso, the deportations begun. Therefore, it was good and helpful to have a Head of State of a Nazi ally which was open for Papal pleas, as long as he was in office!
    Yes, the Church did have means of communication that were not monitored by the Gestapo: VERBAL communication! Therefore, we have affidavits as evidence, but only a few written instructions or protest notes. For the conspiracy with the German military resistance, our only pre-1945 document is the Kaltenbrunner report, written by the head of Gestapo in November 1944 after the members of the resistance were arrested, tortured and interrogated. Still, we do have the first protocol of an interview of the middleman of this conspiracy, Dr. Josef Mueller, by the American O.S.I. in June 1945. And we have the affidavits of the involved parties from the post-war era.
    Mrs. Vyse, please reflect what you are saying:
    “Some Catholic clergy helped hide Jews in monasteries and nunneries, but many more, perhaps thousands more, would have done so if this had received open, public, official Vatican approval and encouragement, which were lacking.”
    Do you really think these thousands of Jews would have been safe in the monasteries and nunneries if the Vatican would have publicly stated where they were? Excuse me, but I can’t imagine a more absurd scenario. Do you know what Hitler would have cynically replied on a Papal appeal to all Catholic institutions to hide Jews? “Thank you, Papa Pio, for letting me know where they are – we already missed them!” When you are hiding something, isn’t it the trick not to tell that publicly?
    Regarding Rome you are right. Yes, the Pope should have left the Vatican, sit down on the trainlines and block the train with the 1007 Jews. He did not do that. Instead, he negotiated a deal with General Stahel to spare the remaining 7000 Roman Jews who were afterwards hidden in 155 Roman monasteries and convents (ca. 4200 of them), the Vatican and Castelgandolfo. The “deal” was not to resist and indeed the Vatican was assured (and this was the original order and we have a copy of it on file!) that they were just sent to Mauthausen in Austria as hostages, which was not a death camp. He could not know that Eichmann changed the order when he learned that Himmler stopped the razzia and sent the train to Auschwitz. 
    I agree that anyway it was a deal with the devil. Who of us ever would want to be in this situation to decide what to do? Save 7000 and sacrify 1000? Or resist with the consequence that all 8000 get deported? I pray to God that I will never be confronted with such a decision. Pius XII certainly suffered from it. Eventually, he decided to save the 7000.

    Was this decision wrong? Whoever replies in the positive should know that he would be personally responsible for the death of 7000 Jews. But it was even more in danger. He knew about Hitler’s order to march into the Vatican and arrest the Pope. He did not care for his own life, he already had a signed declartation of resignation in his desk: “They would only arrest Cardinal Pacelli, not the Pope”, he stated. The Cardinals were ordered to go to Portugal and elect a new Pope. BUT it would also mean that the network of help, which he had built up and coordinated, would immediately collaps. The victims in this case would not be “mere” 7000, but several hundred thousands of Jews! Can you really say he made the wrong decision?
     
    Sincerely, Michael Hesemann
    PTWF Germany

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    I named several individuals and organizations that saved more Jews than the Vatican did. 

    Obviously the Polish Jews failed to benefit from whatever secret “help” the Vatican offered.
    Hundreds of thousands of Polish Jews, possibly even most of the pre-war Polish Jewish population of three million, would probably have been saved if the faithful Polish Catholics had had any reason to believe that their Pope disapproved of their helping the Nazis to expose and hunt down Polish Jews and confine them in the Warsaw ghetto and elsewhere. 

    Are you under the misimpression that the Nazis accomplished their great murdering job entirely on their own?  On the contrary; good Catholics in many lands assisted in the job, unimpeded by any sermons suggesting that murdering Jews was as much a sin as murdering Poles and Ukrainians.  Why, some of those Catholics might even have been willing to sell guns and bullets to Jews who were desperate to pay any amount for weapons with which to defend themselves, but could scarcely obtain any at all at any price.  And when Jews tried to join the Polish resistance, they were usually shot–but if the Pope had issued instructions not to murder Jews, and if priests had preached as much in the churches, the Polish resistance might even have permitted the Jewish fighters to join in their fight, instead of murdering them. 

    So did the Ukrainian Jews, a vast number of whom were murdered by devout Ukrainian Catholics.  Let me tell you what I know about the Ukrainian Catholics. 

    The Ukrainian Catholics had long been accustomed to invade shtetlach (little Jewish countruyside villages) and shoot up some of the people.  During his childhood they came through my father’s shtetl time and time again, until the day when my father saw his beautiful and loving young mother murdered by Ukrainian Catholics in 1918 because they regarded Jews as children of the devil, exactly in accord with what they were taught in church.  My father fortunately was spared the sight when in 1922 they murdered his grandmother as well.  The same churches continued to teach them the lie about Jews being children of the devil so that the Ukraininans during WWII felt very happy about the opportunity to murder the devils.  This eager participation by Ukrainian Catholics appears in a document called The Black Book.  If only the Ukrainian Catholics had heard that the Pope thought that they were wrong to shoot the Ukrainian Jews! 

    And you expect me to weigh the fewer than ten thousand Jews that Pope Pius saved against these many millions of Polish and Ukrainian Jews on whose behalf Pius spoke not a word?  The Polish Catholics and the Ukrainian Catholics had for centuries been taught by the Catholic church to demonize and hate the Jews.  When they heard NOTHING from Pope Pius XII to counteract that message, or to dissuade them from helping the Nazis, THEIR ASSISTANCE in pointing out Jews, tracking down Jews, shooting Jews, and otherwise cooperating with the destruction of Polish and Ukrainian Jewry enabled the Nazis to indeed destroy almost all of Polish and Ukrainian Jewry, not to mention the Jews of other Catholic countries where the local officials and population cooperated, such as supposedly liberal France. 

    But in Protestant Denmark, the scathing looks on the faces of local Danish officials cowed the Nazis such that a relatively small percentage of Danish Jews were caught and murdered.  Alas, there were few Jews IN Denmark, but had the officials and population in Poland, the Ukraine and other Catholic nations looked so scathingly at the Nazis, those Jews, too, would have been hidden in greater numbers, and a significant percentage there, too, might have been saved.

    Thank GD for the Bulgarian government, which simply said NO to its German ally and refused to hand over the Bulgarian Jews. 

    You address me by name (which you misspell!) yet fail to acknowledge the power of goodness, which was utilized by the Japanese consul, by Schindler, by the Bulgarian nation, and by the Danes.  

    And how cleverly you twist my words.  I never said anything so idiotic as to suggest that the Pope should issue a public order for nunneries and monastaries to hide Jews there.  I said that the Pope should merely make it known that murdering Jews was a mortal sin, or at least a sin as grave as any other murder. 

    I said, and say again, that if the Vatican had issued a blanket condemnation of the murder of ANYONE, INCLUDING JEWS, that there would have been hundreds of thousands of Catholic lay people who, instead of murdering as many Jews as they could and helping the Nazis to identify and hunt down Jews, would have abstained from participating in the murders or in assisting the murderers.  And of those who did nothing, more would have helped to hide Jews, hoping to store up treasure in Heaven.  And that the minds of the priests, nuns, and monks would have been useful in thinking of ways to achieve this.  Instead, we had a paltry few brave and sacred souls who did hide a few Jews, but not the massive QUIET effort which could have saved so many more and might indeed have cowed the Nazis into shame as the Danish contempt cowed the Nazis in Denmark. 

    If Pope Pius XII had issued a ban on murdering Jews, the officials of the church would have known that it was a good work to find ways to hide Jews or to resist deportation of Jews or to preach in the churches to the peasants and townsfolk who participated in the murdering of Jews.   Many more such officials would have found ways to save the lives of many many many more Jews. 

    Contrast the poor record of the Catholic Church during those difficult days with the relatively impressive achievements of a very few individuals. 

    Powerless people totally lacking in official backing saved many entirely on their own.  Schindler, backed by nothing more than his own chutzpah, saved over one thousand Jews.  Japanese consul Chiune Sugihara, with the backing of his wife Yukiko, risked their own lives and the lives of their small children. Sugihara, over the course of a few weeks, and without permissoin from his own government, took it upon himself to do whataever he could.  He spent 16 hours/day at it; he hand-wrote over 2000 transit visas and thereby saved over 6000 Jews, including all the students and teachers of a yeshiva, without making any deals with the Nazis.  

    Yet the one man who commanded the decency and the heavenly reward of millions of Catholic faithful and the backing of all the officials of the church in many many nations was able to save no more than these two men together, and fewer than a handful of officials in the government of Bulgaria?  

    You expect us to believe that this was all the Catholic Pontiff was capable of achieving?

    Look at the numbers.  Look at the percent of European Jewry destroyed.  And you have allowed yourself to be convinced that the Pope was simply UNABLE to save more than the 7000 lives saved by Schindler and Sugihara?  

    And you expect us to be similarly convinced?  

    Think again.  
        
      

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Mr. Wilensky,
    Regarding the pope’s actions with Hungary, the allies did in deed threatened Admiral Horthy, regent of Hungary, with retaliation but it was only Pope Pius XII that offered and granted asylum to protect the family of Admiral Horthy. I have an interview with a Jewish man who was sheltered there and who physically opened the door to allow the family of Horthy in for protection and then turned the Nazis away when they came to collect the family. Your quote “curse [Christ] and whose hearts reject him even today.” was as usual taken out of context by Pacelli’s critics. This speech was delivered in an International Eucharistic Conference, which took place in Budapest, Hungry in 1938. The speech was focusing on “the Godless  Nazi and Communist regimes”. This was never meant to refer to Jews and was only recently construed to mean the Jews since it was intentionally and conveniently taken out of context. As for your opinion of the passionate relationship that he personally had for the Jewish people you actually need to read original Vatican documents of his intercession in multiple areas of Jewish concern that anti-Semites would never give a moment’s thought. Read the book of Israeli ambassador Meir Mendes and son of Pacelli’s best friend an Orthodox Jewish boy Dr.Guido Mendes to see the real relationship. You need to read the opinion of those who knew him personally. Just today we spoke to the son of a Jewish man who was personally saved by Pius XII. He physically met him twice and was sheltered in the Vatican for over one month when he was then sent to the Dominican Republic with Vatican help.  Stating that this is relationship is in jarring contradiction with other Vatican officials simply a statement that simply makes no sense since we are only talking about Pius XII not other Vatican officials. No one said there weren’t anti-Semites in the Vatican.

    His non-recognition of Israel had to deal with political, diplomatic issues and safety issues of Christians in Arab countries, which remained obstacles until 1993 with Pope John Paul II. Even in 1993 there was much opposition within the Vatican to recognize Israel. But it was Pius XII that encouraged the Catholics states to vote for the partitioning of Palestine in November, 1947. Even with the diplomatic normalization of relations in 1993 Israel promised the Holy See they would finalize the legal and Fiscal relationships between the two states that to this day remain unresolved. Even Pope John XXIII would not recognize Israel and yet you wouldn’t call him an anti-Semite, would you?

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    One of the many websites documenting the achievement of Japanese consul Chiune Sugihara’s singlehandedly, without backing from his government or from anyone else, in saving over 6000 Jews from the Shoah by issuing them transit visas is the following: 

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/sugihara.html

    If that is what one unassisted man can do, qol vchomer, how much more can a man do with the entire network of the Catholic Church to back him up?  Very little more, it seems.  But of course Sugihara had the will, the courage, the determination to do all he could. 

    That must be why Sugihara saved almost as many lives, alone on his own, as Pope Pius XII.

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Dear Ms. Vise,
     Since you brought up Japan and all it did for the Jews. I would like to enlighten you to documents, which clearly show that these efforts were requested by the Apostolic Delegate to Japan, Archbishop Paulo Morella, who requested visas for Jews traveling through Japan. We have the reference of such intervention in the Acts and Documents of the Holy See during the Second War for the case of 460 Rabbis the Vatican was rescuing October 1943. Consul Sugihara saved 6000 Jews , sorry Pius XII saved over 12,000 with just the action  in the Dominican Republic. This is one out of dozens of separate secret acts, which saved thousands of Jewish lives.  As usual the critics easily praise those who may have implemented these requests but conveniently omit the action for the Vatican who may of initially made the appeal to help. We also see this same phenomenon in the case of the Jews rescued in the Dominican Republic. Here is the interview of the 98 year old priest Msgr Giovanni Ferrofino, who physically went to see General Trujillo to request visas in the name of Pope Pius XII, every time they could get a ship to rescue Jews from Portugal and Spain many times per year from 1939-1945.
    Also since you are keen to send links to the Jewish virtual library and if you want to know how many Jews Pius XII saved through his actions please read 860,000 Jews saved the truth about Pius XII and the Jews and please read A question of Judgment by ADL Director Dr. Joseph Lichten.
    Now I grant you may not wish to believe these articles since they were written by people who actually lived through the war and had to look into the eyes of death daily. They didn’t have the same 20/20 hindsight that all of the baby boomer critics have today

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Mr. Krupp, how interesting that you find it necessary to bring out the cannons against me. 

    It is hardly necessary to use cannons against a mouse.  I did not discuss everything that Japan did.  I named the achievement of ONE man, acting alone without the support of his government or of ANY organization, who in three weeks of tireless labor singlehandedly produced 2,000 transit visas, thereby saving an entire yeshiva and a total of over 6,000 Jewish lives.  

    OF COURSE Pope Pius XII, with all the weeks and years and manpower and resources at his command, should have been able to save many, many, many times more Jews than Consul Sugihara.  If in three weeks one man, Consul Sugihara, saved six thousand, then in 30 weeks he could have saved sixty thousand.  (Indeed, Raoul Wallenburg saved tens of thousands of Jews, again acting strictly on chutzpah, without an organization behind him.)  If one man would have been able in 30 weeks to save sixty thousand, then ten men in 30 weeks could have saved 600,000 and 20 men in 30 weeks could have saved 1,200,000.  But Pope Pius XII had many, many more than 20 men whom he could call upon to help him, and he had many more weeks than 30 for them to work in.  Yet he saved only 860,000?  That is pathetic. 

    If the Pope had merely gotten word to the Catholics of the Ukraine that murdering Jews counted against their souls as the murder of human beings, most or even almost all of the 900,000 Ukrainian Jews murdered by the local population might have been spared.  Similarly in Poland, if the Polish Catholics had merely refrained from helping the Nazis, 1.000,.000 or possibly 1,500,000 of the 3,000,000 murdered Polish Jews might have been spared.  The threat of excommunication would have meant a great deal to the Polish and Ukrainian Catholics who had formerly been taught by the Chuch to demonize their Jews.   

    It is insufficient to show that some Catholics and some priests helped save some Jews.  It is necessary to show that Pope Pius XII achieved significant numbers in proportion to the 6,000 men, women and children which one man, Consul Sugihara, without any organization of any kind behind him, saved in three short weeks.  IF we accept your figures, Pope Pius XII saved perhaps a million Jews overall–which is to say, according to you, he gets credit for ALL of the Jews who escaped, including those saved by Wallenburg and Sugihara. 

    But if he had done ALL that he could have done, he should have been able to save close to 2,000,000 in Poland and the Ukraine alone, simply by the refusal of those Catholics to cooperate with the Nazis.  AND he would also have saved others throughout the rest of Catholic Europe. 

    So according to your figures, Pope Pius XII could easily have saved at least twice as many murdered men, women, and children as he is claimed to have saved, simply by putting out the word that murdering Jews is a sin the same as murdering anyone else. 

    And he could have saved even more beyond those, if he had called on priests to help find hiding places and/or to provide visas to smuggle Jews into Latin America, as so many Nazis were so easily smuggled into Latin America by the Vatican after the war ended.  

        

  • Dear Mr. Krupp, you surely understand the very human need for an authority figure, someone to admire, to revere, and even worship. During a time of war, and particularly when information was not so readily available, one should not be too surprised if a newspaper wrote a laudatory article about the pope. What else did you expect the NYT to do? Who wrote those articles? It’s not like today, when it’s acceptable to make open criticism.

    There was no new damning evidence against Pope Pius XII after 1963. But a number of things changed: first, the war was over. In a time of war, people rarely make serious criticism of a world leader, even if they feel the leader’s behavior was lacking, unless of course the leader is the enemy. Second, the pope was dead. A pope, as opposed to a secular authority, is revered by hundreds of millions of people who would not dare to criticize as they believe the pope to be holy, and is typically respected by millions more outside the faith who typically refrained from criticism, if anything out of respect (or fear) of the millions who did revere the pope. Pius’ death may have made it easier for critics such as Hochhuth and others to finally speak up. Third, Pope Paul VI was truly antagonizing many people at that time, and those who felt some modicum of respect for the Church and/or the papacy may have felt it was too much and it was time to speak up. Fourth, all those Israelis and Jews generally who publicly thanked Pope Pius, many of them with the political intent of currying Catholic favor for the Jews and Israel (which was vital at the end of the war and in the first decades of the State of Israel when it needed all the support it could get), may have began to change their minds regarding their attitude toward the wartime pope as they realized their public acknowledgement was not paying off as the Vatican continued to shamefully refuse to recognize Israel. Fifth, religion generally began to lose adherents during the hippy and subsequent years, when issues like contraception, abortion, free love, etc. were becoming more important to a growing swath of the population, who increasingly felt the Church was out of thouch with them and reality. Sixth, many historians began to move past platitudes and individual testimonies, some of which may have been questionable in any case, and began scrutinizing the public record of the papacy during the war, and the churches generally before, during and after the Holocaust. The record was dismal. No one should be surprised at the stream of scholarly works excoriating the pope’s moral cowardice or the behavior of the churches during the war. Seventh, the postwar period was a time in which the Holocaust was rarely discussed, and that included the role any world leader may have played in it. And eight, as society becomes more open, and as the power of the Church to silence dissidents continues to diminish, one should not be surprised at more people willing to criticize the Church. One can only imagine what they would have said about the Church during the Middle Ages if the Church had not had such overwhelming power to crush (sometimes literally) opponents.

    I have to say that I am not surprised to see you have the testimony of many Catholic faithful, and particularly members of the clergy, who would say they acted under instruction of Pope Pius. What else would they say? Really. Especially if this testimony was recorded after Hochhuth and subsequent criticism of the pope, what did you expect this people would say? Of course they would come to the pope’s defence and say the pope instructed them to save Jews. Mr. Krupp, the Catholic Church is not exactly a paragon of free speech, or an organization that promotes free thinking, or that tolerates dissent or criticism from within. This is the reason why publicly you would hear this laudatory testimony, but privately the same cleric may say something different. For instance, Angelo Roncalli publicly declard that his work to save Jews was done under instruction of the pope, however, as Chaim Barlas (an emissary of the Jewish Agency in Palestine sent to Europe to save Jews in the 1940s and who worked with Roncalli toward that end) wrote in his memoirs, Roncalli had told him privately that he was filled with resentment toward his superiors, “whose power and influence are great, but who refrain from action and resourcefulness in extending concrete help.” In France, Cardinal Tisserant also felt anger toward his superiors. He wrote privately to the Archbishop of Paris Cardinal Suhard, that “our superiors do not want to understand the real nature of this conflict.” Tisserant had futilely pleaded with Pius XII to issue an encyclical clearly stating that Catholic individuals had an obligation to follow the dictates of their conscience rather than blindly executing all orders, no matter how powerful the source. He added in that letter, “I fear that history will reproach the Holy See with having practiced a policy of selfish convenience and not much else.” So, these men saw that criticism would come, and for good reason. They would not be surprised at anything that happened after Hochhuth, and neither should you.

    Many of those people whose testimony you cite may have not remembered whether the pope specifically told them to save Jews or not, but assumed (logically, but tragically probably not really) that the pope did that. After all, that was the charitable thing to do, and one would expect that and more of the pope. So many may have added color to their recollections because of that. Don’t underestimate the allegiance to someone the faithful calls “Holy Father” and “Vicar of Christ”, and who not consider these figures of speech. But even if, for the sake of argument, the pope had in fact instructed all clergy to help hounded Jews, everywhere and in any way possible—which I don’t think he did—one must question why such an order was so widely ignored as the evidence of members of the clergy helping Jews is meagre (to put it charitably), and the results of any such action in any case, assuming it was taken, was so pathetically ineffective. And please, don’t tell me again of a bunch of Jews that may have found refuge here and there. Six million died at the hands of Christians, and even if a few thousand helped, many millions did not.

    Mr. Krupp, even though I can read Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, Portuguese, English and French, I am afraid I cannot read German beyond a few dozen words. I confirm your assertion that I was never at the Vatican Secret Archives. Many other researchers had access to some of the documents there and in other archives, and as you may infer from my use of supporting quotations from the various players in the period under discussion, I have access to plenty of documentation and I know how to interpret and use it. I use many quotes from L’Osservatore Romano in Six Million Crucifixions showing the inherent antisemitism in that publication. No need to review them all here. Some of them are from even earlier periods than the ones you have, though, like during the Dreyfus Affair, for instance. In 1898, at the height of the infamous Affair, L’Osservatore had this to say, among other things: “Jewry can no longer be excused or rehabilitated. The Jew possesses the largest share of all wealth, movable and immovable. . . The credit of States is in the hands of a few Jews. One finds Jews in the ministries, the civil service, the armies and the navies, the universities and in control of the press. . . If there is one nation that more than any other has the right to turn to antisemitism, it is France, which first gave their political rights to the Jews, and which was thus the first to prepare the way for its own servitude to them.” Not content with this, they also said, “Antisemitism ought to be the natural, sober, thoughtful, Christian reaction against Jewish predominance.” In case you think this was a fluke and the Church of Pius XII was any different, please take a look at the June 1938 quote I posted earlier, or take a look at the January 1939 edition, for example.

    You asked me for the source for my claim that by December 1938 almost a fourth of the SS remained in the Catholic faith. It comes from an internal SS report, NA Washington, T-580, roll 42, file 245.

    I realize many people who criticize the Pope or the Church during the Nazi era regurgitate what they read in books. So do the defenders. You’ll have to excuse me for I am also guilty of learning about history from other historians, and not just from reading the documents in their original languages in the physical location where they are kept. To my defense however I hope I have considered the opposing view, even if I disagree with it, and at the very least in my book I let the players speak by themselves by quoting them extensively. So, even if I cite a document I found in another historian’s book (as opposed to having copied it from the actual document), the document is the document, irrespective of where I read it (unless you think the documents are misquoted, or maliciously corrupted, in which case that is a serious accusation and a different story altogether).

    I commend PTWF for the efforts to digitize and make the relevant documentation available. I hope that corpus of material will include all documents, even if they are counter to your position. Also, I hope your position of influence in the Vatican may speed up the process of opening the Archives for the period covering the entire Nazi era and beyond. I personally think that when the Vatican put forth 11 volumes of documents in an attempt to squelch criticism after “The Deputy” they may have done themselves a disservice, as one cannot be blamed to think that the Vatican would have released the clearest, most forceful exonerating documents to clear Pope Pius’ memory, yet as you know those 11 volumes only raised more questions that the Vatican refused to answer, further increasing the tidal wave of criticism. Now, about 40 years later, we learn that the Archives will remain closed for another four years at least… It’s hard to feel sympathy for the Vatican under these circumstances. Mr. Krupp, as far as I know no one criticizes PTWF for making documents available, as you claim. The two types of criticism I am aware of are of shoddy, amateurish research and what I have been complaining about, namely, the misleading of the layperson as I illustrated a number of times in this conversation. By the way, I am very happy we we are having it, and I thank you and Mr. Hesemann for taking the time to participate.

    In regards to your point about Admiral Horthy being offered and granted assylum by Pope Pius, I am going to answer by asking you a question: who cares? Horthy did not stop the deportations because the pope offered him assylum. He stopped because he believed Roosevelt’s warning that the Allies would pulverize Hungary, followed by a particularly damaging bombing raid on Budapest.

    Again you are twisting things in reference to my quote from the International Eucharistic Conference. Why do you feel you have to say the focus of the conference was on “the Godless  Nazi and Communist regimes”? Mr. Krupp, who cares if the conference was about atheist Nazis or the health benefits of eating spinach? The pope was talking about the Jews. The pope was not referring to Nazi lips that curse Christ and Nazi hearts who still reject Christ even today. He was referring to the Jews. You know this.

    Vatican non recognition for the right of the Jewish people to establish a homeland in their ancient land of Israel may have been influenced by concern with the safety of Christians in Arab lands, but given the number of Christians in Arab lands one must wonder if this was sufficient for the Vatican to delay recognition for so long. You mention political and diplomatic issues as well. I will tell you the actual reason. It began long before Pope Pius XII. In 1904 Theodor Herzl met with Pope Pius X with the intent of securing Vatican support for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. But Pope Pius X did not recognize the right of the Jews to exist as Jews: “The Jews have not recognized our Lord, therefore we cannot recognize the Jewish people . . . The Jewish religion was the foundation of our own; but it was superseded by the teachings of Christ, and we cannot concede it any further validity.” And so he denied support. So did the Cardinal Secretary of State, who earlier also denied support by saying, among other things, “But in order for us to come out for the Jewish people in the way you desire, they would first have to be converted.” During the Nazi era, Undersecretarty of State Tardini (under Pius XII) also opposed Jewish emigration to Palestine, the only place where Jews could have been saved from the Nazi onslaught: “The Holy See has never approved of the project of making Palestine a Jewish home . . . [because] Palestine is by now holier for Catholics than for Jews.” Just in case you feel inclined to counter that this was a subordinate without much weight (he wasn’t, but anyway…), Secretary of State Maglione also opposed the posibility of establishing a Jewish homeland there, because Catholics had a right to the holy places, and their “religious feelings would be injured and they would justly feel for their rights if Palestine belonged exclusively to the Jews.” (!) And just in case you want to exculpate these individuals because perhaps they didn’t really know what was going on (they knew very well, but anyway…), after the horrors of the Holocaust became widely known and the State of Israel had been declared in 1948 your esteemed L’Osservatore Romano, which I remind you was the closest publication to the pope in the Vatican, felt necessary to declare “Modern Israel is not the true heir of Biblical Israel, but a secular state . . . Therefore the Holy Land and its sacred sites belong to Christianity, the True Israel.” So, please, Mr. Krupp, let’s call a spade a spade and recognize the real reasons why the Church and the Vatican acted the way they did vis-à-vis the Jews before, during and after the war.

    One last point: you made reference to an article referencing the number 860,000 Jews saved by the pope, which comes from Pinchas Lapide and as you know, or should know, has been widely discredited as voodoo math. In case you do not know, Lapide basically calculated that outrageously inflated number by “subtracting all reasonable claims of rescue made by the Protestant Churches … as well as those saved by Communists, self-described agnostics and other non-Christian gentiles” from his totally unverified and unsupported 1.3 million Jews that he believed survived the Holocaust. This is not credible, Mr. Krupp, and your use of this number is unworthy of you.

    Herr Hesemann, first of all I would like to offer my sincerest apologies for misspelling your name. Rest assured that that has more to do with typing in a cramped airplane than with any desire to offend. I meant no disrespect.

    Let me see if I understand you: do you mean to say that no Catholic perpetrators  received religious services, or do you mean no “good” Catholics received these services? Or do you mean to say they did receive religious services, but not in the form of going to Mass on Sunday? I agree with you many Catholics joined the Nazi party due to opportunistic reasons, but to believe they did not agree with the platform is naïve and does not correlate well with the fanatical fervor displayed by them (as everyone else). Or were the tens of thousands cheering Hitler in the party rallies only the ones that joined for ideological reasons while the opportunists stayed at home? Or maybe the opportunists were forced to cheer by the Gestapo? Sure, young Germans were conscripted into the Wehrmacht, but many joined voluntarily, and many joined other organizations, including the SS, because they believed in the platform. The men in the Order Police and the Einsatzgruppen were not coerced to kill, were not forced to pose for the camera while humiliating old Jews, were not forced to act in front of the cameras as they took pictures and movies of themselves and their comrades killing Jews. They were not forced to share the stories of their actions with their friends and families. No SS man was forced to kill if he didn’t want to, and they were given the option to opt-out if they felt they were not up to the task. Also, I mentioned Franz Stangl earlier. Was he a “simple SS man” too? You keep mentioning that the SS did no longer belong to the church. Even if that was so for the majority of them, that did not take away their heritage, their education, or their beliefs. This is not something you just switch off, Mr. Hesemann. As I mentioned earlier, it did not work on the Jews when they were forced to convert to Catholicism in the Middle Ages, it did not work in the Soviet Union, and it did not work with the Nazis.

    Please do not repeat the already debunked postwar myth that nobody knew back home, and that they were merely following orders, and that they feared for their own lives if they dared opt out of an Aktion. No, these men killed because they wanted to, they did it with gusto and pride, and very few of them asked their superiors to be relieved of their duties, and there is no record of any of them being shot because of it. Many men volunteered to work in the death camps; they even had waiting lists for the job. It’s absolutely true that the Endlösung was a top secret operation, but it’s absolutely not true it stayed that way. Everyone knew back home. Millions of soldiers sent letters and pictures from the East telling their families of their deeds, with pride and with nothing to hide. They spoke about it at home when they came back from the front, and their families largely approved of it as they had all been indoctrinated in the same miasma of hatred. As Stewart Herman, the Minister of the American Church in Berlin who remained in Germany until December 1941, corroborated: “It became definitely known through the soldiers returning from the front that in occupied Russia, especially at Kiev, Jewish civilians—men, women, and babies—were being lined up and machine-gunned by the thousands.”

    I can’t believe you really believe that the factory workers making Zyklon B thought all of a sudden the insect and pest population had grown so dramatically that they had to produce orders of magnitude more poison. Or that the train workers bought the official story that they were bringing thousands of Jews into the concentration camps every day to work, given that they were doing it every day. Even for a large camp like Auschwitz, even a very dimwitted train engineer would have realized that they were bringing too many people in, and they were never taking any out. At some point these people surely must have wondered about the brutality of the transportation process, the death of many of the people on arrival, the Selektion process which they witnessed as it was done next to their train, and the stench of death which was pervasive in these camps and they would not have been able to avoid. Surely these men smoked a cigarette and chatted with the guards while the trains were emptied before leaving to pick up another batch. You don’t think they would have asked what was going on there? Please, Mr. Hesemann. You surely know better.

    Look, maybe the German perpetrators did not have a German Catholic Church near the concentration camps, but they managed nonetheless. They celebrated Christmas, and they had access to priests. It’s misleading to say that field chaplains were restricted to the Wehrmacht, because even though the Order Police and the Einsatzgruppen were SS they were attached to the army and operated right behind the front lines, so the military chaplains tended the souls of both the foot soldiers (who by the way, also often merrily participated in the exterminatory actions) as well as the SS (and I even have photographic evidence of this). There’s one well documented case of priests who tried to obstruct a killing operation (unsuccessfully), and they report how the army and SS men in these battalions came to them for spiritual support.

    The Vatican would have excommunicated Father Tiso if it had believed that what he was saying and doing was not in agreement with Catholic teachings and Church policy. As I said earlier, instead all he got was a slap on the hand meant to show the Church disapproved of all of it, while clearly that was not the case. What they truly disapproved of was the embarrassing situation Slovakia was getting the Church into, because Slovakia’s president and part of the government was made of Catholic priests. When I said that many of the perpetrators were priests I meant in Croatia, where many priests were part of the Ustasha, many committed the most heinous crimes imaginable, and where the commandant of the concentration camp of Jasenovac, a place where the crimes committed made even the SS cringe, was a franciscan priest who had no qualms in cutting hundreds of throats of people in one night while wearing his franciscan robe. But this is just priests with literally blood on their hands. Many more were part of the genocide through the incitement of their sermons and writings, and the antisemitism they continued to spread throughout the war.

    Ms. Vise already responded, but let me just add that open appeals to the faithful and to the clergy does not necessarily mean giving shelter in a convent or church. I agree with you this would have actually helped the Germans. But the point is that the clergy could have clearly told the faithful that what was happening was very bad and very wrong, that it was incompatible with Catholic teachings, and that it was every Catholic’s responsibility to act in any way possible to help, from giving shelter in an attic or barn, to providing food or clothes to partisans and/or escaping Jews, or even by throwing a piece of bread over a concentration camp’s fence wherever that was possible. When there’s a will, there’s a way, as the saying goes. Clearly thousands of people found ways to help. What would the situation had been if instead there had been millions? What would the situation had been if the Polish, Lithuanian or Ukrainian neighbors denouncing a Jew had been told in Church that that was a sin, and that they not only should refrain from doing it but should provide help in any way possible? What would have been the situation if the priests had told the perpetrators in the forests and ravines of the eastern front repeatedly and in no uncertain terms that what they were doing was a crime and a mortal sin, and that they should refrain from doing it any more or face excommunication and going to hell?

    Herr Heselmann, those 7000 Roman Jews that went into hiding did not do it because the pope warned them. They went into hiding because the Roman Jews, as opposed to those of other countries, knew what deportation meant, and knew that deportation was imminent. To the great credit to Rome’s Catholic neighbors, many of them provided shelter. As I said earlier, also to the great credit of many religious people they also provided shelter in Church properties (with papal knowledge and approval, no doubt). But, please, stop saying the canard that the pope chose to sacrifice 1000 Jews to save 7000. The letter Bishop Hudal gave General Stahel warning him the pope might need to make a public protest was just a bluff. As Weiszäcker reported with relief, the pope did not let himself be drawn into any demonstrative censure of the deportation, and this included any writen protest, any announcement on Vatican Radio, and even less, standing in front of the train taking the Roman Jews to their deaths in Auschwitz.

    Gabriel Wilensky

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Ms. Vise,
    I’m sorry that you aren’t getting this. I know exactly how you feel since my wife and I both came from the same place. You are not being attacked but if you hang on to old prejudices and beliefs that the new documents simply prove wrong. Now If you refuse to examine these documents and simply just hold on to these arguments than shame on you.
    Pius XII was about to be killed along with the entire Roman Curia. This we can prove with documents. So as effective as you think all of the man power , resources and power at his disposal he should have saved more Jews you don’t grasp the desperate situation he was in. Many of the heroes you site were simply not in the same imminent danger. When one is surrounded by hostile forces and he still acts to save as many Jews as he could he is to be commended not condemned. He was not head of the Jewish faith he was the head of the Catholic Church and had an obligation to try to save Catholics as well. To conclude this tell me what every other religious leader or political leader did to save Jews . No one comes close to helping our people then Pius XII.
    The Talmud says if you save one man it is as if you saved all humanity. Maimonides also said anonymous charity (Which is the way he saved lives) is the highest form of charity and finally the Rambam said just because the whole world believes something is true does make it true., and just because no one believes it true does not make it untrue.

  • Gary Krupp says:

     Mr. Wilensky
    I do understand much of what you state. I also agree that the book we put together is not a scientific study but is a simple compilation of documents and articles, which evolved program the symposium program guide.  It is now being completely rewritten in the appropriate fashion.
    However, what I cannot understand is why in 2008, when PTWF organized a symposium in Rome where all of the noted scholars, institutions and historians where invited to come to Rome to debate this issue only the critics universally boycotted this event . If all you claim is such historical evidence, why then wasn’t any of this information presented by the critics at our forum?  We even said we would use teleconferencing or at the very least we asked that they send us a list of questions to ask the panel, again nothing. One had to wonder why they wouldn’t participate. The conclusion is that the critics simply have a bankrupt case that they simply can’t defend when confronted with documents and testimony. Then they had the Chutzpah of calling this effort a one sided symposium. It’s easy to criticize efforts to remove hatred, which is one of the greatest causes of anti-Jewish sentiments impacting over 1 billion people.


    The panel we invited are all recognized in one way or the other as experts. Professor Matteo Napolitano, Andrea Tornielli (both invited by Yad Vashem last March to a closed session of review of the new information) Prof. Ronald Rychlak, Dr. Eugene Fisher, Fr Peter Gumpel, William Doino and others. We invited Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Museum in Washington, Michael Marrus, Saul Friedlander, Paul O’Shea, Susan Zuccotti, and others. What would have been the harm in attending this event so that debates like this would not be in writing but verbal? You make your case and present your evidence and these defenders will make their case and present evidence. They objected to the presence of invited guests who are not historians. Prominent Rabbis and Jewish leaders from around the world attended. Are we to say that all of these people are stupid and not capable of grasping the highly scientific information being presented? Nonsense, this is what we in the civilized world call a trial by jury.
    This was very disappointing.
    There is one other point that I wish to make and ask you to guard against. To blanket dismiss testimony of deeply religious and honest people Catholic or Jewish and saying that one would expect Catholics to defend Pius is not fair, it is offensive and most definitely not true. It is a convenient catch all to try to delegitimize these people who aren’t liars or trying to curry favor in the church.

  • Mr. Krupp, I think Ms. Vise is “getting” it all right. With all due respect, I think it’s you that is failing to understand. Why would Ms. Vise, myself, and millions of other people around the globe, including the world’s foremost Holocaust scholars and historians fail to be persuaded by your arguments and your documentation? Do you ask yourself this question? Are we all malicious, bigoted, or just plain stupid? You yourself were complaining that many of these historians refused to join you in your symposium. Why on earth would they do that? Historians go to symposiums and conferences all the time, and they would jump at the possibility to get exposure to new, juicy unearthed documents. But as you bitterly complain, they did not do that. Not even via teleconference. So, it wasn’t a financial reason. No, they simply did not want to attend. Why do you think that is, Mr. Krupp? Could it have something to do with their belief that your research is poor? Could it be that they believe your interpretation of the data is wrong? Could it be they suspect these affidavits you’ve got? Could it be they suspect your motives? Could it be they see an attempt to mislead the layman by presenting facts to mean things they don’t mean, and when exposed you persevere doing the same all over again? Again, I mean no disrespect by posing these questions. I am just trying to see if we can together understand the dynamics at work here.

    By the way, if the pope acted the way he did because he was concerend for his life and that of the curia, as I said earlier he could have moved to London and maybe then he would have been free to speak his mind and instruct the faithful in the same way or better than the Archbishop of Canterbury, which I quoted above. Instead, he felt it more important to protect the Vatican treasures and stayed put, and stayed quiet.

    Not all Christian leaders were so concerned for their well-being, though. And not all were speaking out on behalf of the Jews from the relative comfort of London, as Mr. Hesemann suggested. The leaders of the Danish Lutheran Church, when the Nazis (which had already invaded them) were about to deport the country’s Jews, movilized to prevent just that. In a letter of protest sent to the German authorities before the deportations began in October 1943, which was read from the pulpit in churches in Denmark, Bishop Hans Fuglsang-Damgaard, with the support of all the Church’s bishops, said:

    “Whenever persecutions are undertaken for racial or religious reasons against the Jews, it is the duty of the Christian Church to raise a protest against it for the following reasons:

    . . . Because the persecution of the Jews is irreconcilable with the humanitarian concept of love of neighbors which follows from the message which the Church of Jesus Christ is commissioned to proclaim. With Christ there is no respect of persons, and he has taught us that every man is precious in the eyes of God. . . .

    . . . race and religion can never be in themselves a reason to deprive a man of his rights, freedom or property. . . . We shall therefore struggle to ensure the continued guarantee to our Jewish brothers and sisters [of] the same freedom which we ourselves treasure more than life.

    . . . We are obliged by our conscience to maintain the law and to protest against any violation of human rights. Therefore we desire to declare unambiguously our allegiance to the word, we must obey God rather than man.”

    Mr. Krupp, I will tell you something. I think the world will change its mind about Pope Pius if you found that he did something like this, that he spoke plainly, clearly, from the pulpits of all churches so everyone would know, that he specifically instructed the faithful to act. Not just to save Jews, but to stop denouncing, hunting them down, deporting them, and murdering them. Not through veiled messages no one understood. Not through secret missions. Not through silence, which was interpreted as tacit approval. There was nothing “heroic” about the pope’s supposed behind the scenes work on behalf of the Jews. There was nothing “heroic” about his silence, and even less of his obtuse, vague messages. As a consequence of the pope’s inaction (or at least ineffective action), over 1000 Roman Jews were deported to their deaths. As a consequence of what Bishop Fuglsang-Damgaard and all the Danish Lutheran Church’s bishops did, the Danish people were movilized to save Jews, which was accomplished in a myriad ways by regular people, without vast resources, and in front of and in defiance of Nazi eyes. These people surely feared the Gestapo as much as anyone else. Yet the Danes spoke out, they told the faithful in no uncertain terms what was happening and what they should and should not do, they movilized, and as a result almost all Danish Jews survived the war. And the saddest part of this story? This happened two weeks before the deportation of the Jews of Rome. Pope Pius chose not to follow this example.

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Mr. Krupp says, I’m sorry that you aren’t getting this.

    Ms. Vise asks, What is it you think I am not getting?  I “get” that Pope Pius XII failed to issue any kind of statement indicating that murdering Jews is murder.  I get that Pope Pius XII failed to issue any kind of general warning that Jews should go into hiding to avoid being murdered.  I get that the Vatican failed to obtain visas to Argentina and other Latin American countries and failed to smuggle Jews out of Europe, although it did both quite handily for Nazis after WWII.  I get that any of these actions might have saved another two million Jews and possibly many more than that. 

    Do you have documents that prove that Pope Pius XII did any of these things, or that the Vatican did any of these things?  If so, please present them. 

    I am totally uninterested in the saving of a handful of Jews here and there, knowing as I do that individuals without any impetus whatever from the Vatican or from Pope Pius XII managed on their own to save from one to ten thousand Jews each, and that many more such individuals would have done so had such information been forthcoming from the Pope. 

    I know for a fact, from the Black Book of the Ukraine, published within the past five years, that a significant number of the murdered Ukrainian Jews were killed by Catholic Ukrainians who would not have done so if they had thought this act endangered their souls.   

    Mr. Krupp misleadingly says, You are not being attacked but if you hang on to old prejudices and beliefs that the new documents simply prove wrong.

    Ms. Vise
    You accuse me falsely.  I have not had the heart to read those old books that present those old prejudices and beliefs.  I come NEW to this discussion.  But it is easy enough to find what individuals managed to achieve on their own and to extrapolate from there what further such actions might have achieved if Pope Pius XII had been willing to let people know that it IS MURDER when you murder a Jew. 

    Mr. Krupp brings out his cannon, saying,
    Now If you refuse to examine these documents and simply just hold on to these arguments than shame on you.

    Ms. Vise responds
    I am indeed ashamed that despite having taken courses in German, French, Russian, Yiddish, and Hebrew, I have not learned to read any of those languages, so my examination of those documents would be futile, even assuming I had the funds available to go read them in situ, which I am ashamed to say I do not have.

    So you can be happy now, having thoroughly shamed me for my linguistic block and my lack of largesse.   

    The record remains of the amazing achievements of the individuals who, singlej-handedly or with the help of 20 people at most, saved a thousand or six thousand or tens of thousands of Jews from certain death, and it is impossible to avoid extrapolating to the numbers of such individuals who would have done likewise with a modicum of notice from their church that it is MURDER to murder a Jew.

    Mr. Krupp says,
    Pius XII was about to be killed along with the entire Roman Curia. This we can prove with documents. So as effective as you think all of the man power , resources and power at his disposal he should have saved more Jews you don’t grasp the desperate situation he was in.

    Ms. Vise responds
    By all means, prove it. 

    Mr. Krupp says
    Many of the heroes you site were simply not in the same imminent danger.

    Ms. Vise retorts, Indeed they were.  They were in danger every minute while performing their rescue operations. 

    Irena Sendler was a Polish Catholic social worker in Warsaw who rescued 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto, took them to live with Jewish families, and kept a list on tissue paper in a glass jar buried under a tree so that after the war she could retrieve the children.  99% of the parents had been murdered but at least the children could be reunited with the Jewish community. 

    Danger?  She was in danger every minute.  She changed her residence every night.  Each time she carried a gunny sack containing a baby past the guards and out of the ghetto she was in danger.  Eventually someone betrayed her location and she was arrested and beaten.  Her leg and her foot were broken.  She was slated for execution but someone rescued her and hid her.   

    She was in danger but she had incredible courage.  You can google her name and find many articles on the web documenting her courage.  Unlike the courage that Pope Pius XII lacked.
    She was surrounded by hostile forces and she still acted to save as many Jews as she could.  Others who did less are hadly to be commended.  Others who had more power and more help and who did proportionally less han she did are indeed to be condemned.

    She was not head of the Jewish faith, she was a member of the Catholic Church and she saw that the greatest danger was to the Jews, who were literally being extgerminated like insects.  But Jews ARE human, and she was humane enough, unlike Pope Pius XII, to notice that fact.  

    Mr. Krupp asks, Tell me what every other religious leader or political leader did to save Jews.

    Ms. Vise
    No government on record, except Denmark and Bulgaria, has ever yet stepped in to stop a Holocaust in progress, not in Rwanda, not in Cambodia, not in Armenia, and not now in Africa either.  Almost no government comes close to helping the victims of a Holocaust until the damage is done. 

    As for religious leaders, you are right, the other Christians, especially the European Lutherans, also hated the Jews.  And the Muslim Mufti of Jerusalem squelched a deal where by half a million Jewish children would have been spared.  Can you imagine?  As a result, instead of “only” one million murdered Jewish children, 1,500,000 Jewish childern were murdered in the Shoah.  So Pope Pius XII was no worse than the rest of them? 

    Yes, the Old World Clergy certainty come up short when it comes to saving Jews.
    I agree with you there, Mr. Krupp.

    Mr. Krupp says
    The Talmud says if you save one man it is as if you saved all humanity.

    Ms. Vise agrees that,
    Concomitantly, if you cause one death, it is as if had caused the death of all humanity. 
    And, in fact, the hundreds of thousands of children and grandchilden produced by the survivors indicate how many humanities could have been saved had Pope Pius XII merely let it be known as official church doctrine that JEWS  ARE PEOPLE and that the murder of a Jew is MURDER.

    Mr. Krupp notes that
    Maimonides also said anonymous charity (Which is the way he saved lives) is the highest form of charity and finally the Rambam said just because the whole world believes something is true does make it true., and just because no one believes it true does not make it untrue.

    Ms. Vise
    I have seen little or no evidence that Pope Pius XII saved a fraction of the number whom he could have saved merely by acknowledging to Catholics world wide that Jews are people and that it is a sin to murder a Jew the same as it is a sin to murder anyone else. 

    I also have seen evidence that rather than acting anonymously, Pope Pius XII made sure to publicize the non-lifesaving gestures he made so that he would receive credit for caring even if (note I say IF; I am not convinced but am continuing to gather what evidence is available to me) he did not. 

    Incidentally, I HAVE a book describing hundreds of individual acts of courage on the part of righteous gentiles, including Catholics AND Protestants, acts in which individuals saved thousands of lives.

    This book has always saddened me.  How easily could so many more Jews have been saved, if only a few more such courageous righteous ones had been encouraged to do their bit. 

    And now that I realize that Pope Pius XII could have provided such impetus simply by uttering a single sentence, of course I do blame him for his failure of the moral courage to speak that one senence.

    I will continue to publish the names and deeds of such individuals to give the reader an idea of how little it takes to accomplish so much, even without money or position.  But yes, it does require courage.  These people risked their own lives, the lives of their spouses, the lives of their little children.  And each one of them said, “How could I help but do it?” 

    Strangely, Pope Pius XII’s words fail to allow him the moral high ground from which to ask that same question. 

    I honor the achievements of the Catholic Church in recent years.  But the upturn comes many years after the death of Pius XII, who acted and spoke in accord with the hatred of the church that produced him and that continued to discourage Catholics from saving Jews. 

    Indeed, a recent article in “The CatholicKnight” STILL claims the church itself to be the true Israel and condemns Israel for existing.  It even says that the Jews don’t need Israel, since the Jews in America are “safe” and that Jews have always (ALWAYS!) had safe places to live, and that the Jews of “Palestine” were “safe” during WWII.  Of course I need not explain the falsity of all that to you, Mr. Krupp, but doesn’t it bother you that they still lie about us that way?  It sure as shooting does bother me, being lied about that way.   

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Irena Sendler took the Jewish children whom she rescued to live with CATHOLIC families.

    I typed in error above.  I am sorry.  My fingers got ahead of me. 

    CATHOLIC families, of course, not Jewish families.

  • Gary Krupp says:

     Dear Ms. Vise,
    Please send me the proof that can substantiate the statement that the Vatican sent Nazis to South America (the rat line). I have begged all of the critics who state this to please send me some sort of proof that this happened and was not just a script writer’s fantasy. The fact is there was one Nazi Bishop Hudal who did send some Austrian Nazis to South America but not the Vatican. This Bishop was an outcast and not accepted in the Vatican because of his pro Nazi stand.
    I can prove the Pius XII saved tens of thousands of Jews by sending them to South America but you will now have to research this yourself on the pages I linked below. Pius XII also used his personal fortune to give money to Jews escaping to Switzerland from Germany and Poland and personally paid $800 per person of his personal funds to send Jews to Brazil. Pius XII died a poor man because he used his personal family fortune.
    I don’t think I can send you any more links proving the condemnation of Nazi Atrocities by the Pope or anything else since you are obviously didn’t download any of the links I already sent you. Let me simply advise you to go to this page and this page and after you have read everything contact me back and I will be happy to fill in any gaps based on documents and your responses, which indicate that you read and understood these documents. But you now must actually try to investigate this as I did.
    The Catholic Knight is not the voice of the Vatican and there are unfortunately lunatic fringe blogs that do not accept Nostra Aetate. Don’t believe everything you read on the blogs, because the church does not state they are the new Israel or condemns Israel for existing.  The Vatican recognized Israel in 1993 and actually has one of the only embassies in Jerusalem today.

    Mr. Wilensky the symposium we held was not based on any of our research most of which came after our symposium but on efforts of the experts who I previously named along with the documents that were recently retrieved. Just as you didn’t ever go to the archives that were opened the other critics did not go to the archives up to 1939. So no this is not why they didn’t come to Rome.

    With the imminent arrest of the pope and the killing of the curia the pope had absolutely no concern for his life he worried about the tens of thousands of innocent people who would be killed if the expected riots broke out upon his arrest. We have this from not yet published Vatican documents of September 6, 1943.
    You stated that the world would change their mind if we found that the church condemned the arrest and deportation of the Jews. This did happen July 26,, 1942 when the Archbishop of Utrecht vehemently condemned the arrest and deportation of the Dutch Jews. The Vatican very quickly learned their lesson when the Nazis punished the church by accelerating the arrests and then included all of the converted Catholics, which was a violation of the 1933 concordat.
    You also state that is was the Pope’s inaction, which resulted in the arrests of the 1007 Jews in Rome. Sorry but it was the pope’s deliberate and direct action that saved the 7000 Jews and stopped the arrest at 2 PM the day they started. We did previously mention this along with the fact that the allies knew of the arrests almost a week before they occurred and didn’t warn anyone.
    I might mention that since you are talking about all of the world historians who you have researched their findings and who do not agree with our statements, please let me tell you that you may not have looked at the few eminent Jewish scholars and experts who actually do believe that everything we have presented is accurate and true. Sir Martin Gilbert, who is acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest scholars and historians of the Second World War said “Hundreds of thousands of Jews saved by the entire Catholic Church, under the leadership and with the support of Pope Pius XII, would, to my mind, be absolutely correct.”, he also stated “To assert Pius XII was ‘silent’ about Nazi mass murder is a serious error of historical fact.” , Israeli historian Michael Tagliacozzo the leading expert on the Nazi raid on Rome’s Jews and archivist of the Beth Lohamè Haghettaot Holocaust center in western Galilee in Israel, stated how Pius XII and the Vatican saved his life October 16, 1943 and has a folder full of additional testimonies saying the same thing. Jeno Levai’s the worlds expert on the Holocaust in Hungary with his book, Hungarian Jewry and the Papacy: Pius XII Did Not Remain Silent, Rabbi David Dalin in his book The Myth of Hitler’s Pope, Deputy U.S. prosecutor at Nuremberg trials Robert MW Kempner, Albert Einstein, Serge Klarsfeld, Joseph Lichten internationals director of the ADL, along with (Voo Doo master) Historian and Israeli Ambassador Pinchas Lapide, Dan Kurzman and countless others. These people all lived through the war and have a level of understanding and empathy that comes from this experience.

  • Paul O'Shea says:

    I am not going to enter into this conversation, but I do want to set the record straight on two things.  I am named as one of the critics invited to The Pave TheWay conference in Rome in September 2008.  Gary Krupp kindly invited me to attend, but I declined because of work commitments.  I teach and the timing of the conference cut across the last period of classes for Year 12 and their final preparations for the NSW HSC.  I did not decline because I did not want to go – I was unable to go.  I was able to go to Jerusalem at the invitation of Yad Vashem in March 2009 because teaching obligations allowed me about ten days to fly to Israel and attend the symposium.
    Second.  Access to the Archivio Segreto Vaticano can be done via the internet.  I have not visited the ASV but I have several bulging files of copies sent to me from Rome by the very efficient and professional staff.  All I did was fill out the online request form, cite the relevant file numbers and they did the rest.  Cardinal Kaspar spoke on 25 May saying that the ASV will go digital within 6 years.  Physical presence in archives is fast becoming a thing of the past – perhaps not ideal, but it is a reality. 
    I will be in Melbourne speaking on some of the issues discussed here in the lively environment of Limmud Oz.

  • Margaret Visser says:

     
    Thank you, Gary Krupp and Michael Hesemann.  I admire your courage.
    Only one pretty obvious point:  I (a Roman Catholic) know very well that killing is evil.  The Pope need not tell me that; I have the Ten Commandments, which are foundational to my faith – and that of the Pope.  I also know that somebody’s race is irrelevant to the prohibition.  However, if I were filled with hatred and determined to kill someone, the Pope telling me not to would probably not make the slightest difference.  Every human being has his or her own conscience – and responsibility.  Every person also has a responsibility to look at the facts, try to judge without partiality, and strive not to be blinded by hatred or by imagining that he or she would invariably act magnificently.
     
     

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Thank you Paul yes you are 100% correct.
    By the way our document page site, which you can get to by registering, now has all of the Vatican documents we retrieved so far along with the Acts and Documents of the Holy See during the Second World War with a spectacular search engine for the 9000 pages. We have the translated letters of Pacelli to the German Bishops from 1939-1945, which were translated by Mr. Robert Riebling. We have all of the L’Osservatore Romano news papers from 1938-1945. All of the Campagna documents and the Inter Arma Caritas 1939-1947. Enjoy

  • Gary Krupp says:

     Dear Mr. Wilensky,
    Here is the main text of the speech where you claim that Pacelli was cursing the Jews. Ron Rychlak sent me this where you can plainly see who he was talking about:
    In 1938, Pius XI sent Pacelli to the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest. Pacelli, speaking for the Pope, said:                                                                

    “Face to face with us is drawn up the lugubrious array of the military godless shaking the clenched fist of the Anti-Christ against everything we hold most sacred. Face to face with us spreads the army of those who would like to make all peoples of the earth and every individual human believe that they can find prosperity only by receding from the Gospel of Christ.”[1]
    No doubt you drew your interpretation from critic Michael Phayer who tried to turn Pacelli’s comments all around. He reported that Pacelli was condemning not the Nazis but the Jews.[2] Nowhere in the speech did Pacelli mention “Jews.” He spoke of the “military godless,” and said that their “lips cursed Christ and whose hearts reject him even today.” No one at the time thought that he was speaking of the Jews. Jenö Levai, the esteemed Jewish author of Hungarian Jewry and the Papacy: Pius XII Was Not Silent (1968), personally witnessed the speech. As the title of his book implies, he is a great supporter of Pacelli. He also noted the Pope’s early intervention following the occupation of Hungary. The anti-Jewish interpretation is pure post-Holocaust reconstruction.

  • Mr. Krupp, first of all let me commend you again for the fantastic job of digitizing and making available so much of the pertinent documentation. You are doing a great service by doing this.

    The text Mr. Rychlak sent you is not the “main text of the speech”. It might be the theme of the speech, but in any case it’s not, as I said earlier, relevant to my point that elsewhere in the speech he spoke of the Jews and said what I quoted earlier. Just so you can see it in context, here it is in a more extensive quote:
    <blockquote>Jesus conquers! He who so often was the recipient of the rage of his enemies, he who suffered the persecutions of those of whom he was one, he shall be triumphant in the future as well. . . . As opposed to the foes of Jesus, who cried out to his face, “Crucify him!”—we sing him hymns of our loyalty and our love. We act in this fashion, not out of bitterness, not out of a sense of superiority, not out of arrogance toward those whose lips curse him and whose hearts reject him even today.”</blockquote>
    As you see, Cardinal Pacelli was not talking about atheist Nazis, Communists or “military godless” here (despite that that may have been the thrust of the rest of the speech). No, Mr. Krupp, the “foes of Jesus” who supposedly cried “Crucify him!” that Pacelli was talking about were not middle eastern Nazi ancestors, they were the Jews the New Testament and further Christian writings blame for killing Jesus, for persecuting him, for cursing him and for rejecting him, all false accusations Cardinal Pacelli had no qualms in repeating three years after the Nuremberg anti-Jewish laws were passed in Germany, and in the same year they were passed in Italy and Hungary, where he was giving this speech and where he found no objection to raise.

    So, neither Michael Phayer nor myself are turning Pacelli’s comments all around. With all due respect, if anyone is doing that, that would be you, Mr. Krupp.

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    “Jesus conquers! He who so often was the recipient of the rage of his enemies, he who suffered the persecutions of those of whom he was one, he shall be triumphant in the future as well. . . . As opposed to the foes of Jesus, who cried out to his face, “Crucify him!”—we sing him hymns of our loyalty and our love. We act in this fashion, not out of bitterness, not out of a sense of superiority, not out of arrogance toward those whose lips curse him and whose hearts reject him even today.”

    Do Catholics today actually believe that we Jews “cried out to his face, ‘Crucify him!'”???

    I don’t think so.  Only Matthew claims it.  Mark is less inaccurate than the others, and even he wrote decades after the event.  It was customary in those days to invent dialogue for the sake of the story, and Matthew followed that custom.  Only hooligans, if anyone, could be standing around Pilate’s palace either on Pesach or on the day before Pesach.  And to present Pilate as having hesitated for a moment to crucify one more Jew is more than false; it is nonsensical, when the real Pilate was accustomed to crucifying so many Jews that even Rome complained against him.  I mean no disrespect to the sacred text of my neighbors, but my neighbor’s sacred text bears false witness against me, and I am called upon to say so. 

    Moreover, speaking as a Jew, I can testify that my lips do not curse him. He would never enter my lips or my mind except that I live in a world where his name and image are constantly placed before me in beautiful contexts.  Despite the temptation to join the others and be like everyone else, I remain faithful to the One Gd Who covenanted with me and the other Israelite souls at Sinai.  As I am loyal to Gd, I expect them to be loyal to their Saviour, and for their part, my Christian friends and acquaintances have never taunted me with accusations of crying out against him, or pressured me to abandon Gd to join their religion or to participate in their devotions.  Well, they have invited me to their weddings, baby baptisms, and funerals, but then I invite them to mine, and we do both attend each other’s times of joy and sorrow and visit one another in the hospital and bring each other meals when we are sick.  (They thoughtfully bring tuna casseroles, knowing that I keep kosher.) 

    It is shocking to realize how far from typical this mutual amity was in pre-WWII Europe.  It is devastatingly sad to realize that the men who perpetrated these horrors frankly said, “Jews are not human.  They are demons.  They are pestilential insects.  It is right to exterminate them like fleas or lice or rats or other vermin.”  Yes, I have seen quotes and heard videos in which ordinary people said one or more such things.  So, YES, I am happy to be reminded that good people today regard murdering a Jew AS MURDER, but during and before WWII, most Europeans unfortunately had been taught by the European churches to regard Jews as non-humans, and thus they did not regard the killing of Jews as murder.  Since they regarded Jews as subhuman, it WAS necessary for the Pope to remind the faithful that Jews ARE human and that murdering a Jew IS MURDER.  

    But that simple specific enjoinder was, alas! not forthcoming in a manner that the faithful could recognize.  

      

  • Gary Krupp says:

     
    A squadron of airplanes, in the form of a cross, roared over Budapest and the rippling Danube. The river, banded by bridges, the buildings and monuments on both its banks blazed with batteries of searchlights, neon lights, torches, candles. No less than 1,000,000 people thronged the Danube banks when down the river, six miles to St. Margaret Island and back, steamed a procession of ten vessels from which sounded trumpet and organ music. In the steamers were cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests, monks, nuns and laymen of the Roman Catholic Church. One boat bore, in a golden monstrance in an illuminated, glass-enclosed chapel, the Sacred Host. When Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, Papal Secretary of State and Papal Legate to the 34th International Eucharistic Congress, held aloft the monstrance and pronounced the benediction, all was quiet along the Danube. A moment later boat whistles shrilled, church bells pealed, rockets burst in air and high on St. Gellert Hill a 60-foot cross sprang into light.

    Eucharistic Congresses, the mightiest demonstrations of public faith the Christian world affords, demonstrate also the Catholic Church’s talent for organized magnificence. Committees in charge take in their stride arrangements for such ceremonies as Budapest’s Mass last week for 100,000 children, with presents of candy afterward for every one. Yet the Budapest Congress was not the largest of recent years. Nazi truculence, in the form of special visa restrictions, kept Germans at home, held the number of foreign pilgrims to about 25,000, of whom 1,000 were U. S. Catholics.

    Host to the Congress was Justinian Cardinal Seredi, Archbishop of Esztergom and Primate of Hungary. His opening speech to pilgrims, in Budapest’s spacious Heroes Square, where a 150-foot altar had been erected, contained no hint of the fact that he is firmly anti-Nazi. Said Cardinal Seredi: “How different would be the fate of humanity, created for happiness, wherefore it is ever seeking happiness, if the solidarity of all Catholics of the world could really be achieved.” Papal Legate Pacelli, without descending from the high religious plane of the Congress, was more specific about Catholicism’s enemies­”the lugubrious array of the militant godless, shaking the clenched fist of anti-Christ.” Cried he: “Where now are Herod and Pilate, Nero and Diocletian, and Julian the Apostate, and all the persecutors of the First Century? St. Ambrose replies: ‘The Christians who have been massacred have won the victory; the vanquished were their persecutors.’ Ashes and dust are the enemies of Christianity; ashes and dust are all that they have desired, pursued­perhaps even tasted for a short moment­of power and terrestrial glory.”

    Read more: http ://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,771110,00.html#ixzz0p3tJNfRd

    Note that they quoted him citing Herod and Pilate, Nero and Diocletian, and Julian the Apostate – Romans, not Jews. 

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    I do not imagine that I would invariably act magnificently and I can hardly expect others to do so. 

    Have I ever acted magnificently?  Maybe three times.  Certainly far from invariably.  But then I am not the Pope.  And, some people DID act magnificently. 

    I expect any Pope to be human and to fall short of invariably acting magnificently.  He lived in a deeply divided era under enormous pressures.  We must be charitable.  But he WAS the Pope.

    I only wish Pope Pius XII had been able to say one clear sentence to induce the faithful to regard the Jews as humans, instead of leaving it to the few individuals who WERE magnificent and who realized Jewish humanity on their own despite the perennial teachings of the churches. 

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    This note is not to Mr. Krupp but to whoever manages this web site. 

    What is all this gibberish?  Is it necessary?  Could we please just have our transparent messages? 

    [Eds: We are not sure why Mr Krupp’s comments have been showing this html scripting, although we have been doing our best to clean this out of his comments. You should appreciate that, being in Australia, we live in a very different timezone to Mr Krupp, and so sometimes there will be delays. If Mr Krupp is first typing his comments in a word processing program, it might be worth trying to first paste them into a simple text editor such Notepad, and then pasting them from Notepad into our comments editor.]

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Mr. Krupp reminds me of the following:

    The Catholic Knight is not the voice of the Vatican and there are unfortunately lunatic fringe blogs that do not accept Nostra Aetate. Don’t believe everything you read on the blogs, because the church does not state they are the new Israel or condemns Israel for existing.  The Vatican recognized Israel in 1993 and actually has one of the only embassies in Jerusalem today.

    Thank you for the reminder.  I am aware of Nostra Aetate.  I very much appreciate the fact that the Vatican, unlike most nations, including the United States of America, has an embassy in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.  This indeed seems a huge turnaround from the church’s prior position.  

    This prior position is illustrated by the fact that, while Israel was recognized by most nations in 1948 or shortly after, the Vatican did not recognize Israel because, like The Catholic Knight today, it regarded the church as the “true Israel” and regarded neither the Jews nor Israel as entitled to be socalled; nor did it regard it as proper for the Jews to return there, since we Jews were supposed to remain in exile as long as we “failed” to abandon Gd and worship their deity instead.  Only years after Nostra Aetate, well after, not until 1993, did they finally recognize Israel,  And the then Pope, may his soul rest in peace, came to pray at the Kotel.  

    And yet it hit me like a slap in the face to hear that when Mel Gibson’s movie was shown in the Vatican–a movie which includes incidents from all four gospels, and which chooses to include the scene where “the Jews” cry out, “His blood be on us and on our children,” I recall reading that Pope John Paul II, of all people, on seeing the film, said, “It is as it was.”

    To me, with those words, John Paul II, of all people, said, in effect, “Yes, the Jews did take upon themselves for all time the guilt of being Christ-killers.” 

    If that is all that Nostra Aetate means today, if calling us “christ-killers” is today in accord with church doctrine in the eyes of the most generous pope in the past thousand years or more, how much more can we ascribe the “christ-killer Jews” attitude to an earlier Pope, prior to Nostra Aetate–such as Pope Pius XII?  

     

  • Mr. Krupp, I am sorry but I do not have the entire speech Pope Pius gave at the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, nor do I have the original quotes in French. I assume you ask for the original in French for the sake of archival completeness, and not because you suspect the paragraph I quoted is mistranslated and/or is a misrepresentation of the original?
    In regards to the Time Magazine article, I found it to be really poetic, but completely irrelevant to the point in question.

  • Kyriakos says:

    Mr. Gary Krupp you are doing a great job and express my great admiration for your work. For a long time the truth of Pius 12’s relation to the Jews during the 2nd world war had been shadowed by junk history, sentimentalism, naive idealism, historical mistrust, bias and even wilful distortion. I have being reading some of the comments and your replies. It had been enriching. A certain amount of the above said problems still exists in some of the comments seen here. Well Gary, you might not convince people who want to simply hold on to what they believe should be true.

    Quoting parts of a speech without understanding Christian scripture is not professionalism. ‘Triumphant Jesus’ is a concept of the New Testament Bible and what Pius was saying in these quotations is based on the Christian scripture and are not anti-Semitic rants directed towards all Jews of all times but on the minority who opposed Jesus and the apostles and people(all people) who reject him today . How could Cathryn Vise interpret the quote ‘As opposed….. “Crucify him!” ’ as including especially today’s Jews? Why do Gabriel Wilensky and Cathryn Vise use this single quotation to prove that Pius was anti-Semitic and didn’t do much to save the Jews?

    How wrong to judge a man by a few quotes! True professionalism would be studying a lot of his speeches and coming to a conclusion rather than taking one or two quotes here or there and giving an interpretation to prove one’s part. It is this sort of sentimentalism among experts that I despise.

    But Gary, you courageously move forward. Truth shall at last shine out. Let the people of God by flesh the Jews and the whole world come to know the truth and rejoice about it.

  • Gary Krupp says:

     Dear Kyriakos,
    Thanks for the supportive words. I don’t blame Ms. Vise or Mr. Wilensky at all for their strong feelings. I came from the same place they come from. The difference is I have had the benefit of acquiring, posting and reviewing tens of thousands of original documents but more importantly met with and video interviewed many survivors and heroes of that terrible time. I also have something the critics obviously do not have. It is a full understanding of the unique way of how the Vatican operates and a special understanding of “VATICANESE”, the special unique language  that they always use. Without these tools one cannot really and accurately report what really happened. The critics have consistently made judgments and develop theories on pieces of information.

  • Mr. Krupp, even if you call something “pieces of specially cut leather stitched together and glued to a piece of rubber”, it’s still a shoe. You are almost certainly right that you understand “Vaticanese” better than me, Ms. Vise and most other people in the world. As a matter of fact, “Vaticanese” is so oblique and opaque that in the handful of occasions that Pope Pius XII spoke about the extermination of the Jews during WWII no one outside the Vatican understood what he was talking about.

  • I hope that I am mistaken, but I have begun receiving follow ups to this thread, and I believe that is because ehecked the box after I had posted a comment to this article a day or two ago.   But I can’t find that comment on this thread NOW.  So, please tell me whether
    a) my posts are not welcome here ?  or
    b) I am simply mistaken about having attempted to post here  ?

    [Eds: We have not deleted any of your posts, and your posts are welcome here. Sometimes our spam filter asks people to complete a CAPTCHA prior to allowing their post to be published, so please be aware of this. Sorry for any inconvenience].

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Mr. Wilensky.
    The lack of direct verbal condemnation to meet your 21st century standards is the very reason you must,  as a scholar and historian, come to Rome to visit the open Vatican Secret Archives up to 1939 and to do some original research. You must meet and listen to the testimonies of real eye witnesses, who are still alive as we are doing and posting on our site. These are the people who directly experienced the efforts of Pope Pius XII. This is why all of the condemnations based on Pius XII’s “silence” is the height of chutzpah, when one compares it to the provable secret actions that he took to save Jewish lives.

    Please let me give you a glaring example. The head of the Jewish community in Rome, Ricardo Pacifici, recently protested the silence Pope Pius XII, while addressing Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the Great Synagogue in Rome this year. I am in possession of the 1 1/2 hour interview with his father, a Holocaust survivor, Emmanuel Pacifici, who states that it was Pope Pius XII who acted to save the lives of the Roman Jewish community. He also states that any protest from Pius XII would probably not have been at all effective.

    Please see the evidence we recently uncovered, which is reported in this news article  of how Pius XII had to use “his silence “  as the only tool he had to save the  3000 year old Roman Jewish community from certain death. http://www.zenit.org/article-29380?l=english.

    Mr. Wilensky, Pave the Way Foundation stands ready at any time to help you gain access to the Vatican Secret Archives or to meet any of these eye witnesses for this important effort to find the truth based on facts not speculation or theories.
    So my friend, when it looks likes a duck and quacks like a duck…….it’s a duck

  • Mr. Krupp, it’s regretable you imply that what I am saying is invalid or wrong because I look through the optics of “21st century standards”. As I said here and have shown in my book, I make heavy use of documents and base my conclusions on documentary evidence. Not having physically visited the Vatican Secret Archives has not prevented me from doing this, and I dispute the benefits of going there at this time given that the war and subsequent years are not accessible. So far you have not shown my use and interpretation of any quotes I have posted here to have been flawed or skewed by “21st century standards”.  However, as you said, the material accessible in the archives only goes to 1939, so ultimately whether I’ve been to the Vatican or not is immaterial to the discussion of what the Pope and the Church did or didn’t do during the Holocaust.  

    With all due respect, I think you continue to fail to understand why the detractors of the Pope and of the Church say what they say. I think you confuse “silence” with “actions”. Even if the Pope did take the actions to save Jews you think he did—and I’m quite skeptical, the fact remains that the pope was indeed silent irrespective of what these actions may have been. He never publicly condemned the extermination of the Jews in language that anyone other than the curia, the Nazi hierarchy and you would understand. He never admonished the faithful and his entire Church network to save Jews. He never told the flock and his vast network of priests that denouncing, hunting down, and killing Jews was a crime and a mortal sin. He never instructed the German Catholic Church to avoid helping the German government in any way, and failed to reprimand them once they helped the Nazis identify the Jews. He never told the German Church, and thus never told the faithful, that obeying Catholic principles and being loyal to god was more important than obeying the authorities, particularly when those authorities were asking the faithful to do things that were contrary to the teachings of Christianity. He never threatened the faithful, or the Nazi authorities, with excommunication if they persevered with the “Final Solution”. He never told his priests to tell the flock to refrain from having any part in the exterminatory campaign. He never reprimanded or even less told Army Bishop Rarkowski to instruct his priests to admonish the troops to refrain from participating in any exterminatory actions. Mr. Krupp, if you do not see this as “silence”, then obviously you and I (and other detractors of the Pope and the Church during that period) have a different understanding of the definition of the word “silence”. I realize you have been countering, and continue to counter this by looking under the rocks for someone that can say the pope told them to save a Jew, or a Jew that is thankful to the pope for having saved him. But you are missing the point, because even if by his “heroic” behind the scenes actions the Pope was successful in saving tens of thousands of lives, he would still be a moral failure because he failed to do all the things I just mentioned, which could and most likely would have completely changed the course of history.

    The Zenit article you cited does not prove anything, other than just sheepishly report your claims. That Pacifici’s father was saved, and that he thought the Pope was responsible for saving the bulk of Rome’s Jews does not prove anything either. Of course he and many others who were sheltered by the Church would feel grateful and would assume the pope is to be thanked, but that does not mean he is. Nothing in that article shows that the 7000 Jews of Rome who went into hiding did so thanks to the Pope’s warning or at his instruction. No, those Jews went into hiding at the nick of time because they knew what was coming. Nothing even shows that about half of those that found refuge in Church properties in Rome and even the Vatican did so at the express orders of the Pope. And irrespective of how many hundreds of these cases you bring up, the fact remains that six million others were not the recipients of the Pope’s charity.

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Mr. Wilensky, I am curious what documents you base your theories on? In the past we have seen documents dealing with post war policies of the return of Jewish Children who were saved by the Catholics. We can prove that these were mistranslated from the original Italian, which set off a fire storm. My question is did you meet with survivors who were actually saved by actions of the pope? Did you meet with individual life saving heroes who will state exactly how the Vatican directed and financed their efforts to get as many Jews off the continent of Europe as quickly as possible? Did you watch the interview with Msgr Ferrofino on our website where he explains how Pius XII personally sent double encrypted telegrams to be hand delivered to General Trujillo to ask for as many as 1600 visas for Jews to enter the Dominican Republic as many as two times per year from 1939-1945 (that’s 12.000 Jews)? Is this man lying? Do you acknowledge that there was a real threat against the life of the pope and the curia with the imminent German invasion of the Vatican? Do you acknowledge that the fictitious play the Deputy was part of a major disinformation program of the KGB? Why didn’t anyone criticize Pope Pius XII from 1939-1962? If you never went to the Vatican archives what documents are you relying on formulate your theories? Do you really believe that the universal gratitude of the Jewish world paid to Pope Pius XII was only to curry favor for Israel? Please show me these documents.
    As Jews I can say that we desperately need to know the truth and if Pius XII was a hero to our people we must acknowledge this. I agree that I am not a scholar or an historian. However, after reviewing thousands of documents and meeting and video interviewing these heroes along with Jewish survivors, I am sure that if it were not for Pius XII’s secret efforts to save Jewish lives we would be mourning a lot more than 6 million Jewish martyrs.
    I put a challenge to our friend Prof. Paul O’Shea, which I will extend to you as well. We will sponsors another forum in Rome where the critics will face the defenders. Everyone must bring their proof and we will set a date at your convenience. Again this event will be public. If you are willing to attend this please email me privately so that we can move this forward. Email me at office@ptwf,org

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Kyriakos said the following: “Quoting parts of a speech without understanding Christian scripture is not professionalism. ‘Triumphant Jesus’ is a concept of the New Testament Bible and what Pius was saying in these quotations is based on the Christian scripture and are not anti-Semitic rants directed towards all Jews of all times but on the minority who opposed Jesus and the apostles and people(all people) who reject him today . How could Cathryn Vise interpret the quote ‘As opposed….. “Crucify him!”‘ as including especially today’s Jews? Why do Gabriel Wilensky and Cathryn Vise use this single quotation to prove that Pius was anti-Semitic and didn’t do much to save the Jews?”

    I will review Gabriel Wilensky’s remark here and perhaps I will join him in decrying this citation from Pope Pius XII.  However, I primarily wish to express dismay at the inclusion of this false charge, and its concomitant theology about Jews, in the gospel and in the millennia-long Christian message.  I am further dismayed how Passion plays in general perpetuate this falsehood and specifically about the vicious false portrayal of jews in the Gibson movie, “The Passion”. 
    This movie cherrypicked the worst bits and pieces from each of the four gospels; it chose the most vituperative depictions of Jews from amongst all four of them, including, among other verses, “Crucify him!….His blood be upon us, and on our children!”  That verse clearly seeks to falsely present Jews (rather than Pilate, whose sole responsibility it was) as the ones guilty of the crucifixion.  That verse seeks to indict, not only some flakey Jews of first century Jerusalem, but Jews forever, for all time, for the crucifixion.  The movie included many such verses, of which that one was “merely” one of the worst.  John Paul II had affirmed that the church no longer held all Jews guilty of the crucifixion, as the church historically HAD claimed until Vatican II. 

    And yet even John Paul II, upon seeing that movie, full of so many damning lines and full of such thoroughly damning portrayals of Jews, said of the movie, It is as it was.” 
    In other words, even our hero, John Paul II, was saying he actually believed that there had been Jews hanging around Pilate’s palace on Pesach or on the Eve of Pesach, in order to impose mob rule on Pilate–and that such a mob would have been needful in order to enjoin yet one more crucifixion on the murderous crucifying tyrannical Pilate, whose reign was so harsh that even Rome recalled him for his cruelty.  Pilate was delighted for an excuse to crucify yet one more Jew, Jesus.  The scenario of he meek Pilae and the violent Jews, portrayed in the gospels, is so upside-down in relation to the facts on the ground as to be obviously simply impossible. 

    And yet it appears that the Vatican believes, even today, that this twisted scenario is accurate:  It is as it was.”   The Vatican sees that as the scenario, and believes all the other instances of the movie’s (and the gospels’) falsely portraying “the Jews” (even if “not all”) as thus guilty, even today, of the crucifixion.  I get this impression from reading a lengthy interview with a Vatican representative explaining why the Vatican was so enthusiastic in its delighted approbation of the movie.  The Vatican representative praised everything about the movie, including all such lines supposedly spoken by Jews (as falsely claimed in the gospels and in church teachings) and all such false portrayals of the Jews, as if any such scenes or trials had even occurred.  It is far more likely that Pilate’s soldiers arrested Jesus for sedition (hence the sign, “King of the Jews” posted over his head) and brought him on Pilate’s orders straight to prison and then on Pilate’s condemnation to be crucified, and that almost all Jews other than Jesus’ disciples, followers, friends, and kin, whether priests or laymen, were too frantically busy with the festival of Pesach to even note what had happened.  But the anti-Jewish fabrication of Jewish guilt falsely presented in the four gospels has a powerful half-life.  I saved the Vatican interview concerning the movie and can post the whole thing, if you like.  It is far more than one little quote.  The movie cherrypicks all the most vicious verses about Jews to be found in all four gospels, and Pope John Paul II gives this vicious smear a false reputation as historically accurate by his wrongfully saying, It is as it was.” 

    These are the words of our beloved John Paul II, the very Pope who went to Jerusalem and prayed at the Kotel, and his words adulating the movie were spoken long, long after Vatican II.  In spite of Vatican II, the image presented in the gospel continued to ring true in Vatican ears.   

    If this was the attitude of Pope John Paul II, and of the Vatican representative in the interview, and of the Vatican as a whole, after Vatican II, we can only suppose that the attitude of the Vatican (and of Pope Pius XII), in the years following 1932, decades before Vatican II, was even more likely to view the Jews as the guilty ones, and was even more likely to be even more negative towards the Jews than Pope John Paul II could ever be.  If Pope Pius XII’s speech indeed mentioned those who said, “his blood be on us and on our children,” he certainly referred to the Jews of all time, including those of his time and those of today, and if he claimed that the Jews abstained from worshipping Jesus, he was correct.  Jews do abstain from worshipping Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Jupiter, Odin, and Thor, among many other deities absent from the worship enjoined by the Hebrew Bible.  
    Moreover, Pope Pius XII certainly would have disdained the fact that Jews abstain from worshipping Jesus, and, true to the claim of Justin Martyr in the third century, would have falsely accused Jews of “cursing” him.  Jews did and do faithfully resist being bullied into worshipping Jesus, whether he was human, divine, or whatever, but Pope Pius XII, along with the rest of the Vatican establishment, ignored the fact that this resistance is entirely out of obedience to the Second Commandments’ clear injunction to avoid worshipping any entity “in the heavens above or on the earth beneath”—and, assuming that Jesus lived at all, he was on the earth beneath and in the heavens above and thus did fall into the forbidden category (along with Jupiter, Saturn, Poseidon, Odin, Thor, Mercury, Krishna, and Buddha).  This prohibition is meaningless to Christians, since the NT claims the “old” covenant is abrogated and that these commandments no longer apply. 

    Can we conclude from the Paul’s claim that the “law” leads to sin and that Christians are free of the “law” that the Ten commandments fail to apply to Christians?  Or can we see Christians as holding themselves free of any obligation to keep the Ten Commandments, on the basis of the the murderous behavior of hundreds and thousands of the faithful during WWII?  In any case, the Ten Commandments, along with hundreds of other Torah commandments, are still binding for Jews, and the Ten Commandments do forbid Jews to worshp any entity not enjoined in the Hebrew Bible. 

    Note that Jews regard this commandment as applying specifically to Jews, and regard members of other nations as free to worship other gods, such as Jesus.   
    But anyone who imagines that Jews “curse” Jesus is mistaken.  Indeed, most Jews today are invited by Christian friends to attend baptisms, weddings, and funerals, and Christian friends are invited to attend Jewish baby-namings, weddings, and funerals.  There is little if any occasion for Jews to mention Jesus at all.   

    It is Christians who keep mentioning Jesus TO Jews, and Jews try to receive with some courtesy this rude intrusion of a second (and third) deity into Jewish monotheistic worship.  Obviously this courtesy is a mistake.  Christians are left with the impression that Jews actually believe the claims made for Jesus and Christians imagine that Jews are “rejecting” the Christian deity out of sheer wickedness.  Christians are systematically taught a series of falsehoods about Jewish worship, based on the assumption that Jewish worship must be based, like Christian worship, on the concept of a world burdened by sin and saved from sin.  The Jewish worldview lacks this grim view of sin.  The third prayer a Jew sings in the morning is, “Gd, the soul that you have given me is pure” (Ke-lokai neshamah shenatata bee, tahora hee).    I.e., most Jews remain unaware—unless schooled by Christians–of the idea of original sin, originated by Augustine.  The Oral Torah says that everyone who tries to behave decently, and who repents and tries again when he fails, as destined to become a light in Paradise.  Jews lack any concept of any eternal damnation, whether for a sinful nature or for any reason whatever.  Thus there is nothing to be saved from, and any need for a Saviour is amply filled by our beloved Father in Heaven, Who, like the father of the prodigal son, lovingly and joyfully runs to meet all who attempt to return to Gd and eagerly forgives.       
    It could be logically inferred from the decrees and statements from the Vatican–and the evidence from the facts on the ground bears this out–that the church of the years from 1932-1945 retained all the same damning attitudes toward the Jews as it had for centuries, and that the Vatican falsely regarded Jews as guilty, evil, demonic, and inhuman.  Let us nonetheless charitably assume that, despite all that, the Vatican wanted to ameliorate the situation of the Jews.  After all, prior popes had also presented the Jews as evil but nonetheless tried to ameliorate the behavior of the peasants who absorbed that message.  Similarly during the Hitler years, the Vatican and the churches at large had strongly propagated the church’s falsely negative and inhuman image of “the Jew” and the concomitant attitude, among the faithful, of such righteous hatred as might perhaps be appropriate to feel about Satan.  This sort of preaching continued right up to the eve of WWII and this negativity was deeply ingrained in the faithful.  The church then merely permitted the faithful to continue regarding unconverted Jews, falsely, as an evil to be extirpated rather than, rightly, as fellow humans (albeit of a variant race or religion), to be treated humanely.  

    Thus, consider such a faithful Christian, thoroughly indoctrinated to see Jews as inhuman and demonic (which of course was false):  it would never have entered the mind of such a one, upon hearing vague injunctions such as “regardless of race or religion,” to apply this advice to Jews.  Such words obviously concerned fellow humans, and the faithful had been indoctrinated to regard Jews as non-humans.  The faithful would already have been trained to see Jews in a wholly other category, alas!–as the demonic verminous caricature that the church and then the Nazis had schooled them to categorize “the Jews”.   

    Pope Pius XII had received and promoted this evil image throughout his life, and had failed in any way to negate this image.  At this desperate juncture, the only thing that could have helped deter the faithful from joining in the murdering would have been a strongly- and clearly-worded injunction to regard Jews–specifically “the Jews”–as humans to be treated humanely.  Vague remarks about race and religion, remarks which failed to specify “the Jews” in particular, were bound to go unnoticed, since “race” and “religion” were about humans, and the faithful had been thoroughly indoctrinated in the false concept of Jews as other than human, first by the church and then, following in those churchly footsteps, by the Nazis. 

    Any complaint of mine about any quote made by Pope Pius XII falls into the overall theological framework of the church’s systematic and centuries-long demonization and dehumanization of Jews.  I have complained about the damningly dehumanizing statements about Jews occurring throughout the gospels (on nearly every page of text and often twice or more on a page) and then throughout church history up to the eve of WWII.  Roadside signs in Germany continued to portray crucifixes alongside caricatures of Jews.  Images of Hitler bathed in light shining from above, with a bird floating above, evoked earlier images of the Baptism of Christ and the descent of the Holy Spirit onto “my beloved son in whom I am well pleased”.  Such images took advantage of the ground prepared by Christian theology.  Thus I have complained that even after Vatican II, John Paul II is still reported as accepting the image that falsely damns the Jews forever, i.e., the fantasy portrayed in the gospels and doubly reemphasized in the movie:  It is as it was.” 

    My complaint about Pope Pius XII, at least until now, is far from being about anything that he said.  My complaint is that he failed to make any statement to the faithful that they could recognize as clearly disclaiming the damning claims they had heard all their lives from their priests and pastors–the claims that falsely demonized the Jews.  The Pope permitted the continuance of such teachings, whether or not he expressed them himself.  So my complaint is that Pope Pius XII failed to urge the faithful to regard the Jews–and specifically “the Jews,” since Jews long had been, and remain today, the demonized group–failed to urge the faithful to regard the Jews–specifically “the Jews”–as human and deserving of humane treatment from fellow-humans. 

    And so the soldiers and other participants in the Shoah, the murderers, lacked any clear signal from the Vatican or from Pope Pius XII that urged them to ignore their lifelong training and instead to regard Jews as fellow humans.  A few of the faithful–the sensitive sorts who gently remove a roach or a spider or even a rat from the house and take it outside, rather than kill it–heroically acted to save thousands of Jews–while the rest of the faithful happily participated in machine-gunning or gassing many hundreds of thousands, and ultimately millions, of innocent fellow-humans–fellow Germans, fellow Ukrainians, fellow Poles.  And so the murderers could enjoy, without shame, guilt, or regret, murdering those whom they regarded as pests and as demons rather than as fellow humans to be treated humanely.  And so the path was eased, to exterminate millions of human men, women, elders and babies as if they were vermin. 

  • Mr. Krupp, in my book Six Million Crucifixions I list all the books I consulted, and I have about 500 endnotes documenting the source of pretty much anything I say there, and that includes documents. No need to bog down this conversation with this material.
    I see that you consistently pose questions to me, yet fail to address the ones I pose to you. When I counter your points, you simply ignore it and, to make matters worse, you bring up the same points again later in the conversation. For instance, you ask “Why didn’t anyone criticize Pope Pius XII from 1939-1962?”, and simply ignore the fact that I devoted an extensive paragraph to answer that very question on my May 25th post. You continue to ask if I met with rescued individuals, or rescuers, yet you seem to ignore my point that even hundreds of these testimonials are irrelevant in light of the silence of the Pope, as explained in my earlier post.
    If Pope Pius had a way to double encrypt messages to General Trujillo asking him for 1600 visas, where are the double encrypted messages you’d think he would have sent to all his bishops everywhere in the world ordering them to save as many Jews as possible in any way possible, as well as instructing them to admonish the faithful that killing Jews was murder and that they should in turn not only provide shelter in any way possible out of Christian caritas, but more importantly, to refrain from murdering Jews because it was a crime and a mortal sin? I think you need to use the same standard, and recognize that if the pope still retained his diplomatic immunity and network (as he did), and had the means to communicate through private means (as he did), then if he had indeed instructed everyone in the church to save Jews and refrain from participating in the business of mass murder, we would have a plethora of these documents. How do you explain we don’t seem to have them, Mr. Krupp? I don’t discount the Vatican Secret Archives might contain these documents—if the were indeed ever sent—but given that they were not part of Actes et Documents du Saint Siège relatifs à la Seconde Guerre Mondiale when it’s safe to assume they would have been the first documents the Vatican would have put forth in an attempt to “exonerate” Pope Pius’ memory, I think it’s also safe to assume they are simply not there.
    I do acknowledge the Pope knew he, the Vatican and the curia were threatened. I also addressed that point earlier. To recap, it doesn’t matter. The Pope surely knew Hitler would not have been so stupid to do such an act of folly, as Hitler’s underlings pointed out to their Führer. If the Pope had been more interested in saving lives and saving souls, instead of saving Vatican treasure, he could and should have gone to London.
    I dispute your contention that Jews were universally grateful to the pope. Some were. You would expect those saved by the Pope or members of the Church to be thankful, of course, and rightly so. But I think many of them just didn’t know any better. Many were motivated by political reasons. Albert Einstein is my hero, and very likely the greatest mind in the history of man, but he was a flawed man in some respects (like all men are). He was a brilliant physicist, but he may have not known about the true role of the Church. In any case, he is often quoted by the Pope’s apologetics as a notable Jew who supported the Pope and the Church, yet the fact that he defended the Church long before the Holocaust, and long after he had left Europe, is rarely mentioned. Einstein did not defend the Church after the Holocaust. Rabbi Zolli was very grateful to the Pope, of course, as the Pope saved him and his family. Yet a fact perhaps rarely discussed when mentioning this notable Jew is that he was ostracized by the Jewish community, who felt he went to the Pope’s palace to save his skin and left the rest of the Roman Jewish community to their fate.
    I think that at the heart of the problem is one of interpretation. Even if you are not a historian, you are making claims that can be very influential, and perhaps detrimental to the truth. I realize and actually don’t doubt that ultimately you’d like the truth to come to light, but I think that you are consistently twisting things to look a certain way, and that certain way may not correlate to the truth. You insistence on bringing up the cases of survivors has, in my humble opinion, colored your perception of what happened. You see so many cases of rescue that you jump to the conclusions that (a) the pope must have been responsible for them and (b) this was representative of the actions of the Church. Once the Vatican Secret Archives are opened I might be proven wrong on my opinion that the pope was not behind the vast majority of rescue efforts, but I seriously doubt we will find anything that will change the reality that, overall, the Church was—at best—passive as the Germans and their Catholic helpers murdered millions of Jews.

  • Mr. Krupp,
    When you and all the all apologists for Pius XII say ” I am sure that if it were not for Pius XII’s secret efforts to save Jewish lives we would be mourning a lot more than 6 million Jewish martyrs.”  do you ever stop to think about what the Jews needed to be saved from?  Was it not from the madness and cruelty of
    Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Josef Goebbels, Reinhard Heydrich, Rudolf Hoess, Julius Streicher, Fritz Thyssen (who bankrolled the Nazi rise to power), Klaus Barbie, and Franz Von Papen were all of whom were raised as Roman Catholics and were never DIVORCED from the church by its leaders if – as most of them chose to do – they wanted to remain Catholics?  The same is true of the heads of all of these NAZI countries : Leon Degrelle of Belgium, Emil Hacha of Bohemia-Moravia, Ante Pavelic of Croatia, Konrad Henlein of Sudetenland, Pierre Laval and then Henry Petain of Vichy-France. and the R.C. priest, Msgr. Josef Tiso, of Slovakia (who wasn’t even defrocked after the defeat of the Nazis). Although these were among the most visible Catholic lay people in their countries at the time, did Pope Pius XII excommunicate a single one of them? NO. How can anyone say that this pope did “all that he could”, when he failed to take this obvious measure so as to make it clear to the millions of Catholic faithful who were enabling the Nazis to carry out their campaigns of mass murder, not only against Jews, but against their fellow Catholics in Poland, that they should have no part in these monstrous of crimes and most mortal of sins? Apologists for Pius XII who claim that their crimes caused these people to be “automatically excommunicated” miss the point that excommunication isn’t intended to tell GOD who is a Catholic and who isn’t but to tell THE FAITHFUL whom to shun.
    On the other hand, after the Nazis were defeated and no longer posed any threat to the pope, the Vatican, or the Catholic Church anywhere, did Pope Pius XII allow the Vatican to be used to protect thousands of Catholic war criminals such as the above to escape punishment for their war crimes? YES. Whose side was the pope on?
    Here are some of the more infamous war criminals the Vatican protected from prosecution:
    Adolf Eichmann, “the architect of the Holocaust”, ,
    Alois Brunner , referred to as his “best man” by Eichman,
    Dr. Josef Mengele, “the Angel of Death” ,
    Franz Stangl, commandant of the SobibÛr and of Treblinka extermination camp ,
    Gustav Wagner assistant to Franz Stangl,
    Klaus Barbie, “the Butcher of Lyon” ,
    Edward Roschmann, “the Butcher of Riga”,
    Aribert Heim, Mauthausen concentration camp’s “Dr. Death”,
    Walter Rauff, believed responsible for nearly 100,000 deaths
    Andrija Artuković, “the Himmler of the Balkans”
    Ante Pavelić, head of Catholic Croatia, arguably the most murderous regime in relation to its size in Axis-occupied Europe.

    P.S. Even if you can knit pick around the edges of these facts, the overwelming point of these facts is that the Roman Catholic Church needs to be made to answer for creating all of these monsters in the FIRST PLACE and then explain why it did so little to DENOUNCE and OPPOSE these members of its church when they launch history’s most monstrous “MORTALLY SINFUL” campaign of mass murder of innocent human beings.
    .

  • Mr. Wilensky,
    I have enjoyed reading your book, and am looking forward to many more hours of enjoyment and enlightenment.  So far your findings agree with most of the research I have been doing on this important issue for years, and which I have been publishing on my http://CatholicArrogance.Org/RCscandal web site.
    For those who may be interested, I am a former R.C. priest who grew up in the shadow of Pope Pius, and even bore his name for a time as a Dominican monk.  I left the church as well as the priesthood 40 years ago when I became convinced that the higher up one progresses in the R.C. hierarchy, the more dishonesty, insincerity and  corruption one finds,  I never even witnessed any of sexual deviancy, and yet I was disgusted by the hypocrisy of men who were morally inferior to the average person trying to mass themselves off as “men of God.”

  • Ms. Vise, there’s yet another aspect of The Passion of the Christ that Pope John Paul seems to have missed too, and that is that the devil walks among the Jews, his people… (“You belong to your father, the devil…”)

  • Michael Hesemann, I’ve  just read your May 22, 2010 at 2:59 am in which you make such a big deal about Pius XII’s “saving”  relatively small numbers of Jews, whom you yourself point out were CONVERTS (i.e. not necessarily viewed by the church AS JEWS, but as CHRISTIANS.)
    Please read my pos above of May 31, 2010 at 2:06 pm which points out that the Catholic Church doesn’t deserve any credit for “saving” any Jews from persecution by OTHER CATHOLICS!  So what if the church gave the a “discount” of 860,000 Jews  on its mass murder of 6,000,000 Jews ?
    If I AS A CHRISTIAN CLERGYMAN can’t and won’t accept that, I can’t imagine how any Jewish person can be persuaded to do so.
    Isn’t it enough that the Catholic Church has 1 billion or so members to take its side, without family members of JEWISH SURVIVORS of the Holocaust (as I veiw all Jews to be)  taking up the cause of the perpetrators of the Shoah?

  • Cathryn and Gabriel,
    It must take considereable fortitude for Jews like yourselves to even read “the New Testament”.
    For what it’s worth, let me tell you that even though I have been a great lover of the stories about Jesus in the Gospels for 60+ years, I don’t remember ever taking away from them contempt for the Jews  “as Jews”.  Maybe I am wierd, but I always viewed all of the actors in the gospels (other than Pilate and a handful of incidental characters) as Jews, and I identified with the “good” Jews and only disliked the “bad” Jews, in very much the same way that I view myself as one of the good (Liberal) Christians in opposition to the bad (“Religious Right”) Christians.
    I’ve published my views on this topic at http://liberalslikechrist.org/whokilledchrist.html .
    ( I try to refer to Jesus as “Jesus” rather than “Christ” to avoid annoying Jews unnecessarily, but when addressing issues in which the term “Christ” has been used as in “Christ-killers”, or “Christian Right”,  I reluctantly refer to Jesus of Nazareth as “Christ” or “Jesus Christ”.)
     

  • Gary Krupp said May 20, 2010 at 11:02 pm
    1) “Through our research we learned how Eugenio Pacelli (Pius XII) despised Hitler, and vice versa, from Hitler’s very beginning and condemned him publically and privately. The archives show numerous documents proving this.” and \
    2) In 1930 the German Bishops excommunicated anyone who joined the “Hitler Party” wore the uniform or flew the flag. To join the SS a candidate had to renounce Christianity to join the new order.”
    Re: 1) What is important regarding politicians isn’t whom they profess to like or dislike, but what they DO to affect the wellbeing or harm of various political groups, and where Hitler and “Hitler’s Pope” are concerned is that Pope Pius XI & XII publicly and officially AGREED WITH HITLER on the 1933 “pact with the devil” known as the Reich Concordat.  So what if Pius disliked Hitler SECRETLY! PUBLICLY he required all his German bishops to OBEY the following: Article 16

    Before bishops take possession of their dioceses they are to take an oath of fealty either to the Reich Representative of the State concerned, or to the President of the Reich, according to the following formula : ” Before God and on the Holy Gospels I swear and promise as becomes a bishop, loyalty to the German Reich and to the [regional – EC] State of . . .
    “I swear and promise to honor the legally constituted Government and to cause the clergy of my diocese to honor it. In the performance of my spiritual office and in my solicitude for the welfare and the interests of the German Reich, I will endeavor to avoid all detrimental acts which might endanger it.”
    How could the hierarchy have been expected to oppose Hitler’s policies when they had been required by their church to swear “before God and on the Holy Gospels” not to do so ?
    And as for 2), why are so impressed with the fact that the R.C. church excommunicated German Catholics for joining the Nazi Party when they were nothing but a noisy “Tea Party” prior to 1933, but LIFTED that ban when German Catholics were the only ones standing in the way of Hitler becoming the absolute dictator of Germany, never reinstated that excommunication after the Nazi Party demonstrated that there was no evil it wasn’t prepared to perpetrate in the persuance of the evil goals Hitler had been promulgating since publishing his Nazi bible, Mein Kamph – which may well have been ghost written for Hitler by a Jesuit Priest. –
    By the way, in all of the thousands of secret documents you have found in the secret archives, did you see one putting Mein Kamph on the Catholic Index of Forbidden Books?

     

  • Cathryn,
    Great points re: “I only wish Pope Pius XII had been able to say one clear sentence to induce the faithful to regard the Jews as humans, instead of leaving it to the few individuals who WERE magnificent and who realized Jewish humanity on their own despite the perennial teachings of the churches. ”
    In that connection, a Catholic social scientist who went to Germany to find evidence with which to defend his church instead ended up writing a book about how badly it had acted. One of his findings was that in the entire 12  year period of the Third Reich only 7 individual Catholics had refused to serve in Hitler’s armed services and far from being inspired by their church to do so, they were condemned and denied the sacraments (which WASN”T DONE for Catholics who carried out Hitler’s orders).
    See “German Catholics and Hitler’s Wars“, by Gordon C. Zahn (a Catholic)(1989) { U. of Notre Dame Press, L.O.C.  62-9102 }

  • Mrs. Vise,

    unfortunately your idea of the situation of Poland and the Polish Catholics during the German ocupation is, excuse me to be frank, rather naive. To put it into an adequate line, it was sheer terror. The Nazis treated the Polish as an “inferior race”, destined to be slaves and servants. They tried to exterminate the nation’s hierarchies and intelligentsia. They did not allow any outside communication, especially not with the Church and the Vatican. Then Vatican Radio reported about the Nazi terror in Poland in the winter of 1939/40, the Polish bishops asked the Pope to stop it since after every broadcast followed a severe retaliation measure. When Pius XII in July 1942, under great risk, sent a Pastoral Letter to the Polish Catholics, smuggled in Spaghetti Boxes into the residence of Krakow’s Archbishop Adam Sapieha, the Archbishop immediately burned it in his furnace out of fear, the Nazis could learn about it. Later he wote to the Pope in apology: “It tortures us that we were not able to read the letter of Your Holiness in public, but it would serve only as an excuse for a more severe persecution and we already had enough victims sentenced for communication with the Holy See.” According to Fr. Paganuzzi, who delivered the Pastoral letterof Pius XII. to the Archbishop, the letter also referred to the Jews, when Sapieha commented: “The worst is that we cannot help those unfortunate ones, since they are isolated from their surroundings. They die without a word of comfort. Not to shorten their days, we are not allowed to say anything. We experience this tragedy of these unfortunate ones and noone would like to help them more than we poles; but this is just not possible. There is no difference between Jews and Polish. The Nazis stole our bread and freedom. Let us save our life at least and the hope to experience the end of our Golgotha.”
    This, Mrs. Vyse, is the reality, not your scenario: “Millions of Jews wqould have been saved ifd the Pope would have disapproved of their helping the Nazis”. The Polish were VICTIMS of the Nazis who suffered tremendously, and certainly not their willing helpers!

    The same can be said about the Ukraineans. Only in the beginning, they considered the Germans their liberators from the terror of Stalin who nearly starved them to death in the “Holodomor”, the genocide by starvation, and were willing to become their “partners in crime”, considering many Jews as collaborators of the Communists.  The Vatican had no way to reach them anyway. Or do you think the Nazis would have allowed Papal pro-Jewish pastoral letters to be read in an occupied country?

    As I demonstrated above, Pope Pius XII did not save “fewer than ten thousand Jews”, but nearly A MILLION JEWS in Nazi-controlled Europe. He indeed saved 85 % or 7000 of the ROMAN Jews, but his actions also reached not only all Italy, but also Hitler’s allies, namely Vichy France, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary, where help WAS possible.

    But there was just no way to reach the majority of Catholics in the areas occupied by the Nazis, since they controlled the mail and the media. Please keep in mind that it was a time when there was no internet, no television and only a limited number of radioes. To listen to “Enemy stations” in both, Germany and the occupied territories, was banned by severe punishments; Germans who were found listening to e.g. BBC or Radio Vatican were immediately sent to the Eastern front, subjects of the occupied countries were shot. So how could Pius XII reach the faithful when there were no free media, controlled mail and the Gestapo supervising the sermon of every Catholic mass held? 

    You might do any kind of mathematics to demonstrate that it was “pathetic” that the Pope saved only 860.000 Jews, but who saved more? You compare Japan with Germany, although it was just an ally, you claim that the Pope could have saved millions more when Consul Sugihara saved 6000, but you forget a very important point: It had to happen secretly! Don’t you think the Nazis had their eyes and ears everywhere? Don’t you know how many HIDDEN Jews were located by the Gestapo, arrested, sent to Auschwitz with their saviours killed? The higher the number, the higher the risk of getting caught!

    And this makes your math examples not only naive, but, forgive me, ridiculous. Oh yes, if the Polish would have had an order by the Pope, they would have hidden three million Jews! Dear Mrs. Vise, this sounds like a nice dream but is far away from reality: Believe me: If the Polish would have had the capacity, they would have never let the Germans invade and devastate their beloved home country, first of all! Then, indeed, also the Polish Jews would have been saved. But unfortunately the Polish were invaded by the Nazis, were terrorized by them and were often enough not able to save their own lives, not talking of protecting the Polish Jews! No, they did not help the Nazis, they hated the Nazis who occupied their country, killed their Intelligentsia, devastated their cities and looted their possessions, first of all. Yes, they were slave labours of the Nazis. If you call that “helping the Nazis”, well … they did not have another choice, with or without the threat of excommunication, because of the very real threat of extermination!

    Mr. Wilensky,

    sorry, can you please prove your claim that everyone in Germany knew about the holocaust during WW2, that German soldiers sent photos home etc.? Can you please name references to the letters, deliver any evidence? 
    Yes, German soldiers were eyewitnesses of mass executions of alleged “partisans” in the Ukraine, but not of what was going in the Concentration Camps. Keep in mind, their letters were censored anyway. So, sorry, but I can’t accept your claim.
    Railway workers might have had a suspicion what was going on. Many might have had suspicions. But there is a very strong force in the human psyche, which, in German, we call “Nichtwahrhabenwollen”, to refuse to believe what you don’t want to believe: “It can’t be real, so it is not real”.  Escaping into excuses: Well, they have food shortages in the camps, that’s why some “workers” died of starvation. Or “they must have had an epidemy of some kind” – all these excuses. Any claim of a planned extermination was refused as “allied enemy propaganda”. The masses did not know and/or did not believe. Even for the Allies it was a shock when they learnt the full extent of the Holocaust. And certainly the Pope, too, could not believe in the numbers when he heard them first.

    Oh, yes, the SS celebrated Christmas – but this does not mean they were Catholics. First of all, in Germany today even atheists and muslims celebrate Christmas. It became part of the German mass culture, with or without its Christian background. Second, protestants also celebrate Christmas. The Nazis never tried to fight Christmas, they just paganized it, calling it a Winter Solstice Festival and claimed it had pagan origins. 

    Since Weizsäcker himself stated in his autobiography that he wrote Berlin whatever Berlin wanted to hear, his report re. the Papal reaction on the deportation of the Roman Jews is not only proven wrong by the facts, but also by his own testimony and that of his coworker Kessel (even under oath). And no, 7000 Jews were not already hidden. They believed that they were save, since they paid 50 kg of gold to the SS (Kappler). Read the memories of Rabbi Zolli: They did not even consider it necessary to hide the files of the Roman Synagogue with all the names and addresses of the members of their congregation! They laughed about Zolli who accepted the offer of the Vatican for an “asylum”! No, Pope Pius XII warned the Roman Jews already on September 17, 1943 in a note with the title “Feared Measures against the Italian Jews”!

    Fortunately the Pope did not follow your advice tp escape to London, since in this case he would cut himself off the network of help he built up and, at the same time, become “the Pope of the allies”, losing all influence on Hitler’s satellite states and the Catholics in Germany. He would tremedously weaken the German military resistance with whom he cooperated which planned to use the Church to get the loyalty of the  population after their planned (and unfortunately failed) coup d’etat against Hitler. No, officially the Pope had to remain neutral to become efficient as a peacemaker in the post Hitler era! The “Vatican treasures” only played a role if you refer to the funds he used to help the Jews and other victims of the War. He even planned to sell the paintings of the Vatican Museums when he got short of funds for this charity!

    You indeed claim that the major historians and holocaust scholars are not taking us serious? The opposite is true! Sir Martin Gilbert, world’s foremost holocaust scholar (and a Jew) support PTWF’s effort as well as Michael Tagliacozzo from Israel. Indeed, only a few, mainly left-wing or radical atheist historians share the position of Hochhuth and Cornwell – the majority already agrees that Pius XII did everything humanly possible to save hundred thousands of Jews.

    Rev. Dubuque,

    as a apostate Catholic Priest you certainly have an agenda on your own, nut please, at least get your facts straight. Of the Nazi leaders you name were several protestants and others who left the Church by their own, like Himmler, Heydrich and Hoess. They were not “divorced from the Church by its leaders”, since they excommunicated themselves by leaving the Church. Only Hitler and Goebbels, for sheer political reasons (to keep the German Catholics on their side and to have an excuse for a strike against the Catholic Church, would they get excommunicated) remained in the Church on the paper, although they not even once practised it (e.g. went to Church). For Adolf Hitler, the last visit to a Catholic Church was the funeral mass of his mother in 1907, when he was 18 years old.  

    You are also completely wrong when you claim that the Vatican was “used to protect thousands of Catholic war criminals”. It was NOT the Vatican who did it, but an Austrian bishop in Rome, Msgr. Alois Hudal, who acted against the orders of the Pope and therefore was disciplined by Pius XII in several steps: In 1949 he was declared a “persona non grata” and was physically stopped from entering the Apostolic Palace and “thrown out”, 1950 his Austrian pilgrim’s office was closed and in 1951 he was forced to resign from all positions and retire in the mountains near Rome.  There he wrote his memories, called “Roman Diaries”, where he blames Pius XII for NOT using the Nazis as allies in the fight against communism. In this book, Hudal admits: “Because of my help (for the Nazi war criminals) the Roman curia called me a Nazi, faschist Bishop – troppo tedesco (too German) until I felt as being unbearable for the Vatican policy.” So by his own admission, Hudal (who in his book still defended his errors) faced the opposition of the Pope and the Vatican and acted by his own, being solely responsible for the shame he brought upon the Church for helping war criminals to escape to South America.

    The Six Million Victims of the Holocaust were not persecuted by “other Catholics”, but by members of an anti-Christian neo-pagan cult-like terror-regime, the Nazis, who not only sent thousands of Polish Priests and Religious to the Concentration Camps, too, but also planned to exterinate the Catholic Hierarchy in Germany after the War, a plan outlined in all details by Hitler in his “Table Talks”.

    And no, Rev. Dubuque, the Nazi Party was not “nnothing but a noisy Tea Party prior to 1933″, but were with  37,3 % of the votes the strongest political party during the elections of 31 July 1932! Of course “Mein Kampf” was ghost written by Hitler’s secretary Rudolf Hess, who was a protestant and practicing occultist but never a Jesuit at all. And yes, the Vatican did not only put the “Nazi Bible” “Mythos des XX. Jahrhunderts” by Nazi chief ideologist Alfred Rosenberg on the index but also planned to put Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” on the index, too. The plan was ceased when Rosenberg’s book became a major bestseller after the ban (which was used by the Nazi propaganda to promote the book) and since it would have been considered a hostile act against a Head of State and therefore a political act against an ally of Italy, when the Lateran Treaty condemned the Vatican to everlasting political neutrality.

    Sincerely, Michael Hesemann
    PTWF Germany   

  • Herr Hesemann, if there’s one thing I can conclude after our exchanges is that the problem of “Nichtwahrhabenwollen”, or, as you said, to refuse to believe what you don’t want to believe, not only applied to the war and post-war Germans but to you too.

  • Tovarish Wilensky,

    if you prefer to believe in what is proven to be KGB disinformation (the Hochhuth Play), that it fine to me. But if you reply to my rather long and detailed remarks, to the facts here and to all the hundreds of documents we present on our website, to all the well-documented evidence proving you wrong with nothing than a three line ad hominem-attack, it only demonstrates that you run out of anything better and just admit that you have nothing left  to defend yourself.

    It was my pleasure debating with you. I am sorry that you surrender so early, but time’s glory is to calm contending kings, to unmask falsehood and bring truth to light, to quote The Bard. At the end, you can’t deny the truth, so sooner or later any black legend has to come to an end.

    Sincerely,
    Michael Hesemann
    PTWF Germany 

  • Mr. Hessman,
    We can all see we are dealing with a logically -impaired person when they begin their argument with a sorry ad hominem like “as a apostate Catholic Priest you certainly have an agenda on your own”.
    What my “agenda” has been for as long as I can remember in my 73 years is to be the best human being that I can be. And when I discovered what an immoral institution the Roman Catholic priesthood and hierarchy are, I found that it was more honorable to be an “apostate priest” than a support of that immorality.
    Now as for “facts’, what is “several were protestants”  supposed to mean?  I spent a lot of time studying their history to find out that all of thet I people I put on my list WERE CATHOLICS, and I even indicated that some had a Catholic parent and a non-Catholic parent.  If you want to be in the same league as me you’ll have to at least spell out who was not a Catholic and some evidence that they were something else.
    And even when you say a few LEFT the Church, what is it about the church they were nurtured in that made so many of these people future Nazis and LEADERS of the Nazis at that???

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Mr. Hesemann addresses me as follows:  
    “Mrs. Vise–unfortunately your idea of the situation of Poland and the Polish Catholics during the German ocupation is, excuse me to be frank, rather naive. To put it into an adequate line, it was sheer terror. The Nazis treated the Polish as an “inferior race”, destined to be slaves and servants….[quoting a Pole] ‘There is no difference between Jews and Polish.’….The same can be said about the Ukraineans. Only in the beginning, they considered the Germans their liberators from the terror of Stalin who nearly starved them to death in the ‘Holodomor,’ the genocide by starvation, and were willing to become their ‘partners in crime,’ considering many Jews as collaborators of the Communists.”

    To answer your last item first, Mr. Hesemann, yes, it is true that the Ukrainians arbitrarily chose to view the peaceful Jewish villages (shtetlach) of the Ukraine as “collaborators of the Communists”–it is ironic that those who hate Jews are capable of imagining all Jews to be simultaneously guilty of capitalism and communism, and the poverty and hard work of simple Jewish villagers failed to dissuade them of their determination to hold onto this excuse for their hatred.  My father witnessed this first hand during the Ukrainian “resistance” to the Bolsheviks, which seemed to consist primarily of Ukrainian nationalists charging into a shtetl, breaking into Jewish homes, and murdering anyone who happened to be handy.  That was how he, at the age of eight, witnessed the shooting death of his own beautiful young mother, and that was how his grandmother was savagely cut up with a sword in another shtetl nearly.  I am thus not naive about the attitude of Ukrainians towards anyone who lived in a Jewish village.  But in case you require more evidence, there is the infamous Black Book, which details, in specific numbers by area, the degree to which the Ukrainians eagerly participated in the shooting murders at Babi Yar in Kiev and the other shooting murders near Uman and other Ukrainian centers penetrated by the Nazi regime.  You acknowledge Ukrainian participation and you justify it as supposedly OK because of the Ukrainians’ justifying their murderous perennial Jew-hatred via the canard of “Jews as Communists”.  So, to be blunt, Mr. Hesemann, I cannot even remotely excuse your remarks about the Ukrainians’ murderous mass-shootings of Jewish women and babies (including incidentally my aunts, uncles, and cousins, as reported to me by a surviving cousin) as “naive”.  And, yes, a phone call, a coded telegraph, a threat of excommunication or denial of the sacraments, smuggled to Ukrainian bishops and preached even once from each pulpit, would have been enormously helpful in halting the Ukrainians from venting their hatred of Jews in cooperation with the Nazi regime.  

    I also recall the tales of Nazis walking along the street, before the establishment of the Warsaw ghetto, shooting Jewish children.  They assumed the blond children were Poles and did not shoot them.  The Polish women who witnessed this nudged the Nazis and, quite unnecessarily, pointed to the blond ones, saying, “You missed some.”  So the Nazis went back and shot the blond children too.  

    As for the terror of the Poles, the record shows that the Nazi aim with respect to the Jews was total:  women, the elderly, the children, the babies.  Eli Wiesel’s Night tells of seeing, in 1944, a dump truck full of Jewish babies, emptying the babies into a raging fire to burn alive. 

    The Polish babies, as illustrated in the foregoing anecdote about the blond children, were left almost entirely untouched.  The Poles were regarded merely as inferior, and only the men of fighting age were sought out for death or imprisonment.  The children and the elderly were not sent to the camps.  Even the healthy young women were hardly at risk.  Almost all of the millions of Poles who were killed by the Nazis were young men of military age.  This is indeed terrible, but it also means that the risk faced by the Poles was partial, while the risk to the Jews was total. 

    Poles in general pointed Jews out with alacrity, and refused either to hide Jews or to permit Jews to join the Polish resistance or to sell guns or bullets to Jews.  Jerome Mintz, in Legends of the Hasidim, without any intent to indict Poles, records a typical interview of a Holocaust survivor, ending on page 36:  “I went home….we thought…people would greet us in our home town….I couldn’t even go up to my apartment….  I couldn’t and I ran away….the Polish people started killing Jews again, pogroms and everything the same as it used to be before.  They hate us again….  I ran away on the train”  (italics added). 

    Moreover, whatever the Polish excuses may have been for failing to hide Jews, the almost universal Polish refusal to sell arms or bullets to Jews is difficult to excuse, and the Polish penchant for helping to hunt down adult Jews and to point out Jewish children is certainly inexcusable–yet these might be excused by the fact that, on the scale of living beings, the Poles, like the Germans and Ukrainians, ranked Jews not only as subhuman but as subanimal, the official European Catholic church ranking the Jews at the very bottom of the scale of living things, below even the cockroach, as had been inculcated in European churches for hundreds of years.  Having been thus indoctrinated by the Catholic church, they were entitled to be disabused of this notion, also by the Catholic church, which ought to have informed the Polish faithful, even before the war, that Jews are human and that the faithful would be expected to treat Jews as human.  

    By the way, the valor of the Polish army in resisting the German army fails to measure up to the valor of the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto, where resistance was maintained almost to the last man and woman, whose resistance lasted LONGER, despite an almost total lack of weaponry, than that of the entire Polish army. 

    Finally, the title “Mrs.” means “wife of”.  Since, in deference to my Catholic and Protestant in-laws, I am avoiding the use of my married name, I would prefer that others not subject me to the misleading “Mrs.” title.  I have never been the wife of anyone with the last name I am using here, nor do I have any kin in this generation by that last name. 

    Yes, Virginia, there ARE many, many good people among the Catholics and among other Christians as well, especially in the United States, and many of them are my blood kin, my friends, and my neighbors, whose kindnesses to me are legion.  And many of them were humane enough, and courageous enough, to find ways to save the lives of hundreds or thousands of Jews during WWII.   

    Unfortunately for those who seek to convince me that Pope Pius XII was one of these righteous gentiles, the only way to do so would be to demonstrate that the pope was not silent after all, but that he did communicate to the faithful across Europe and across Poland and the Ukraine, during the Hitler years, whether before or after the invasion of Poland, that Jews are indeed human rather than children of the devil, or cockroaches, or vermin, and that good Catholics were expected to treat Jews humanely. 
     

     

  • Mr. Hesemann,
    Nice try in attempting to distance Pacelli from Hudall, but they had a very long history together and even if you say they had a falling out LATE in their lives you haven’t proved that the Pope didn’t know that this important bishop friend of his was leading a cladestine effort to help some of the war’s worst criminals to use institutions IN ROME – if not within the walls of  “Vatican City” –  to escape prosecution by the allies, i.e. people like :
    Adolf Eichmann, “the architect of the Holocaust”, ,Alois Brunner , referred to as his “best man” by Eichman,Dr. Josef Mengele, “the Angel of Death” ,Franz Stangl, commandant of the SobibÛr and of Treblinka extermination camp ,Gustav Wagner assistant to Franz Stangl,Klaus Barbie, “the Butcher of Lyon” ,Edward Roschmann, “the Butcher of Riga”,Aribert Heim, Mauthausen concentration camp’s “Dr. Death”,Walter Rauff, believed responsible for nearly 100,000 deathsAndrija Artuković, “the Himmler of the Balkans”.

  • Ah, my dear Mr. Hesemann… What can I say? I didn’t ignore you long post. It’s just that you, like Mr. Krupp, are both reiterating your points over and over again, seemingly ignoring or not acknowledging my and other poster’s comments yourselves. Believe me, I didn’t run out of things to say on my defense. I think I have been defending myself quite well, thank you. I only felt it unnecessary to make the same points when I myself spent a considerable amount of time previously making long, considered responses. In other words, I had “defended” myself already previously.

    Ultimately, as I explained to Mr. Krupp earlier, you have a quasi-religious conviction of your views and suffer from what is, in my view, an error of interpretation. You are absolutely convinced that you have documented evidence that proves me wrong, and fail to understand how I, and many other Holocaust scholars (much better qualified than me, if I may say so) fail to be persuaded by your “evidence”. Well, my dear Mr. Hesemann, maybe you should ponder this. As I expressed in an earlier post, you need to ask yourselves if we are all malicious, dimwitted, or what. Of course, one possibility you should consider is that all of us who are not persuaded by your “well-documented evidence” simply think the evidence, at least that which may be credible, is simply evidence of something else. You need to ask yourselves if, instead of everyone else being wrong, it is indeed you the ones that are.

    Lastly, what was that nonsense about me believing any KGB disinformation? Are you saying that everything I’ve said so far is part of that same Soviet disinformation campaign? It certainly seems so, given you are now addressing me as “tovarish”.

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    I see that Henemann chooses to address anyone who disagrees with him by whatever negative title he chooses.  Having chosen to misaddress me as “Mrs.,” which could be mere thoughtlessness, Henemann stoops so low as to deliberately use the expression “Tovarish Wilensky”–“comrade Wilensky,” a communist mode of address.  Thus he violates the directive to “be nice” and effectively questions Mr. Wilensky’s loyalty to America;  moreover, Henemann also thereby expresses his solidarity with the Ukrainians whose committing of shooting murders of as many Jews as they could likewise was done under the pretext of regarding them as “pro-communist” and hence as “disloyal” to Ukraine.  I regret to acknowledge that Henemann has thereby totally trashed his own credibility in my eyes, along with any pretense he may have of honor or of even minimal decency, much less with any concern for his murdered Jewish brethren.  I say “brethren” because, regardless of Henemann’s ethnicity, Beethoven’s Ninth symphony ends with the song proclaiming that  Alle menschen werden Brudern, “all humans all brothers”.  But evidently, according to Henemann, it would seem that we have to expect, and to justify, exceptions for maybe Jews or communists or capitalists or children of the devil or cockroaches or other vermin.   

    I begin to see why Henemann is so eager to excuse the silent Pope.   After all, he acknowledges that the Ukrainians eagerly participated in the shooting murders of Jews, but excuses this on the grounds that “the Ukrainians….in the beginning…considered the Germans their liberators from the terror of Stalin who nearly starved them to death in…the genocide by starvation, and were willing to become their ‘partners in crime,’ considering many Jews as collaborators of the Communists.”  

    But in fact the Jews were not “collaborators of the Communists” just as Mr. Wilensky is not a “collaborator of the communists” and just as my father’s kindly loving mother and the others whom the Ukrainians shot that Purim day in 1918 were not “collaborators of the communists”. 
    The fact that Henemann has thus at least twice revived this “collaborator” canard against Jews, regardless of Henemann’s own Jewish credentials or lack of them, demonstrates to me a hostility towards Jews that obviates any consideration for truth.  In view of this blatantly hate-filled stance, I shall not attempt to influence his opinion, but shall try to avoid reading any further messages of his, and urge other readers to do the same. 

  • Reverend Dubuque,

    well, the objectivity of an Ex-Priest in a discussion about Church history is as high as that of a divorced wife talking about her ex-husband. And before you protest: Yes, your priesthood was a love affair with the Church and now this relationship has failed, for whatever reason. This is sad but we all have to admit that you might be overwhelmed by emotions which are not really connected with the subject of our discussion.

    I am myself Roman Catholic and I know my Church and its hierarchy well enough not only to question but to flatly deny your claim of the RC Church being an “immoral insitution”. Nothing can’t be more far away from the truth! 

    But you wanted a detailed reply and so you get it. Let’s investigate the religious background of the Nazi leaders:

    Adolf Hitler: Apostate Catholic. Father “Freethinker”, mother Catholic. Went to Church last time when he was 18 (funeral of his mother).

    Rudolf Hess: Protestant

    Hermann Goering: Protestant

    Heinrich Himmler: Apostate Catholic, Left the Church in 1935

    Joseph Goebbels: Apostate Catholic

    Martin Bormann: Protestant

    Joachim von Ribbentrop: Protestant

    Alfred Rosenberg: Protestant

    Reinhard Heydrich: Apostate Catholic, Left Church in 1935

    Rudolf Hoess, Catholic Apostate, joined the neo-pagan Artamanenbund in 1927, left the Church in 1935

    Julius Streicher, Catholic Apostate, left the Church in 1925

    Fritz Thyssen was Catholic but protested against Hitler’s Anti-Jewish excesses and the war and left Germany in 1939 out of protest; the Nazis arrested him in France and put him into several Concentration Camps.  

    As you can see, after 1935 only TWO leading Nazis, Hitler and Goebbels, were officially still members of the Catholic Church, although none of them practised this religion for decades. Indeed the Nazi party was anti-Catholic from the very beginning, blaming the Catholic faith to be “created by the Jew Shaul” (St.Paul) and considered Jesus Christ a revolutionary against the Jews of Aryan blood. Therefore, they considered their program as a new form of “positive Christianity” (as it was called in the program of the NSDAP) in contrast to the faith of the Church, which they fought against.

    Ms. Vyse,

    during a public audience in 1941, Pius XII loudly addressed a young Jew with the words:
    “You are a young jew. I know what that means and I hope you will always be proud to be a Jew … My Jewish friend, go with the protection of the Lord, and never forget, you must always be proud to be a Jew!”
    This statement was published in the Palestine Post of April 18, 1944, now the Jerusalem Post, at that time the leading newspaper of the Jewish settlers in what is today Israel. 
    His predecessor, Pius XI. stated on September 6, 1938, the very year of the Kristallnacht and the introduction of the “Nuremberg” Racial Laws in Italy: “Spiritually we are all Semites”.
    The Nazi Racism was officiall condemned in the Papal “Syllabus” of April 13, 1938, when Pius XI ordered all Catholic Universities and Semianries to fight against the “absurd dogmata” of Racism.   
    The Antisemitism was already OFFICIALLY CONDEMNED by the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XI in 1928!
    I must admit that I read your comment with great horror. I am shocked and saddened how Jews were treated by individuals both in Poland, Germany and the Ukraine. We all agree that this is the saddest chapter in human history. I can’t deny that the Christian Antijudaism (which is not a Catholic invention and indeed two of the most radical Antijewish polemics were written by St. John Chrysostomos and Martin Luther) prepared the grounds for the racist Antisemitism of the 19th and 20th century. But still, there is a major difference. The Christian Antijudaism had one goal, the conversion of the Jews. The Racist Antisemitism did not care for the Jewish religion, but the alleged Jewish race – and made no conversion, no escape possible. It considered Jews as a different, inferior race. This concept is completely against the Catholic doctrine of the humani generis unitas, the unity of the human race, which was stressed not only by Pius XI (e.g. in Mit brennender Sorge), but also by Pius XII in his very first encyclyca Summi Pontificatus as well as in Mystici corporis (1943).
    These encyclicae were spread whereever possible by the Catholic clergy. Their distribution was forbidden in Germany. Indeed, the French let 88.000 fliers with its text rain upon Germany from their planes. And still, the majority did not care.

    I have to apologize that I called you “Mrs.”, which was not intended in any way as an offence, but I am still sorry. But still, your plea is in vain. Whatever we demonstrate you, it is and was always a fact: Good Catholics treated Jews humanely, and if you study history you see that all great Popes were protectors of the Jews.  No Pope ever claimed that Jews were “Children of the devil, or cockroaches or vermin”, since this would be a complete perversion of the Catholic doctrine. Of course, Jews as much as Catholics, are children of the same God, created according to His image out of the same dust, sharing the same ancestor, Adam. Whoever claimed or acted differently, was guilty of a heresy. And Nazism was, as Eugenio Pacelli wrote already in May 1st, 1924 (and I had his handwritten notes in my hands in the Vatican Secret Archives): Nazism was “the most dangerous heresy of our times”. Three days later he explained why: “Nazism puts state and race above all, above true religion, above truth and above justice”.  A Catholic could never be a Nazi nor could a Catholic ever be Antisemite, unless he completely ignores or even perverts the doctrine of his Church!

  • Excuse me, Ms. Vyse,

    after I was called everything from “Herr Hesemann”, pointing towards my German roots (and questioning my objectivity) in Mr. Wilenskys ad hominem attack and “Mr. Hessman”, obviously to build up a ficticious connection to Rudolf Hess, I took the freedom to reply slightly ironically to Mr. Wilensky as “tovarish”, due to the fact that he still defends the lie of “Hitler’s Pope”, which was a black legend invented by the KGB disinformation department and brought on stage by a communist theater director who had just returned from Moscow to West Berlin (Erwin Piscator), using, as author, the former “Hitler Youth” boy Rolf Hochhuth, a dear friend of Holocaust-denier Irving.  Still, in spite of this rather dubious background, “The Deputy” became the mother of all Pius-bashers and turned the public image of this great and saintly Pope by 180 degrees, from applause and gratitude towards debunking and defamation. Still, it is up to Mr. Wilensky to believe in any myth he wants, but I politely ask him to discuss facts and claims instead of mailing arrogant 3-lines ad hominem attacks.
    I never claimed that any Jew was a “Collaborator of the communists”, I just explained the attitude of the Ukraineans after the German invasion. They just suffered under Stalin and believed the Germans were there liberators, until they found out that they were even worse. Still, in the beginning they were willing collaborators when the Nazi propaganda let them BELIEVE that the Jews were communist partisans, although, of course, THEY WERE NOT.
    I already apologized to Ms. Vise, it really was not my intention to hurt her in any way. But how should I know that she is not married and prefers to be called “Ms.”? But please, Ms. Vise, I would not consider “Mrs.” a negative title and I use it for many women I highly respect (as much as I respect you). It is just an error,  as I consider it an error when you call me “Henemann” instead of “Hesemann”.

    I really wonder, Ms. Vise, how you can blame me of a “hate-filled stance”, especially after I wrote Mr. Wilensky “It was my pleasure debating with you”. This is rather a remark of respect than of disrespect or hate. But I think he could have done better than just trashing my long comment with a threeliner, so I wanted to provoke him a little bit to get back to the facts and to a serious discussion. I am deeply sorry when this was misunderstood.

    SHALOM!
    Sincerely, Michael Hesemann

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    I apologize.  I truly did not intend to misspell the name Hesemann and I am sorry.  I scrolled up to see it and I should have written it down, because by the time I scrolled back again I had misremembered it.  I thoroughly and heartily regret my error and I offer no excuse for it, unless my own stupidity counts.   

    I did think that referring three times in two posts to communists (once by Mr. Wilensky’s title, and the other two times with the actual word) in refrences to Jews was a bit too close to one of the classic negative stereotypes–and, yes, a bit much, especially when it was used, in the prior post and again in this one, to acknowledge and exonerate the fact that the Ukrainians murdered Jews–up to about 900,000 Jews, the most in any one country except Poland. 

    This attempted exoneration of the shooting murders of 900,000 people is at outrage. 

    Can you imagine what it must have been like, participating in the shooting murders of so many people?  Can you imagine doing that yourself and being glad to do it, as the Ukrainians were?  Do you realize that their antipathy for Jews came not from their experiences with Jews but frm the preachings of their Catholic churches? 

    And yet you exonerated the murders as based on the Ukrainians’ unwarranted, church-inspired, belief in an imaginary “collaboration” with communists, thus implying it was OK, or at least excusable, for the Ukrainians to murder 900,000 or so Ukrainian Jews. 

    If it was OK, or even merely excusable, for the Ukrainians, that implies that it was similarly OK or excusable for everyone, since it was motivated by the hatred that the church had instilled for centuries in its faithful flocks.  

    Six million “OK” murders is the ultimate implication of that little remark. 

    You may have failed to notice the implications of what you said, but those implications are nonetheless an outrage.  Let us assume that you must have failed to notice, and that you did not intend any such implications. 

    However, anyone who finds the murder of six million Jews an outrage would also find it unthinkable to offer excuses for the murderers.  

    I can assure you that it would never enter my mind to find excuses for any of the murderers of the Jews in any country in Europe.  It would simply be impossible for me to think such a thing, much less say it or write it.  I prefer to avoid thinking about the Ukrainians at all; I like to thik about Bulgaria, for example, which heroically protected its Jews from export, or about Denmark, which saved almost every one of its Jews.  

    Do you realize that the tiny Jewish villages, the shtetlach, were so close togther that a traveller could walk from one to another between sunrise and sunset?  That one could walk across Europe and always have a kosher meal and a bed in a little Jewish village every night?  All those hundreds of thousands of villages are gone, the people murdered, the buildings with their books and tapestries and Torahs and Talmuds burned to the ground, the graves uprooted, leaving no trace that anyone ever lived and sang and prayed there.  Have you any idea what it means when an entire culture is lost forever, as this one has been?  Only shreds remain, out of which Jewishness is being slowly recreated.  Have you any concept of the enormity of this loss? 

    And then there was the content of the “excuse”–That the murderers had already been so well schoooled in their hatred of their mythic concept, “the Jews,” that they falsely regarded “the Jews” as communist collaborators, and were breaking into homes in Jewish villages even in 1918 when they shot my father’s beautiful young mother and many of the other inhabitants of her village.  I can assure you that she was totally uninvolved with any communists in any manner way shape or form, as was his grandmother.  The Ukrainian misconception that “the Jews” were supposedly so involved fails to excuse their murdering her. 

    Making excuses for the murdering of Jews is infnitely worse than misspelling a name or using a wrong title.  

    So go ahead.  Misspell my name all you want.  Call me Vyse.  You can even call me “Mrs.”  It doesn’t matter, and I don’t matter.  But making excuses for the murder of some 900,000 Ukrainian Jews, or of any other Jews, does matter.   

    That makes you a poor choice of debater as to whether Pope Pius XII was right or wrong to have been silent about their murders.   Whose side was Pope Pius XII on, the Jews or the Jew-haters?  His position is ill-served by an advocate who excuses the murders on the grounds that the murderers had been taught by the Catholic church to falsely regard “the Jews” as “communist collaborators”. 

    But go ahead, defend the pope, and close your mind to any evidence that he should have cared more and should have spoken out clearly even once.  Are you defending Pope Pius XII because the Pope prevented as many murders as he could?

    But what exactly did Pope Pius XII think about Jews?  Had he , like the Ukrainians, been schooled to associate “the Jews” with “communist collaborators”?  Would that false association make it OK in his eyes to murder them?  Might that opinion make him reluctant to speak out on their behalf?  

    in 1936, Cardinal Augustyn Hlond, primate of Poland, said in a letter, “It is a fact that the
    Jews are…the vanguard of godlessness, Bolshevism and subversion….” (James Carroll, Constantine’s Sword, pp 271-272).  This was read from the pulpit of all churches in Poland. 

    Within a few months after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the Archbishop of Paderborn spoke of a struggle “for the protection of Christianity…from the threat of anti-Christian Bolshevism”  (Gunter Lewy, The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany, p 231).  

    Perhaps others know of other proclamations of the higher eschelons of the Catholic Church expressing deep concern about Bolshevism or Communism and drawing a connection between these evils and Jews?  

    If so, Mr. Hesemann, you may have provided us with a clue as to one of the motives for the silence of the Vatican as the Jews of Europe were being exterminated.  

  • Mr. Hesemann, I think you got it all wrong. I did not address you as “Herr” in any derogatory way, unless the word can be conceived that way in German. If so, I offer my apologies as I was not aware of it. My only intention was to treat you with respect, and I thought that I was doing just that by substituting “Mr.” for “Herr”, given you were German. From my perspective, that in and of itself is nothing to be ashamed of, irrespective of what Germans of previous generations may have done.
     
    Also, I did not “attack” you, ad hominem or otherwise. I only remarked on what I think is at the heart of this conversation, namely, that your convictions are so strong that you refuse to see facts in any other light. If you reread everything I said from the very beginning of this conversation you will see that I have always addressed you and your points with the utmost respect, even when I strongly disagreed with them. You asked me to discuss facts. Well, again, if you read my posts carefully you’ll see that I have consistently been discussing facts, backed by quotations from the pertinent players whenever appropriate to back my assertions.
     
    I am personally not interested in picking up a fight with anyone, or with wasting time in semantic squabbles. I have enjoyed this debate with you and Mr. Krupp as well, and I hope we can now continue discussing the issues.

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    By the way I know how terrible Stalin was.  He, too, killed millions of people. 

    Two wrongs don’t make a right. 

  • Mr. Hesemann, do you realize that you are embarrassing yourself (and the church you are trying to represent)?  e.g.
    You wrote to me “please, at least get your facts straight. Of the Nazi leaders you name were several protestants”,  When I challenged you to at least tell us WHICH were protestants you named
    “Rudolf Hess, Hermann Goering, Martin Bormann, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Alfred Rosenberg” .
    The FACT is that – far from identifying these Nazi leaders as Roman Catholic AS YOU CLAIM – I said NOTHING about them in this thread and  the thousands of people who have been reading my http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/NaziLeadership.html page over the years have always been informed that they were Protestants.
    So while telling ME to get your facts straight YOU show that you don’t know FACTS from FIGS!

  • Mr. Hesemann, do you realize that you are embarrassing yourself (and the church you are trying to represent)?  e.g.
    You wrote to me “please, at least get your facts straight. Of the Nazi leaders you name were several protestants”,  When I challenged you to at least tell us WHICH were protestants you named
    “Rudolf Hess, Hermann Goering, Martin Bormann, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Alfred Rosenberg” .
    The FACT is that – far from identifying these Nazi leaders as Roman Catholic AS YOU CLAIM – I said NOTHING about them in this thread and  the thousands of people who have been reading my http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/NaziLeadership.html page over the years have always been informed that they were Protestants.
    So while telling ME to get your facts straight YOU show that you don’t know FACTS from FIGS!

  • Mr. Hesemann, do you realize that you are embarrassing yourself (and the church you are trying to represent)?  e.g.
    You argue against MY ability to be objective : “well, the objectivity of an Ex-Priest in a discussion about Church history is as high as that of a divorced wife talking about her ex-husband. And before you protest: Yes, your priesthood was a love affair with the Church and now this relationship has failed, for whatever reason. This is sad but we all have to admit that you might be overwhelmed by emotions which are not really connected with the subject of our discussion.
    I am myself Roman Catholic and I know my Church and its hierarchy well enough not only to question but to flatly deny your claim of the RC Church being an “immoral insitution”.”
    If you can’t see how utterly SILLY it is to claim that YOU  as a devoted son of “Holy Mother the Church” and of your “Most Holy Father”   has any credibility, while you are making the above argument, then you are indeed HOPELESS !

  • Dear Ms. Vise,

    apologies accepted, and I hope on both sides. The subject is too serious and too important to become distracted by anything personal.

    So back to the facts: And please let us make one thing clear: Not the Ukrainians nor the polish are responsible for the Holocaust but first of all the Nazis, a neo-pagan racist cult turned into apolitical party, and second the Germans which voted for and hailed this maniac and allowed him to come in power – Hitler’s helpers!

    I can’t believe that the Ukrainians by themselves murdered 900.000 Jews. Instead they were forced to do so by the Nazis/Germans. They certainly never did it because it was preached in their Churches. Maybe they collaborated because they FALSELY BELIEVED (in no way I want to exonerate them and in no way anyone can excuse the killing even of a single Jew!) that the Jews were responsible for Communism (as the Nazis claimed – for them, Bolshevism was a Jewish invention, as Catholicism was). You can’t blame the Ukrainian Catholic Church for it. It NEVER taught to kill Jews!

    Again, Ms. Vise. I NEVER claimed it was okay or excusable or anything to participate in a genocide. There is and there will never be ANY excuse. But this includes the (false)  excuse that they were taught to do so in their Churches. Indeed, for centuries Jews and Ukrainians lives together in peace. Galicia, Western Ukraine, was home of the richest Jewish culture in Europe – and the place many Jews went to when they escaped from persecution in other parts of Europe. During all these centuries of coexistence the Ukrainian Catholic Church taught the same – the gospel of Christ: Love your neighbor (what includes your Jewish neighbor!)!

    Czarist Russia started the first pogroms because of greed – the Czar was bancrupt and greedy for alleged Jewish wealth. The “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” were invented (faked, hoaxed) by the Czarist Secret Service to justify these progroms. Many Russian Jews therefore migrated into the peaceful Western Ukraine, Galicia. Again, no violent Antisemitism there!

    The Ukrainians suffered under Stalin. They hated the Communists. And only when the Nazis INVENTED the false formula “Jews=Communists” they could bring the Ukrainians at least for a while on their side and made some of them there willing helpers in the holocaust, when the majority was just FORCED TO KILL. There is no way to excuse these horrible crimes. But as the trigger, you have to blame the Nazi ideology and NOT the Ukrainian Catholic Church!

    How can you even claim that I try to find excuses for the murder of Jews? I try to define what caused the Nazi helpers to do the unthinkable, at least those who did not do so with a machine gun pointed at their back, knowing that they would be the next wouldn’t they follow their orders. And indeed the support the Nazis primarily received in the Western Ukraine was cause by the believe of the Ukrainians that they were liberators from Communism. NO EXCUSE, just an explanation for the lack of resistance!

    Yes, you are right. It is immensely sad and tragic that this rich Jewish culture was destriyed by unscrupulous murderers, a culture which peacefully coexisted with the Ukrainian Catholic culture, because Catholicism NEVER intended any pogrom or the unthinkable, a genocide. 

    And, once again, the murderers were NOT taught by the Catholic church to falsely regard “The Jews” as “Communist collaborators-  BUT BY THE NAZI PROPAGANDA! That’s why the horrible killing of 900.000 Ukrainian Jews took place during the dark times of the Nazi occupation and not during all the centuries when the Ukrainians were free and listened to their Church!

    What did Pius XII think about Jews? He had a Jewish friend at school and went to Shabbat-dinner at his family’s home (this friend, Guido Mendes, became a famous physician in Israel after Pius XII helped him to escape to Palestine). He read Jewish authors and wanted to learn Hebrew. He supported Zionism, was a supporter of Nahum Sokolow who praised the “unusual abundance of friendship” he received from him. He tried everything to let the Jewish community of Germany have palmleaves for Sukhot during WW1 (and unfortunately failed, since the Italian authorities did not cooperate) and started a diplomatic intervention to stop the killing of Jews by Cemal Pasha in Palestine at the end of WW1. Indeed he was the first who considered “interventions against the danger of antisemitic excesses in Germany” already on April 4, 1933 – when the Nazis just came inpower. And he told a young Jew in 1942, the year of the Wannsee-Conference: “You must always be proud to be a Jew!” He was a friend of the Jews, the most philosemite Pope in history until JPII was elected!

    When the Nazis tried to convince the Vatican to bless their war as an Anti-Bolshevist crusade, Msgr. Tardini replied in the name of the Pope: “”The Svastica is not really the cross of a crusade.” “It is impossible to condemn the errors and terror of communism and … at the same time forget the derailments and persecutions of Nazism”. Therefore he would recommend to use, “Instaed of the term crusade”, the proverb: “one devil hunts the other”.

    When the Austrian bishop Hudal wanted to celebrate a Holy Mass for the Germans who died during the Russian campaign, it was forbidden by the secretary of the Pope, Fr. Leiber, in person: The Russian people had any right to fight the invaders “so that rather their defense of their home country can be called a Holy War”.
    “The communist danger is real, but at the moment the danger of the Nazis is more serious”, Pius XII. told Cardinal Paolo Dezza in 1942.
    That’s why he gave his nihil obstat to the alliance with Stalin AGAINST Hitler, when millions of young Catholic soldiers in the US hesitated to fight side to side with “godless communists” (since Communism was condemned by Pius XI). To win the war against Hitler had absolute priority!

    Therefore, Ms. Vise, your conclusion is wrong. The Vatican did NOT draw any connection between Communism and the Jews. Instead, the Vatican was even willing to accept an alliance with godless communism and Stalin himself if it serves the purpose to fight the bigger evil, Nazism, and STOP THE KILLING OF THE JEWS!
     
    Excuse my bad English, it’s not my mother tongue and sometimes it is difficult to find the right words, to get into the subtilities of your language. But please don’t even try to put things into my mouth which I never said nor ever intended to say, even if this would serve and support your prejudices against the Catholic church!

    Sincerely,
    Michael Hesemann

     

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Dear Mr., Wilensky,
    As this debate is winding down, we must accept that we will agree to disagree. I wish to personally invite you, as I have done for some of the other Pius critics, to join me in Rome. I will get you accredited as soon a possible at the Vatican Archives and perhaps Michael Hesemann can join us. Michael has written many books on this subject he is a respected historian. He visits the open Secret Archives almost every month or so. He travels from Germany to Rome at his own expense to specifically go into the archives and every time he studies its contents he comes up with another revealing document. Currently, we are waiting for a copy of a handwritten letter from Nachum Sokolow (head of the World Zionist Organization) where he is warmly thanking Archbishop Pacelli for his intercession. In 1917 Sokolow met with young Pacelli to ask him to intercede to save the Jews of Palestine from the Ottoman Turks.  Pacelli succeed and accomplished this by getting German guarantees of protection (documents on our website). Then in 1925 he asked Pacelli’s advice on the notion of a Jewish homeland in Palestine and Pacelli helped him to meet with Pope Benedict XV(documents on our website). These are the types of documents that anyone can see but no one from the critical side has come to study. This is why the argument that “we will wait for the war years Archives to open is bogus” They have simply ignored the open section now, which contains 65% of Pacelli’s ministry. So when the war years are open the critics will simply say that the Vatican sanitized the contents and this Shonda will never end.
    Between the Actes of the Holy See, published in 1981 (covering 5125 documents from the closed war years section), the open archives up to 1939, supporting eye witness testimonies and documents (from other archives from many other countries including Israel), there is no doubt about the conditions of the day and what had to be done to survive,  and to rescue as many Jews as possible. You will see the documents where the Vatican checked off the names of over 20 countries that they contacted to accept Jews and in many cases were turned down with “No Jews allowed”. In some cases the pre-conditions to allowing Jews to immigrate were that the Jews could only come if the stated they would work in agricultural work rather than professional or business activities. Jewish immigration to South America and the US, Pius XII encouraged the issuance of false baptismal papers so that the Jews can leave as “non-Aryan Catholic Jews”. Many claim that these refugees are converted Jews but we have proof they were not. If they had been actually baptized they would have simply been simply called  Catholics. Never before in Vatican correspondence has this terminology been used. It was simply a way of telling a white lie to save Jewish lives. In the case of Brazil one week after the Jews arrived their visas were revoked for practicing irregular religious ceremonies (Shabbat).
    Pope Benedict XVI has ordered the archive’s personnel to be increased from 3 to 20 people. The Vatican is desperately trying to complete the cataloging so that the year 1939-1958 can be opened as soon as possible. When this day comes we will be monitoring who actually shows up, how long they stay and will loudly report this information.
    As my challenge to come to Rome to debate the experts is always completely ignored, I will be happy to bring you personally on a one to one basis to see documents and hear the remarks of those who know the truth. You can go to the codification section to see how all messages had to be encrypted and to the archives see actual documents. I am serious about this invitation.
    On a previous subject we also will be sending an accurate translation of the actual speech of Pacelli in Budapest in 1938. This speech is in the L’Osservatore Romano of May 26, 1938 on our website. It s in the original French and it does not appear say “Crucify him” Crucify him.” In fact it says “The cynicism of Herod, the denial of justice by Pilate the opportunist. It clearly blames Herod and Pilate. When this is completely translated it will be clear that Pacelli is condemning the G-dless regimes of National Socialism and Communism.

  • Dear Ms. Vise,
    apologies accepted, and I hope on both sides. The subject is too serious and too important to become distracted by anything personal.
    So back to the facts – and please let us make one thing clear: Not the Ukrainians nor the Polish are responsible for the Holocaust but first of all the Nazis, a neo-pagan racist cult turned into a political party, and second the Germans which voted for and hailed this maniac and allowed him to come in power – Hitler’s helpers!
    I can’t believe that the Ukrainians by themselves murdered 900.000 Jews. Instead they were forced to do so by the Nazis/Germans. They certainly never did it because it was preached in their Churches. Maybe they collaborated because they FALSELY BELIEVED (in no way I want to exonerate them and in no way anyone can excuse the killing even of a single Jew!) that the Jews were responsible for Communism as the Nazis claimed (for them, Bolshevism was a Jewish invention, as Catholicism was) and told them. You can’t blame the Ukrainian Catholic Church for it. It NEVER taught to kill Jews!
    Again, Ms. Vise. I NEVER claimed it was okay or excusable or anything to participate in a genocide. There is and there will never be ANY excuse. But this includes the (false)  excuse that they were taught to do so in their Churches. Indeed, for centuries Jews and Ukrainians lived together in peace. Galicia, Western Ukraine, was the home of the richest Jewish culture in Europe – and the place where many Jews found refuge  from persecutions in other parts of Europe. During all these centuries of coexistence, the Ukrainian Catholic Church taught the same – the gospel of Christ: Love your neighbor (what includes your Jewish neighbor!)!
    Czarist Russia started the first pogroms because of greed – the Czar was bancrupt and greedy for alleged Jewish wealth. The “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” were invented (faked, hoaxed) by the Czarist Secret Service to justify these progroms. Many Russian Jews therefore migrated into the peaceful Western Ukraine, Galicia. Again, no violent Antisemitism there!
    The Ukrainians suffered under Stalin. They hated the Communists. And only when the Nazis INVENTED the false formula “Jews=Communists” they could bring some Ukrainians at least for a while on their side and made some of them even willing helpers in the holocaust, when still the majority was just FORCED TO KILL. There is no way to excuse these horrible crimes. But as the trigger, you have to blame the Nazi ideology and NOT the Ukrainian Catholic Church!
    How can you even claim that I try to find excuses for the murder of Jews? I try to define what caused the Nazi helpers to do the unthinkable, at least those who did not do so with a machine gun pointed at their back, knowing that they would be the next wouldn’t they follow their orders. And indeed the support the Nazis primarily received in the Western Ukraine was caused by the believe of the Ukrainians that they were liberators from Communism. NO EXCUSE, just an explanation for the lack of resistance!
    Yes, you are right. It is immensely sad and tragic that this rich Jewish culture was destroyed by unscrupulous murderers, a culture which peacefully coexisted with the Ukrainian Catholic culture, because Catholicism NEVER intended any pogrom or the unthinkable, a genocide. 
    And, once again, the murderers were NOT taught by the Catholic church to falsely regard “The Jews” as “Communist collaborators-  BUT BY THE NAZI PROPAGANDA! That’s why the horrible killing of 900.000 Ukrainian Jews took place during the dark times of the Nazi occupation and not during all the centuries when the Ukrainians were free and listened to their Church!
    What did Pius XII think about Jews? He had a Jewish friend at school and went to Shabbat-dinner at his family’s home (this friend, Guido Mendes, became a famous physician in Israel after Pius XII helped him to escape to Palestine). He read Jewish authors and wanted to learn Hebrew. He supported Zionism, was a supporter of Nahum Sokolow who praised the “unusual abundance of friendship” he received from him. He tried everything to let the Jewish community of Germany have palmleaves for Sukhot during WW1 (and unfortunately failed, since the Italian authorities did not cooperate) and started a diplomatic intervention to stop the killing of Jews by Cemal Pasha in Palestine at the end of WW1. He supported a Zionist support group in Germany and invited his friends to join it. Indeed he was the first who considered “interventions against the danger of antisemitic excesses in Germany” already on April 4, 1933 – when the Nazis just came inpower. And he told a young Jew in 1942, the year of the Wannsee-Conference: “You must always be proud to be a Jew!” He was a friend of the Jews, the most philosemite Pope in history until JPII was elected!
    When the Nazis tried to convince the Vatican to bless their war as an Anti-Bolshevist crusade, Msgr. Tardini replied in the name of the Pope: “”The Svastica is not really the cross of a crusade… It is impossible to condemn the errors and terror of communism and … at the same time forget the derailments and persecutions of Nazism”. Therefore he would recommend to use, “Instead of the term crusade”, the proverb: “one devil hunts the other”.
    When the Austrian bishop Hudal wanted to celebrate a Holy Mass for the German soldiers who died during the Russian campaign, it was forbidden by the secretary of the Pope, Fr. Leiber, in person: The Russian people had any right to fight their invaders “so that rather their defense of their home country can be called a Holy War”.
    “The communist danger is real, but at the moment the danger of the Nazis is more serious”, Pius XII. told Cardinal Paolo Dezza in 1942.
    That’s why he gave his nihil obstat to the alliance with Stalin AGAINST Hitler, when millions of young Catholic soldiers in the US hesitated to fight side to side with “godless communists” (since Communism was condemned by Pius XI). To win the war against Hitler had absolute priority!
    Therefore, Ms. Vise, your conclusion is wrong. The Vatican did NOT draw any connection between Communism and the Jews. Instead, the Vatican was even willing to accept an alliance with godless communism and Stalin himself if it serves the purpose to fight the bigger evil, Nazism, and STOP THE KILLING OF THE JEWS!
     
    Excuse my bad English, it’s not my mother tongue and sometimes it is difficult to find the right words, to get into the subtilities of your language. But please don’t even try to put things into my mouth which I never said nor ever intended to say, even if this would serve and support your prejudices against the Catholic church!
    Sincerely,
    Michael Hesemann

  • Rev. Dubuque,

    if you believe that HATE against the Church is the only qualification for this debate and/or an “objective” view of it, then indeed I am disqualified.

    Still, I am used to believe that HATE causes blindness and I see many examples supporting this view.

    Sincerely,
    Michael Hesemann 

  • Mr, Hesemann,
    Spare us the “poor is me Catholic Church victimization” crap!  Here in the U.S.A. where the R.C. church now boasts 6 of the 9 U.S. Supreme Court justices,  there are still Catholics who whine whenever their church is criticized.  YOU may think that criticism = hate, but MY idea of hate is the kind of teaching and preaching of contempt which leads to the persecution and murder of its victims.  MY idea of idea of HATE is what your “Holy Mother the Church” is doing now to foment contempt for gays, what it did for about 17 centuries to the Jews until some of its members were moved to find a “final solution” to its “Jewish problem”.
    I have literally over a hundred living close family members who are still Roman Catholics, and I live in one of the most Catholic areas of the U.S.A. New Haven, Connecticut, so most of my friends are Roman Catholics.  I love all of these friends and family enough not to want them deceived and abused by leaders who are so corrupt that they are either capable of sexually molesting innocent young children themselves, or to look the other way when their peers do it. If you want to call that  ” hatred for your church”, then be my guest.
    A Jewish friend of mine also “hates your church”.  He says, “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!”

  • Rev. Dubuque,

    you are obviously not interested in any serious discussion on Pope Pius XII but move to a completely different subject, the sad and tragic child molestation cases committed by individuals, sinners and apostates of the Catholic moral, but certainly not by the Church itself and certainly never sanctioned by it.  

    The RC Church does not hate anybody, not even the greatest sinners, and if you read the Catechism you find that it also teaches respect towards homosexuals as towards any human being. Still it loves the sinner but hates the sin – it can not accept homosexuality as anything than what it is, a sin against nature and against God’s laws, as they were revealed to Moses, the fundament of both, Judaism and Christianity and confirmed by St. Paul, who severely condemned the homosexual act (once again, NOT the homosexual PERSON) in several of his letters.   

    As a former priest, you should know the Catholic doctrine and morals a little better, I’m afraid…

    Sincerely,
    Michael Hesemann

  • Mr. Hesemann, it’s true the Germans are responsible for the Holocaust. It’s also true the Nazis wanted to make Nazism into a neo-pagan cult. But it’s also true that despite all efforts they failed as the vast majority of the population remained Christian. In any case, it’s misleading to even bring this up given the widespread active and passive participation of ordinary Christian civilians in the occupied countries, most of whom were Catholic. It’s disingenious to say that the Ukrainians, Poles, Lithuanians and others are not resposible for the Holocaust too. Sure, Germany was the force behind it, but the Germans would not have been able to do what they did without the willingness—actually, eagerness—of others that willingly denounced, hunted down, and killed Jews. I don’t think the Ukrainians killed 900,000 Jews either, although the Ukrainians auxiliaries were certainly guilty of many tens of thousands of murders, and other less overt crimes. But it’s a canard that they were forced. You know, or should know that. No one was forced to kill Jews. You persevere in your attempt to perpetuate already discredited post-war myths. The commanders of the Einsatzgruppen and Ordungspolizei gave their platoon members the option not to participate in killing operations. Only a handful (literally!) did so, and they suffered no consequence for it. The willing auxiliaries in the East were very happy to sign up for the task. They were very happy to join the Waffen SS. They were very happy to finally solve the “Jewish Question”. No one put a gun to their heads to do anything. No one forced the French police to round up the French Jews. Mr. Hesemann, how do you expect to persuade people, and particularly history scholars, when you so blatantly mislead, particularly after we had already discussed this earlier in this conversation?

    You say the Catholic Church never taught to kill Jews, and I think that is true if we are talking about the Church as an official institution (as opposed to clergy and other Catholic lay people), and we are talking about “killing”. But it did teach that “The Jews held Him [Jesus], the Jews insulted Him, the Jews bound Him, they crowned Him with thorns, they dishonored Him by spitting upon Him, they scourged Him, they heaped abuses upon Him, they hung Him upon a tree, they pierced Him with a lance…”, as Augustine said. He also wrote that Jews may survive, but never thrive. Before you tell me the masses did not read or could understand Augustine’s heavy theology, you should know that the anti-Jewish teachings in Christianity were pervasive at all levels, including the sermons parish priests delivered to the faithful. Echoing the teachings of St. Augustine, German priest Joseph Deharbe explained to his flock in a sermon in 1869 why the Jews were permitted to live: “God did not wish this people—which deserved to be annihilated more than any other people—to be totally destroyed, in order that we should have living testimony of the truth of our holy religion.” The peoples of France, Slovakia, Croatia, Ukraine, Belarus, Romania, Hungary, Lavia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, and other places outside Germany and Austria were not steeped and brainwashed by Nazi ideology. They were steeped in Christian theology and Christian antisemitism. The Ukrainian Catholic church did not teach their parishoners to love their Jewish neighbors as you claim. That is simply a gross misrepresentation of history. In other words, to use your terms, I actually do blame church teachings and not just Nazi ideology for pulling the trigger, because absent the former the locals would have found Nazi idelogy preposterous!

    Once again you paint Pope Pius as a Jew lover, and maybe before the war he was. Maybe even during the war he was, although nothing he publicly said or did seem to support this claim. But in any case, he did not do what someone in his position should have done to help Jews.

    It’s interesting you mention Msgr. Tardini, a man who as I quoted earlier had no qualms in leaking the memo sent to Father Tiso of Slovakia reprimanding him for the deportatin of Slovakia’s Jews so the world would know of the Church’s concerns about the Jews, or who opposed the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine because “Palestine is by now holier for Catholics than for Jews.”

    In any case, the Church hierarchy knew very well who the real enemy was, Tardini’s comments in regards to the anti-Bolshevik crusade notwithstanding. Long before the Nazis came to power, Achille Ratti (the future Pius XI) wrote “the Jews form the principal force [of Bolshevism] in Poland” and, relating his experience in Warsaw, Ratti reported, “I saw that the [Bolshevik] Commissioners . . . were all Jews.” Cardinal Pacelli had given Hitler money while he was nuncio in Munich so Hitler could fight the Communists. In 1937, Father Muckermann wrote in amazement in the Dutch weekly Der Deutsche Weg about the warm attitude the German bishops showed toward Nazism. He said that “despite the inhuman brutalities perpetrated in the concentration camps, despite the currency and defamation trials, despite the personal insults against individual princes of the Church, against the Holy Father and the entire Church, and in spite of all hostile measures amounting to another Kulturkampf, . . . the bishops find words of appreciation for what (next to Bolshevism) is their worst enemy.” As Hitler told Cardinal Faulhaber before the war, “The Catholic Church should not deceive herself: if National Socialism does not succeed in defeating Bolshevism, then Church and Christianity in Europe too are finished. Bolshevism is the mortal enemy of the Church as much as of Fascism.” Don’t deceive yourself, Mr. Hesemann, and don’t deceive those readers without the knowledge of the historical context. The Church knew very well that if the Communists won, that woud have been the guaranteed end to the Catholic Church.

    Gabriel Wilensky

  • Mr. Wilensky,

    unfortunately you confuse Christian antijudaism, which was indeed a sad theological error, as we know today, with antisemitism, which had nothing to do with Christianity, but the concept of “races”, alien to the Christian belief that ALL humans were descendants of Adam. It was a brainchild of 18/19th century thinking, was used to justify colonialism and found its own religion in theosophy, a cult invented by a Russian-born charlatan in colonial India with a huge supportership both in the US and the UK. Theosophy claimed a different origin of the races, invented the model of “master races” and “root races” and claimed the Jews to be descendants of a different age and race as the “Aryan masterrace”, descendants of Atlantis. To you and me this might sound like amusing science fiction, but indeed this neo-pagan, neo-gnostic cult caused the foundation of another cult, “Ariosophy” in Austria, which heavily influenced Adolf Hitler in Vienna. It had its offspring in Germany, the “Germanenorden” and the “Thule Society” (named after the homeland of the Aryan race, according to Theosophy), which founded the “Deutsche Arbeiterpartei” (DAP) and hired a young Austrian volunteer in the German Army, famous for his big mouth, as a promotional speaker – Adolf Hitler.  
    For theosophy, as for Hitler, history was the history of the fight of the races for superiority and the two major opponents in this case were Aryans and Jews. Christianity, he believed, was created by the Jews to weaken the Aryan race. Jesus himself, he claimed, was an Aryan, the illegitimate son of a German serving in the Roman Army and a Galileen woman, offspring of Celtic settlers in the Near East, fighting against the Jewish faith. You get an idea why he was never even close to the Church, who he claimed to be a Jewish creation, masterminded by St. Paul who “falsified the true teachings of Jesus”. His own neo-gnostic antisemite beliefs he called “Positive Christianity”.
    THIS is the ideological background of the  Holocaust, NOT the sad Christian Antijudaism (although I admit that Antijudaism made Antisemitism acceptable for a lot of people, especially Lutherans/Protestants after the violent Anti-jewish writings of Martin Luther).
    Still, also in the Catholic Church were Antijewish prejudices alive and the Jesuit publications you quoted are just tragic examples for this theological and doctrinal absurdity. But our subject of discussion is Pius XII. Did he share antijewish prejudices? Certainly NOT. He was a friend of the Jewish faith from since his childhood!

    It is still true that the Vatican was sceptic about the state of Israel in the beginning. Why? Because Pius XII would have preferred a state of religious Jews. Israel turned out to be a secular state. Many of its founding fathers embraced socialist ideas, the Kibbutz was just one of them. The secular Worker’s Party played a major role in the Israeli policy. Religious Jews became a minority, concentrated on the city of Jerusalem. And this was NOT the fulfillment of Pacelli’s dream who invisioned a religious Israel, who was sceptic towards any form of socialism. Does this indicate Antisemitism or Antijudaism? No, only Antisecularism and Antisocialism!

    When the Nazis came in power, Pacelli stated: “This is more tragic than a victory of the Socialist left would have been.” That’s a FACT. It’s also a fact that already in 1924 he called Nazism the “greatest heresy of our times”, NOT communism. For him, Hitler was the more acute danger. Only after Hitler was defeated, after the War, he faced the 2nd biggest enemy of the Church, Communism. 

    You make an outrageous claim, when you write: “Cardinal Pacelli had given Hitler money while he was nuncio in Munich so Hitler could fight the Communists.” THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE. I don’t know who told you this, but it is a lie. Pacelli (who was not a Cardinal at that time anyway) never met Hitler in person. He just witnessed one of his speeches and was disgusted. I went through all his reports he sent to the Vatican, all kept and preserved in the Vatican Secret Archives. My colleague Andrea Tornielli went through all his personal correspondence with his brother which is in the possession of the Pacelli family. Not in a single letter or report does he show ANY “sympathy with the devil”, I mean with Hitler. 

    The very first document in which he ever mentioned Hitler was his report on the “Bierhallenputsch” of November 9, 1923. This report was titled “The anticatholic character of the Nazi revolt”. A quote: “This (anticatholic) character especially manifested in the regular tirades against the Catholic clerics, used by the supporters of Hitler and Ludendorff, the leading figures among the street talkers, who stir up the population and deliver the clergy to insults and mockery … especially the highly educated and conscientious Cardinal Archbishop who, in a sermon gfiven in the Cathedral, denounced the persecution of the Jews.”

    Half a year later, he called the Nazis “fanatic anti-catholic” and mentioned their “vulgar and violent campaign … also against the Holy See”. On May 1st, as I already stated, he called Nazism “the most dangerous heresy of our time”. Do you really think he would have given the leader of this campaign, Adolf Hitler, money?

    No, Mr. Wilensky, this never happened. It is a slanderous lie, spread by the enemies of the truth, by those who still want to prevent a reconciliation of Christians and Jews for their own reasons. Please argue with FACTS, not with made-up “evidence”! Thank you!

    Sincerely,
    Michael Hesemann
       
     

  • Mr. Krupp, yes, it’s possible we’ll need to agree to disagree. Once again, I thank you for your offer to visit the Vatican and I reiterate that I might take you up on it sometime. In the meantime, I strongly disagree with your position that waiting until the archive covering war years are open is a bogus claim. Mr. Krupp, how can that be if the Holocaust happened during the war years? Don’t you think that that is the relevant period we should be studying? What is the really important information, what the pope did before or after the war had begun? Look, Cardinal Pacelli may have been a magnificent individual. Even saintly, perhaps. He may have been the biggest lover of Jews since god called them his “Chosen People”. But is this relevant if his actions vis-à-vis the Jews after he became pope and the Holocaust began were different? Hitler loved children, and he loved his dog. He also hated Jews. Does the former diminish or change in any way the latter? Does any love Eugenio Pacelli may have felt toward Jews prior to the war matter if, in their moment of greatest need, he remained indifferent to their fate? In other words, who cares what Pacelli did in 1917? The very fact that you bring this sort of thing up is part of a disinformation campaign intended to mislead. Mr. Krupp, what matters is what the Pope did after 1941.

    I applaud Pope Benedict for increasing the staff in the Archives so that the relevant years can be opened to independent scholars. Still, I wonder why they do not open the archives and let scholars examine whatever period is already indexed, even if it only goes to 1940 or 1941, or whatever it may be. Why wait until everything up to 1958 is indexed? One also needs to ask why this was not done under Paul VI, or even John Paul II.

    I see that you believe my quotation from the Budapest speech is mistranslated, and that it thus conveys a meaning different from that of the original. Maybe so, but I seriously doubt it. I consulted the issue of L’Osservatore Romano where the speech was published in French, but it’s really hard to read the scan. I found the part about Herod you mention, which I think is totally irrelevant, but unfortunately I did not find the paragraph I quoted. If it’s any easier to read on your end, it would be great if you can post the same paragraph I quoted in its original French.

  • Mr. Hesemann,
    You can pontificate all you like about what is ih my heart ( accusing me of “hate” and not being “serious”), and what is in the hearts of others  (such as churchmen “loving” or “not hating” Jews, etc., etc., but there are things you can only speculate about not things you can  know or prove.
    What those of us who are indicting your church are doing is not speculating about what was in their hearts, but pointing out what THEY DID, or DIDN’T DO, things that ARE KNOWABLE.
    As for my bringing up the CURRENT  pedophilia scandals – far from being a diversion therse are simply examples of the corruption of Catholic priests and bishops that CANNOT BE DENIED which show how foolish it is to DENY the corruption of the Catholic hierarchy during the Holocaust.  The coverup by Catholic bishops of the pedophilia scandal is NOTHING compared to the coverup of the participation of millions of Roman Catholics in the mass-murder not only of millions of Jews, but of fellow Roman Catholic Poles as well.
     
     

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Mr. Wilensky,
    Your question relative to the archives is reasonable. The problem is a logistical one where the archives are separated into sections from different areas including the Secretary of State and every nunciature and so on. I personally made the same request to partially open the archives. The Vatican very honestly and politely explained why this couldn’t be done. They said it would take many more people to first put documents in a date order; they are basically not in date order . Since there are ranges of years from each section, if they were opened prematurely you would not have 1939-1941 you would have 1939 mixed with 1956 with 1943 and so on. Obviously the document trail that archival scholars need would end. They aren’t being cataloged in years but in sections.  The Vatican’s process is that first documents are sewn together in book form to prevent theft. Then each page is numbered, then read and described in the catalog. This process must be accurately carried out for every document. The basic documents of the papacy of Pius XII are currently in up to 50,000 cases numbering over 16,000,000. If you were to include all of the documents from all of the nunciatures and so on the number rises to 35,000,000. Remember they just finished the papacy of Pius XI in 2007 so they are pushing hard to complete the war years. Privately, I can show you my letter to recommend partial opening and their response.
    You will also be interested in knowing when they do find an extraordinary document the Pope is made aware of this. This is why I think he finally decided to sign the decree on the beatification. He waited over 2 years to do so but was finally personally convinced based on new discoveries. Perhaps if you join me in Rome you might see a couple of these unpublished documents.
    Now as for the importance of studying the papacy of Pius XI and earlier I think it is impossible to render a decision about a man without studying how he dealt with Adolf Hitler and National Socialism before the war started. How do you judge the actions of someone without knowing who he is, where he comes from and how he reacts to a crisis? As an example we have the documents from when the nunciature in Germany was attacked by a communist mob and he stood his ground and said “leave this house of God.” One of the invaders even threw a pistol at him, which bounced off his pectoral cross. Surprisingly the invaders came back the next day to apologize. But this shows that Pacelli is no coward as many claim. There are numerous examples of how he interacted with personal requests especially from Jews to determine his attitude towards Jews. I think it is literally impossible to render a decision about Eugenio Pacelli without studying everything. There are many that simply say that he was classically anti-Semitic. We have found so many instances of his direct action to benefit Jews that no anti-Semite would ever do. But you will never know this if you do not come to the open archives. This is why I was so shocked and so disappointed when I learned that literally no one came to the early archives and still have not come to study this period.
    I am 63 years old and I was in the US Army from 1969-1974 during the Viet Nam war. My perception of survival during a war time environment is quite different from one who isn’t old enough to of experienced this or never to of served in the armed forces. This is why one must be able to step into someone’s shoes to try to determine what would I do under the same circumstances?  How do you analyze his decision process?
    When one reads all of the critical remarks and accusations against Pacelli it is obvious to me that many of these people can’t imagine what is like to function with a gun pointed to your head literally looking into the eyes of death. If you were caught with an unencrypted phone number or name in your pocket you could have been shot on site. In one of our interviews with Msgr Centioni this is exactly what happened to him but he hid from the Nazis. This is why it is so easy to say he could have done this or should have done that. Many of these critics also will make judgments like “one would assume the Vatican should have known this or that.” How do you make a judgment like this if you do not understand specifically how the Vatican operates? This is why studying the open archives is a critical minimum precursor to preparing to study the war years.
    I do so look forward to meeting you in Rome I do promise it will be an exceptional scholarly experience for you and the food is not half bad either. When you are ready email me.

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    I know this is irrelevant but I see this all the time, and, as an English teacher, I am bothered by it.  Please forgive me.   

    To cite means to quote an authoritative source
    A site is a location.
    A sight is something you see. 
    Interestingly, both of the following could be true: 
    A person could be shot on sight (i.e., whenever he is seen) or he could be shot on site (on location). 
    I suppose a person could also plan to shoot another person if he cited a certain source. 
    If he did, then would the person be shot on cite?  Or on citation?  Or on citing?
    Isn’t this exciting?

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Beats the heck out of me the bottom line is when your dead your dead.

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    It has become customary to cite websites, so I will cite one.  First, however, the quote: 

    “Symon Petlyura began his political activity in the ranks of the revolutionary socialist movement in the Ukrainian Social Democratic party. In order to combat Bolshevism, he threw over his democratic principles in favor of a personal dictatorship and colluded in a series of deals with enemies of his own people: with Germany, with Russian monarchists, with the Entente, with the reactionary Polish regime of Pilsudsky. In the West, Petlyura is best known for presiding over the bloody Jewish pogroms of 1919—1920.” 

    Now the citation of the site cited above: 
    http://web.mit.edu/people/fjk/essays/Ukraine%20rehabilitates%20Petlyura.htm

    However I can also cite the following: 

    “With the retreat of his forces before the Red Army in January and February of 1919, [Petlyura’s] units turned into murderous bands and perpetrated mass killings of Jews in the Ukrainian towns and townlets [and shtetlach, including Zhitomir, Proskurov, among many others].  Petlyura did little to stop the wave of mob violence which became endemic within the Ukrainian army and the gangs of rebellious peasants, connected with his government….  On May 26, 1926, [Petlyura] was assassinated in the street by a Jew, Shalom Schwartzbard.  In 1927, after a dramatic trial, in which the Jewish tragedy in the Ukraine was amply documented, Schwartzbard was acquitted by a court in Paris.” 

    For documentation of this statement, see the following: 
    Committee of Jewish Delegations, The Pogroms in the Ukraine (1927); E. Tcherikower, Di Ukrainer Pogromen in Yor 1919 (1965), index; J. B. Schechtman, Rebel and Statesman (1956), 399-415; A. Revutsky, In di Shvere Teg Oyf Ukraine (1924); A. Shul’gin, L’Ukraine et le cauchemar rouge (1927); J. Reshetar, The Ukrainian Revolution (1952), index; Hunczak and Szajkowski, in JSOS, 31 (1969), 163-213. 

    I hope this will put an end to the at best nonsensical and at worst specious and in any case certainly false claim that the Catholics regarded the Jews as “fellow-Ukrainians”.  The Ukrainians were murdering Jews all along, without any Nazi tutelage.  Their only tutors were the priests, whose sermons on Good Friday and other appropriate occasions had for years consisted of polemics against the “Christ killers” and how they “ought” to be punished, and those peasants who lacked guns had knives as well as sharpened hoes, spades, shovels, and other farm implements and would traditionally leave church on such occasions to go on mob killing sprees in the local shtetl. 

    The difference between the pogroms and the murders under the Nazis is that the Nazis provided the murderers with more efficient weapons. 

    I request that posters kindly refrain from the offensive gesture of again offering the false claim that the Ukrainians were “forced” to kill Jews.  The “Black Book” documents, at length and in detail, the extent of eager participation of the Ukrainians in the murder of Ukrainian Jews during the Hitler years. 

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    I will cite more about Nazis next time.  Meanwhile it’s almost midnight so I’ll stop for now. 

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Sorry, but citing from websites is so much easier…not having to type in every letter and worry about misspellings….this is from Wikipedia….

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Petlyura
    Petliura’s role in pogroms
    During the rule of Petliura, a series of mass  were perpetrated against the Jews of Ukraine. Estimates of the number of civilian Jews murdered range from 35,000 to 100,000; up to 40% of these victims may have been killed by forces loyal to Petliura (others being killed by independent warlords, Denikin’s White forces, and Bolsheviks). At the time, Ukraine was a major Jewish population centre, and during the Russian Civil War, an estimated 70,000 to 250,000 civilian Jews were killed in the atrocities throughout the former Russian Empire; the number of Jewish orphans exceeded 300,000.

    The following comes from http://israeli.filmography.co.il/Articles/Entry_24/Documentary_films_recording_the_Pogroms_in_the_Ukraine.html

    Documentary films recording the Pogroms in the Ukraine


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    Following the fall of the Russian Czarist regime in 1917 a civil war stormed over the Ukraine and the country turned into a battleground. Several armed forces tried to maintain their rule on the land; at first the Imperial German occupation, then the free Ukrainian government and army, Anarchist armed groups, bandits disguised as Revolutionists, the Russian Czarist White Army, Polish troops and the Soviet Red Army. Throughout the war all the citizens suffered immensely but the fate of the Jewish population was the worst. Tens of thousands of Jewish men, women and children were murdered with savage cruelty in more than 2000 pogroms. Most of the massacres were committed by military units of the Ukrainian Government in 1919-1920 and their followers. Only the victory of the Soviet Red Army (1921) put an end to this Genocide. Jewish institutions in the Ukraine and abroad assembled testimonies on the bloody actions against their people. In Berlin “The Archive of the East-European Jews” became the main world center for the preservation of documents, still photographs and motion pictures from the 1919-1920 pogroms.
    The film archive of the “Yad Vashem” institute in Jerusalem, Israel, keeps copies of two documentary films, edited from filmed material assembled by the archive. One film is available with French titles: “Les pogroms Juifis en Ucraine 1919-1920. Vues editées par les Archives Historiques des Juifis Ucrainiens, Berlin“, duration is 07:26. The other one comes with English titles: “The Jewish Pogroms in Ukraine 1919-1920” and its duration is 15:27. Both films were measured by beta video copy. The “Red Rooster” at the beginning of these films probably identifies them as the work of “Pathé” cameramen, or at least some material of “Pathé” has been used. The different technical qualities of the pictures show that they were shot by different cameras, probably by different cinematographers. Inter-titles supply data on locations of pogroms, army units and commanding officers responsible for the killing, number of dead and names of victims and the date of the events. The earliest one is 26th January 1919 and the latest is 7-11th October 1920, hinting that the filming continued for a period of nearly two years.
    Both films were edited from moving images as well as from still photos. Some still pictures in both films are identical and clearly come from the same sources. The images show that the original stills were photographed close to the pogroms but filmed later, possibly in Berlin from the archive’s pictures library. Most of the stills show dead or wounded individual victims, others show funerals, cemeteries and destroyed places.
    The motion pictures footage exhibits horrible sights of mutilated bodies, families looking for their beloved amongst piles of corpses, streets and shops ruined and looted after the pogroms, severely wounded Jews being treated in hospital:
    1)Destroyed streets and looted shops:
    The sights were taken close to the events.
    2)Assembling dֹeֹaֹdֹ ֹbֹoֹdֹiֹeֹs dumped in the fields:
    The condition of the corpses shows that the filming was done some weeks after the murder.
    3) ֹFamilies looking for their murdered relatives:
    Shots were taken in a graveyard’s court. The condition of the bodies shows that the scenes were taken within few days of the actual killing.
    4)Wounded Jews in a Hospital:
    Doctors, nurses and orderlies treating severely wounded Jews, operations of a wounded child and a wounded man. Obviously these pictures were taken a short time after the incidents.
    As mentioned above, one reason for the production of these films is the will of Jewish institutions in the Ukraine and abroad to keep records of the horrors. The scenes of the Kiev’s Jewish hospital clearly point to a pre-planned documentation. It is possible then that in Kiev, the capital town of the Ukraine, some Jewish groups had gathered material on the pogroms and had initiated the filming of the atrocities. Kiev was one of the “Pathé” establishments in the Russian Tsarist Empire, and in 1919-1920 it was still capable of giving filming and laboratory services. Even in the chaos of the civil war they could send their products from Kiev abroad.
    Another important reason for the filming was the need to contest the total denial of the Ukrainian government of any responsibility or participation in the killings. Thus Jewish investigators tried to collect evidence of the identity and guilt of the murderers. In Paris, May 26, 1926, Shalom Schwarzbard shot Simon Petlyura, prime minister of the free Ukrainian government at the time of the pogroms, to revenge his butchered people. In his trial his defense lawyer presented such evidence in court. The verdict was: “Not Guilty”.
    An amazing discovery in the pogrom scenes was the fact that units of Soviet Red Army were among the “Pogromshchiks” too. It was true that the communist victory saved the Ukrainian Jewry from total destruction, but many Red Cossacks still exhibited their hatred of Jews, just like their White and Ukrainian opponents. One may learn more about it from the stories of the famous writer Isaac Babel who served as a Red horseman in Marshal Budiyoni’s cavalry corps.
    And of course it could be that some cinematographers took pogrom scenes while shooting newsreels in the battle fields of the civil war, and such footage was acquired by Jewish archives for the purpose of keeping the memory of the horrors and as library stock for the edited films.
    These authentic pictures are hard to look at, a shocking example of one of the first filmings of human atrocities in the 20th century, a true image of the cruel character of ethnic war and a predecessor of to-day’s “actualities” on television. Watching these films now-a-days one may see in them the first signs of a future catastrophe for the Jewish people only 20 years later (and also on the soil of the Ukraine): the Holocaust. The resemblance between the scenes of men with wooden shovels loading rigid corpses of murdered Jews on horse wagons in the fields of the Ukraine of 1919 to the famous shot in a British newsreel showing a bulldozer piling dead bodies in Bergen-Belzen death camp (1945) is blood-chilling. It is true then that some films can be really thought of as prophetic visions, if we can only have the sense to look into their hidden message.
    This paper was presented by historian Joseph Halachmi, at the DOMITOR conference, in tribute to the 100th year anniversary of the French “Pathé” film company, in the French Cinematheque in Paris, December 16, 1996. The presentation included a 12 minute Beta video screening of chosen scenes from the two pogrom films.
    Pogrom (Ukrainian) is an organized killing of a large class or group of people (especially with reference to killing of Jews in Russia).
    Gratitude: Prof. Perry Kraicer; Prof. Benjamin Lukin; Mr. Alexander Lutzki; “Yad-Vashem” film library; The French Cinematheque in Paris

    The following article comes from http://www.zionism-israel.com/dic/Russsian_Civil_War_pogroms.htm

    The Bolshevik (“October”) revolution of 1917 was followed by a civil war and a war with Poland. A large number of Jews, between 50,000 and 100,000 or even 200,000, died in riots and massacres. In the long history of European anti-Semitism, these were probably the largest-scale massacre of Jews to date. Because of the chaos prevailing in that period, and because of the interests of various sides in covering up the violence, the post-revolutionary pogroms are the least discussed and researched, and data about them are scarce.
    Neglected Pogroms

    The neglect of this period cannot entirely accidental. The Proskurov pogrom, in which about 2,000 Jews were murdered on February 15, 1919, was a horrendous event.Eventually, about 10,000 Jews were murdered in that district. The events are barely remembered by Jews, and certainly not by anyone else whose ancestors were not from that unfortunate town.  Yet at the time, the New York Times wrote:

    The first of a new series of events which leave the scope of ordinary pogroms and assume the character of slaughter occurred in a city which will forever be written in letters of blood on the pages of Jewish history.

     

    Jews Slain in Ukraine, New York Times, September 19, 1919, based on an article that had appeared in the Yiddish paper, Der Tog – the Day
    These pogroms were indeed a new and “improved” twentieth century version, which foreshadowed the mass murders of the Holocaust, Armies, rather than disorganized bands, often conducted the massacres, sometimes using machine guns.  One might think that these events were simply overshadowed by the Holocaust, but, for example, the pogroms of Kishinev are quite well documented, though they killed far fewer people.
    History of the Civil War Pogroms
    Most of this violence was not the “natural consequence” of war, but rather the result of pogroms, aimed specifically at Jews.  It is difficult to get more accurate numbers, or to know how many were murdered because they were Jews, how many died of starvation and disease and how many died fighting in the various armies.
    The area of the greatest concentration of pogroms corresponded roughly to the Tsarist Jewish pale of settlement. It included Ukraine, Galicia, Belarus (“White Russia” in the map), Moldavia, Eastern Poland, Easter Romania, and Western Russia. The borders shifted around with the confused fighting.

    [From this broader report we can see that the same hatred spoken of earlier with respect to the Ukrainians was operating in Galicia, White Russian, and Poland.  One reason the pogroms of the 1919 period are “not remembered” is that most of those who remembered them were themselves murdered during the Nazi years, starting about 20 years later.  The only reason I remember those pogroms, tersely told by my father, was because he left the Ukraine at the age of 12–that would be in 1922 or 1923–and so he lived to tell the tale.]

  • Mr. Hesemann, please, you should assume by now I know the difference between racial antisemitism and the so-called theological anti-Judaism. Please spare me the lecture. It should have been quite obvious that when I use the term “antisemitism” I am using it in the commonly understood meaning of this nonsensical term, namely, hatred of Jews. The anti-Jewish quotations I provided are not, as you say, “tragic examples of this theological and doctrinal absurdity”. Instead, they were the norm. In regards to whether Pacelli shared this anti-Jewish conception in Catholicism, how else could he not be? He was steeped in the same teachings as all other Catholics who hated Jews, except that because of his family history and career he was even more so. I quoted a little part of his Budapest speech already to give a hint of how he really felt toward Jews; you are surely familiar with the way he expressed himself after the episode with the Bavarian communists in the nunciature when he was in Munich, although I know that just like in the case of the Budapest speech, you think the world has it all wrong due to a mistranslation.

    The Holocaust certainly did not take place due to any one reason. It’s a very complex event, that stems from a number of reasons. But my point, which I think is indisputable, is that absent Christianity and its millenarian hatred of Jews (call it what you want) the Holocaust would not have happened. In other words, Christian hatred of Jews was a necessary, albeit not sufficient, reason for the Holocaust. Christian antisemitism was not more prevalent among Protestants, Mr. Hesemann, even with Luther’s vitriolic anti-Jewish rants. Catholics were as antisemitic as Protestant and Orthodox Christians. As a matter of fact, Catholic Austria had a higher percentage of Nazi party members than Germany and a disproportionately large role in the execution of the “Final Solution,” even when compared to the overwhelmingly more populous Germany, which was predominately Protestant.

    I am sorry but I find your assertion that Pope Pius refused to recognize the State of Israel because he woud have a preferred a state of religious Jews laughable. Come on, Mr. Hesemann! You can’t be serious! Please re-read my comments on this subject above. In any case, even if this was true, who did Pope Pius think he was to pretend to dictate to Jews the nature of their own state? If true, this is more proof of Christian contempt for Jews and if anything, betrays the pope’s true feelings for Jews and Judaism. Maybe Pacelli believed that a Socialist win in Germany would have been tragic, but ironically, it was his own role in the dissolution of the Catholic Center Party that brought about the Nazi victory, as a coalition between the Center Party and the leading Social Democrats would have defeated the Nazis and thus we would not be having this conversation today.

    Mr. Hesemann, Pacelli may have thought Nazism was a greater heresy than Communism, and he would have been right. Communism was an atheist regime, so the notion of “heresy” when applied to it is nonsensical. So, that Pacelli thought Nazism was a great heresy is immaterial to any discussion. In any case, neither his boss Pius XI nor himself once he became pope felt this heretical regime to be bad enough to dissociate the Church and the Catholic faithful from it beyond 1933, as we discussed at the beginning of this conversation.

    Regarding the anecdote of Pacelli meeting Hitler and handing him Church money to fight the Reds, no one told me. This was an eywitness account of Pacelli’s personal assistant Sister Pascalina, and it comes from Paul I. Murphy’s “La Popessa”, 1883,  p.52. It was also cited by Aarons and Loftus in “Unholy Trinity”, 1998, p. 294.

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Sorry, but citing from websites is so much easier…not having to type in every letter and worry about misspellings….this is from Wikipedia….

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Petlyura
    Petliura’s role in pogroms
    During the rule of Petliura, a series of mass were perpetrated against the Jews of Ukraine. Estimates of the number of civilian Jews murdered range from 35,000 to 100,000; up to 40% of these victims may have been killed by forces loyal to Petliura (others being killed by independent warlords, Denikin’s White forces, and Bolsheviks). At the time, Ukraine was a major Jewish population centre, and during the Russian Civil War, an estimated 70,000 to 250,000 civilian Jews were killed in the atrocities throughout the former Russian Empire; the number of Jewish orphans exceeded 300,000.
    [Notice the variant English spellings….Petlyura or Petliura or Petlura]

    The following comes from http://israeli.filmography.co.il/Articles/Entry_24/Documentary_films_recording_the_Pogroms_in_the_Ukraine.html

    Documentary films recording the Pogroms in the Ukraine
    Following the fall of the Russian Czarist regime in 1917 a civil war stormed over the Ukraine and the country turned into a battleground. Several armed forces tried to maintain their rule on the land; at first the Imperial German occupation, then the free Ukrainian government and army, Anarchist armed groups, bandits disguised as Revolutionists, the Russian Czarist White Army, Polish troops and the Soviet Red Army. Throughout the war all the citizens suffered immensely but the fate of the Jewish population was the worst. Tens of thousands of Jewish men, women and children were murdered with savage cruelty in more than 2000 pogroms. Most of the massacres were committed by military units of the Ukrainian Government in 1919-1920 and their followers. Only the victory of the Soviet Red Army (1921) put an end to this Genocide. Jewish institutions in the Ukraine and abroad assembled testimonies on the bloody actions against their people. In Berlin “The Archive of the East-European Jews” became the main world center for the preservation of documents, still photographs and motion pictures from the 1919-1920 pogroms.
    The film archive of the “Yad Vashem” institute in Jerusalem, Israel, keeps copies of two documentary films, edited from filmed material assembled by the archive. One film is available with French titles: “Les pogroms Juifis en Ucraine 1919-1920. Vues editées par les Archives Historiques des Juifis Ucrainiens, Berlin“, duration is 07:26. The other one comes with English titles: “The Jewish Pogroms in Ukraine 1919-1920” and its duration is 15:27. Both films were measured by beta video copy. The “Red Rooster” at the beginning of these films probably identifies them as the work of “Pathé” cameramen, or at least some material of “Pathé” has been used. The different technical qualities of the pictures show that they were shot by different cameras, probably by different cinematographers. Inter-titles supply data on locations of pogroms, army units and commanding officers responsible for the killing, number of dead and names of victims and the date of the events. The earliest one is 26th January 1919 and the latest is 7-11th October 1920, hinting that the filming continued for a period of nearly two years.
    Both films were edited from moving images as well as from still photos. Some still pictures in both films are identical and clearly come from the same sources. The images show that the original stills were photographed close to the pogroms but filmed later, possibly in Berlin from the archive’s pictures library. Most of the stills show dead or wounded individual victims, others show funerals, cemeteries and destroyed places.
    The motion pictures footage exhibits horrible sights of mutilated bodies, families looking for their beloved amongst piles of corpses, streets and shops ruined and looted after the pogroms, severely wounded Jews being treated in hospital:
    1)Destroyed streets and looted shops:
    The sights were taken close to the events.
    2)Assembling dֹeֹaֹdֹ ֹbֹoֹdֹiֹeֹs dumped in the fields:
    The condition of the corpses shows that the filming was done some weeks after the murder.
    3) ֹFamilies looking for their murdered relatives:
    Shots were taken in a graveyard’s court. The condition of the bodies shows that the scenes were taken within few days of the actual killing.
    4)Wounded Jews in a Hospital:
    Doctors, nurses and orderlies treating severely wounded Jews, operations of a wounded child and a wounded man. Obviously these pictures were taken a short time after the incidents.
    As mentioned above, one reason for the production of these films is the will of Jewish institutions in the Ukraine and abroad to keep records of the horrors. The scenes of the Kiev’s Jewish hospital clearly point to a pre-planned documentation. It is possible then that in Kiev, the capital town of the Ukraine, some Jewish groups had gathered material on the pogroms and had initiated the filming of the atrocities. Kiev was one of the “Pathé” establishments in the Russian Tsarist Empire, and in 1919-1920 it was still capable of giving filming and laboratory services. Even in the chaos of the civil war they could send their products from Kiev abroad.
    Another important reason for the filming was the need to contest the total denial of the Ukrainian government of any responsibility or participation in the killings. Thus Jewish investigators tried to collect evidence of the identity and guilt of the murderers. In Paris, May 26, 1926, Shalom Schwarzbard shot Simon Petlyura, prime minister of the free Ukrainian government at the time of the pogroms, to revenge his butchered people. In his trial his defense lawyer presented such evidence in court. The verdict was: “Not Guilty”.
    An amazing discovery in the pogrom scenes was the fact that units of Soviet Red Army were among the “Pogromshchiks” too. It was true that the communist victory saved the Ukrainian Jewry from total destruction, but many Red Cossacks still exhibited their hatred of Jews, just like their White and Ukrainian opponents. One may learn more about it from the stories of the famous writer Isaac Babel who served as a Red horseman in Marshal Budiyoni’s cavalry corps.
    And of course it could be that some cinematographers took pogrom scenes while shooting newsreels in the battle fields of the civil war, and such footage was acquired by Jewish archives for the purpose of keeping the memory of the horrors and as library stock for the edited films.
    These authentic pictures are hard to look at, a shocking example of one of the first filmings of human atrocities in the 20th century, a true image of the cruel character of ethnic war and a predecessor of to-day’s “actualities” on television. Watching these films now-a-days one may see in them the first signs of a future catastrophe for the Jewish people only 20 years later (and also on the soil of the Ukraine): the Holocaust. The resemblance between the scenes of men with wooden shovels loading rigid corpses of murdered Jews on horse wagons in the fields of the Ukraine of 1919 to the famous shot in a British newsreel showing a bulldozer piling dead bodies in Bergen-Belzen death camp (1945) is blood-chilling. It is true then that some films can be really thought of as prophetic visions, if we can only have the sense to look into their hidden message.
    This paper was presented by historian Joseph Halachmi, at the DOMITOR conference, in tribute to the 100th year anniversary of the French “Pathé” film company, in the French Cinematheque in Paris, December 16, 1996. The presentation included a 12 minute Beta video screening of chosen scenes from the two pogrom films.
    Pogrom (Ukrainian) is an organized killing of a large class or group of people (especially with reference to killing of Jews in Russia).
    Gratitude: Prof. Perry Kraicer; Prof. Benjamin Lukin; Mr. Alexander Lutzki; “Yad-Vashem” film library; The French Cinematheque in Paris
    The Bolshevik (“October”) revolution of 1917 was followed by a civil war and a war with Poland. A large number of Jews, between 50,000 and 100,000 or even 200,000, died in riots and massacres. In the long history of European anti-Semitism, these were probably the largest-scale massacre of Jews to date. Because of the chaos prevailing in that period, and because of the interests of various sides in covering up the violence, the post-revolutionary pogroms are the least discussed and researched, and data about them are scarce.
    Neglected Pogroms
    The neglect of this period cannot entirely accidental. The Proskurov pogrom, in which about 2,000 Jews were murdered on February 15, 1919, was a horrendous event.Eventually, about 10,000 Jews were murdered in that district. The events are barely remembered by Jews, and certainly not by anyone else whose ancestors were not from that unfortunate town.  Yet at the time, the New York Times wrote:
    The first of a new series of events which leave the scope of ordinary pogroms and assume the character of slaughter occurred in a city which will forever be written in letters of blood on the pages of Jewish history.
    Jews Slain in Ukraine, New York Times, September 19, 1919, based on an article that had appeared in the Yiddish paper, Der Tog – the Day
    These pogroms were indeed a new and “improved” twentieth century version, which foreshadowed the mass murders of the Holocaust, Armies, rather than disorganized bands, often conducted the massacres, sometimes using machine guns.  One might think that these events were simply overshadowed by the Holocaust, but, for example, the pogroms of Kishinev are quite well documented, though they killed far fewer people.
    History of the Civil War Pogroms
    Most of this violence was not the “natural consequence” of war, but rather the result of pogroms, aimed specifically at Jews.  It is difficult to get more accurate numbers, or to know how many were murdered because they were Jews, how many died of starvation and disease and how many died fighting in the various armies.
    The area of the greatest concentration of pogroms corresponded roughly to the Tsarist Jewish pale of settlement. It included Ukraine, Galicia, Belarus (“White Russia” in the map), Moldavia, Eastern Poland, Easter Romania, and Western Russia. The borders shifted around with the confused fighting.

    [This was a long series of articles.  At the end I found the following:]
    This work and individual entries are copyright © 2005 by Ami Isseroff and Zionism and Israel Information Center and may not reproduced in any form without permission unless explicitly noted otherwise. Individual entries may be cited with credit to The Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Zionism and Israel

    [From this broader report we can see that the same hatred spoken of earlier with respect to the Ukrainians was operating in Galicia, White Russian, and Poland.  One reason the pogroms of the 1919 period are “not remembered” is that most of those who remembered them were themselves murdered during the Nazi years, starting about 20 years later.  The only reason I remember those pogroms, tersely told by my father, was because he left the Ukraine at the age of 12–that would be in 1922 or 1923–and so he lived to tell the tale.]
     
     
     
     
     

  • Krupp & Hesseman,
    When are you “papal knights” going to tell Cathryn that all this mahem supposedly inflicted on the Jews of the Ukraine is just a “black legend” based on the fictious musical play “Fiddler on the Roof”, the way that you argue that the entire case against Pope Pius XII is based entirely on  “the fictitious play by Rolf Hochhuth called The Deputy. Following that, a flurry of books were written supporting negative theories of this papacy and era. We later discovered absolute proof that this play and its impact was a well-crafted plan called “Seat Twelve” hatched and implemented by the KGB against the Catholic Church. ”
    And of course we all know that there was no discimination against African Americans in the U.S.A. during the 1940’s because the notorious enemy propagandist “Tokio Rose”  spoke of such things and therefore they couldn’t possibly be TRUE!
    As a former Catholic priest and seminary professor myself, I know the childish, ingrown kind of thinking that passes for “scholarship” in Roman Catholic circles.   Maybe our Jewish friends here, could tell me how  Gary Krupp,  a family members of the victims of the Roman Catholic Nazi leaders came to succumb to such thinking.  Don’t people like Krupp have family members who were tortured and KILLED under th direction of Roman Catholic Nazi leaders like  leaders Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Josef Goebbels, Reinhard Heydrich, Rudolf Hoess, Julius Streicher, Fritz Thyssen (who bankrolled the Nazi rise to power), Klaus Barbie, and Franz Von Papen, all of whom were raised as Roman Catholics and none of whom were ever DIVORCED from the church by its leaders if – as most of them chose to do – they wanted to remain Catholics?  The same is true of the heads of all of these NAZI countries : Leon Degrelle of Belgium, Emil Hacha of Bohemia-Moravia, Ante Pavelic of Croatia, Konrad Henlein of Sudetenland, Pierre Laval and then Henry Petain of Vichy-France. and the R.C. priest, Msgr. Josef Tiso, of Slovakia (who wasn’t even defrocked after the defeat of the Nazis).

  • Gabriel,
    In response to the question you raised above about Borman’s faith, here is what I my research uncovered and posted on my http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/NaziLeadership.html page:
    Martin Bormann became very anti-Christian latter in life, but “Bormann first became acquainted with Hitler at his 1929 wedding to Gerda Buch.  Her father was a chairman of the Nazi Party Court, and a powerful figure in Nazi circles, so Hitler served as a witness to the marriage.  And a year later Martin and Gerdaís first son was christened Adolf, after his Godfather, Adolf Hitler.” (McGovern 20-21).  This would indicate that Bormann was married and had his first son christened either in Hitler’s Catholic Church, or in Bormann’s Protestant church.

    Martin Adolf Bormann, Jr. (born 1930) was the first of Martin Borman’s ten children.  “As a child during World War II, he saw furniture in the house of Heinrich Himmler made from human skin and bones. His mother, realising that a lampshade given to her by Himmler must also be made from human skin, went home and burned it.  He says that the memory of this has haunted him throughout his life.
    After the war, he became a Roman Catholic and was ordained as a priest.  He was severely injured in 1969 and was nursed back to health by a nun.  In 1971, they renounced their vows of celibacy and married.  Mr Bormann has been a tireless campaigner to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and oppose the activities of Holocaust deniers.”
    [ from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Adolf_Bormann ]
    Likewise, Herman Goering (who was of Catholic & Protestant background) had a younger brother who was very different from his notorious sibling. Albert played the part of a small scale Oskar Schindler, by saving a number of Jews, http://www.auschwitz.dk/Albert.htm.

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Dear Rev.
    You seem to be taking sentences from one comment and mixing them with others.   I suggest you re read the comments.

  • Ms. Vise,

    the tragic examples you quote of the pre-Nazi pogroms in Ukraine happened in the context of a civil war which followed the Soviet Communist revolution. When I talk about centuries of peaceful coexistence of Jews and Christians in Galicia, I refer to the pre WW1-era. Although we both know that this was not the case, the Jews were BLAMED to have sympathy or collaborate with the Communists. Of course this does not justify a pogrom, but this false suspicion CAUSED the progroms. The rise of antisemitism during the early 20th century was a direct consequence of this false claim and indeed went hand in hand with antibolshevism. Without the fear of a bolshevist revolution as the political alternative, Hitler would have never come in power.

    Mr. Wilensky,

    you can generalize and speculate (“since there was awidespread Catholic antijudaism, why should Pacelli think different”), but this has nothing to do with the facts. The facts are talking in a different language. The facts are that Pacelli – call him an exemption – had a childhood relationship with Jews, admired Judaism, loved the Jewish culture. Can you imagine a young Roman priesthood candidate of the Black Nobility participating in a Shabbat dinner? No, you can’t? Then that’s your problem. It’s a fact that this happened, the whole Mendes family witnessed it, Pacelli’s family confirmed it, and you find Dr. Guido Mendes’ testimony the first time published in “The Jerusalem Post” of 10 October 1958: “Ramat Gan Physician Recalls Schooldays with Pius XII”

    We have all the letters and reports Pacelli wrote to the Vatican when he was Nuntius in Munich, testifying for what he has done to help Jews. We have the testimony of Nahum Sokolov and the German Zionist Blumenthal, wo accompanied Sokolov to visit Pacelli in the Berlin hospital, where the doctors told him he has just 5 minutes to meet the nuntius, but Pacelli kept him for one and a half hours! And we have Pacelli telling a young Jew “Be proud to be a Jew!” in the year of the Wannsee Conference, in front of hundreds of German soldiers during an audience in the Vatican. THESE ARE THE FACTS, Mr. Wilensky, not assumptions how he should have thought, being a Roman Catholic. And indeed you are wrong. During the 1920ies, there even was a movement, “Amici Israel”, of Catholic Clerics who wanted a reconciliation with the Jews and the removal of the Good Friday prayer “pro perfidis Judaeis”. A minority? Indeed, in 1928, 19 Cardinals, 287 Bishops and Archbishops and about 3000 priests belonged to this movement, including the German Cardinal Archbishop Michael von Faulhaber. Although the movement did not succeed with the removal of the Good Friday Paryer formula, it ended with a public condemnation of Antisemitism by Pius XI and the Vatican in 1928.  As you see, a great part of the Catholic hierarchy was pro-Jewish already in the Pre-Pacelli era.

    Your claim that Hitlerwould have been prevented, had only Pacelli allowed a coalition between the Zentrum-Party and the Social democrats, is rather strange, since  the Great Coalition from 1928 until 1930 included Zentrum and the SPD (Social Democrats). Therefore Pacelli not only “allowed” a coalition of the Catholic Zentrum with the SPD, it actually happened during his time as Nuntius in Berlin! The coalition ended a few month after he had left Berlin and the cause was that the parties did not agree about the rise of the jobloss-insurance, a question in which the Catholic Church remained neutral.  

    You claim that Sister Pascalina “witnessed” that Pacelli financed Hitler? Excuse me, that’s not true . I read her memories in the original German (she was a Bavarian nun) and that’s all she wrote about Hitler:
    “I once asked the Nuntius whether this man (Hitler) could not also have a good side. His Excellence shook his head and replied: “I would be very, very wrong if this would come to a good end. This man is possessed by himself, everything which does not serve him, he negates and everything he does and says ist just a mirror of his insane egoism. This man walks over corpses and throws down everything which is in his way.”
    This statement, by the way,si confirmed by an American diplomate, the US Consul in Cologne, who wrote a confidential report to the State Department on March 3, 1939, mntioning a meeting with Pacelli a few years before:
    “His (Pacelli’s) views (on Hitler) surprised me by their extremeness. He said that he opposed unalterably every compromise with National Socialism. 
    He regarded Hitler not only as an untrustworthy scoundrel but as a fundamentally wicked person … not capable of moderation.”
    You claim he financed Hitler? No way!!

    Sincerely,
    Michael Hesemann 

  • Mr. Hesemann, as I said earlier, you can cite cases of Pacelli’s friendship with Jews on the early years of his career until the day of Final Judgement, but that won’t change his record once the war began.

    I find it interesting that you chose to mention the case of “Friends of Israel” (Amici Israel), as an example of Catholic friendship toward Jews. This was an organization of some dutch Catholics, and not representative of “a great part of the Catholic hierarchy”. I don’t know to what extent they were actually friends of the Jews, but it’s true their intent was to expose the blood libel as a myth and remove the accusation of deicide. What you conveniently failed to mention when you correctly stated that they failed to remove the Good Friday prayer formula, though, is that the Vatican suppressed the organization that same year (1928) since according to them “words and deeds have begun to intrude into the Society of the Friends of Israel which deviate from the concepts of the church, the spirit of the holy fathers and the sacred liturgy” and their program did not recognize “the continual blindness of this people.” As Pius XI said in a 1937 encyclical, “Jesus received his human nature from a people who crucified him.” Hardly a manifestation of pro-Jewish sentiment in the pre-Pacelli era, Mr. Hesemann.

    Regarding Sister Pascalina’s recollection of Pacelli giving Hitler money to fight the Communists, I do not know where Murphy got it from. I do not have his book in front of me now. The one thing I know for sure is that people do all sorts of things when they need to, when it’s convenient, and when it benefits them. In the years following WWI Pacelli had very negative experiences with the communists of Bavaria where he was apostolic nuncio. I think his hatred of Communists was greater than his disdain for a thug like Hitler. I actually agree with you. I don’t think Pacelli liked Hitler. But neither Hitler nor Roosevelt nor Churchill liked Stalin either, yet they all did business with him. Pacelli’s disdain for Hitler did not prevent him many years later from making the Vatican the first state to recognize Nazi Germany by being the first state to sign an agreement with him.

  • Mr. Wilensky,

    in the meantime, I checked your alleged sister Pascalina-quote with the leading biographer of Sr. Pascalina, Martha Schad, who also strongly votes against the veracity of this claim. And she studied literally everything Sr. Pascalina wrote or stated in public. You can’t even document your quote. Sorry, Sir, but this is not really how a historian should work. Serious historical work is based on documents, not on rumors!

    That’s why I prefer to work in Archives and see first hand documents. As I mentioned before, we have both, the reports Pacelli as Nuntius sent to the Vatican and his private letters to his family, especially his brother, which were evaluated by my colleague Andrea Tornielli. In none did we find any positive remark on Hitler. As I stated before (and I can back up my statement producing the document), the very first mention of Hitler and his movement describes the Nazis as “anticatholic”, not even antisemite and certainly not antibolshevist. Do you really believe Pacelli financed a movement he considered “anticatholic”?

    The “Amici Israel” were founded by a Dutch convert in 1926, but was far more than just some “Dutch Catholics”. Its president was the General Abbot of the Benedictine Congregation of Monte Cassino, among its members, as already stated, were 19 Cardinals, 287 Bishops and Archbishops and about 3000 priests – more than you ever find in the Netherlands. It had several high-ranking members in the Roman Curia. And even if it did not reach its major goal, to remove the Good Friday Prayer from the Liturgy, it reached a clear condemnation of Antisemitism by Pope Pius XI.
    And excuse me, I consider about 10 % of the world-wide Episcopate and about A FOURTH of the College of Cardinals “a great part of the Catholic hierarchy” and not “some Dutch Catholics”.

    Pacelli’s friendship with the Jews just got stronger during the War, as it was acknowledged by so many Jewish leaders of that era including Chaim Weizmann, Isaak Herzog, Dr. Leon Kubowitzky, Mosche Scharett, Dr. Raffael Cantoni, Albert Einstein and Golda Meir. And it was in the middle of the war period, 1941, when he made his famous “Be proud to be a Jew” statement, and after the war, in 1945, when he received Jewish survivors of the Concentration Camps in the Vatican and told them: “Soon you will have a Jewish state”. 

    Yes, Pacelli negotiated the Concordat in 1933 to protect the endangered Catholic Church in Germany from the Nazi terror and have a legal base for protests. It was stated clearly in the Osservatore Romano, 21 July 1933: “The Holy See negotiates with the states as such, to secure the rights and the freedom of the Church” and dsitances himself from “any recognition of any kind”. Indeed, in 1925/26 he had negotiated a Concordat with the Soviet Union, and I have a nice photo of him sitting on one table with the Soviet Foreign Minister during this talk. As Pius XI said: “I would even make a Concordat with the devil himself if this would help to save souls”. And Hitler certainly was “the devil himself” and nothing better, not only in our eyes, but certainly in the eyes of Pacelli.

    Sincerely,
    Michael Hesemann
      

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    I hope the following will clarify the record. 

    Let me begin by mentioning again the horrendous pogroms in the Ukraine, Poland, and elsewhere in the “pale of settlement” which occurred in 1919 but whose horrors have since been overshadowed by those of the Holocaust. 
     
    I found the following information specifying the viewing of some of the horrors of these pogroms at http://israeli.filmography.co.il/Articles/Entry_24/Documentary_films_recording_the_Pogroms_in_the_Ukraine.html.  [You may be able to reach it directly using “CTRL/click.] 
     
    “The motion pictures footage exhibits horrible sights of mutilated bodies, families looking for their beloved amongst piles of corpses,… severely wounded Jews being treated in hospital…”
     
    The following eye-witness account can be found [with the usual “CTRL/click] at http://www.archive.org/stream/cu31924078399890/cu31924078399890_djvu.txt.  It may also be physically consulted in the Cornell University Library under call number 3 1924 078 399 890.  It was typed up and published in 1921 by THE FEDERATION OF UKRAINIAN JEWS IN AID OF THE POGROM SUFFERERS IN THE UKRAINE.
    (Registered under the War Charities Act.) Their address at the time was
    26a, Soho Square, London, W. I.
     
    “Hundreds and thousands of Jews have been wounded, ill treated,
    savagely beaten. Up to the present more than a million Jews have been
    robbed and many of them have had literally their last shirt taken from
    them. The most refined tortures have been devised. Old men and children
    have been cut to pieces. Thousands of women and young girls have been
    outraged, and among these even little girls and old women. The victims
    have been terribly mutilated; the right arm and left leg have been cut off,
    or vice versa, the left arm and right leg; one eye has been torn out and
    the nose cut off. The houses in which the Jews took refuge were burnt, and
    all perished in the flames. The number of cases in which these unhappy
    victims were doomed to die a slow death of mdeaonbable [sic] torture
    cannot be counted. Burning was the usual practice.”
     
    I hope that these facts, recorded by camera and written up by eye witnesses, may
    succeed in disabusing readers of the fantasy of the supposed amity of the Eastern
    European Catholics for the Jews.  The peasants and soldiers had been systematically
    exposed throughout their lives, as had their parents and grantparents before them,
    of the myth of “the Jew”—the myth of an entity powerful enough to kill their deity—a
    phantasmagorical demonic personage whom they much feared and hated.  The
    Jews in their turn lived in constant dread of those times when these peasants and
    soldiers acted out on living Jewish flesh the horror thus induced in the minds of those
    peasants and soldiers.  Such tentative friendships as managed to exist in easy times
    were demolished at times like these.  These  pogroms centering about the year 1919
    appear to be, until the Holocaust, the worst which had ever occurred in history,
    exceeding even the savagery the Chimielniki horror (1648-1657). The behavior of
    the peasants and soldiers who committed these atrocities does count, since their
    target was consistently “the Jew”. Yes, there was a war, and there were casualties,
    and there was hunger, and everyone suffered. But suffering from war is one thing,
    and suffering because your neighbors attack and mutilate you and/or members of your
    family for representing, in their minds, the mythic “Jew” of their folklore and church
    teachings, is something else again. It is unconscionable to pretend that the Catholics
    lived in amity with the people of the tiny Jewish villages, when in fact to these
    Catholics the Tevyes and Yentls of these villages represented “the Jew” of their own
    distorted folklore, rather than neighbors or even fellow-humans. The very word “Jew”
    in their language was a curse word, the epithet of a demon, and at any stressful occasion,
    such as Good Friday, they treated any Jews they could get their hands on accordingly.
    And of course the war and its aftermath were stressful, and the perennial hatred of the
    Eastern European Catholics was unleashed as thoroughly as possible.

    This was a foretaste of the Holocaust, which differed only in that the Nazis presented
    these same Catholics with better and more efficient means of destroying the
    demonized Jews whom they hated so much. I will say quite truthfully that anyone
    who pretends otherwise is quite simply trying to fool himself or trying to fool others.

     
    The following information concerning the geographical extent of these pogroms may be accessed at http://www.zionism-israel.com/dic/Russsian_Civil_War_pogroms.htm
    [You may be able to reach it directly using “CTRL/click.] 
     
    “Neglected Pogroms
    “The neglect of this period cannot be entirely accidental. The Proskurov pogrom, in which about 2,000 Jews were murdered on February 15, 1919, was a horrendous event. Eventually, about 10,000 Jews were murdered in that district. The events are barely remembered by Jews, and certainly not by anyone else whose ancestors were not from that unfortunate town.  Yet at the time, the New York Times wrote:
    ‘The first of a new series of events which leave the scope of ordinary pogroms and assume the character of slaughter occurred in a city which will forever be written in letters of blood on the pages of Jewish history.’

    Jews Slain in Ukraine, New York Times, September 19, 1919, based on an article that had appeared in the Yiddish paper, Der Tog – the Day.  [You should be able to see the newspaper article using CTRL/click.]
    “These pogroms were indeed a new and “improved” twentieth century version, which foreshadowed the mass murders of the Holocaust, Armies, rather than disorganized bands, often conducted the massacres, sometimes using machine guns.  One might think that these events were simply overshadowed by the Holocaust, but, for example, the pogroms of Kishinev are quite well documented….
    “History of the Civil War Pogroms
    “Most of this violence was not the “natural consequence” of war, but rather the result of pogroms, aimed specifically at Jews.  It is difficult…to know how many were murdered because they were Jews, how many died of starvation and disease and how many died fighting in the various armies.
    “The area of the greatest concentration of pogroms corresponded roughly to the Tsarist Jewish pale of settlement. It included Ukraine, Galicia, Belarus (“White Russia” in the map), Moldavia, Eastern Poland, Easter Romania, and Western Russia. The borders shifted around with the confused fighting.”
    The above indicates that the Catholic Ukrainian massacres of Jews, which I have been mentioning all along (contrary to the false claims of amity between Catholics and Jews in Eastern Europe) were also occurring in Poland, Galicia, White Russia, Moldavia, and Russia—mostly in tiny villages with families like that of Tevye, made famous in the play, Fiddler on the Roof, and throughout almost all the areas where such rural Jews were living in Eastern Europe.  My own father lived in such a village in the Ukraine; its name was Teplik.  Since we are focusing at the moment on Catholics, we can ignore the behavior of the Russian Orthodox. 
    Because of these horrendous pogroms, and because of Pope Benedict XV’s concern for the murdered Jews, Pope Benedict sent Achille Ratti to Poland to do whatever he could to help the Jews in their struggle to survive this persecution by the Catholic Poles.  Hundreds of thousands of Jews were at that time being tortured, mutilated, and machine-gunned down by the Catholics of these nations, including Poland.  Achille Ratti returned from this trip, but all that he “saw” (or, perhaps, heard from the Polish Catholics?) was that “the Jews form the principal force [of Bolshevism] in Poland….I saw that the [Bolshevik] Commissioners…were all Jews” (Original is at ASV, ANV, b. 193, “Relazione finale della Missione di Mons. Ratti in Polonia redatta da Mons. Pellegrinetti, Luglio 1921,” f. 431; the published version is in Cavalleri 1990, pp. 148-0149.  Quoted in David Kertzer, The Popes Against the Jews, p. 260.  See also Daniel J. Goldhagen, A Moral Reckoning, p. 81). 
     
    Achille Ratti soon afterwards became Pope Pius XI.  He did not survive to lead the church during the Holocaust, but his attitude remained that of the Vatican. 
     
    Cardinal Pacelli was papal nuncio (ambassador) in Munich (the Weimar Republic) after WWI, a chaotic time when revolutionary groups sought to fill the power vacuum left by the abdicating Kaiser Wilhelm.  At a meeting of the diplomatic corps it was decided to talk to a certain Levine, head of the Munich Soviet, to ensure recognition of the immunity of diplomatic representatives.  Pacelli thought it would be more dignified to send Monsignor Schioppa.  On the basis of Schioppa’s report, which he accepted without question, Pacelli managed to write to the Vatican Secretary of State of a chaotic scene featuring “a gang of young women…Jews like the rest of them…with lecherous demeanor and suggestive smiles.  The boss of this female rabble was Levine’s mistress…a Jew….  This Levine is…also…a Jew.  Pale, dirty …and sly….surrounded by an armed escort, one of whom was an armed hunchback….he …whin[ed] repeatedly….”  Notice that the repeated references to “Jews” are tinged with disgust, through intimations of immorality and depictions of visual and aural ugliness.  A week later, some of the Red Brigade of the South came and demanded the nuncio’s official limousine and one of them “pressed his rifle against my breast….”  Pacelli afterwards reported that “the capital of Bavaria…is suffering under a harsh Jewish-Russian revolutionary tyranny” (Vatican SRS, Baviera, letter from Pacelli to Gaspari, April 18, 1919, folio). 
     
    Pacelli, of course, is the man who afterwards became Pope Pius XII, who reigned during rhe Holocaust.
     
    In the 1930s, Archbishop Konrad Gröber defined Bolshevism in the German Handbook of Contemporary Religious Questions as “an Asiatic state despotism, in point of fact in the service of a group of terrorists led by Jews,” and defined Marxism as “the materialistic socialism founded primarily by the Jew Karl Marx.”  The same article explained the Führer’s warning that “No people can avoid this clash between its national tradition and Marxism, which is opposed to national ties and led mostly by Jewish agitators and revolutionaries” (Gröber, Handbuch der religiösen Gegenwarsfragen, articles “Bolschewismus,” p. 86, “Marxismus,” p. 404, 86.  Quoted in Guenter Lewy, The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany, p. 277).    While Gröber did not, of course, become Pope, his publication, with full imprimatur, expresses the general atmosphere and outlook of the Vatican at the time. 
     
    In 1941, Bishop Ivan Sarić of Sarajevo said, “The descendants of those who hated the Son of Gd, persecuted him to death, crucified him, and persecuted his disciples are guilty of greater sins than their forebears….Satan aided them in the creation of socialism and communism….the movement of liberation of the world from the Jews is a movement for the renewal of human dignity” (quoted in Michael Phayer, The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, p. 34).
     
    Karl Marx presents us with a terrible irony.  His father had hoped to contribute to his son’s prosperity by having him baptized.  Instead, Karl rebelled against such expediency, labeled all Jews as capitalists, and passionately devoted himself to the cause of creating a better world for humanity through communism, thereby providing two contradictory new canards for non-Jews to use against Jews:  “’the Jew’ as capitalist” and “’the Jew’ as Marxist”.  A further irony is the fact that bolshevism and Catholicism both have a common aim, that of the salvation of the world’s people, and both agree that the service of this aim, the ultimate salvation of humanity, and the overcoming and elimination of the enemies of this aim, requires the leaving aside of our ordinary human compassion for individuals, however innocent those individuals may be, for “he that is not with me is against me” (Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23) .
     
    I hope that this brief summary allows the reader to see how the church had long and persistently prepared the ground for the demonization of “the Jew” as Christ-killer and as the enemy of the church, and how the Vatican leaders of the 20th century perpetuated this myth and folded it into their own various fears and disgusts, including the mythic canard of “the Jew” as Bolshevik. 
     
    Permit me to add that my own many Catholic friends throughout the United States have either not been exposed to such teachings as are detailed above, or they kindly refrain from mentioning such concepts when I am around.  Instead, my Catholic friends have, through the years, visited me in the hospital and brought me flowers and thoughtfully chosen books which they correctly supposed that I would enjoy, and have brought me tuna fish casseroles (thus, again thoughtfully, avoiding the question of non-kosher meat) when they perceived me to be indisposed.  I have similarly brought them crucifixes blessed by the Pope, a Bible richly illustrated by Salvadore Dali, and various olivewood objects from the Holy Land.  They and I have attended each others’ baptisms and brises, our bar mitzvahs and high school graduations, our weddings and funerals, exchanging beautiful Rosh haShanah cards and Christmas cards, sharing joys and sorrows, Christmas dinners, Sukkah dinners, and casual shopping trips, and all the many other things that friends are wont to do together.  Some of these Catholics are my blood kin, some are my in-laws, some are my next-door neighbors.  All of them are, of course, innocent of the outrages depicted here. 
     

    To the editor of this site:  I had difficulty with this post.  Even the material which I typed in by hand refused to word-wrap and I had to use “enter” to cause it to go to the next line.  I am sorry to bother you, but if the line endings are inappropriate after I click “submit” perhaps you can repair this?  Thank you.  

     
     
     
        
     
     
     

  • Ray Dubuque says:

    Upon rereading the following post of mine, I noticed significant typos, so I’m reposted a corrected version:
    Mr. Hesemann,You can pontificate all you like about what is in my heart (accusing me of “hate” and not being “serious”, and the like), and what is in the hearts of others  (such as churchmen “loving” or “not hating” Jews, etc., etc.), but such matters are things you can only speculate about,  not things you can  know and/or prove.
    What those of us who are indicting your church are doing is not speculating about what was in their hearts, but pointing out what THEY DID, or DIDN’T DO, things that ARE KNOWABLE.As for my bringing up the CURRENT  pedophilia scandals – far from being a diversion, these are simply current  examples of the corruption of Catholic priests and bishops that CANNOT BE DENIED, examples  which i believe show how foolish it is to DENY the corruption of the Catholic hierarchy during the Holocaust.  The coverup by Catholic bishops of the pedophilia scandal is NOTHING compared to the coverup of the participation of millions of Roman Catholics in the mass-murder,  not only of millions of Jews, but of fellow Roman Catholic Poles as well.

  • Ray Dubuque says:

     
    Rev. Ray Dubuque says:
    June 3, 2010 at 1:20 am
    Misters Krupp & Hesseman,
    I believe my previous attempt to make the point below was TOO SUBTLE. So permit me to clarify.  I find it deplorable that both  of you “papal knights” have embraced the attempt by papal apologists o trivialize the scholarship of those who have indicted Pope Pius XII for having presided over a Europe which was overwhelmingly Catholic and/or Christian while Christians tried to exterminate the entire Jewish miniority of Europe.
    You obviously don’t recognize how silly it is to claim that the entire case against Pope Pius XII is based entirely on  ”the fictitious play by Rolf Hochhuth called The Deputy.” (as you both maee that argument above, with Gary  adding:) “Following that, a flurry of books were written supporting negative theories of this papacy and era. We later discovered absolute proof that this play and its impact was a well-crafted plan called “Seat Twelve” hatched and implemented by the KGB against the Catholic Church. ”
    To show how silly that old argument is, I wanted to make comparisons to more comparable, more recent events.
    On the one hand, do you see how silly it would be to tell Cathryn that all this mahem supposedly inflicted on the Jews of the Ukraine is just a “black legend” based on the fictious musical play “Fiddler on the Roof”, the way that you argue that the entire case against Pope Pius XII is based entirely on  ”the fictitious play Th?
    And do you see how silly it would be to argue that there was no discimination against African Americans in the U.S.A. during the 1940’s,  because the notorious enemy propagandist “Tokio Rose”  spoke of such things and therefore they couldn’t possibly be TRUE?

  • Mr. Hesemann, what I said about Sister Pascalina was not a rumor. I told you exactly where I got it from, down to the page number. The author of La Popessa, Paul Murphy, explains in his book he interviewed a large number of high-profile Catholic prelates, and more importantly, that he spent 30 hours talking to Sister Pascalina. I do not know if this was recorded.

    According to Murphy, Hitler visited Archbishop Pacelli at the Munich nunciature at night. I am going to quote the relevant paragraph:

    “Hitler told Pacelli that he was out to check the spread of atheistic communism in Munich and elsewhere. Through the door, which had been left ajar, Pascalina overheard the prelate say, ‘Munich has been good to me, so has Germany. I pray Almighty God that this land remain a holy land, in the hands of our Lord, and free of communism.’

    Pascalina knew that Pacelli lived in fear of atheistic communism because of its professed aim to annihilate Catholicism. For that reason, and despite the Church’s historical claim of strict neutrality, the prelate had made his goal the complete destruction of this ‘insidious new threat to world freedom and brotherly love.’

    It did not come as a surprise to her, therefore, in light of Pacelli’s hatred of the Reds, to see the prelate present Hitler with a large cache of Church money to aid the rising revolutionary and his small, struggling band of anticommunists.

    ‘Go, quell the devil’s works,’ Pacelli told Hitler. ‘Help spread the love of Almighty God!’

    ‘For the love of Almighty God!’ she heard the young man reply.”

    Now, Murphy freely admits that given the length of time that passed between the events and the interviews with the players the dialogs may not be entirely accurate, but he assures the reader the gist of them should be. I have no way of corroborating this, but given that Murphy extensively interviewed Sr. Pascalina, and the way he narrates the events of that night, I think it’s safe to assume that that’s what Sr. Pascalina told him. Of course I can imagine you’ll say it’s all a fabrication, and to that I can only say, who knows? It’s your word against Murphy’s.

    Regarding the Amici Israel, I think what matters is not how many clergymen were part of it, but rather, that it was supressed as I explained in my previous post. That a few notable Jews praised the pope is not significant, Mr. Hesemann. We discussed this earlier. You even mention Einstein, whose “defense” of the pope, also as I explained earlier, was no defense at all as his statements were uttered before the Holocaust. That Israeli politicians like Chaim Weizmann, Golda Meir, Pinchas Lapide and others praised the pope is easily understood when one considers the realpolitik circumstances of when these people did that. You mention the “Be proud to be a Jew” statement again. Mr. Hesemann, please, you can’t be so naïve. What did you expect the pope to say in such circumstances?

  • Ms. Vise,

    unfortunately you left the subject which is Pius XII and not the situation in the Ukraine during the Civil War which followed the Communist Revolution and the creation of the Soviet Union. Once again, this had nothing to do with the teachings of the Catholic Church which were the same all over Europe. The claim that the Jews were connected with the Communists, causing the Anti-Jewish acts in Poland and the Ukraine, was certainly not part of the Catholic doctrine.  But this all happened before the pontificate of Pius XII and out of his reach as a nuntius or Cardinal Secretary of State, so let’s concentrate on him and his actions and attitude.

    And when we come back to Pacelli, you quote a document which I held in my hands and read in its original language, Italian, when you obviously quote a translation – the false and misleading translation by John Cornwell which is evidence enough that he did not care for the truth at all. 

    So let’s investigate the text you quote:
    “a gang of young women…Jews like the rest of them…with lecherous demeanor and suggestive smiles.  The boss of this female rabble was Levine’s mistress…a Jew….  This Levine is…also…a Jew.  Pale, dirty …and sly….surrounded by an armed escort, one of whom was an armed hunchback….he …whin[ed] repeatedly….”

    Strangely enough, none of these derogatory terms can be found in the Italian original. 
    Instead of “a gang of young women”, it says “una schiera di giovani donne”, “a group of young women” in a completely neutral way.
    Instead of “female rabble” it says “gruppo femminile”, “female group”, again a neutral term.
    Instead of “lecherous demeanor and suggestive smiles” it says “provocanti e con sorrisi equivoci”, meaning  “provocative and with a certain smile”
    … and so on.
    At the end, all antisemitic clichees INVENTED by Cornwall in his manipulative translation simply disappear. Suddenly “Jew” becomes a neutral term, just as “Russian”, used in the same frequency. Strangely enough you find the word “Russian” just where you placed some dots. Why did you leave out the term “Russian”?
    Still, two facts have to be considered.
    Of course there was no sympathy. Whether the persons were Jews, Christians or whatever, they were revolutionaries. They behaved and dressed like leftist students. If you read a neutral book about this era, David Clay Large’s brillant study “Hitler’s Munich”, you read about Levien (I have to retranslate, since I own this book only in German): He shuffled around in his creased uniform, was a heavy drinker and allegedly rented his wife for certain services”. Large is Professor of History at the Montana State University and certainly not a Catholic apologist. Still he had a rather bad impression of Levien and his revolutionary group.
    The question is if you find antisemitic stereotypes in the report from the Munich Nuntiature and indeed you don’t.
     Second: The report was NOT written by Pacelli. Pacelli was not there. He had sent his “Uditore” (Assistant), Msgr. Scioppa, who came back, delivered this report which Pacelli QUOTED in his message to Rome about the situation in Munich.

    Does someone has to like a communist revolutionary, head of a gang creating terror in a peaceful city like Munich … just because he is a Jew? Is it not allowed to mention the religion of a person, for example as a possible explanation why he encountered a Vatican diplomate with disrespect?

    Pacelli liked and respected Jews who were educated, religious, civilized. He might have had certain resentments towards those handful of Russian Jews who started a communist revolution (indeed all three heads of the Munich Soviet, Max Levien, Eugen Levine and Toqia Axelrod WERE Russian Jews) and he definitely shared this resentments with the huge majority of the Jewish community in Munich!

    What remains is the question why Cornwell, instead of using a proper translation, published a manipulative one. Anothe rquestion is why the very same author, although he received permission to work in the Vatican Secret Archives, visited it only three times, as the records show (each time you enter the Archives you have to register). Since the Archive is opened only from 9-13 h, it means he spent there a maximum of 12 hours. Working there, too, I can assure you that you can’t get through a great part of the files in 12 hours. Actually you can only cover the tip of an iceberg. This is lousy scholarship. To manipulate translations just to “prove your case” is even lousier. Do you wonder why we don’t respect these “works”?

    PTWF bases its conclusions on documents, statements and affidavits which are published on our website and available to just everyone. We don’t have anything to hide. If you don’t trust our translations, check them and read the original documents. But don’t base your case on disinformation. In the age of the internet, where you can make even the ca. 6000 pages and 12 volumes of the “Actes et documents” available online, sooner or later the truth has to come out. We have nothing to fear. Indeed we are those who made this possible. So let’s base our conclusions on FACTS, please!

    Sincerely,
    Michael Hesemann

  • One more thing I forgot to mention, Mr. Hesemann. You ask, “Do you really believe Pacelli financed a movement he considered ‘anticatholic’?” The answer is, most likely yes. As I explained earlier, people make deals with all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons, if it’s beneficial to them. Western democracies make deals with their self-declared enemies, fundamentalist theocracies, openly anti-democratic, anti-liberal, anti-freedom, anti-women, anti-gay and anti-everything the West stands for, because the West has something to gain from that sort of relationship with “the devil”. To Archbishop Pacelli, who had a personal hatred of communists and communism, and understood very well that a Bolshevik victory would mean the demise of the Catholic Church, engaging a rabble rouser and self-avowed defender of the world against communism must have made a lot of sense, even when this Catholic thug may have been “anticatholic”. I believe this understanding of the dynamics at play dominated Pacelli’s life from that point onwards.
     
    Also, keep in mind Pacelli continued to invest in this “anticatholic” devil, as as Secretary of State he was instrumental in persuading Pius XI to make enormous investments in Germany’s industry during the interbellum years, including investing the vast sums the Vatican received from Mussolini after the Lateran Pact.

  • Mr. Krupp, thank you so much for clarifying the point about the Vatican Archives. That makes sense. I do wish, however, that popes John XXIII, Paul VI or John Paul II had done this work decades ago.

    Regarding your point that to understand someone’s actions, or to know how to judge someone one needs to know the background of that person’s life, I continue to disagree with you. Does it matter if Hitler’s father hit little Adolf? Does it matter if Hitler was blinded temporarily in WWI, or that he was not admitted to the Fine Arts School in Vienna and was unemployed and frustrated? Would it actually matter if little Adolf had been bullyied by a Jew in school? Would any of that justify what Hitler did during the war years? Imagine being Ted Bundy’s lawyer and explaining to the judge that the actions of the accused need to be understood in light of him having been molested as a child, or hit by his parents, or whatever. You would have been laughed at!

    I also agree with you that as modern historians or simple observers of history we must take into account the historical context and avoid projecting our modern viewpoint. That is why when analysing the actions—or lack thereof—of the Pope we must take into account the actions of the thousands of courageous Christians that also had a gun pointed at them and still found a way to do the right thing. We have examples of regular folks, as well as courageous clergymen. We even have examples of an entire church, whose actions saved the lives of all the Jews of an entire country!

    So, Mr. Krupp, even though I agree that it’s important to know the background of Pacelli’s life prior to 1939, ultimately what matters is not what he did prior to the war, or whether he was a big lover of Jews 20 years prior to the war, or whether he despised Hitler, what matters is what he did, and didn’t do, when faced with the greatest crime in the history of man.

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Author: Michael Hesemann
    Comment:
    Ms. Vise,

    unfortunately you left the subject which is Pius XII and not the situation in the Ukraine during the Civil War which followed the Communist Revolution and the creation of the Soviet Union.
     
    Reply
     
    My subject in that post is the attitude of the Catholic Church–the laity, the priests, and the Vatican–toward “the Jews,” both in the decades leading up to the Hitler years, and during the Hitler years.
     
    I demonstrated that the amity you claim between Catholics and Jews was nonexistent–unless you count torture and machine-gunning people as amity.  The revulsion expressed by these acts comes from generations of priests telling their flocks that “the Jews” committed deicide and “the Jews” were the children of the devil, just as the gospels claim.  These preachings created a non-existent mythic image of “the Jew” which had to inspire loathing, horror, and hatred in anyone who loved Jesus and hated the devil. Presumably the Catholic faithful did love Jesus and did hate the devil.  So the negative attitude of the Eastern Europeans, as expressed both in these pogroms centering about 1919, as well as  in the earlier pogroms of the 1880s, stemmed from what they had learned from attending church and listening to the prayers concerning the “perfidious Jews”–a standard item in the liturgy until Vatican II, I think, and certainly through well after WWII.
     
    But the priests themselves, and the cardinals and the bishops, were also influenced by the doctrines which the priests preached to the peasants.  Thus it was all too easy to move from the Jews as “children of the devil” to the “Satanic” and “Jew-inspired” evil of communism, as illustrated in the items quoted from such higher officials of the church. 
     

    To illustrate this, I cited the remarks of the man who later became Pope Pius XI, the man who was sent to Poland to relieve the effects of the horrendous Catholic attacks on the Polish Jews, and instead sent back to his Pope a letter badmouthing the Jews! 

     

    I then cited words from Pacelli, and his words of deep disgust in his letter from Germany.   Pacelli later became Pope Pius XII–and this during the very years when you claim he was so buddy buddy with the Jews that he enjoyed Shabbos dinners with one family.  One wonders how the man who spoke the words of disgust cited behind their backs could keep a straight face as he managed to choke down the food of his Jewish hosts.    

     
    I further cited words from other high-ranking church officials to indicate that others besides future popes shared the propensity for these anti-Jewish words.   
     
    This has EVERYTHING to do with the teachings of the Catholic Church throughout Europe in the decades and over the centuries.  Thanks to such preachings, the Jews were expelled from England, and from France, and from Spain, and from Portugal.  The only reason the Jews were not expelled from Germany was that there was no united Germany, but instead separate principalities, so that when the Jews were expelled from one region, they could go to another.  Hence the legend of the Wandering Jew.  Do you think that legend arose because we liked to wander?   No, it was because the Catholics kept expelling the “Christ-killers”.  The only reason we went to Eastern Europe in the first place was because we had tried and failed to make a permanent home in Western Europe.  And see what happened when Western Europe tried to emancipate the Jews and to readmit Jews to their countries:  barely a hundred years after the defeat of Napoleon, the church, resurgent, encouraged the faithful to again see the Jews as the spawn of Satan. 
     
    My post was long.  Partly to compensate, and partly to avoid using language which might poison the readers’ minds against Jews, I abbreviated the quotes.  I would have to return to the source I used to offer the entire quote, and I doubt that you can “retranslate” it into neutrality.  But not now; it is well after midnight and I need to go. 
     
    You say that “Of course there was no sympathy” for Jews who werre communist officials. 
     
    But it was supposedly sympathy for the Jews of the tiny villages, the Jews being tortured and dismembered and raped and machine-gunned and orphaned, that sent the nuncio to Poland to start with.  Remember, this is the man who became Pope Pius XI.  Instead of writing back about the conditions of these wretched tormented souls, he writes about a meeting with a bunch of communist officials.  Why?  Evidently because he would rather badmouth the communists than assist the people he was sent to help.   
     
    Large may be professor of history but if you are quoting him correctly he has misspelled Levine’s name.  And you need not remind me that Pacelli unquestioningly quoted Scioppa’s remarks, since I already said that in my post. 
     
    And, no, he need not like Levine.  But why the constant emphasis on Levine’s Jewishness?  You see, he is characterizing bolshevism as a “JEW” thing.  It is strange that you are unable to notice that this is negative stereotyping of Jews as bolsheviks.  Jews do all kinds of things; as the saying goes, Jews are like everyone else, only more so.  Jews participate in every walk of life, from workman to shopkeeper to intellectual, and that necessarily means that some are leftists and some are right wing and some are middle-of-the-road. 
     
    Similarly, communists came from all kinds of people, including Jews.  Those who identifying one with the other are expressing thier antipathy to both. 
     
    This is common sense. 
     
    It should not be so difficult to undersand.   
     
    Why do you persist in excusing it?  If you would say that Pacelli had a perfect right to find Jews disgusting and therefore to portray communists as if they were all Jews, that would be one thing–an unattractive thing, to be sure, but at least comprehensible.  To deny the facts is just silly.  

    The fact is that Pacelli could have disliked communists AS communists, but he chose to dislike them AS JEWS
     
    As for the Jewish community of Munich, their resentment towards Jewish communists very likely stemmed, at least in part, from the fear that they, too, would be tarred with the same brush–as indeed they were, doubtless by many, but certainly by Pacelli among them.  I can assure you that my detestation of communism makes me all the more averse to being called one of their number, whether by Pacelli or by anyone else.  The communist credo required that they convert all the world to their goal, and they didn’t care how many they had to kill to achieve it.  Give me a selfish greedy thief any time–he will stop when he can escape with your money.  The communist will not stop unless he has taken your soul or your life. My university education, which supposedly should put me in sympathy with the goals they regard as so lofty, fails to distract me from the facts on the ground, such as mass murder under Stalin and mass starvation under Mao. 
     
    So the unprejudiced reader can see why the Vatican’s penchant for characterizing communists in general as “Jews” was a bad preamble for an era which pitted Nazis–identified as Aryans–against Communists–identified as “the Jews”. 
     

     

  • Mr. Wilensky,

    unfortunately your source, Murphy’s alleged biography “La Popessa”, is regarded as a work of fiction by most serious historians including the leading expert on Sr. Pascalina, Martha Schad.

    To quote some reviews. For example Fr. Graham, Americxas leading expert on the papacy of Pius XII and as a Jesuit a personal friend and cofriar of Fr. Leiber, the personal secretary of Pius XII., wrote: “The pseudo-Pascalina book is at best a practical joke on an unsuspecting public. At worst, it is a new low in U.S. book publishing.”

    Historian Michael O’Carroll called “La Popessa” “a world of arbitrary invention, carried at times to the wildest extremes”.

    Martha Schad proved it wrong in several cases. For example according to Murphy, Sr. Pascalina remembered that she travelled with Pacelli to the US, sitting alone in her cabin, praying and collecting newspaper clippings for him when she heard everybody, rich men, bishops and priests, celebrating wild parties. Indeed, as a letter written by her on the ship’s letterhead demonstrated, she followed on an entirely different ship!
    (Schad introduces the anecdote with the words: “Paul Murphy once again invented a silly story…”)

    Also, Murphy claimed that Cardinal Spellman brought Sr. Pascalina personally from Berlin to Rome out of compassion, after Pacelli left her there.  Indeed Schad, searching in Pascalina’s personal files, found evidence that Pacelli himself arranged that Sr. Pascalina remains his housekeeper even in Rome and paid her trip. Schad even reproduces a letter written by Pacelli to the Mother superior of Sr. Pascalina, written before he left to Rome, requesting her service specifically.

    As you see, in two completely unimportant incidents, Murphy had simply invented a story. This disqualifies him as a serious source. And this source you quote to “prove” that Pacelli financed Hitler? As I stated before, nothing of this was true. Hitler never needed to ask for donations. When he was still a soldier, HE WAS HIRED AND PAID to be the “promotional speaker” of the newly founded “Deutsche Arbeiterpartei”, which was later renamed in NSDAP. This was financed by the wealthy Thule Society, a group of neo-pagan right wing extremists who hated the Church as well as the Jews. Why should he ask an enemy for money?

    Pacelli disliked both, Communists and Nazis, but his Anticommunism only became fanatical after the war, when Italy was under threat of a Communist takeover. During the 1920ies, he even helped a young musician, a Russian Jew and a suspected Communist, and got him out  of jail. In 1926-28 he negotiated a Concordat with the Soviet Union and politely received the Soviet Foreign Minister. When he visited France in 1935, he met with members of the Communist Volksfront and agreed with them that Nazism is the greatest danger for Europe.

    Indeed the Nazis reacted. In 1938, the Nazi-owned Eher Verlag (Zentralverlag der NSDAP – Central publishing house of the Nazi Party), published a booklet “Men around the Pope” (Männer um den Papst”. On the cover: Pacelli.

    On page 11, under the headline “Pacelli’s unhappy love”, it states that Pacelli was so much in love with the Weimar Republic that he would never forgive th Nazis that they ended it. Quote: “when his high position allowed him to travel to North- and Southamerica and France … he put these trips in the service of his uncompromising fight against the National Socialism … For this fight he sacrifies everything and mobilizes any reachable force against the Third Reich … he hopes he can save his political system by getting closer to the western democracies. … The question is: Is the Vatican in favour of Pacelli’s fight against the Third Reich or does he has to serve the Vatican. This question arises even louder every day, especially after his trip to Paris in July 1937 and his play with the marxist People’s Front.”

    Under the headline “False course of the Vatican”, the booklet states that the French Communist leader Thorez approaches the Catholic church and that wide circle of Catholics were in favour of a cooperation between Catholics and Communists and claims that “the messengers of Stalin find friends in the political Catholicism”.
    And it states: “The Vatican is a sworn enemy of the totalitarian State (of National Socialism) even if he does not dare to make this animosity public. That’s why the diplomacy of Cardinal Secretary of State Pacelli connects with the democratic powers, that’s why this moving Catholicism embraces France and runs after Mr. Roosevelt and other politicians (of the West).”

    This booklet proves that the Nazis saw Pacelli an ally of the Communists and the western democracies against Nazi Germany!

    The same booklet states (truly): “With the Concordat, the Vatican wanted to get a juridical weapon in his hand to condemn  National Socialism in front of the world and stir up the Believers against the national socialist leadership of the Reich.”
     
    Obviously they could not forsee how the afterworld would distort history.

    Sincerely,
    Michael Hesemann

  • Ray Dubuque says:

    Michael Hesemann argues that :: “With the Concordat, the Vatican wanted to get a juridical weapon in his hand to condemn  National Socialism in front of the world and stir up the Believers against the national socialist leadership of the Reich.”
    What that Concordat actually did was require all Roman Catholic bishops to do the following:

    Article 16
    Before bishops take possession of their dioceses they are to take an oath of fealty either to the Reich Representative of the State concerned, or to the President of the Reich, according to the following formula :” Before God and on the Holy Gospels I swear and promise as becomes a bishop, loyalty to the German Reich and to the [regional – EC] State of . . .
    “I swear and promise to honor the legally constituted Government and to cause the clergy of my diocese to honor it. In the performance of my spiritual office and in my solicitude for the welfare and the interests of the German Reich, I will endeavor to avoid all detrimental acts which might endanger it.”
    You really have to admire the way the future Pope Pius XII negotiated this clever way to condemn  National Socialism in front of the world and stir up the Believers against the national socialist leadership of the Reich.”
    How could the Roman Catholic hierarchy ever publicly oppose Hitler’s policies when they had been required by their church to swear “before God and on the Holy Gospels” never  to do so ?

  • Mr. Hesemann, I am not here to discuss the merits or lack thereof of Murphy’s biography of Sister Pascalina, or even Sister Pascalina’s life. The book may have errors, but one needs to wonder why Murphy—a Catholic—would invent the story of Hitler visiting the nunciature, if it was indeed invented. One also needs to wonder why Sister Pascalina, who spoke with Murphy and presumably provided him with much of the material in the book and was alive when the book was published did not repudiate it if it was so laced with fabrications. In any case, I still find it completely plausible that Pacelli would have funded an anticommunist group, and that the Nazis were. You state that Pacelli did not become fanatically anticommunist until after the war when he feared a communist takeover of Italy, but you expect us to believe Pacelli was not fanatically anticommunist in 1919 when he was abused by a communist gang and the communists had already done a takeover of Bavaria? In 1919 Hitler did not have enough sources of funding. Like any politician of his time, and of any time, he sought and received funding from many sources. It’s simply untrue that Hitler never needed to ask for donations. It’s funny that once again you ask the question “Why should he ask an enemy for money?” Please re-read my response above to your slightly reworded question of why Pacelli would give money to his enemy.

    It’s interesting how you are so quick in critizing Murphy’s book, yet uncritically accept and quote as gospel truth what the Nazis published in their booklets. In 1938, Mr. Hesemann, the Nazis had already breached many provision in the Concordat, and the Church had expressed dissatisfaction. Of course the Nazis would badmouth the Church and Pacelli! What else did you expect them to do?

    But despite all the complaints you quote from Nazi propaganda, none of it states things like: “The Vatican abrogates the Concordat!” or “The Vatican urges all Catholic Germans to leave the Nazi Party, calling us evil and incompatible with Catholic teachings! German Volk, unite against the evil church!” or “The Vatican, proving they are vermin like the Jews, threatens world Catholics with excomunication if they participate in our holy quest to solve the Jewish Question!” or “Pope Pius finally shows his fangs: Hitler and Goebbels excommunicated!” or “The Vatican is part of the conspiracy of World Jewry for world domination: calls the Final Solution murder!”

  • Stephen says:

    Ray Dubuque,
    If you are, in fact, a former Dominican “monk”  then you are the only one in the world.
    Dominicans are not “monks” they are “friars”.  At any rate, there is no more hateful an anti-Catholic than a former priest especially of your generation.  Mr. Krupp…thank you!

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Mr. Hesemann’s post last night complained of the translation I used of Pacelli’s letter to the Vatican secretary of state.  I invite Mr. Hesemann to go ahead and “correct” this translation of Pacelli’s letter.  I have already endeavored to “correct” the two items to which his post objects.  Note that the overall tone of disgust throughout the letter remains.  

    Incidentally, one “correction” uses the phrase, “a certain smile”.  However, the use of the words, “a certain,” generally implies something which it is impolite to mention.  Just as “a gentleman of a certain age” means “an old man,” a man who is over the hill physically and possibly also mentally, so also a woman “with a certain smile” indicates a woman of questionable sexual morals, or at the very least a “suggestive smile”.  I.e., I suggest that the translation “suggestive smile” is actually mild compared to what the original actually suggests. 

    Here is the translation I have found.  I have “corrected” the items complained of.  By all means please “correct” the translation further.  Doubtless the original lacks anything about “chaotic,” “filth,” “confusion,” “vile,” and certainly must lack “nauseating”  And when I see the reference to the prior use of the building as the home of a king I must conclude that it appears in order to contrast this high noble sovereign use of the building with the present reigning filthy confusion, and thus to present the current users of the building as all the more “vile” and “nauseating”. 

    Here it is:
     
    “The scene that presented itself at the palace was indescribable.  The confusion totally chaotic, the filth completely nauseating;…the building, once the home of a king, resounding with screams, vile language, profanities.  Absolute hell.  An army of employees were dashing to and fro…and in the midst of all this, a group of young women, of dubious appearance, Jews like the rest of them, hanging around in all the offices, provocative and with a certain smile.  The boss of this female group was Levine’s mistress, a young Russian woman, a Jew and a divorcee, who was in charge.  And it was to her that the nunciature was obliged to pay homage in order to proceed. 
     
    “This Levine is a young man, of about thirty or thirty-five, also Russian and a Jew.  Pale, dirty, with drugged eyes, hoarse voice, vulgar, repulsive, with a face that is both intelligent and sly.  He deigned to receive the Monsignor Uditore in the corridor, surrounded by an armed escort, one of whom was an armed hunchback, his faithful bodyguard.  With a hat on his head and smoking a cigarette, he listened to what Monsignor Schioppa told him, whining repeatedly that he was in a hurry and had more important things to do.” 
     
    The incessant references to the “Jewishness” of this one, that one, and “the rest of them” serve to express the assumption, which Pacelli either held consciously or unconsciously or which he wished to instill in the reader–the assumption that “the Jews” were disgusting and that “the Jews” had supposedly “instigated” the Bolshevik Revolution of the “Russians”.  Yes, “Russian,” too, is a pejorative word, since the Russians are perceived as enemies. 

    The overuse of the word “Jew” serves to underscore the concept that the aim of the bolsheviks and of the Russians served the supposed stereotypical “aim” of “the Jews,” namely the destruction of Christian faith and Christian civilization.

    The language drips with disgust, and the disgust focuses, first and foremost, on the group’s “Jewishness”—totally consistent with the old Christian stereotype against the Jewish mode of worship, now transplanted to Jews of whatever belief, including especially the idea of “the Jew” as foreigner and as bolshevik.
     
    I will be interested to see how Mr. Hesemann manages to “translate” the letter such as to remove every trace of what comes across as an expression, or an instigation, of disgust with “Jews”. 

    I did not want to present the whole thing, since reading it could indeed infect the reader with such disgust.  It might even revive the canard of “the Jew” as bolshevik.  This “bolshevik” charge instills such mistrust that the reader might easily disbelieve any honest statement of Jewish aversion to communism.  The reader might discount Jewish awareness of the millions of Jews killed by Stalin.  The reader might discount the fact that, for decades, Jews were demonstrating against the USSR to “let my people go” because of all the Jewish Refusniks who had petitioned for permission to leave the country and who, because of this request, had lost their jobs and then been arrested as vagrants, spending years under harsh conditions in prison for the “crime” of wanting to get OUT of the Soviet Union. 

    Real Jews are all too well aware of the evils and dangers of a self-righteous ideology such as Communism.  Communists, like other self-righteous ideologues, want to make the world perfect, and if that requires them to murder millions of people and make the rest of the people miserable, well, that’s OK with the ideologues.   But while we can avow the truth of our aversion for such ideologies, this truth, like anything which we feel in our hearts and think in our minds, is impossible for others to witness or verify. 

    Readers, what you can verify is the falseness of the description given in Pacelli’s letter–the loathesome image of “filth” and “chaos” as typical of “Jews”.  Go, now, without warning, to any Jewish home or community center and note the truth:   that Jewish homes, offices, and institutions are at least as clean, swept, and decent as your own.     

  • Mr. Hesemann, regarding Pacelli’s report of the episode with the people from the Munich Soviet, I think you may be parsing too much, and in the process misrepresenting the meaning of the letter. In it, as you correctly said, it says, “una schiera di giovani donne”, which Cornwell and others present as “a gang of young women” and you believe it should be the more neutral “a group of young women”. Well, I am not an expert in Italian, but I believe “schiera” means “crowd”, so I personally think that given the context (which you should always take into account when translating) using the term “gang” instead of “crowd” seems more appropriate than “group”. You then accuse him of mistranslating “gruppo femminile” as “female rabble” instead of “female group”, which would be the proper literal translation. However, as I said earlier, in the context I don’t think using “rabble” instead of “group” is innapropriate, given that a rabble is a type of group which perfectly describes what Pacelli is talking about. You then accuse him of maliciously mistranslating “con arie provocanti e con sorrisi equivoci” as “lecherous demeanor and suggestive smiles” when, according to you, it should have been ”provocative and with a certain smile”. But then, “con arie provocanti” means with provocative air or appearance. I don’t think saying “ lecherous demeanor” instead of “provocative appearance” is a mistranslation. You translate “sorrici equivoci” as “a certain smile”, which is not bad, but “equivoci” is also “suspicious”. In this context, given what the writer thinks and is saying of these women, the “suspicious” smiles are not just the vague “certain”, but rather the more appropriate “suggestive”. Feel free to post other lines you feel are mistranslated and we’ll analyze them as well. As a matter of fact, it would be interesting to see your interpretation of the entire letter.

    In conclusion, I do not think Cornwell made a manipulative translation of this letter at all, but I think you did, because you are trying to couch this letter in a certain softness that is not only semantically improper and not there, but is clearly not the meaning the writer tried to convey.

  • Mr. Wilensky,
    Murphys book came out in the same year in which Sister Pasqualina died, more than that in a language she did not speak, so the question is to which extent she learned about it, received a copy and had the possibility to start legal countermeasures. It is a fact that the book is full of inventerd stories, therefore I doubt that any interview took place and if it did that Mr. Murphy understood what she said. Anyway, the story is just not true and it comes from a highly suspicious source, a book full of lies and inventions, discredited in the eyes of most serious historians.

    I would not call Pacelli a fanatic anticommunist at all before 1946, since he vene during the 1930ies had no problem to start a dialogue with the French communist People’s front, for example, or to negotiate a Concordate during the 1920ies in Berlin. Yes, some revolutionaries pointed a gun towards him, but it was Pacelli who, after conservative forces defeated the communists and took over power in Munich, hid and protected the very communists who threatened his life only days before. In the same year, when the Social democrat Friedrich Ebert became the German Post-Revolutionary first democratic President, Pacelli immediately received him and assured his support for the build-up of a new, democratic Germany. During the German occupation, Pope Pius XII not only hid hundreds of communist partisans (some of them in the same monasteries as the persecuted Jews), he also used the only audience he granted to the penant SS general Karl Wolff (who afterwards came in contact with the American OSS and destroyed Hitler’s plan of a “Alpine fortress” by his capitulation) to request the release of communist partisan sentenced to death by the Nazis.
    So you claim Hitler asked Pacelli for a donation in 1919. But only in the fall of 1919 he entered the Deutsche Arbeiter Partei (DAP) as a normal member (membership card nr. 555), in November 1919 he was hired to work as a promotional speaker, earning a salary of 20 Goldmark a week for his work and only on February 24, 1920 he Party presented a program, calling itself NSDAP a week later. He became the Party leader only in March 1920, after he left the Reichswehr (German Army). Therefore in 1919, he was neither in the position nor did he have any reason to ask anyone for money. He only had this position after March 1920! Therefore, for mere historical reasons this sensationalist story, like all the other ones in Murphy’s book, just can’t be true.

    I quoted the Nazi propaganda to show that they themselves had no reason to expect any support from th Vatican and considered Pacelli a collaborator of bolshevism and an enemy of Nazism. And certainly you can’t expect this brochure, published in 1937, neither tocall pacelli “Pope Pius XII” (he was elected in March 1939) nor to mention the “Final solution”, since first of all the holocaust was an above top secret matter and second … it started with the Wannsee conference in January 1942 – FIVE YEARS LATER.  Since you call yourself an author and historian I might supect you know better and have to resist your claim as SHEER DEMAGOGUERY! Not that you quote invented interviews, you also expect a historical source to refer to future events … very impressive methodology, indeed!

    But well, yes, the Nazis DID claim that the Vatican is influenced by the World Jewry.They also state, in the same brochzre, that the “Curia misused the Concordat as an instrument in their fight against the (Nazi) Party). When Pius XII was elected, the Nazi newspaper “Das Reich” claimed: “Pius XI was a half-jew, since his mother was a Dutch Jewess, but Cardinal Pacelli is a full Jew”. By the way, at the same day, the Palestine Post (today: Jerusalem Post) commented: “The enthusiastic reactions on his election – especially in France, England and America – don’t surprise when we consider the important role Pacelli played in the lastest Papal resistance against the insane theories of racism”.

    Obviously the Nazsi did not like their “ally” at all when the Jews had not recognized yet or any time before Hochhuths propaganda play that Pius was supposed to be Antisemite or “Hitler’s Pope” …

    Strange that you believe you know so much better than his contemporaries …

    Ms. Vise,

    the original report does not read as you quote it:
    “This Levine is a young man, of about thirty or thirty-five, also Russian and a Jew.  Pale, dirty, with drugged eyes, hoarse voice, vulgar, repulsive, with a face that is both intelligent and sly.”
    Instead, it states:

    “This Levien (we are talking about max Levien, not Eugen Levine!!) is a young man, also a Russian and Jew, of about thirty or thirtyfive years. Pale,  smutty, with empty eyes (NO word of  drug use!!) and a rough voice; a truly repulsive character but still of an intelligent and smart physiognomy.” 

    You see the difference?

    Sincerely,
    Michael Hesemann

  • Albert says:

    I don’t understand how so many Jews do not see the Catholic Church as one of their greatest allies…especially in Israel…yet there are news reports of offenses by some Jews against Christian Holy Places that are too offensive to write. Pius XII was a holy and brilliant Pope who opened the doors to modern scholarship, science, and in many way brought the Church finally into the 20th century…it has a long way to go…given…but while many say that Pius should have done more during the war…who can those critics point to who did any more than this Pope? When the United States and Britain turned their back to the Jews in the early days of the war before the holocaust…it was onlt the Pope and the Church who did anything to help to rescue people…by some accounts as many as 300-600,000. While it is always true that more could have been done, no one who was not present can possibly have an accurate grasp of the situation at the time. yet those who were alive, including Golda Meir and other prominent Jewish leaders, all praised this Pope for his work. Many factors determine who should be elevated to the ranks of Sainthood in the Church and it is no more appropriate for non-Catholics to feel that they should have some say in this matter than it would be for any outside group to feel that it should have a say over how Israel conducts its affairs with the Palestinians. Pius XII is already regarded as a Saint by hundreds of thoudsands of Catholics, and I for one look for ward in the near future to when this current Pope finally canonizes him. Those who wish to rewrite history regarding this Pope are no better than those deniers who wish to rewrite the horrors of the holocaust. They are both ill informed at best and insensitively negligent or hateful at worst. Pius’ 250 Swiss guards would not have fared well against the Germans…and anyone who thinks the Nazis would have permitted global broadcasts of the nature that many seem to wish had occurred are naive at best. Many Jews would have been saved if America, Australia and England had not turned them away at the outset of the war, when Hitler was still willing to actually let people leave…but I never hear anyone condemning Roosevelt…who by refusing to admit Jews to the United States, essentially condemned them. I challenge anyone to tell us who did more for the Jews during the holocaust than Pius XII…could he have done more? Perhaps…what world leader did more?

  • Ray Dubuque says:

    Don’t wonder why Roman Catholics are constitutionally unable to figure out  why they should be embarrassed by the attempt of millions of their cooreligiouists to exteminate the entireJewish population of Europe.  They have more important things to ponder, as our friend Stephen demonstrates, i.e. the  difference between “monks”and “friars”.
    And for your information, Stephen, (who claims  ” there is no more hateful an anti-Catholic than a former priest especially of your generation.”    it hasn’t been the thousands of FORMER priests, but THE ONES WHO STAYED LOYAL TO THE CHURCH who have been found to be abusers of thousands of innocent young Catholic boys and girls.
    As competitors for the title of “most hateful an ant-Catholic”  I’m not sure I deserve such an honor, considering rivals like :

    “One of the most intriguing conversations ever recorded in Rome was between the English pope, Adrian IV (1154 – 59), and his plain-spoken compatriot John of Salisbury, later Bishop of Chartres.  “What”, the pope whispered, “do people really think of the Pope and the Church?”  “People are saying”, John answered boldly, “that the church behaves more like a stepmother than a mother: that in it is a fatal vein of avarice, scribes and Pharisees laying grievous burdens on men’s shoulders, accumulating precious furniture, covetous to a degree.  And ” he added, ” that the holy Father himself is burdensome and scarcely to be borne.”
    “St. Bonaventure, Cardinal and General of the Franciscans, likened Rome to the harlot of the Apocalypse, thus anticipating Lutherby three centuries.  This harlot, he said, makes kings and nations drunk with the wine of her whoredoms.  In Rome, he claimed to have found nothing but lust and simony, even in the top ranks of the church.  Rome corrupts prelates, they corrupt their clergy, the clergy corrupt the people.”
    Dante, a devout Catholic, not only gave hell to pope after pope, he dealt just as firmly with the Curia.  Cardinals, who, according to a devout Durham monk, were once ‘glittering like prostitutes’, are stripped naked in the Fourth Circle of the Inferno.
    “Bishop Pelayo, a papal aide in Avignon, suggested that the Holy See had infected the whole church with the poison of avarice.  “If the pope behaves like this, people say, why shouldn’t we?”  On a quite ordinary day, his master, Pope John XXII, excommunicated one patriarch, five archbishops, thirty bishops and forty-six abbots.  Their only crime: they were behind in paying the pope his taxes. ”
    “Petrach’s friend, Machiavelli wrote: “The Italians owe a great debt to the Roman church and its clergy.  Through their example, we have lost all true religion and become complete unbelievers.  Take it as a rule, the nearer a nation dwells to the Roman Curia, the less religion it has.”
    “St. Catherine of Sienna told Pope Gregory XI that she did not need to visit the papal court to smell it.  ‘The stench of the Curia, Holiness, has long ago reached my city.’ ”
    “In the 15th century, St. Antonino, Archbishop of Florence, disapproved of his city selling bonds at a profit: this was usury.  When his critics argued, “The Roman church allows it”, Antonino replied: “Members of the Curia have concubines.  Does that prove that concubinage is lawful?”  The sheer ordinariness of his argument is striking.”
    “One reason for there being more prostitutes in Rome than in any other capital city was the large number of celibates.  The convents were often brothels.  Women sometimes took a dagger with them to confession to protect themselves against their confessor.”
    The 16th centuries scholar Erasmus, one of the wittiest men of his or any age, said the tyranny of Rome was worse than that of the Turks.  He wrote a sketch in which Pope Julius is trying to bluster his way past St. Peter at the heavenly gates.  Peter screws up his eyes, unable to recognize a successor (of St. Peter) in this bearded warrior.  Julius removes his helmet and dons his tiara.  Peter is even more suspicious.  Finally an exasperated Julius holds up his keys in front of Peter’s nose.  The apostle having examined them, slowly shakes his head.  “Sorry, but they will not fit anything in this Kingdom.”
    The Dutchman, Pope Adrian VI, confessed to the diet of Nuremberg in 1522 that all evils in the church proceeded from the Roman Curia.  “For many years, abominable things have taken place in the chair of Peter, abuses in spiritual matters, translations of the commandments, so that everything here has been wickedly perverted.”
    “The Jesuit scholar and papal defender, Robert Cardinal Bellarmine was later to admit: “For some years before Luther and Calvin there was in the church almost no religion left.”  The papacy, he said, had almost eliminated Christianity.”
    “Two years before he was excommunicated by Pope Leo, Luther wrote “It is a distressing and terrible thing to see the Head of Christendom, who boasts of being the Vicar of Christ and successor to St. Peter, living in a worldly pomp that no king or emperor can equal: so that in him who calls himself most Holy and most spiritual there is more worldliness than in the world itself.”  (pp. 119-120)
    In his sixteenth-century Ecclesiastical Annals, which the famous Catholic Lord Acton called ‘the greatest history of the Church ever written”, Cardinal Baronius was understandably embarrassed by events he records with remarkable honesty.  The pontiffs of this period he calls “invaders of the Holy See, less apostles than apostates”.  On the Chair of St. Peter sat not men but monsters in the shape of men.  “Vainglorious . . .   filled with fleshly lusts and cunning in all forms of wickedness governed Rome and prostituted the Chair of St. Peter for their minions and paramours.” . . .

  • Ray Dubuque says:

    Albert, there’s a very obvious remedy the puzzlement you express: ” I don’t understand how so many Jews do not see the Catholic Church as one of their greatest allies”.  You can READ works such as the following Jewish scholars (I believe)  who spell out why they have problems with the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the Jewish Holocaust:

    Pius XII and the Third Reich. by Saul Friedlander, (1966)
    The Years of Persecution 1933-1939, (published in 1997),
    The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews 1939-1945, by Saul Friedlander, (2007)
    reviewed at theage.com.au/news/books/holocausts-bystanders
    The Popes Against the Jews : The Vatican’s Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism“, by David I.  Kertzer, (2001)
    The Crucified Jew: Twenty Centuries of Anti-semitism ” by Dan Cohen-Sherbok , (1992)
    The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965, by Michael Phayer, (2001).
    “Pius XII, the Holocaust, and the Cold War”, by Michael Phayer, (2007).
    “The Real Odessa”, by Uki Goni, 2002, demonstrates that Pius knew that ecclesiastical institutions in Rome were hiding war criminals.
    Hitler’s Willing Executioners“, by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, (1996)
    ( particularly, pp. 431-441 ) and a whole new book on the topic
    A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust 
    and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair
    “, by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen (2002)
    The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany” by Guenter Lewy, (McGraw-Hill, 1964)
    NAZI Terror, The Gestapo, Jews and Ordinary Germans” (1999), by Eric Johnson, a professor of history.
    Unholy Trinity: The Vatican, The NAZIs, and The Swiss Banks (1998) ” by Mark Aarons, John Loftus &
    The Vatican and the Holocaust: A Preliminary Report. International Jewish Catholic-Jewish Historical Commission: Submitted to The Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with Jews.  (2000).
    The Abandonment of the Jews“by David Wyman:
    The NAZI Holocaust” (2006) , by Ronnie S. Landau
    Perpetrators Victims Bystanders: The Jewish Catastrophe“, by Hilberg, Raul, 1933-1945.  NY: Harper Perennial Library, (1993). and regarding the record of the Protestant churches, some of which may have performed even more poorly, read:
    48 Hours of Kristallnacht: Night of Destruction/Dawn of the Holocaust“,
    by Mitchell Bard, (The Lyons Press 2008)

  • Ms. Vise,

    you wrote:
    “Readers, what you can verify is the falseness of the description given in Pacelli’s letter–the loathesome image of ”filth” and “chaos” as typical of “Jews”.  Go, now, without warning, to any Jewish home or community center and note the truth:   that Jewish homes, offices, and institutions are at least as clean, swept, and decent as your own.”

    Well, may I remind you that Schioppa, quoted by Pacelli, did not describe a Jewish sthetl nor the residence  of a Rabbi or a nice Jewish family … but the headquarter of a communist terror cell!
    You are completly right: Filfth and chaos is absolutely untypical for Jews. I’ve been to Israel and you immediately realize you are in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem when it becomes clean, decent and tidy. And when I am in Krakow I always eat in the Jewish quarter, because it’s clean, good quality food and a cozy, decent environment. 

    BUT: Filfth and chaos IS typical for marxist student revolutionaries. I know this from my university, I know it from Italian universities: radical leftism IS anarchic and chaotic. You recognize a communist student often enough from his odor, at least when he is German.  And that’s what Schioppa described: the chaos of a communist revolutionary gang. They happened to be Russians, they happened to be Jews – that’s unfortunately a historical fact. To draw from a few individuals to the entire people is such a stupid conclusion that neither Pacelli nor Schioppa would ever dare to think making it. Jack the Ripper was English but certainly not every English is a Ripper.
    Levien was a Russian Jew and a marxist but certainly not every marxist was a Russian Jew. So please stop searching for stereotypes where they don’t exist.


     

  • Mr. Hesemann, this discussion with you has been most enlightening to me. First I learned Eugenio Pacelli was a great lover of Jews, and now I learn he was a great lover of communists prior to 1946! This is great! I am so glad to have played some part in prompting you to make such great contributions to the historiography of the period in question.

    It should have been obvious to you that I was not talking about the particular issue of Nazi propaganda you cited, but rather Nazi propaganda in general when I complained that the hypothetical headlines I posted never appeared in Nazi propaganda. So, that was no demagoguery, no referral to future events, but was rather just your own misunderstanding.

    Continuing with the supposedly mistranslated report Pacelli sent to the Secretary of State, you translate “Pallido, sporco, dagli occhi scialbi” as “Pale, smutty, with empty eyes (NO word of  drug use!!)” instead of Cornwell’s “ Pale, dirty, with drugged eyes“. Well, let’s see. The word “sporco” means “dirty”. Alternatively it can be “obscene”, which is close enough to your “smutty”, but the main translation is exactly what Cornwell used.

    Cornwell 1, Hesemann 0

    Then, you translate “dagli occhi scialbi” as “with empty eyes”, instead of Cornwell’s “with drugged eyes”. Well, “scialbi” means “dull, or pale”, so neither of the two translations is exactly accurate, although I suspect that the report meant to say Levien’s eyes looked lifeless, so you cannot really accuse Cornwell of maliciously mistranslating the word as “drugged”.

    Cornwell 0.5, Hesemann 0.5

    Then you translate “un vero tipo ributtante” as “a truly repulsive character “, while Cornwell translates it as “vulgar, repulsive”. Well, “un vero” is “a truly” as you translated and Cornwell translated as “vulgar”, so you get a point for being more accurate (even though he does not change the meaning), while “tipo” is “guy or fellow”, not “character”, so he gets a point, and “ributtante” is “repugnant”, close enough to “repulsive” which both of you use, so both of you get points. I’d say that both of you are close enough and both convey the same meaning.

    Cornwell 2, Hesemann 2

    Lastly, you translate “una fisionomia intelligente e furba” as “an intelligent and smart physiognomy”, while Cornwell translates it as “a face that is both intelligent and sly”. Let’s see: “fisonomia” is actually “features or face”, so both got it right. Both of you correctly translate “intelligente” as “intelligent”, so both get a point. “Furba” means “sly, cunning”, so Cornwell got it right here too.

    Cornwell 3, Hesemann 2

    In conclusion, Mr. Hesemann, Mr. Cornwell gets 6.5 points on this part of the translation, while you get 4.5. Obviously I didn’t give points to the previous section we examined, but there too he was more accurate. In other words, your characterization of Cornwell as malicious and misleading, at least regarding his translation of this report, is incorrect. If you want to know my opinion, I actually think you owe him an apology given how much you have ostracized him here and elsewhere. I hope you will remove all occurrences of your mistranslated report on the PTWF site and elsewhere. I hope that this exercise shows Cornwell’s translation is a faithful rendition of the original. I do not think you were malicious, but I do think that once again you were misleading because you attempted to portray this report as something lighter and different from what it really was: an antisemitic rant.

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    “This Levine is a young man, of about thirty or thirty-five, also Russian and a Jew.  Pale, dirty, with drugged eyes, hoarse voice, vulgar, repulsive, with a face that is both intelligent and sly.”
    Instead, it states:
    “This Levien (we are talking about max Levien, not Eugen Levine!!) is a young man, also a Russian and Jew, of about thirty or thirtyfive years. Pale,  smutty, with empty eyes (NO word of  drug use!!) and a rough voice; a truly repulsive character but still of an intelligent and smart physiognomy.” 

    My quote only gives the last name, and gives it as Levine; perhaps someone else can supply the correct spelling and the first name. 

    I believe the word “smart” is peculiar to English.  English is rich in redundancies; many concepts have both Latin-rooted and Germanic-rooted versions.  Example:  serpent (Latin root) and snake (Germanic root).   Neither English nor Italian would use “intelligent” and “smart” (which are synonyms, just as serpent and snake are synonyms) redundantly the way you have presented them.  Hence, the second Italian word must mean something somewhat different from merely “intelligent/smart” such as clever, cunning, or sly. 

    In the second, supposedly more “correct” translation, I have italicized the words which still make it clear that the man in question–whatever his name–is regarded as disgusting.  Indeed, in your translation he remains repulsive.

    Meanwhile, when describing a repulsive disgusting set of people, it is quite unnecessary to repeatedly mention that they are Jews.  It would have been enough to have mentioned it once, unless the feeling was that all these epithets are to be applied to Jews in general. 

    I know when I am being labelled and when my Jewishness is just being mentioned in passing.  And this letter mentions the word “Jew” far more than in passing.  Such language indicates an attitude about Jews, whether held by the user or intended for the reader/hearer, or both. 

    It amazes me that you keep bringing up irrelevancies.  You mention Jewish cleanliness as if the fact of Jewish cleanliness proved something about with this letter.  Of course it is true that Jews are clean.  I mentioned the fact of Jewish cleanliness, however, precisely in order to counteract the horrific effect on the reader of this ghastly diatribe, which, like any words intended to slander Jews, repeatedly uses the word “Jew” in a context of filth, immorality, and other disgusting matters such as vocal and physical ugliness.   I am insulted that you wish to claim that this vile letter is friendly to Jews.  If that is what you call friendly I can only imagine how much worse it would have to be for you to acknowledge it as offensive. 

    If you want to honor the repeated use of the word “Jew,” try this:  the Jew, Sandy Koufax, a great athlete and a Jew, was honored in May, at the White House, along with a plethora of other Jews chosen to represent the orthodox Jews, the Jewish sports greats, the leaders of teenaged Jews, the leading Jews of other Jewish organizations such as Bnai Brith, American Jewish Committee, and other communities of Jews within the United States.  During the reception, the President spoke of the great service that the Jews offer America, Jews who serve in the armed forces in war time, as well as Jews who create lifesaving medical technology and creative computer technology, among others, in peace time.  He spoke also of the many examples presented by Jews of courage who have upheld the highest Jewish values even when inconvenient or dangerous.   

    If this, or anything remotely like it, had been written by a Vatican nuncio, it would have had a vastly different effect on the reader than the letter written by Pacelli.  Pacelli’s letter had the effect it was intended to have, the effect its language was designed to evoke. 

    The insistent defense of the letter suggests that this negative effect fails to offend. 

    But this negative effect comes across to me as absolutely offensive.  Perhaps that is where we differ, since I am revolted by offensive portrayals of any group and I cannot pretend to find offensive portrayals OK.   I have felt just as distressed to read such a letter repeatedly using the name of some other ethnic group–Russians, or Latinos, or Poles, Hawaians, Japanese, Africans, Arabs, Australian aborigines, native Americans, anybody. 

    For example, in the book, “Not without my daughter,” an American woman rightly seeks to reclaim her daughter from her Muslim in-laws and to return to the United States, but her repeated disgusted references to her Muslim captors should offend any reader.  There was no need to make them out to be disgusting just because they were holding her prisoner.  They were her enemies, yes, and she had a right to say so, but her repeated depiction of them as disgusting was itself offensive.  I have been entertained by Muslims on multiple occasions and have gladly enjoyed the delicious food they have generously offered, and I cannot condone language that makes anyone, including one’s enemies, look amoral or disgusting.   

    I remain surprised that Mr. Hesemann seems unable to notice when this occurs, and that he fails to be offended by it.  I object when the Pope does it, and I objected when a fellow-American woman writer did it to her Muslim captors, I objected when a Norwegian friend tried to do it to African-Americans, and if I ever find a Jew doing it to Catholics I will object then too.  Depicting the members of any ethnicity or religion as disgusting is dehumanizing and wrong.  I am sure that Pope Pius XII was clean and personable.  I nonetheless object to his negatively characterizing “a Jew,” and “a Jew,” and “Jews like all the rest of them” in the dehumanizing fashion of this letter.  There is no use reminding me again that the people depicted were communists; oddly, he does not say, “a communist,” and “a communist,” and “communists like all the rest of them”.  Instead, what he chooses to emphasize and reemphasize–without in fact verifying whether this ethnic characterization is accurate or even relevant–is his unqualified insistence that each of these persons is supposedly a “Jew”.   

  • Ms. Vise,

    fortunately you are not my teacher, since you are not objective at all. If you prefer a translation in which a “gruppo femminile” is translated as a “female rubble” instead of group and a “schiera” as “gang” instead of “crowd”, if you prefer a translation which INVENTS “drugged” as an explanation for “empty eyes” (which were most probably just the result of a lack of sleep), then that’s your personal taste. Since I worked as a translator, both at an international institution (as a volunteer in the summer of 1983) and professionell, translating books from English into German), I know how to translate a text and I would never manipulate a text in such an evil misdirection as Cornwell did. I admit that I am not a perfect translator from Italian (my fourth language) into English (my second), but so be it.

    My active vocabulary is still limited, so if you don’t like “smart” for “furba”, “google” offers “crafty”, the proper German would be “schlau”, which is besides intelligence just cleverness which can be an intelligent cleverness or just a good instinct but has not a negative aspect as the English “sly” used by Cornwell.

    You are right that you don’t have to repeat that someone is a Jew if you deal with the same person. But Schioppa, in his report (quoted by Pacelli) referred 1st to the group of female revolutionaries, 2nd to Leviens girlfriend and 3rd to Levien himself. You can at least suspect that among the revolutionary were at least some Germans, Bavarians, Catholics or Jews, as well as other Russians, Orthodox or Jews, but this was obviously not the case. This made the revolutionary leadership at least an outside one, sharing neither the nationality nor the religion with the Bavarian majority and, at least, was considered an interesting fact by Schioppa. Now you can blame Pacelli for not editing his Uditore’s report (if he even wrote it and not just corrected it), but that’s all. Does this make him an Antisemite in your eyes?

    No, I would not call this report friendly and where do I do so (as you claim)? I would call it rather critical or sceptical towards an anarchic gang of communist revolutionaries who are just ignoring everything known as style, good education or decent behaviour. But they do it ALTHOUGH they are Jews and should know and behave better (since they certainly had a better education, which they just ignore) and not BECAUSE they are, and this is obvious from this letter! What I blame you for is a generalisation which was never intended by the author (Schioppa), an unnecessary excitement about the mentioned detail that they were eventually Jews and an unjustified blame for Pacelli who just delivered Schioppas report to the Vatican, but did not write it hhimself since he was just not there.  I would agree wiith you if the letter would include any generalisation like “typically for Jews” or “like all Jews” or anything like that, but it doesn’t. Their Jewishness was mentioned with the same unemotional tone as their Russian nationality. And strangely enough, no author ever used this letter to “prove” that Pacelli disliked Russians. Why should it mean that he disliked Jews? Schioppa, the author, obviously just disliked anarchic revolutinaries, whether they were Russian, Bavarian, Jewish or Catholic!

    I never claim that Pacelli LOVED communists, but he did not HATE them, at least until 1946 and the threat of a communist takeover in Italy. He very rarely hated anyone and certainly not an individual in which he could see anything good – and keep in mind that many early communists were idealists in some way. Anyway, it’s a matter of fact that he helped the very same communists who pointed a gun on his chest to escape persecution in 1919, since they were guilty of bad behaviour but not of murder or any serious crime (even the Nuntiature’s car was returned). 

    Yes, Pacelli did not hate communists at that time. Instead, he DID want a dialogue with the Soviet Union and negotiated a Concordate during the 1920ies, he started a dialogue with the French Communist People’s Front during the 1937ies, especially as an ally against Nazi Germany. Communism had positive elements, especially the idea of social justice. It had negative elements, too, as the atheism and persecutions of the Church, but this is something he wanted to end by negotiation. National Socialism, on the other side, was sheer hate and Hitler was a sick, evil fanatic who was “not capable of moderation”, as he told the German Consule in Cologne (Dept. of State Memorandum of March 3, 1939, file no. 800 AWK-RM).

     

  • Brian Cook says:

    Whatever the truth is, may God bring it out and bring peace between Catholics and Jews.

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Dear Mr. Wilensky
    As promised we retrieved the speech of Pacelli given in Budapest May 25, 1938 which you claim previously was clearly against the Jewish people proving his anti-Semitism and was not against the G-dless regimes of National Socialism and Communism.
    Here you will see that Pacelli is referring to the Nazis and their promises when he states: the gloomy face of the godless, shaking the closed fist of the anti-Christ against heaven and everything that is most sacred to us. In front of us, the parade stretches out, of those who would to make all the world’s peoples—and each person individually—believe that they will find prosperity only by distancing themselves from the Gospel of Christ.
    Here he is stating that even those Christians who are not openly against the church acre also being carried away by the tendencies of the moment and have become unconscience accomplices in disbelief and the battle against Christ. In front of us, a shapeless crowd stretches out, of those who, without personally being hostile to Jesus Christ, allow themselves to be carried along by the troubled waves of indifference or frivolity or who, carried away by the tendencies of the moment, effectively become unconscious accomplices in disbelief and in the battle against Christ. In front of us, sad “stations” have risen up—whether bloody or not—which the Church of Christ, in this time of disarray, walks on the Way of the Cross along with Him.”
    If you notice when Pacelli refers to the “Crucifige of the masses”, he actually states that they were “misled and stirred up by a propaganda of lies” This is 40 years before Nostra Aetate and presumes the innocents of the masses (Jews) who were stirred up by lies and propaganda. This is also a precursor to removing the notion that the death of Christ will be borne by the descendants of the Jews. In addition he clearly states that the fault of the crucifixion squarely applies the blame to “the mocking robe placed upon Him by the cynical Herod … the denial of justice on the part of Pilate the opportunist …:”
    “In front of us arises the gloomy face of the godless, shaking the closed fist of the anti-Christ against heaven and everything that is most sacred to us. In front of us, the parade stretches out, of those who would to make all the world’s peoples—and each person individually—believe that they will find prosperity only by distancing themselves from the Gospel of Christ—that happiness and the greatness of societies (just like that of individuals) can only wilt in the shadow of the Cross. In front of us, a shapeless crowd stretches out, of those who, without personally being hostile to Jesus Christ, allow themselves to be carried along by the troubled waves of indifference or frivolity or who, carried away by the tendencies of the moment, effectively become unconscious accomplices in disbelief and in the battle against Christ. In front of us, sad “stations” have risen up—whether bloody or not—which the Church of Christ, in this time of disarray, walks on the Way of the Cross along with Him.”
    “Whoever sees, in the Eucharistic presence of the Saviour, merely the invisible continuation of His visible presence in the past, will no longer be scandalized to see the Eucharistic Christ treated today just as He was once treated during His earthly life as the Word of God made man. The bareness of the stable … His flight before the persecution of the tyrant Herod, who trembled on account of His throne … the hidden life of Nazareth … the scornful indifference of Capharnaum (Luke 10:15) … the failure of the disciples … the solitude of Gethsemane … the verdict of the Sanhedrin … the brutality of His torturers … the mocking robe placed upon Him by the cynical Herod … the denial of justice on the part of Pilate the opportunist … the Crucifige of the masses, who had been misled and stirred up by a propaganda of lies … the mockeries and curses at the foot of the Cross … the redemptive mission and preaching of the Good News falsely portrayed as a rebellion against earthly powers … the seals of the public authorities on the sepulchre … the official denials which were forced upon the witnesses of the Resurrection … all of this, and many further details, which in our own time are being renewed under various forms, are not able to frighten, nor even surprise, those who have drunk from the pure and clear springs of the Eucharist, those whose eyes, veiled like those of the disciples [on the road to] Emmaus in terms of the divine word, have managed to be opened at the breaking of the bread.”

  • Mr. Krupp, you should really write in the web site’s text box or on a simple word procesor like Notepad. Every time you paste text here it brings all the formatting information with it.

    I am not quite sure why you felt important to post all that material from the Budapest speech Cardinal Pacelli gave. It’s totally irrelevant to the point I was making, and you didn’t even include what would presumably be a better translation from the French of the passage I quoted! Are you trying to change the subject? Sure, he is talking about the godless here (which by the way, was a common Christian accusation of the Jews), but that in no way show or proves that he was not talking about jews in the passage I quoted. Here it is again to make it easier for you to find it:

    “Jesus conquers! He who so often was the recipient of the rage of his enemies, he who suffered the persecutions of those of whom he was one, he shall be triumphant in the future as well. . . . As opposed to the foes of Jesus, who cried out to his face, “Crucify him!”—we sing him hymns of our loyalty and our love. We act in this fashion, not out of bitterness, not out of a sense of superiority, not out of arrogance toward those whose lips curse him and whose hearts reject him even today.”

    But even though the passage you quoted is different from the one we were discussing, it’s also interesting, albeit not for the reason you think. Here we see Pacelli once again accusing Jews of deicide. The fact that he attributes this act to having been “misled and stirred up by a propaganda of lies” is immaterial. To him, they did it. So, unfortunately for you, your attempt to paint Pacelli as exonerating the Jews in the spirit of Nostra Aetate didn’t work. On the contrary, it made it worse, and here we have another instance of Pacelli thinking and talking about the Jews in the same terms as he likely wote at about the same time in Pope Pius XI’s Mit brennender Sorge: “. . . the Christ who took His human nature from a people that was to crucify Him.”

  • Gary Krupp says:

    You left out “in your humble unbiased opinion”

  • Ray Dubuque says:

    Mr. Krupp,  since you present yourself as both a Jew and a defender of the Catholic Church re: the Holocaust,  would you be kind enough to offer us your insights regarding the debate between the Catholic Cornwall and the Jewish Goldhaggen (who present their case AGAINST Pope Pius XII in their books “Hitler’s Pope”  and “A Moral Reckoning”)  and Rabbi Dalin, who set out to “correct  the errors made” by those two scholars in his book “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope” and to make the case IN DEFENCE of Pope Pius XII?

  • Gary Krupp says:

    I’m sorry to say that as the president of Pave the Way Foundation our position is simple. We are using whatever influence we have to make as many documents and video testimonies possible available to the general public to make their own minds up. I am not an historian or a scholar but I can only speak personally about the documents we have located and the interviews we have conducted. As I have said in the past all of the critics, such as each of the people you mentioned, including Mr. Wilensky, are all experts on the papacy of Pope Pius XII and Vatican diplomacy without setting foot in the Secret Archives. This is very telling. I suspect that each of them have a different motivation when they curiously mention their book titles as often as possible. I simply put it to all of those who are reading these remarks. Come to our website listen to the video testimonies that we have conducted and make up your own mind.
    The only observation I care to make is that we can prove, without any doubt that Pius XII saved thousands of Jewish lives while he was surrounded by hostile forces and he knew he was going to be killed (this according to Vatican documents). That my friend is more than most of the other world’s religious and political leaders did to help Jews in the world at that time. Everyone loves Oscar Schindler since he saved 1200 Jews but I don’t hear any criticism that he was a proclaimed Nazi. Pius XII saved 3200 per year from 1939-1945 sending them to the Dominican Republic secretly and yet he is despised. The Vatican had no idea this ever happened since everything was encrypted and verbal messages.

    The Talmud tells us that if you save one life you save all humanity so as everyone banters about with this word and that sentence that is the bottom line.

    Now if you go to our website http://www.ptwf.org you will see that we are involved with many projects, which are actually far more important then this issue, especially between the Israelis and Palestinians. So I am sorry that I will not be drawn into a new debate.

  • Ray Dubuque says:

    Mssrs Krupp & Hesemann,
    You keep saying how impressed you are with the numbers of Jews that Pope Pius XII SAVED, which ignoring the fact that I have presented that there would have been no NEED for  any Jews to be saved if the Roman Catholics of Europe and their fellow Christians were not engaged in an effort to wipe their entire community off of the face of the earth.
    As a Christian clergyman myself,  I want to know how this could have been initiated in a nation in whicih 98% of the population professed to be Christian.  I can’t believe that Christian leaders who had their heads and their hearts screwed in properly could not have found a way to work together to prevent enough of the 98% of Germans who professed to be members of their flocks to “SAVE”  many MORE than the numbers of Jews that impress people like yourselves.
    Have you found any evidence in your “secret archives” for example,  to show that the Catholic Church did anything to persuade its members NOT to cooperate with the Nazi machine, i.e. do you know of MORE than the 7 individuals that Gordon Zahn was able to identify,  who refused to serve in Hitler’s armed services, during the entirety of the Third Reich?

  • Mr. Krupp, you have said twice already in this discussion you are not a historian and are only collecting documents, but you are in effect taking a position when you interpret those documents and defend them publicly. As I think I have done in this discussion, your interpretatin is flawed because you are extrapolating and not only stretching the meaning of those documents to be more than what they really are, but also by focusing only on the documents that support your position you are by definition getting a skewed view of the subject under study. Moreover, as I and others in this discussion have pointed out, the lack of documents is perhaps what is most telling. Not of a Jew saved here or there, but of moral guidance from the Church.

    Please note I do not claim to be an expert on the papacy of Pius XII or on Vatican diplomacy, although I do have a good understanding of both of them. Also note that on these subjects the available scholarly literature is copious, so I think that not having been to the Vatican Archives is hardly enough to dismiss my knowledge on the subject or anyone else’s. Also, I find it deplorable you suggest that my motivation for participating in this discussion is to promote my book when in what must be dozens of pages I’ve written in my responses I only mentioned my book twice, and only when it was relevant including one in response to you. What is particularly ironic is that you fault me for doing that, and on the following sentence you promote your web site!

    I know you have documents showing that many clerics saved Jews, some of which acting perhaps under instruction of Pope Pius. I do not find it persuasive that these behind the scenes actions were more effective than those of the Danish Lutheran Church, and certainly not nearly as “heroic”. But as we discussed earlier, the point that really matters, ultimately, is not the result of a contest to see who saved more Jews between Pope Pius and the Schindlers, Wallenbergs and thousands of other righteous Christians who found ways to save Jews despite also facing risks, but rather, as Rev. Dubuque said, the question is what the pope did to prevent those murders in the first place.

    Even though it’s true the Pope did not have cannons or aircraft, he did have something much more powerful: he had access to the ears and hearts of hundreds of millions of Catholics, and possibly many millions of Protestants. He also had a fully operational network of priests and diplomats everywhere in the world, including all the theatres of war. If he had said to the faithful clearly and repeatedly that denouncing, deporting, and murdering Jews were not only legal crimes but also mortal sins, and if he had done this relentlessly at every level of the Church, from his own messages to the priests tending the souls of soldiers in the field, and had done this at every opportunity, he may have succeeded in creating a moral revolt. If he had threatened the millions of Catholics then involved in the mass murder of the Jews with excommunication (something he was not afraid to do to all Communists in the world in one stroke after the war), he might have forced them to reconsider what they were doing. Perhaps this would not have stopped the Holocaust, but it would have certainly hindered it enormously. And, at the very least, it would have cemented the moral standing of the Church and would have protected the millions of Catholic souls in their care, souls that were forsaken by acting the way they did by not receiving the proper guidance from their Church.

    Lastly, you mention the Palestinian/Israeli conflict as having more importance than Pius XII. As important as the former is, you may not realize that part of the reason for the intransigence of the Palestinians to leave their maximalist position is that, as events in the news these last few days show, most of the world media is more interested in vilifying Israel than in the truth. I think that it’s important to understand why, and I’d venture to suggest the two thousand year old story of vilification of the Jewish people has something to do with it.

  • Ray Dubuque says:

    Mr. Krupp,
    You keep saying that you have seen  evidence in the  “secret archives” of the Vatican that vindicate Pope Pius. Did you see anything to show that Gordon Zahn was mistaken when he found only SEVEN INDIVIDUAL Catholics who refused to serve in Hitler’s armed services, during the entirety of the Third Reich?  If their POPE or ANY of their clergy were fulfilling their responsiblity to be the moral leaders of their flocks, surely there would have been THOUSANDS of conscientious objecters, rather than few enough to be counted by one hand and 2 fingers!!!!
    60 or more years later, one of these heroic Germans was beatified, but AT THE TIME, the church authorities treated him as a traitor and denied him the sacraments – something they DIDN”T DO to Catholics who spent their days killing innocent Jews!!!!

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Dear Ray,
    The slogan of Pave the Way Foundation is “embrace the similarities and savor the differences.” That means that we want to try to improve the non-theological relations with all of the individual faiths. I will say that as a Jew, I am offended by the Catholic bashing that seems to be the order of the day in the media and on this site. I will tell you that with all of its faults the Roman Catholic Church is the largest provider of health Care, education, and ministries of charity on earth. It also, through is pontifical commissions and agencies, is at least trying to make life on earth a little better by reaching out and trying to reconcile and improve relations with all people. It has returned religious objects and has apologized for its past history of offenses to the other faiths. Its defense of the dignity of human life and work for the sick and poor is unmatched. Whether you like it or not, having a hierarchy with one universal leader is what enables it to function as well as it does in its core mission. The Catholic Church is run by human beings who have frailties and do make mistakes so please try to give it a rest.

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Mr. Wilensky,

    I do apologize if you are under the impression that Pave the way in anyway interpreted or translated any of the documents we posted on line. The analysis and translations have been done by many in Europe who are recognized scholars.

    What we had hoped was that the documents would be downloaded and analyzed and that this analysis, good or bad, would be returned to us. Instead we were simply ignored with the comment “nothing new here” which is nonsense. No one had ever heard of Msgr Giovanni Ferrofino and his work in Portugal and the Dominican Republic at the direct instructions of Pius XII. The 2335 pages of documents we retrieved from Campagna were never reviewed before. What we proved was that anyone who is interested in obtaining these documents from the war years can simply make the effort as we did to obtain them. We simply didn’t have the resources to go to all of the dioceses but it showed that this information is available at a time when everyone is calling for the war years records to be opened. We also obtained many documents from Germany and other countries which again no one has seen.
    I immediately contacted Prof. Paul O’Shea who did a complete analysis of the Campagna documents. We posted his conclusions on our site. His analysis proved that Pius XII sent financial aid specifically for the support of the Jews in that tiny little Diocese in Italy on four separate occasions. Thousands of written requests by Jews in the camps for multiple reasons was read and responded to by the Secretary of State’s office. Some had positive and some had negative results.  Paul may have interjected his somewhat biased view by verbally minimizing these efforts but it clearly showed that the Vatican was trying to help whenever they could. Just as they worked to help Holocaust victims and later  survivors as listed in the Inter Arma Caritas documents on our website from 1939-1947.

    After personally being exposed to thousands of these documents and listening to hours of video interviews you do not need to be a noted scholar to see a trend of behavior and actions to be able to make a determination on the part of Pacelli. Unlike archival scholars we have personally conducted many interviews and along with information from those who lived through the war which confirmed many of the documented findings.
    One of the most telling interviews, which I personally conducted, was with Sir Martin Gilbert in London, who is Jewish and certainly one of the most respected scholars and historians in the world on WWII as the official biographer of Sir Winston Churchill. Sir Martin is in full agreement with many of our conclusions and condemns the fictions of Hochhuth and many of the claims of Cornwell. He specifically discredits the placard next to the Portrait of Pius XII at Yad Vashem as historically incorrect. He also mentioned how impressed he was with Rabbi David Dalin’s rebuttal in his book the Myth of Hitler’s Pope. He agrees with the reality of the conditions in the hostile environment of the war and why the pope was forced to act as he did. With such differences in the historian’s views I even asked him how is it possible that some the experts can get this story so wrong and he told me  that his mentor from Oxford was a famous historian whose grave stone said “he tried to get history right.” Sir Martin is a major Pius XII supporter and has encouraged us to open the case for Righteous Among Nations at Yad Vashem to begin an exacting judicial investigation. He states that the full truth will come out when the archives are opened but he has no doubt that Pius XII’s reputation will be restored to where it was before the Hochhuth play The Deputy. Listen to the interview on our site.

    My personal defense of Pius XII simply comes from my direct exposure to this material over a period of five years. It may not be scientific as many may wish but if Pius XII were judged in a court of law he would be acquitted of all charges against him.  This judgment in front of everyday people (a Jury) was what we were looking for with the symposium we sponsored in Rome in 2008 but again none of the critics would show up to make their case.
    When we began this document retrieval project I actually thought that the scholars would applaud this effort but we were attacked by some. This too is very revealing. Sort of like catching a kid with his hand in the cookie jar.

    Thanks for the clue about the formatting.

  • Atlenta says:

    http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-455325
     
    In these troubled times The Catholic Church is on the verge of extinction. Rather than going forward it appears to be having practices that are being viewed more like the Dark Ages.
     
    I read about the  policies of Pope “Rat”zinger (Benedict XVI),  and screening seminarians to eradicate homosexuality and I realize why so many Catholics of all ages from around the world have left the Church never to return.
     
    Men like these should be stripped of all of life’s finest materials and asked to lead a life similar to the revered Mother Theresa of Calcutta. Only then would they know a life that was pure of heart.
     
    The millions of Catholics who fled The Catholic Church lead by “Rat”zinger (Pope Benedict XVI) are justified to do so based on his dogmatic style and man-made laws which his Holiness strictly enforces to bolster his ego and maintain power. He is no different than a dictator.
     
    I believe in God the Father, The Son, & The Holy Ghost not his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Amen.
     
    Len Pasek
    http://www.atlantaphotographer4hire.com

  • Ray Dubuque says:

     
    Gary Krupp defends the public silence of Pope Pius XII while 10,000,000 other innocetnt people were being killed by Catholics and theiir close cousins the Lutherans,  on the grounds that
    “Based on documented evidence and testimonies we discovered, the Vatican was surrounded by hostile forces, and was without question going to be invaded, The pope would be kidnapped and killed, the curia killed and the buildings would be seized.”
    What cowardly clergy are!  While thinking nothing of urging their “sheep” to join professions in which death was a very high probability, they can’t IMAGINE putting their own lives at risk!  They don’t even have the courage of the thousands of R.C. police offices and firemen and women who work in professions in which they never know when they go out to work if they are going to come home to their families.
    It’s shameful enough that the average clergyman is so sheepish, but it takes the gall of a “Supreme Pontiff” to claim to be God’s chosen “Vicar of Christ” when he seems totally unaware of the instructions which Jesus of Nazareth gave to those who would represent him after he gave up his life for his cause, i.e.

    { according to John 16:1 – 4 , Jesus said: }
    “I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling.  They will put you out of the synagogues (or “churches”).  Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God.  And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me.  But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.”
     
    { according to John 15:19 – 25, Jesus said: }
    “If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own.  Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world – therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’  If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. ”
     

    As the “captain of the ship” at a time a grave crisis, it wasn’t the Pope’s job to save HIMSELF, but to make sure as many of his charges as possible be saved FIRST.  Can you AS A JEW agree with the Roman Catholics who believe that the only concern of the Pope was his Roman Catholic subjects – which only included “Jews” if they converted to Catholicism -?
     

  • Mr. Krupp, please note I did not suggest PTWF generally mistranslated documents, but based on the analysis of Archbishop Pacelli’s report from Munich as I discussed with Mr. Hesemann above, at least that one document seems to have been mistranslated, and what is worse, a grave wrong has been done to John Cornwell by not only accusing him of having mistranslated it, but what is worse, of having maliciously done it.

    I can appreciate your consternation that no critic of Pope Pius attended your symposium or dismisses the documents you have gathered. I attempted to explain why this might be happening in a previous post. Maybe I can give you an analogy to see if this might shed some light on what is happening here: until not too long ago the Catholic Church believed in the theory of geocentrism, and had terrorized any proponent of the opposing view, heliocentrism. This included putting books in favor of heliocentrism in the Index of Forbidden Books. If PTWF had existed 200 years ago and had been tasked with countering claims that the Church was wrong in its support of geocentrism, PTWF would have found a plethora of documents and thousands of people who would have given testimony that the Sun rose in the east as the Earth stood still. After all, this is what they saw, and how they interpreted what they saw. It simply made sense to them, just like it had done to Aristotle thousands of years before and still did to the Church. If at that time PTWF had set up a symposium and invited proponents if heliocentrism and geocentrism to have a scholarly debate about the subject (hypothetically, because of course the Church would never have allowed any such discussion) , what do you think would have been the more likely scenario? I will tell you what: no proponent of heliocentrism would have attended, for two main reasons (again, discounting the obvious reason that they would have been burned by Joseph Ratzinger’s old institution, the Inquisition). First, because a scientist proponent of heliocentrism would have thoroughly and carefully studied the evidence for both theories and would have concluded already that geocentrism was wrong and heliocentrism was right, and thus felt that there was nothing to gain from debating the geocentrists, and second, because a scientist would have known that the geocentrist’s modus operandi was to base their beliefs on faith rather than evidence, and thus would have felt that a discussion with them was like talking to a wall. So, there are obviously differences between the real PTWF and the hypothetical one I made up, just like there are differences between the heliocentrism discussion and the Pius XII discussion. But perhaps this analogy can shed some light on why you are not getting any traction with mainstream Holocaust scholars.

    Regarding your point that the material you have been exposed to shows that in a court of law Pius XII would have been acquitted of all charges, I suspect you are wrong. At best, and I’m being charitable here, I think he may have been acquitted of the charge of not saving any Jews. But an indictment against the Catholic and Protestant churches, which would have included the Pope and many prelates, would have included many other charges. Had the Allies set up an international trial styled after Nuremberg and put any clergy guilty of crimes on the dock, the indictment against the Church, the Vatican and members of the clergy might have included the following charges:

    * Defamation
    * Incitement
    * Complicity in human rights violations
    * Accessory or complicity in crimes against humanity
    * Failure to warn/act
    * Obstruction of Justice
    * Profiting from stolen property
    * Abuse of diplomatic privileges
    * Crimes against humanity

    I think it’s time to revisit the role of the Church in the Holocaust and its aftermath, and do it quickly as Pope Benedict is attempting to whitewash history by canonizing Pope Pius XII, while the Vatican Secret Archives covering the Nazi era remain closed and will continue to remain closed for another five years.

  • Gary Krupp says:

    To Ray,
    Blah blah blah blah blah,
    To Mr Wilensky,
    you’ve got to be kidding

  • James says:

     
    Mr. Wilensky,
    You compare the historical dispute of heliocentrism verses geocentrism to the debate between critics and defenders of Pope Pius XII’s WWII record. You claim that a heliocentrist would never consider evidence put forth by a geocentrist and that therefore a Pius XII critic can need not examine evidence gathered by a defender or the pope. In fact your analogy undermines your unwillingness to examine Mr. Krupp’s data, since Albert Einstein never rejected data that appeared to prove the earth is standing still.
    In an 1881 American Journal of Science article, astrophysicist Albert A. Michelson published experimental results indicating that the earth is at rest. This would prove geocentrism since other bodies in the universe obviously are moving and must therefore be rotating around the earth. In response, Einstein proposed his Theories of Special and General Relativity to show how the earth could be moving despite Michelson’s data.
    By your own analogy Mr. Wilensky, if Einstein was willing to consider data showing the earth stands still, you must examine evidence that Mr. Krupp thinks will exonerate Pius XII. Instead, you have attempted to dismiss Mr. Krupp’s research as essentially tainted with bias. You say “the geocentrist’s modus operandi was to base their beliefs on faith rather than evidence” and cast Mr. Krupp as equivalent to a geocentrist.
    This is unfair. You must invalidate specific evidence cited by Mr. Krupp, or apologize for questioning his credibility as a researcher. If you cannot invalidate Mr. Krupp’s data and continue to disparage said evidence, your own bias as an historian is laid bare.
     

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Dear James,

    You just hit the nail squarely in the head. We have spent years revealing documents and recording video sessions with eye witnesses simply to make this information public. Almost universally, with the exception of Prof O’Shea’s analysis of a small set of documents from Campagna, none of the critics have taken a serious look at our material that we are aware of. Also these critics have not even bothered to come to the recently opened Vatican Archives up to 1939, which clearly sets the stage of events 6 months before the war began. My problem is with their blanket statement, “there is nothing new here, or we heard this all before. or our research is not scholarly or amateurish”. Of course since they have their PhD in History of they are a Chair of Holocaust studies at “X” university we are supposed to believe that they know better. I would have no problem if a critic would say that this is not a genuine letter, or this letter doesn’t say what you claim or this eye witness is lying. At least it shows that they looked at the evidence. I would welcome such statements and make the necessary corrections.

    Much to their credit, Yad Vashem has been slowly analyzing much of this material and has made public statements (in their first quarter magazine for 2010), that there is positive new evidence surfacing on Pope Pius XII. At least they convened a closed door conference March 2009 on this new material. My problem is with all of those who wrote their critical books using nothing more that their personal assumptions and theories based on how they think the world would have acted if the Vatican publicly would have said this or that. The critics look into their crystal ball to say “If the pope said this then all of the Catholics of the world would have revolted, easy to say not too easy to prove.” In today’s world with the most advanced and immediate internet communications, Pope Benedict XVI makes many statements almost daily in condemnation of modern day atrocities and wars. Does anyone really listen or even know he made these statements?  And this is freely available without  the censorship that was imposed by the Nazis.

    The critics insultingly trivialize the universal Jewish and Israeli gratitude showered upon  Pope Pius XII with a simple “oh they were just trying to curry favor for Israel.” Nonsense, I think Albert Einstein and all of the rest of the Jewish leaders of the day would take offense to this rationale.

    We have the documentation that it was Pacelli who was instrumental in protecting the Jews of Palestine from the Ottoman Turks in 1917 and Pacelli who encouraged Catholics to join the pro-Palestine organization in Germany in 1926. Pacelli arranged Nachum Sokolow to meet with Pope Benedict XV to discuss the creation of a Jewish State in 1925. It was Pacelli who opposed and helped to over turn an anti-Semitic kosher slaughtering law in Poland in 1938. It was Pope Pius XII who in 1945 predicted to an audience of 80 Jewish survivors that “soon you will have a Jewish homeland.”In November 1947 Pius XII told the 17 Catholic of 33 countries in favor that he didn’t oppose the partitioning of Palestine (this is from the Raul Wallenberg Foundation’s research). We have evidence of how Pius XII encouraged Spain to open diplomatic relations with Israel in 1950.  It was Pius XII who acted to save hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives when the other world leaders did literally nothing. We discovered all of this material with a minimal budget to just scratch the surface of evidence. Pius XII’s attitude towards the Jewish people and the establishment of a Jewish homeland is clear.

    As I have pointed out, none of these critics were around during the war and literally none of them know what it is like to live under a satanic brutal occupation. They can make their most eloquent arguments based on no experience and no documents beyond their colleague’s critical books. Our material clearly shows what the environment was like then and how the Nazis reacted to every public statement from the Vatican and from the pope. We can prove the Vatican’s attitude towards National Socialism, Hitler, and Communism and vice versa.  Just as with a criminal defense attorney, even with absolute proof he will always come up with a defense of their client no matter how outlandish. This is how this argument is currently being debated.

    Throughout history millions of people have been killed because of perceived historical injustices, don’t you think that that historians should be held to high level of accuracy when what they write can actually cause death and hatred impacting millions of people?

    Growing up hating this man and then being immersed in the material we discovered, my anger is now squarely on these “so called” scholars and historians who literally dropped the ball on this subject or are either too lazy to bother to look and rethink their theories. Controversy sells seems to be the bottom line even over professional integrity.

  • Mr. Wilensky,

    your claim that I mistranslated the above mentioned document and wrongly accused John Cornwell, author of the defamatory and badly investigated, slanderous book “Hitler’s Pope” is, excuse me, utter nonsense.
    Indeed, our translation is much more accurate and lacks the misleading interpretation you find in Cornwell’s version. He makes a “gang” and “female rubble” out of a “group of women” or “crowd” (gruppo feminile and schiera), which is replacing a neutral term by a disparaging term and he completey invents a claim of drug-addiction for Levien, when he translates “empty eyes” (oggi scialbi) (usually a sympton that someone is overworked or tired, what here certainly is the case) by “drugged eyes”. And yes, we would translate neutral terms with neutral terms and leave any interpretation and claim of a possible intention or second thought of the author to the reader, as in any good translation.
    Cornwell presents this document as an “evidence” for Pacelli’s alleged antisemitism but ignores the fact that the report was delivered by Scioppa and just forwarded to Rome by Pacelli who ha never met Levien and therefore could neither describe him nor his female corevolutionaries in any way, positive or negative. Therefore, he not only pesented a tendentious translation, but also draws a false conclusion and this is what every serious historian would disregard as trickery.
    The only reason why Pius XII did not spoke out more open and clearly (although he DID condemn the holocaust twice, on December 24, 1942 and June 2, 1943 in public speeches) was that he  did not want to endanger his very own, Vatican initiated humanitarian campaign to hide and save Jews, a very successful campaign given that nearly ONE MILLION survived due to this campaign. Second he wanted to avoid theat the Nazis openly declared war n the Catholic Church which would destroy any structure which supported the resistance and helped the persecuted Jews; a Nazi raid on monasteries, for example, would have costed the lifes of tenthousands of Jews hidden there. nd third, he cooperated with the German military resistance which needed an officially “neutral” Pope as a peacemaker after their planned coup d’etat in Nazi Germany, a fact confirmed on affidavit by the surviving members of the 20th July, 1944 coup d’etat. HE KNEW that any word in support of the Jews would NOT reach the German population or soldiers due to the Nazi censorship, but only the Nazi Gestapo and cause severe countermeasures. Therefore it would ENDANGER Jews, not help them. Pius XII simply did not want to buy the applause of the covilized world (and afterworld) with the lifes of hundred thousands of innocent Jews!

    To compare us with flat-Earthers and the Pius debunkers with the heliocentric astronomers of the 17th century is inded ridiculous, since Galilei did what Gary Krupp does. He invited the sceptics to look through his telescope to see that he is right. Gary Krupp invited the victims of the Hochhuth/KGB-campaign to visit the Archives look into the documents to see that he is right. FACTS from eyewitness testimonies to documents speak in favour of Pius XII. Just a malevolent KGB-introduced dogma speaks against him. So you have the choice to look into the archives or belong to the past, a any flat-earther! 

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Michael, let me also add that according to Wikipedia’s description of Hitler’s Pope, Cornwell also establishes Pacelli’s anti-Semitism by “Pacelli’s refusal to help the chief Rabbi of Munich’s request to gain release of the Palms used for Succoth in 1917. Our original document revels the following translation to the letter Pacelli urgently sent to the Vatican as he pleads for assistance in the interest of Catholic Jewish relations. Does this sound like his refusal to help?
    No. 1258
    Apostolic Nunciature
    Bavaria  Monaco, September 4, 1917
    Re: Request for the Holy See’s intervention on behalf of the Jewish community.
    To His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Gasparri
    Secretary of State to His Holiness
    Your Eminence,
    The Jewish Community of the German Empire, by means of the “Free Interest Community of Orthodox Jewry” of Frankfort and of Professor Dr. Werner, Rabbi of Munich , who have appealed to the Nunciature for the following purpose: According to the words of the Bible, the above-mentioned communities for the celebration of Sukkoth or feast of the tabernacles (which occurs on October 1st) have need of palms, which usually arrive from Italy . Now, unexpectedly, and against its own interest, the Italian Government has suddenly forbidden the exportation of the palms that are ready in Como, nor have we succeeded in obtaining them, even though they cannot serve for food nor for any other profit. Time is of the essence, since the exportation should take place in a few days, if we are to have the palms on time, especially since they will then have to be distributed throughout Germany.
    The Jewish Communities hope that this will happen through the intervention of His Holiness with the Italian Government and beg the Apostolic Nunciature to intercede for this purpose, adding that thousands of members, faithful to their religion, would be profoundly grateful for a happy ending.
    It seems to me that we are dealing, not with help to be given to the Jewish communities simply for a civil purpose or for the protection of natural rights common to all men (in which there would not have been any inconvenience), even though material and remote cooperation, but positive and direct for the exercise of the Jewish religion. I have therefore answered respectfully to the above mentioned rabbi that, even though it is not possible for me to telegraph for a similar affair (which, because it is so extraordinary, requires much explanation), I would have however immediately sent an urgent report to the Holy See in this regard, but I foresaw that because of the time element, it would not have arrived on time, and besides I did not know what action the Holy Father would have been able to take in order to explain this to the Italian Government.
    In the meantime, I leave this to the superior judgment of Your Eminence, and kiss your ring with profound veneration.
    Your most humble and devote servant
    Eugenio
    Archbishop of Sardi
    Apostolic Nuncio

    Unfortunately, the Vatican did not have diplomatic relations with Italy and they did not succeed in gaining the release of the Palms. Mr. Cromwell, I think you should have tried to find the original documents as Michael Hesemann did in the Vatican Secret Archives before defaming Pacelli as an anti-Semite.

  • Thank you, Gary, for delivering another evidence that Cornwell deliberately misread a Pacelli letter and actually perverted its intention from a desperate attempt to help and support the Jewish community during WW1 by any means to a “refusal”.

    Indeed those who don’t study the original documents but are satisfied with Cornwells manipulated “translations” and “summaries” are like those in the 17th centuries who were not willing to look through the telescope of Galileo Galilei…

    Sincerely,
    Michael Hesemann  

  • James, you misunderstood me. I never said that a heliocentrist would never consider evidence put forth by a geocentrist. I said “ a scientist proponent of heliocentrism would have thoroughly and carefully studied the evidence for both theories and would have concluded already that geocentrism was wrong and heliocentrism was right”. Thus, your entire post is built upong the wrong assumption. Moreover, it is simply untrue that I am unwilling to consider the evidence put forth by Mr. Krupp, and that I have failed to invalidate said evidence. This accusation is particularly astonishing given the fact that that is precisely what I have been doing in this conversation, in which I have extensively countered every point put forth by Mr. Krupp and Mr. Hesemann with documentation pointing to precisely the opposite conclusion.

  • James, you misunderstood me. I never said that a heliocentrist would never consider evidence put forth by a geocentrist. I said “ a scientist proponent of heliocentrism would have thoroughly and carefully studied the evidence for both theories and would have concluded already that geocentrism was wrong and heliocentrism was right”. Thus, your entire post is built upong the wrong assumption. Moreover, it is simply untrue that I am unwilling to consider the evidence put forth by Mr. Krupp, and that I have failed to invalidate said evidence. This accusation is particularly astonishing given the fact that that is precisely what I have been doing in this conversation, in which I have extensively countered every point put forth by Mr. Krupp and Mr. Hesemann with documentation pointing to precisely the opposite conclusion.

    Mr. Krupp, once again you complain about your lack of traction with mainstream Holocaust scholars, or as you dismissively call “so called” scholars and historians. I’ve already given you my opinion of why that might be, so no need to repeat it here. But let me simply add that you yourself have said a number of times you are not a historian and have been collecting these documents only for the last five years or so, yet you are somehow surprised and disappointed when people who have spent their entire professional lives in the study of the subject and who have published the principal books that make up the literature of the subject dismiss what you are saying… I think scholars may dismiss your statements because you have a tendency to keep repeating your points as if no one had countered them before. For instance, you said you would not have a problem if a critic told you “this letter doesn’t say what you claim”, but I have done precisey that, and I have done it repeatedly and about a number of documents in this conversation already!

    Mr. Krupp, both myself and most of the other critics who have written about the role of the churches during the war base our conclusions on the facts and on the available information, not on “nothing more that their personal assumptions”. Have you read Six Million Crucifixions yet, to make that blanket accusation? Just like I have been doing in this discussion, in my book I also thoroughly back every point I make with a quote from a document or something someone said. That is hardly a “personal assumption”. You also accuse anyone that disagrees with you with putting forth “theories based on how they think the world would have acted if the Vatican publicly would have said this or that”. Well, even though I concede that there is an element of speculation there, at least in my case I can say that that speculation is based on the actions of others who did speak out, and the result of that is known and can be measured. The Danish Lutheran Church openly condemned the persecution of the Jews and acted openly to fight against it. As a result of clearly instructing the faithful that persecution of Jews was against Christian teachings and that everyone should do everything in their power to save Jews, the Jews of Denmark were saved. Please enlighten me, Mr. Krupp, on how that is not a good example of what the Catholic Church should have done and a good example that shows how Catholics everywhere might have reacted? I don’t think the problem is that critics today fail to understand the historical context of a “satanic brutal occupation”, as you state. Denmark was occupied by the Nazis, the Vatican was not. The King of Denmark and the Danish Lutheran Church confronted the Nazis openly, and took open and public measures and actions designed to save the country’s Jews, but neither the Vatican nor the Catholic Church did so. You say, “If the pope said this then all of the Catholics of the world would have revolted, easy to say not too easy to prove.” Well, I grant you nothing can possibly conclusively show how Catholics everywhere would have reacted if the Catholic Church had followed the example of the Danish Lutheran Church, but I think it’s a pretty damning to the Catholic Church that they didn’t even try.

    You say “It was Pope Pius XII who in 1945 predicted to an audience of 80 Jewish survivors that “soon you will have a Jewish homeland.” But my dear Mr. Krupp, are you serious? What do you think that proves? What do you think the Pope would have said in 1945, when the League of Nations mandated Britain in 1917 to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine? Do you find that statement particularly prophetic in 1945? You say that he didn’t oppose the partition plan of 1947. Again, so what? Is this proof the Pope supported the establishment of a Jewish homeland, or was he just accepting reality? Moreover, I find it particularly callous of Pius XII to have prodded Spain to recognize Israel in 1950, when he himself refused to do so and the Vatican would continue to do so for another 43 years!

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Mr. Wilensky,

    You definitely have not counted every point that we have made with documentation.
    Have you listened to any of the video interviews on our site or read any of the individual documents on the public part of our site. You did access the private part of the site but probably did not use the search engine to pull up anyone of the 5125 documents of the Acts and documents of the Holy See during the Second World War from the war years. Have you read the Pacelli letters to the German Bishops or the Inter Arma Caritas?  I still cannot understand why anyone’s opinion of what we are doing has to do with simply looking at this material. Wouldn’t a true scholar be ecstatic with the notion of getting documentation spoon fed to them?
    I guess not.

  • Mr. Hesemann, a translator cannot simply make a literal translation of terms. If the words are not translated according to context, then the result will not reflect the intentions and meaning of the writer as a native reader would have understood. Thus, as I explained earlier, given the general tone of the report Pacelli sent to the Vatican, using terms like “gang” and “rabble” instead of “group” or “crowd” is acceptable and moreover better conveys the utter disgust the writer is expressing overall. It’s also interesting you yourself also perceive the assaulting “group” as a “gang”, as you refer to them thusly: “Does someone has to like a communist revolutionary, head of a gang creating terror in a peaceful city like Munich … just because he is a Jew?”, “And that’s what Schioppa described: the chaos of a communist revolutionary gang”, “I would call it rather critical or sceptical towards an anarchic gang of communist revolutionaries who are just ignoring everything known as style, good education or decent behaviour.”

    You should not necessarily interpret “drugged eyes” literally either, as an English speaker can actually use expressions like that, or “he looks like he just woke up” without necessarily believing that the person was actually a drug user or that he had just woken up. Again, in the context of the description of Levien as a filthy, despicable fellow, that expression is forgivable (although I must admit I would not have used it myself).

    You seem to be suggesting that in any case none of this has anything to do with Pacelli as the original report was written by Schioppa and was simply forwarded to Rome by Pacelli. Well, first of all, we do not know how much Pacelli participated in producing the report he sent to Rome, based on the Schioppa report. But even if he had transcribed it verbatim, the very fact he had no objections whatsoever about the contents is telling. In ther words, if he wrote it it’s bad, and if he didn’t but didn edit it it’s bad too. So, ultimately it doesn’t matter which are Schioppa’s words and which are Pacelli’s. The report was signed and sent by Pacelli which means he approved 100% of it. And even if I accepted your more neutral version, it is still a pretty damning document (and I invite you again to post your sanitized version here).

    Mr. Hesemann, please do not fool yourself, and more importantly, do not fool your readers into thinking that the Pope’s 1942 and 1943 speeches were condemnations of the Holocaust. These were general, vague, and quite meaningless condemnations of the horrors of war, couched in language only Mr. Krupp would understand. Also, I wish you stopped claiming the Pope was reticent to speak up to protect his “campaign to hide and save Jews”. There was no such campaign, Mr. Hesemann, and the Pope was much more concerned with protecting the Vatican’s considerable investments in Germany and preventing a German invasion and takeover of the Vatican which he knew would have amounted to a tremendous loss to the Church. Any loss of his ability to save Jews was surely at the very bottom of his priority list, as his public actions during those years clearly show.

    Just like there are documents and testimonies that make Pope Pius look like a protector of Jews, so there are other testimonies and documents that show him to be at best indifferent to the fate of the Jews. True, Galileo invited anyone to look through his telescope, and so is Mr. Krupp inviting anyone to look at his documents. But just like Galileo’s detractors looked through the telescope and were not persuaded by the evidence, so do Mr. Krupp’s detractors fail to be persuaded by his evidence. The main difference, however, is that Galileo’s detractors only had an ancient, faith-based cosmology edifice they could not leave, while Mr. Krupp’s detractors on the other hand first dismiss much of the evidence as irrelevant and second have much that point in the diametric opposite direction.

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Strange statement Mr. Wilensky,  according to you that  I only got this and Mr. Hesemann  but the message came through load and clear to the Nazis.  According to Sir Martin Gilbert, who I assume is as knowledgeable on this subject as you are, stated in his book The Righteous that after Pope Pius XII  delivered his 1942 Christmas message the Nazis said,”The Pope has repudiated the National-Socialist New European Order…. He is virtually accusing the German people of injustice toward the Jews and makes himself the mouthpiece of the Jewish war criminals.”

  • Oh, come on, Mr. Krupp! You know very well the Nazis would have said exactly the same thing even if the Pope had complained about the shade of red in the Nazi flag!

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Mr Wilensky,
    Is this your conclusion, which is  one of your snappy examples  of your documentation pointing to precisely the opposite conclusion ?

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Items published by the Vatican, or written by Vatican officials, during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, express the perennial overall attitude towards the Jews which that office presented to the faithful and to the world.  Examples follow. 
     
    In the German Handbook of Contemporary Religious Questions, widely circulated in Germany in the 1930s, Archbishop Konrad Gröber warned that most of the pernicious manifestations of art since the nineteenth century had been produced either by, or under the influence of, “Jews” (Gröber, Handbuch der religiösen Gegenwartsfragen, articles “Kunst,” p. 371.  Quoted in Guenter Lewy, The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany, p. 277). 
     
    Cardinal Fauhaber’s Advent sermons in 1933 claimed “that with the coming of Christ, Jews and Judaism have lost their place in the world” (Quoted in James Carroll, Constantine’s Sword, p. 683 note 23). 
     
    Bishop Otto Dibelius is openly proud and self-righteous concerning what he presented as his proper anti-Jewish stance, declaring in a letter written in April 1933 that he had been “always an anti-Semite.  One cannot fail to appreciate that in all of the corrosive manifestations of modern civilization Jewry plays a leading role” (quoted in Daniel J. Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing Executioners, pp. 108-109, 111). 
     
    In 1936, Cardinal Augustyn Hlond, primate of Poland, said in a pastoral letter in 1936, written as Catholic endorsement of the Nazi boycott of Jewish business in Poland and read from the pulpits of all Polish churches, “There will be the Jewish problem as long as Jews remain.  It is a fact that the Jews are fighting against the Catholic Church, persisting in freethinking, and are the vanguard of godlessness,…and subversion.  It is a fact that the Jewish influence on morality is pernicious and that their publishing houses disseminate pornography.  It is a fact that the Jews deceive, levy interest, and are pimps.  It is a fact that the religious and ethical influence of the Jewish young people on the Polish young people is a negative one” (quoted in James Carroll, Constantine’s Sword, p. 271-272).  I should add that none of these italicized words and phrases is true of Jews generally, although, as in any other group, one or another of these words may characterize some individuals. 
    I wonder, however, what Cardinal Hlond means by “freethinking” and “subversion”:  does he mean the Jews faithfully follow Jewish doctrine, which differs from Catholic doctrine and thus constitutes “freethinking” and “subversion” to his mind?  Or does he object to the fact that there were some Jews who did not faithfully follow Jewish doctrine?  In any case, he clearly seems to suggest that Catholic doctrine could not stand up to Jewish faith in the free market of ideas, and seeks to repress Jewish thinking since in any case it differs from his doctrine.  For example, “original sin” is a Catholic (not a Jewish) doctrine, absent both from the Hebrew Bible and from the NT.  According to Elaine Pagels, Augustine recommended this doctrine as needed to show people that they needed a strong government and a srong church to guide them since “original sin” had rendered them incapable of making moral decisions on their own (Adam, Eve and the Serpent, p. 145).  Thus exposure to a faith that allowed humans to function morally without original sin and without a strong government or a strong church might be seen as subversive indeed.  But never mind such differences in doctrine.  The main point was simply that Jews were–“Jews”. 
    Many journals published with an imprimatur from 1933 through 1939 depicted “the Jews” as having had a “demoralizing influence on religiosity and national character (F. Schuhlein, “Geschichte der Juden,” Lexicon fur Theologie und Kirche, 2nd rev. ed. (Freiburg, Br., 1933, V, 687); quoted in Guenter Lewy, The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany, p. 279) and that the Jews had brought the German people “more damage than benefit” (Gustav Lehmacher, S. J., “Rassenwerte,” Stimmen der Zeit, CXXVI (1933), 81; quoted in Guenter Lewy, The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany, p. 279). 
    The charge of deicide was often repeated (Theodor Bolger, O.S.B., Der Glaube von gerstern und heute (Cologne, 1939), p. 150; quoted in Guenter Lewy, The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany, p. 279) along with the depicting of “the Jews” as “the first and most cruel persecutors of the young Church” (Quoted in Guenter Lewy, The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany, p. 234).  These charges, too, are traditional but false. 
    In his 1940 Christmas message, sent to all Catholic soldiers, Catholic military Bishop Franz Justus Rarkowski blamed “the Jews” for the war, saying, “The German people…has a good conscience and knows which people it is that before Gd and history bears the responsibility for this presently raging, gigantic struggle.  The German people knows who lightheartedly unleashed the dogs of war…. [They] believed in the power of their money bags…” (Quoted in Daniel J. Goldhagen, A Moral Reckoning, p. 63).  This is absolute nonsense. 
    In 1941, Bishop Ivan Sarić of Sarajevo explained that “The descendants of those who hated the Son of Gd, persecuted him to death, crucified him and persecuted his disciples are guilt of greater sins than their forebears….Satan aided them….The movement of liberation of the world from the Jews is a movement for the renewal of human dignity” (Quoted in Michael Phayer, The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, p. 34).  Also in 1941, in August, the leaders of the Lithuanian Catholic Church “forbade the priests to help Jews in any way whatsoever” (Quoted in Daniel J. Goldhagen, A Moral Reckoning, p. 67).  This again is false.  The Jews never hated Jesus, never persecuted him, and had no power to crucify anyone; on the contrary, Pilate was accustomed to crucify Jews all the time and doubtless was happy to crucify one more.  Moreover, if anyone ever spoke up for human dignity, it has perennially been the Jews, from our earliest scriptures to this very hour.  It is impossible to know why Bishop Sarić said this.
     
    In 1942, in April, the Slovak bishops issued a pastoral letter to justify the deportation of the Jews for deicide:  “The greatest tragedy of the Jewish nation lies in the fact of not having recognized the Redeemer and of having prepared a terrible and ignominious death for him on the cross….The influence of the Jews [has] been pernicious.  In a short time they have taken control of almost all the economic and financial life of the country to the detriment of our people.  Not only economically but also in the cultural and moral spheres, they have harmed our people.  The Church cannot be opposed, therefore, if the state with legal regulations hinders the dangerous influence of the Jews” (Quoted in Daniel J. Goldhagen, A Moral Reckoning, p. 65).  Again we see repeated the false charge of deicide, along with a set of negative words and phrases without foundation or basis. 
     
    One priest recalled how another priest explained the extermination of the Jews in theological terms:  “There is a curse on this people ever since the crucifixion of Jesus when they cried: ‘Let his blood be on our heads and on the heads of our children” (Doris L. Bergen, “Between Gd and Hitler:  German Military Chaplains and the Crimes of the Third Reich,” in In Gd’s Name, ed. Omer Bartov, Phyllis Mack, p. 128-130 and Daniel J. Goldhagen, A Moral Reckoning, pp 62-63).  This typical sermon calls down upon the Jews of today, tomorrow, and forever, the fictitious words placed by Matthew in the mouths of the imagined Jews supposedly hanging about Pilate’s palace on Pesach morn. 
     
    On a Sunday sermon in May 1942 in Kowel, Poland, the priest clearly guided his flock with this extreme and definitive statement sanctioning the Holocaust in Poland:  “No trace of a Jew is to remain.  We should erase them from the face of the earth” (Quoted in Yitzhak Arad, “The Christian Churches and the Persecution of Jews in the Occupied Territories of the USSR,” in The Holocaust and the Christian World:  Reflections on the Past, Challenges for the Future, Carol Rittner, Stephen D. Smith and Irena Steinfeldt, eds., London:  Kuperard for the Beth shalom Holocaust Memorial Centre and the Yad Vashem International School for Holocaust Studies, 2000, p. 110).
     
                It is laborious to keep typing up all these quotes but I can easily find more of them if you care to see them.  Letter after letter, sermon after sermon, article after article, book after book, repeats the false charge of deicide from nearly 2000 years earlier, and then claims, again falsely, that “the Jews” have a negative “pernicious” effect on good Catholics today and that this is a “problem” which needs to be dealt with.  And some sermons actually went so far as to recommend “eras[ing the Jews] from the face of the earth,” as quoted above.  And thus 90% of the Jews of Poland (where this sermon was given) were in fact so “erased”.  
     
                It is hardly surprising, therefore, that when the Nazis were murdering Jews, the Catholics of Poland, the Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Austria, and elsewhere, rather than feeling obligated to prevent these murders, often felt duty-bound to facilitate the murders, and even to participate in them, to help eradicate the “satanic” people they had heard demonized in sermon after sermon and book after book.  It is to the credit of human decency that some Catholics nonetheless did save a few Jews here and there, without having heard any noticeable imperative in that direction, either from their local church or from their Pope. 
     
    I have already paid tribute above to some of the many kindnesses I have received from my Catholic kin, in-laws, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and strangers.  They bear witness to the fact that Catholics are compassionate good-hearted people–the more so  if they are spared the hateful indoctrination that had been commonplace in Europe for generations.   The fact that some Catholic priests and laymen were moved to save some of their Jewish brethren speaks volumes for their magnificent sensitive souls. 

     
     
     
     

     

     

     

  • James says:

    Mr. Krupp,

    It is interesting that Yad Vashem is analyzing your material despite its previously harsh criticism of Pius XII. If the museum continues to publicly validate your data, perhaps other critics may feel obligated to acknowledge your work.

    I do agree that historians have grave responsibility for accuracy. Indeed false history, otherwise know as propaganda, is very often used for inciting division among peoples that would have preferred harmony. Any so-called historian who ignores critical first-person testimony and source documentation about his topic must be categorized as a rank propagandist.

  • James says:

    Mr. Wilensky,

    You stated that a critic of geocentrism “would have concluded already that geocentrism was wrong and heliocentrism was right” as a good reason for avoiding further “debate” and “discussion.” You gave this analogy to justify Pius XII critics boycotting Mr. Krupp. I countered that even Einstein did not regard himself as above responding to geocentric arguments. You said you intended the analogy to show that “mainstream” Holocaust scholars had reason to ignore PTWF data. Should first-person testimony and source documentation gathered by Mr. Krupp and Mr. Heseman be considered something less than “mainstream?”

    You argue that you have responded to “every point” of Mr. Krupp and Mr. Heseman to counter my assertion that you are unwilling to examine evidence. Even if you had responded to “every point,” the article of this thread is not a list of points. Instead Mr. Krupp describes a project about “simply retrieving documents and testimonies that could only help the legitimate historians” and he provided direct web references to the material. As a professional historian, you must understand the difference between points (arguments) and underlying data used to support arguments. Your posts demonstrate that your primary interest is in rehashing old arguments from your book that do not address the new evidence. Your secondary interest appears to be providing arguments and analogies that attempt to justify ignoring the evidence

    You have failed to invalidate or even post a link to any of the evidence described in the thread article. You repeatedly give reasons for avoiding the data but protest you are not “unwilling to consider the evidence put forth by Mr. Krupp,” Can you overcome this contradiction and analyze specific PTWF data and post a link? Otherwise, you unfairly denigrate solid evidence important to counter the defamation of a pope.

  • Ray Dubuque says:

     


    I challenge anyone to compare what Michael Hesemann (AND GARY KRUPP) says about John Cornwell (i.e. June 7, 2010 at 3:27 am, i.e. and what Cornwell actually wrote in this maater in his famous scholarly work, “Hitler’s Pope”, and judge for themselves who “deliberately misreads”, “actually perverts intentions” , who ” don’t study the original documents”  but “are satisfied with manipulated “translations” and “summaries”.

    Fot those who don’t have access to Cornwell’s book, I’ve made a copy of the relevant two pages available at http://CatholicArrogance.Org/Hitler’s Pope pp70-71.JPG

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    I just found this online. 

    Dec. 7, 1941 (page 33)

    WAR PRAYER
    FOR REICH

    ———————————————————
    Catholic Bishops at Fulda
    Ask Blessing and Victory

    ——————————————————

    by telephone to the New York Times.
    Fulda, Germany, Dec. 6 — The (annual) conference of German Catholic Bishops assembled in Fulda has recommended the introduction of a special “war prayer” which is to be read at the beginning and end of all divine services.
        The prayer implores Providence to bless German arms with victory and grant protection to the lives and health of all soldiers.  The Bishops further instructed Catholic clergy to keep and remember in a special Sunday sermon at least once a month German soldiers “on land, on sea and in the air.”
        The German Catholic clergy, while strongly objecting to certain aspects of Nzzi racial policy, has always taken care to emphasize the duty of every Catholic to his country as loyal Germans in the present war.

    Transcribed verbatim and in full
    (for better legibility) from
    microfiche copies of the originals.

  • Gary Krupp says:

    For a little housekeeping, I wanted to briefly respond to some previous comments.  First, Ms Vise please send me that “war prayer” NY Times Articles you found.

    The heroic efforts of the Danish Lutherans and their stand against the Nazi order is something that without question deserves all of the accolades one can shower upon the Danish people and the bravery of its King, Christian X. However, there are some important details, which may help to clarify the  relationship the Lutherans vs. the Catholics had with Hitler. The action in Denmark was isolated and was obviously not universal with all of the Lutherans of Europe especially in Germany. By the way one of those Danish Jews who was saved was Dr. Marcus Melchior, the chief Rabbi of Denmark who lived through the war and the rescue who stated “if the pope had spoken out, Hitler would probably have massacred many more than six million Jews.”

    One must also question why the Lutheran church throughout Europe didn’t follow the lead of the Danes and why they remained universally silent doing nothing as they watched 6 million Jews perish. After all they all knew what was happening in the camps didn’t they? Weren’t they all attending Sunday worship and then driving the Zyklon B deliveries to the camps on Monday along with the train engineers transporting Jews to their death? The Lutheran church is the largest church in Germany. Perhaps this may be because of the vehement anti-Semitism preached by its founder Martin Luther.

    Hitler’s opinion and relationship with the Lutherans was quite different then it was with the Catholics. In 1932 it was the Lutherans who elected Hitler as chancellor. 68.8% of the Catholics supported Von Hindenburg vs. 24.3 % for Hitler balance going to Thermann. The Nazis were openly hostile to the Catholics and to Archbishop Pacelli during his posting as nuncio in Germany. Many of the German newspaper articles and satirical political cartoons we have gathered in our research very clearly show this. It was further evident of the many articles that appeared in the Catholic periodicals (which we gathered) that were very critical of National Socialist policies and of Hitler personally. This Nazi disdain for Pacelli continued long after he left Germany in 1929 never to return.

    The brave Danes saved an estimated 8000 Jews, but they also had advance notice of the arrests from German Ambassador Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz. Pope Pius XII intervened directly and saved 7000-10000 Jews in Rome on October 16, 1943 without any advanced notice since the allies knew of the impending arrests thought it best not to alert the Roman Jews. In contrast our research discovered the secret work of Pius XII to save over 12000 Jews by sending them to the Dominican Republic from 1939-1945, the Vatican today has no record of these actions but it happened and we have witnesses. I don’t hear anyone condemning the Lutheran, or that matter the Anglican or Christian Orthodox Churches, or even all of the Rabbis worldwide etc etc. for their silence and inaction. We only hear the attacks against Pope Pius XII the Catholic Church who acted to save more Jews than all of them put together. That is what we call Chutzpah
    .
    PS.  Also I have  some additional responses to some of your last comments Ms. Vise.  Pope John Paul II never said “it is as it was” about Mel Gibson’s Movie The Passion of the Christ. That was immediately denied by the Vatican as soon as it came out  but since you are not aware of the daily statements the Vatican makes I would not expect you to know this. The movie’s publicist finally admitted this was his comment.  Also since someone asked, In August 1944 Pope Pius XII said “for centuries, Jews have been unjustly treated and despised. It is time they were treated with justice and humanity. God will it and the Church wills it. St. Paul tells us that the Jews are our brothers. They should be welcomed as friends.”

  • Mr. Krupp, Ms. Vise posted the link to that NY Times article in her previous post.

    It’s true the Lutherans in Denmark behaved differently than those elsewhere, particularly in Germany. I think this has to do with two main things: first, a few courageous leaders of the Danish Church managed to stand above their cultural heritage and saw that the persecution and murder of Jews was wrong and acted accordingly. Second, just like it’s necessary for the apparatus of state to be aligned with murderous forces in order for genocide to occur, in Denmark the govenrment stood up in opposition to genocide with an equally effective, but this time positive effect. Sure, Lutherans pretty much everywhere shared a deep seated antisemitism just like their Catholic coreligionists. But, also like a a few thousand Catholics, some Lutherans put Christian charity and love for humanity first, and acted in ways that saved Jewish lives.

    Mr. Krupp, here we go again on the issue of advance notice of the impending deportation of the Jews of Rome. Do you really think that in October 1943 the Vatican needed to get a telegram signed by Hitler telling the Pope he was going to deport Rome’s Jews? By then the Pope had known for at least a year and most likely two or more exactly what was happening to the Jews of Europe. As the Vatican Secretary of State Maglione reported in a memo in May 1943, a full five months before the deportation of the Jews of Rome began, “Naturally many Jews have gotten away; but there is no doubt that the majority have been killed. After months and months of transport of thousands and thousands of people, they have made nothing known of themselves: something that can only be explained by their deaths. . .” The Jews of Rome went into hiding because they (as the Pope) knew of the impending razzias.

    Hitler’s relationship to the Protestant hierarchy was one of deep desdain, As he said, “They are insignificant little people, submissive as dogs, and they sweat with embarrassment when you talk to them.” Even though he despised the Catholic Church as a religious institution, he greatly admired it for its longevity, resilience and organization:

    “The Catholic Church is indeed a great institution. What organization! It has survived for two thousand years, and we must learn from it. . . . The Church did not content itself with the image of Satan; it felt the need to translate that image into a tangible enemy . . . the Jew . . . it is easier to fight him as flesh and blood that as an invisible demon.”

    One last point: please, don’t think that I am critical of the Catholic Church only. I am as vehemently critical of the actions of other Christian Churches in my book as I am of the Catholic Church. You may be getting the wrong impression in this discussion simply because we seem to be focusing on Pope Pius here, if anything because that was the subject of your article. But the Catholic Church bears greater guilt than the Protestant and Orthodox churches, because they were not only the originators of the antisemitism that poisoned the minds of millions of people who passively or actively participated in the Holocaust, but also they were much better organized and had much better reach than the Protestant Churches, and, moreover, because the largest majority of perpetrators, including Germans, Austrians, and those in pretty much all countries invaded by the Germans, were largely Catholic.

  • Gary Krupp says:

    If you have an occasion to go to Israel you need to go to the archives of the War in Italy called Bet Lochame Ha-Ghettaot. Here the main historian and WWII Scholar 89 years old Michael Tagliacozzo was a survivor of the roundup of October 16, 1943. He is a very smart man who knows what the attitude of the Jewish community who did not all leave as you speculate. He will tell you why the Jewish community felt safe in Rome and some did go into hiding but most did not.  By the way the numbers of Jews in Rome that day was estimated to be up to 13,000. 8000 Jews who were Roman and up to 5000 Jews from other countries.  The Roman Jews were so convinced nothing would happen the head of the Jewish community refused to destroy the membership lists of the Great synagogue according to Rabbi Zolli after he personally suggested that this be done as a precaution. Rabbi wanted to close the synagogue and pay the help in advance in case there was a problem. The Pope also had promises that this would not happen in his own diocese in return for his not instigating violent a response from Hitler. That is why his first reaction to the news from Princess Pignatelli was to say “They promised this would not happen here in my own diocese” according to her video testimony. Stop speculating on this subject and make an attempt to interview some lucid intelligent people who were eye witnesses. We have many other Roman Jews you can speak to as well.  While they are still alive.

  • Ray Dubuque says:

    Ms. Vise,
    the N.Y. T, microfice that you referenced was from page 2 of the web pages I devote to the scandalous role played by the Catholic AND Protestant churches in the Jewish Holocaust, where you’ll find the transcript of the original, along with a great deal of other information I have gathered from many respected sources. The main page is http://jesuswouldbefurious.org/RCscandal .

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Mr. Krupp that sounds wonderful.  You give me the El Al tickets and I’ll be on the plane immediately and I’ll talk to anyone in Israel who will talk to me.  Just give me their addresses and I’ll be there.  It would be my pleasure. 

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Ms. Vise I have a much better idea. Sell your house and jewelry and other assets to finance a foundation to end hatred between religions like my wife and I did. Then buy your own ticket to Israel.  Think of it as an investment in keeping the world from destroying itself all in the name of G-d.

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Gary Krupp
    Ms. Vise I have a much better idea. Sell your house and jewelry and other assets to finance a foundation to end hatred between religions like my wife and I did. Then buy your own ticket to Israel.  Think of it as an investment in keeping the world from destroying itself all in the name of G-d.

    Cathryn Vise
    And then what?  Go live under a bridge, until I’m mugged?   
     
    Good idea.  Thank you so much for the sneering mockery of my aching longing to visit Israel or even to make aliyah, both of which are beyond my reach.  That would have been enough all by itself, but it seems I must also thank you for your good wishes–if we can assume that my eminent and unpleasant demise would be good.  You are all heart. 
     
    Let me tell you something.  In all my years, I have never suggested, or wished, or imagined, such a deadly “idea” for anyone, even for one who sought to do me harm.  It’s even more unfortunate for women than for men, what happens to those who live on the streets, even for a short time, regardless of how ugly they are, or how strong, or how wily.  
     
    I am surprised at you.  And I am surprised at this website for permitting such a post.  What happened to “Be nice”? 
     
    But please don’t try to explain it away with…what?  Fantasies of my nonexistent lavish life style?  I am happy for you and your wife’s ability to survive without a roof over your heads, though I cannot imagine how yall manage it; much less can I see how you might try to claim I could survive it.   By all means, let the post stand without explanation.  It speaks for itself. 
     
    As for my contributions to religious amity on a public scale, they are much more modest than the grand suicidal enterprise you recommend for me.  Rather than creating revisionist history, my contribution consists in mutually sharing songs and dances and doing prayer workshops and interfaith vegetarian dinners and community service projects together with fellow townspeople of all faiths, including Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus. 
     
    On a private scale, my giving consists at best of such items as giving a silver crucifix, or a foot-high Catholic Bible illustrated with magnificent Salvador Dali color prints to a Catholic couple.   Of course that last one was a rare find, purchased when I had a regular income and some savings. 

    I would have brought olivewood rosaries if I had indeed been offered a trip to Israel.  Once upon a time, when it was possible to visit Europe on $5/day, I brought back rosaries that had been blessed by Pope John, but I have never returned to Europe.  That trip took five years and two incomes to save up for, and my monthly social security check has long been less now than our incomes were then.  Strangely, however, the prices now are far more than they were when we were students, when milk was 67 cents a gallon, and a paperback book cost a dollar or two, and waterpacked solid abacore on sale was 25 cents a can and I could buy a whole case for six dollars–enough to last until the next sale.  Even dark chunk tuna is out of sight now.  Do you have any clue as to how much milk and sardines and beans and rice and onions cost today?    

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Ms Vise,
    To be able to perceive suicide or malice  from my suggestion to make a sacrifice in your life to go to Israel is not even worthy of  a comment.   We sold our house and jewelry to create our foundation to make a positive change.
    You are employed as an English teacher and if your desire to make aliyah is so strong simply go. You would be surprised what is within your reach if you really want something and not just talk about it.

  • Ray Dubuque says:

    Mr Krupp, how many times are you going to repeat the nonsense “Pius XII saved thousands of Jewish lives while he was surrounded by hostile forces and he knew he was going to be killed (this according to Vatican documents). That my friend is more than most of the other world’s religious and political leaders did to help Jews in the world at that time.”
    1) he wasn’t killed, so he couldn’t have known he was going to be killed.
    2) if meant to say he WOULD BE KILLED, IF HE TRIED TO PREVENT THE NAZIS FROM KILLING JEWS, then the reason he wasn’t killed is that he DIDN’T interfer with the Nazis.
    3) My brother devoted 20 years of his life risking his life in the military beginning just days after the end of WW II when he reached aged 18.  To suggest that the pope did MORE to help the Jews the leaders of the allied nations who had to send hundreds of thousands of Americans like my brother to risk AND LOSE their lives is shockingly assinine.
    4) When what you see when you imagine Pope Pius XII is a timid helpless victim “surrounded by hostile forces (who) knew he was going to be killed”, what history SHOWS is that the Nazi leadership saw the most powerful religious figure not only of Europe, but of the entire wolrd  “surrounded by hundreds of millions of members and friends of the most powerful church on earth, to which 1/3rd of Germans and a majority of its other allied nations other than Japan belonged.

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Yo Ray,

    As long as you can’t seem to absorb this information I will repeat it. If the Pope was such a timid shy coward he would have picked himself up and set up a government in exile in Portugal. Instead he stayed in his diocese and personally deprived himself of heat and coffee and all luxuries because his parishioner couldn’t have these things.
    Because he wasn’t killed did not mean that he did not expect to be killed. Handwritten notes from the secret meetings of the Cardinals show their state of mind. He was warned by the German command not to instigate Hitler because Hitler will order the invasion of the Vatican where he would be kidnapped and probably killed. AGAIN, this would no doubt spark riots throughout Europe and result in the loss of thousands of innocent lives as the Germans would have to put down the riots. It would have also breached Vatican neutrality endangering all of the “Jewish guests” in the ecclesiastical facilities  in Europe and would have also caused the arrest of their Catholic caretakers. Because it didn’t happen DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT WOULDN’T HAPPEN. This isn’t brain surgery Ray.

    My father was fighting for two years in Europe. He was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge under the command of General George Patton and liberated two concentration camps. Let  me assure you that the allies were interested in defeating the Nazis not in saving the Jews. If they wanted to save Jewish lives they would have bombed at least one crematorium or the rail road tracks leading to the death camps. So be happy your brother decided to join the armed forces AFTER  the war was over, my dad never had that option. Risking your life after the war is over is not quite the same as getting shot in battle.

    Ray you should guard against allowing your hatred of the Catholic Church cloud your ability to comprehend logical events, which are proven by documents and corroborated by eye witnesses and other documents.

  • Ray Dubuque says:

    Mr. Krupp,
    I know that you have admitted in this thread that you don’t claim to be a scholar, but you (and your partner, Mr. Hesemann) don’t have to be a scholars to have enough intergrity to STOP pulling that “your hatred of the Catholic Church” crap.
    Don’t YOU “hate”  the abuse of innocent young Catholic boys and girls by Roman Catholic priests?
    Don’t YOU “hate”  the way R.C. bishoups routinely reassigned priests who abused such children, instead of doing something to STOP that abuse?
    I think you would be offended if you were were charged by defenders of the Roman Catholic Church with “hatred of the Catholic Church”  on thst basis alone?  The only difference between you and me is that I object to more faults in the R.C. church than you do.  But not so long ago, people who thought as you do NOW were considered anti-Catholic biggots.

    “Did “St. Bonaventure, Cardinal and General of the Franciscans, HATE THE CHURCH, when he  likened Rome to the harlot of the Apocalypse, thus anticipating Luther by three centuries.  This harlot, he said, makes kings and nations drunk with the wine of her whoredoms.  In Rome, he claimed to have found nothing but lust and simony, even in the top ranks of the church.  Rome corrupts prelates, they corrupt their clergy, the clergy corrupt the people”?
    Did Dante, a devout Catholic, HATE THE CHURCH, when he not only gave hell to pope after pope, he dealt just as firmly with the Curia.  Cardinals, who, according to a devout Durham monk, were once ‘glittering like prostitutes’, are stripped naked in the Fourth Circle of the Inferno?
    Did Bishop Pelayo, a papal aide in Avignon, HATE THE CHURCH, when  suggested that the Holy See had infected the whole church with the poison of avarice.  “If the pope behaves like this, people say, why shouldn’t we?”  On a quite ordinary day, his master, Pope John XXII, excommunicated one patriarch, five archbishops, thirty bishops and forty-six abbots.  Their only crime: they were behind in paying the pope his taxes?
    Did St. Catherine of Sienna HATE THE CHURCH, when she  told Pope Gregory XI that she did not need to visit the papal court to smell it.  ‘The stench of the Curia, Holiness, has long ago reached my city.’ ”
    Did Pope Adrian VI HATE THE CHURCH, when he confessed to the diet of Nuremberg in 1522 that all evils in the church proceeded from the Roman Curia.  “For many years, abominable things have taken place in the chair of Peter, abuses in spiritual matters, translations of the commandments, so that everything here has been wickedly perverted.”
    Did the Jesuit scholar, papal defender and offficial “Doctor of the Church”, Robert Cardinal Bellarmine HATE THE CHURCH, when  he declared some years before Luther and Calvin there was in the church almost no religion left.”  The papacy, he said, had almost eliminated Christianity?
    In his sixteenth-century Ecclesiastical Annals, which the famous Catholic Lord Acton called ‘the greatest history of the Church ever written”, Cardinal Baronius was understandably embarrassed by events he records with remarkable honesty.  The pontiffs of this period he calls “invaders of the Holy See, less apostles than apostates”.  On the Chair of St. Peter sat not men but monsters in the shape of men.  “Vainglorious . . .   filled with fleshly lusts and cunning in all forms of wickedness governed Rome and prostituted the Chair of St. Peter for their minions and paramours.
    Surely you must beligve that ALL of thesee people “HATED THE CHURCH”!

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    June 8, 2010 at 10:11 pm
    Ms Vise,
    To be able to perceive suicide or malice  from my suggestion to make a sacrifice in your life to go to Israel is not even worthy of  a comment.   We sold our house and jewelry to create our foundation to make a positive change.
    You are employed as an English teacher and if your desire to make aliyah is so strong simply go. You would be surprised what is within your reach if you really want something and not just talk about it. 

    Mr. Krupp,

    I asked you how you are managing to survive without a roof over your head and you have not answered.  I know that I would indeed not survive long living under a bridge.  Your “idea” would indeed be suicidal for me; how are you different? 

    Moreover you are very free with your personal sneers without any knowledge of what an adjunct faculty member can make and the amount of work and gasoline and repairs to a 16-year-old car,  involved in driving to three different campuses over a large geographic range to teach three different courses.  As for aliyah , many who attempted aliyah in the past have returned unsuccesssful and impoverished.  Nonetheless, I have begun the process and have been told on three separate occasions by three different facillitators that I would be ineligible to teach in Israel because of  age discrimination.  

    Your personal sneers, besides being inappropriate to the site and in disregard of the admonition to “be nice” are also inappropriate to me personally since I have never said one word to you that could possiblly be construed as insulting or offensive in any way, nor have I addressed your personal situation or told you what to do with your life.  There is no justification for your telling me what to do with my life either, or for sneering at my limited capacity, or for having teased me with a mock offer to send me to Israel, but since you have declared self-righteously that you have sold all you have to give to the cause you cherish (and which of course I regard as unfortunate and mistaken, so your idea of my contributing one mil to it is ludicrous), your credibility as a person of honor and decency and good will require that you respond to the one question that I now ask you for the third time:   How do you survive without a roof over your head, or perhaps a more accurate query would be, how can you have a roof over your head if you have sold your house and your jewelry (how nice that you had jewelry!) and have given every penny of your assets to your foundation?   

    YOU are the one who brought up this bizarre idea and put it on me, so it is incumbent upon you to say how you are managing to survive having done this yourself.  Further bullying sneers against my private financial struggles do not win you any kudos, but    I expect that you will be happy to know that you have once again succeeded in shaming me deeply for having waited so late in life to get a Ph.D. and for having such poor health and such poor income and so little savvy and so little gumption and so few assets of any kind.  You have successfully revealed and exposed me to all as an incompetent despicable hopeless miserable worthless greedy selfish miserly person.  

    But it doesn’t matter what kind of person I am.  It doesn’t matter that you have thoroughly discredited me personally.  My citations have nothing to do with me or my poverty or my competence.  I cite good sources, pertinent relevant reliable sources (perhaps the motivation for the gratuitous ad hominem sneers?), and anyone can check them, and I hope they will.  There are books and books of such sources, compiled by various authors, and the library and the internet are full of them.    

    Copying them is hard work.  I have personal business to take care of now, but I will try to post more such sources before Friday and in any case will break for Shabbos. as I did last week.  It is tedious work, and my wrists ache, but I am duty-bound to provide readers with some meaningful information as recourse from the misleading and irrelevant posts about saving a few Jews here and a few Jews there and a fair number–some 8,000 or so in Italy, you say, and I believe you, and some 5,000 in other countries, you say, and I believe you–while 90% of the 3,300,000 Jews of Poland were being slaughtered wholesale, and some 900,000 Jews in the Ukraine–and, of course, some 2,100,000 other Jews from the rest of Europe.) 

    Meanwhile,  you have volunteered the boast, independent of any query from me or anyone else, and in the sight of all the readers of these posts, that you gave up your home and, if I understand correctly, all your valuables, for the foundation you established.  Surely some important bit of information is missing here, if readers as–what, as unstreetwise?–as unstreetwise as myself are to understand how this could be done.  

    This gap requires, in order for you to salvage your credibility, that you now come clean as to how it could be remotely possible for you and your wife to do this and to survive after having, as you claim, stripped yourselves of any home and of any and all assets that could keep you from needing to seek shelter under a bridge.   

  • Ray Dubuque says:

     
    Mr. Krupp, Unlike the military men who risked their lives day in and day out, all the clergy could do was cower in fear of what the Hazis would do to them if they dared lift their voices on behalf of the Jews. You write “Handwritten notes from the secret meetings of the Cardinals show their state of mind. He was warned by the German command not to instigate Hitler because Hitler will order the invasion of the Vatican where he would be kidnapped and probably killed. AGAIN, this would no doubt spark riots throughout Europe and result in the loss of thousands of innocent lives as the Germans would have to put down the riots.
    Yet, what the “Men of God” could NOT do,
    Ordinary housewives DID do :
    (When the Nazis were at the height of their power)”  the Gestapo in February 1943, in the course of deporting the last German Jews, seized several thousand Christian non-Aryans (i.e. Jewish converts) in mixed marriages.  In Berlin alone about 6,000 such men were arrested on February 27.  But then something unexpected and unparalleled happened: their Aryan wives followed them to the place of temporary detention and there they stood for several hours screaming and howling for their men.  With the secrecy of the whole machinery of destruction threatened, the Gestapo yielded and the non-Aryan husbands were released.  Here was an example of what an outraged conscience could achieve, even against Hitler’s terror apparatus.
    The German episcopate, after the downfall of the Nazi regime, has taken credit for preventing the compulsory divorce of mixed marriages.  There is strong reason to assume that the lion’s share of the credit belongs to the courageous women of Berlin who, in the last days of February 1943, dared to defy the seemingly all-powerful Gestapo and caused the Nazis to fear similar outbursts in the future if they moved to break up these marriages by divorce or deportation.” [ Lewy, pp. 288-289 ]
     
     

  • The Telegraph <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/world-war-2/7813894/Wartime-Pope-begged-allies-not-to-bomb-Rome.html&gt; in the UK and other newspapers recently reported about a letter written by Pope Pius XII to President Roosevelt. In this letter, dated August 30, 1943, the pope begged President Roosevelt to spare Rome from Allied bombing. At a time of devastating clashes between American and German forces in Anzio, Monte Cassino and elsewhere, the pope rightly feared the Americans would bomb Rome and thus likely destroy the hundreds of church properties in Rome and the Vatican, destroy priceless Vatican treasure, and even the very symbols of Catholic identity and power, from the basilica of St. Peter’s to the lives of the pope, the curia, and thousands of other members of the clergy.
     
    Pope Pius was certainly preoccupied with protecting Rome. So much so that he seems to have neglected worrying about other things, like protecting lives, preventing mass murder, and saving souls, for instance.
     
    When Berlin’s Bishop Preysing pressured the Pope to speak out against the murder of the Jews, the Pope replied that to him the most pressing issue was maintaining the Church’s unity and the trust of Catholics on either side of the conflict. To the pope, the murder of millions of Jews was less important than causing the millions of Catholics fighting in the German armed forces some moral anguish. When a correspondent for L’Osservatore Romano asked the pope whether he was not going to protest the extermination of the Jews, the pope answered, “Dear friend, do not forget that millions of Catholics serve in the German armies. Shall I bring them into conflicts of conscience?”
     
    He also wrote to Bishop Preysing that he felt he had to do whatever was necessary, including sacrificing his moral standing, to maintain the safety of Rome. And at least with Sir Francis D’Arcy Osborne, the British Ambassador to the Vatican, the pope had lost his moral standing. It’s not too surprising then to know that Osborne wrote, “I am revolted by Hitler’s massacre of the Jewish race on the one hand and, on the other, the Vatican’s apparently exclusive preoccupation . . . with the possibilities of the bombardment of Rome.” Osborne had been frustrated with the pope for a long time. He had written to the pope on September 1942 asking him to condemn the extermination of the Jews of Europe. But the pope did not allow himself to get entangled in any such public denunciations. As Osborne wrote to him, “A policy of silence in regard to such offenses against the conscience of the world must necessarily involve a renunciation of moral leadership.” Still, the pope would not budge. The British and the Americans continued to pressure him until they finally got the pope to make the first of his two declarations that could be construed as some sort of condemnation of the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question”. The vehicle for the first of these was the pope’s Christmas 1942 message, broadcast over Vatican Radio and heard by millions of people. In this tepid and innocuous message, delivered at a time when millions of Jews had already been murdered, the pope spoke for about forty-five minutes on other topics, and only at the end uttered a few sentences lamenting that “hundreds of thousands” of innocent human beings “were doomed to death”. The pope chose not to mention that those doomed to death were Jews, or that the ones killing were Germans, or that what was happening was mass murder. As always, this was delivered in that typical Vatican language so vague and obtuse no one really understood what was being said. As the German ambassador to the Vatican reported to his superiors after a similar communiqué, “There is less reason to object to the terms of this message . . . as only a very small number of people will recognize in it a special allusion to the Jewish question.”
     
    Pope Pius also seemed to have forgotten to instruct the faithful listening that murdering Jews was a crime and a mortal sin, which meant millions of Catholics went on merrily murdering Jews with a clean conscience. They never heard from the infallible vicar of Christ or the vast majority of the clergy that being a part of the machinery of extermination was a guaranteed ticket to hell. Aside from the crimes committed by clergy before, during and after the Second World War, and the colossal moral failures of the Church vis-à-vis the Holocaust, the Church also failed miserably as a pastor of souls.

  • Ray Dubuque says:

    Gabriel,
    As you say so well,

    “Pope Pius also seemed to have forgotten to instruct the faithful listening that murdering Jews was a crime and a mortal sin, which meant millions of Catholics went on merrily murdering Jews with a clean conscience. They never heard from the infallible vicar of Christ or the vast majority of the clergy that being a part of the machinery of extermination was a guaranteed ticket to hell. Aside from the crimes committed by clergy before, during and after the Second World War, and the colossal moral failures of the Church vis-à-vis the Holocaust, the Church also failed miserably as a pastor of souls.”

    When Catholics and Catholic apologists like “papal knight Krupp” fail to realize when they accuse ME of “hating Catholics” is that the ones who showed no concern for the eternal welfare of Roman Catholics were their ecclesiastical superiors, NOT ME.  If anyone, therefore, should be accused of hating Catholics, it is those so-called “men of God”, led not by a man who showed himself to be “the vicar of Christ”, but by one who acted as “Hitler’s Pope”.

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Although Luther’s “Of the Jews and Their Lies” has its role in Hitler’s “final solution” of the [NON-]”problem” of the Jews, it is also worth pointing out the ambivalent role of the Catholic church’s doctrine, following “Saint” Augustine, that “the Jews” should “survive but not thrive”. 

    Thus, the Vatican taught “the faithful” to hate Jews, but tried to prevent “the faithful” from expressing that hate TOO violently.   Doubtless very confusing to the faithful for over a thousand years. 

    However, the ancient Augustinian attitude of “patience” with Jews seems to have ended with the conversos (converts to Christianity) in Spain. There were too may conversos, and their devotion to the church was uncertain, since they had converted under threat of death.

    Many see a straight line from Spanish “blood purity” laws to the Christendom-wide “blood purity” laws for “new Christians” (so-called even generations after the conversion; also known through the generations as conversos)–along with the Pope-mandated ghettoes and Jew-badges for those Jews who had refused baptism–to Hitler’s Nuremberg laws in Germany to the death camps. 

    Doubtless the various Pius popes were influenced by their church’s longstanding dubiety as to any right of Jews to exist, since the Jewish failure to convert was repeatedly said to constitute a “mortal threat” to the loyalty of “the faithful”. 

    Here are a very few of the pertinent elements in the Catholic/Nazi time line:

    1449
    The city council of Toledo, Spain, passed an ordinance decreeing “that no ‘converso’ of Jewish descent may have or hold any office or benefice in the said city of Toledo.” Pope Nicholas V (1447-1455) excommunicated the author of the ordinance, but in 1451, the King of Castile formally approved the regulation. Thereafter, Jews in Spain were defined not by religion but by blood-a new racial definition, denying the salvific effect of baptism (James Carroll, Constantine’s Sword, 347).

    1542
    Pope Paul III authorized the establishment in Rome of a Spanish-style Inquisition and appointed as its head Gian Pietro Caraffa (Matthew Bunson, The Pope Encyclopedia, 6-7).

    1546
    Paul III appointed to a clerical position at the cathedral in Toledo a priest whose ancestors had first been baptized within the past 200 years, i.e., the priest was a converso. The archbishop of Toledo, who had been a tutor to Spain’s King Philip II, and thus had some clout, ejected the appointed priest on the grounds that he had “impure blood”-i.e., he had Jewish ancestry (Henry Kamen, Inquisition and Society in Spain, 118).

    Until that moment, such discrimination against “new Christians” and their descendants had been staunchly opposed by the papacy.  The whole point of preventing Jews from thriving had been to encourage baptism, and if baptized Jews, or their descendants, were to be treated differently from other Christians, the incentive to become Christian was much diminished.  Nonetheless, Paul III withdrew the appointment of the converso.

    1547
    The archbishop of Toledo issued the Statute of Toledo, of limpieza de sangre (purity of blood), according to which no one of Jewish blood could hold office in the cathedral. Paul III refused to approve the decree (Carroll, 374).

    1555
    Gian Pietro Caraffa became Pope and reigned as Paul IV until 1559. Paul IV ratified the blood purity Statute of Toledo for the entire Catholic Church (Kamen, 118).

    We will come back to the blood purity laws in a moment.  First, note what else Pope Pual IV did in 1555:

    1555, July
    Pope Paul IV issues Papal Bull Cum Nimis Absurdum
    This verbose bull can be summarized as requiring, among many more constraints, that all Jews in Christendom be required to wear a special badge, and, most significantly, that Jews be required to reside in a established Ghetto, walled in, with only one entrance, never to be enlarged as the generations go by and the population increased. This was the first time a ghetto was authorized by a Pope, and the first ghetto to be rigorously enforced. (Vogelstein, Rome, 267).

    1796
    The soldiers of Napoleon dismantled “the squalid ghetto at the foot of Vatican Hill” (Carroll, 379).

    1815
    Napoleon Bonaparte having been defeated, Pope Pius VII (1800-1823) ordered the ghetto walls rebuilt!!! (Carroll, 379).

    Meanwhile, about those blood purity laws…how long did they remain in effect in the Catholic Church?

    1923
    Here is the regulation governing admission to the Jesuits, as defined by the Twenty-Seventh General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, which met in 1923, and whose rule mitigated, as follows, the pattern of all the intervening years:
    “The impediment of origin extends to all who are descended from the Jewish race [sic], UNLESS it is clear that their father, grandfather, and great-grandfather have belonged to the Catholic Church” (John W. Padberg, Society of Jesus, et al., trans., First Thirty Jesuit Congregations, 534; emphasis added).

    1946
    The automatic rejection of “Jewish blood” apparently ends with the following less-than-ringing “repudiation” of the blood purity test for admission to the order of Jesuits, as framed by the Twenty-ninth General Congregation of the Society of Jesus:
    “Regarding the impediment of origin, introduced by decrees 52 and 53 of the Fifth General Congregation, explained in decr3ee 28 of the Sixth Congregation, preserved, albeit in mitigated form, by decree 27 of the Twenty-seventh Congregation but not contained in the Constitutions, the present congregation did not wish to retain it as a secondary impediment, but substituted for it a statement reminding the provincials…. of the caution to be exercised before admitting a candidate about whom there is some doubt as to the character of his hereditary background” (Padberg et al., 625; see also Hannah Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism, 102). 

    Note again:  this change in Jesuit rules occurs for the first time only in the year AFTER World War II ended–and while it permits “impure blood,” it still cautions against it. 

    1974
    Rosemary Radford Ruether remarks that these “blood purity” or “Jewish race” laws had, in her words, “remained on the books in Catholic religious orders, such as the Jesuits, until the twentieth century. They are the ancestor of the Nazi Nuremberg Laws” (Faith and Fratricide, 203).

    1998
    Cardinal Edward Cassidy, head of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, in an address to a group of Jewish leaders in Washington, D.C., in May 1998, makes the somewhat stronger statement that “the ghetto, which came into being in 1555 with a papal bull, became, in Nazi Germany, the antechamber of the extermination” (Quoted by Eugene J. Fisher in National Catholic Register, October 27, 1998).

    1999
    At the Jewish-Catholic meeting on March 30, 1999, James Carroll heard Cardinal Cassidy repeat this statement, this time saying that the “Church-ordered ghetto was the antechamber to the Nazi death camps” (Carroll, 669, n.44).

    Cardinal Cassidy said it. 

    I believe it. 

  • Eugene Fisher says:

    Now retired, I was for thirty years (1977-2007) the staff person for Catholic-Jewish relations at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and during that time a Consultor to the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and a member of the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee.  I would like to comment on the June 16 posting of Catherine Vise, who kindly quotes me quoting Cardinal Cassidy, with whom I agree.  There is a difference, however, between being an antechamber or a precursor to the genocidal, racial antisemitism that was the ideology of Nazism and the anti-Judaism and anti-Jewishness  of the Christian teaching of contempt, to use the apt phrase of Jules Isaac, whose meeting with Pope John XXIII lead to the 1965 document of the Second Vatican Council, Nostra Aetate, so profoundly changed the Catholic Church’s understanding of and teaching about Jews and Judaism). 
    With regard to the Jesuits, the history is again more complex than the snippet provided by Vise.  The Jesuits were a Spanish-based order and so subject to pressure from Spain, where the limpia de raza laws were in force.  The Jesuits for some time held out against implementing them, sending Jesuits of Jewish background, for example, to other countries so they could stay in the order.  There is a new book just out on the history the Jesuits & Jews which I have not read.  But I will withhold judgment on the Jesuits (who have as many conspiracy theories thrown against them as the Jews) until I read it.

    The historical teaching of contempt and the negative practices of Christians against Jews which Vise cites did indeed lay the groundwork, as it were, for the rise of modern, racial antisemitism.  But with the sole exception of Spain, which alone practiced the limpieza de sangre, the Church’s attidude and practice was not in our modern sense “racial.”  Thus, Christian teaching and practice, indefensible as they were, can be said to have been a necessary cause for understanding the rise of genocidal antisemitism, but not a sufficient cause.  Over the centuries, beginning with the 12th century, they lead to expulsions, ghettos and pogroms, but the notion of racialism, of humanity divided in separate species, was the product of post-Christian thinking, disguising itself in the terminology of the Enlightenment and science.   
    Christian theology, no less than Judaism, understands humanity to be descended from one set of parents, created by God, such that every human being is made in God’s image and is therefore sacred.  The idea of separate “races” descended from separate primal parents, which is central to modern racial antisemitism, simply cannot be held by a believing Christian, Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox.  So one cannot get to racial antisemitism from Church teaching without inventing something that is essentially opposed to Church teaching on the nature of humanity.  If there were separate races, after all, one would have to invalidate the universal nature of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice. 
    Likewise, if one looks at history, beyond listing a number of negatives as Vise does, one sees that it is exceedingly complex.  Catholic Italy, clearly the country most influenced by the papacy over the centuries, simply did not buy into genocidal racism and saved 75-80% of its Jews, while Catholic Austria contributed more than its share of those who ran the death camps.  Similarly, compare the percentages of Jews saved in Catholic Belgium and in Croatia to again see a wide disparity in the percentage of Jews saved.  The same basic catechism was taught to Catholics in Italy and Austria, Belgium and Croatia, but the reactions of Catholics in these different countries varied widely.  This raises questions that a simple “blame the Church for Hitler” scenario simply cannot answer.  One needs to look at the sociology and history of these various countries to begin to discern why their Catholics acted so differently toward Jews juring the Shoah. 
    Now, to complexify Jewish-Christian history a bit:
    Vise is quite correct to call Augustine’s writings on the Jews “ambivalent” and the subsequent teaching of the Church influenced by it ambiguous.  But one needs to understand Augustine in context to understand what he was doing.  By Augustine’s time the notion that Jews were collectively guilty for the death of Jesus and were being punished for it by God (e.g. the destruction of the Temple and the dispersion of the Jews, even though Jews had already spread around the then known world by Jesus’ time) had become a common presumption.  In other words the basic foundation of the teaching of contempt was already firmly ensconsed.  He did not question this.  But with the attainment of political power after Constantine, when Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire, the Church began the process of eliminating all other religions then in existence within it.  Various forms of paganism, Mithraism, etc., began to disappear, forced out of existence.  The sole exception, the only other religion besides Christianity that was allowed to exist was Judaism.  And the main reason for the survival of Judaism within Christendom was Augustine.  Augustine taught that the Jews must be allowed to practice their religion freely because by doing so they gave witness to the validity of their Scriptures.  And without the Hebrew Scriptures (he used the term “Old Testament”), that is the only Bible known to Jesus and to the authors of the New Testament, the New Testament does not make a whole lot of sense.  This was not a minor argument.  Marcion of Pontus and other gnostics of the early centuries wanted to do away with the Old Testament and most of the New Testament as well, since they felt that these writings reflected a different God than the Christian God.  So arguing for the validity of the Hebrew Scriptures and for the validity and the necessity of the Jewish witness to it was a major innovation of the time, and a vital one.  Augustine’s own mentor, Ambrose of Milan, was arguing that Judaism, like the pagan religions, should be suppressed.  Augustine’s use of the mark of Cain, while presument the collective guilt canard, actually turned the logic of that canard on its head.   The mark, one may recall, meant that God had reserved to Himself the right to punish Cain and that Cain should not be harmed by anyone.  Jews, Augustine argued, should be allowed to worship freely as had their ancestors, for they worshipped according to God’s will as mandated to them in the Bible.
    Pope St. Gregory the Great accepted the theology of Augustine, not that of Ambrose or the many others calling for the total suppression of Judaism.  He determined that Judaism would be a religio licita, a licit (legal) religion, the only such tradition besides Christianity itself. 
    And so the tradition of papal protection of Jews was inaugurated, ensuring the survival of Judaism in Christendom.  It is no accident that of all the countries in Western Europe only Italy did not expel its Jews during the period from the 12th to the 15th centuries.  The practice, by the way, was invented by the British, who expelled their Jews in the 12th Century, and culminated in the expulsion of Jews from Spain and Portugal in the 1492-3.
    It needs also to be clear that most of the negative attacks on Jews in Christian history go back only to 1096, after the mob of self-styled crusaders who missed the boats of the First Crusade tried to walk to the Holy Land.  Going along the Rhineland valley in what is today Germany, this leaderless mob came up with the idea of fighting infidels along the way, offering Jews they could grab the choice of conversion or death.  Since forced conversion was against the teaching of the Church, the local bishops along the way tried to stop them and tried to hide their Jews from them, with little success.  The palace of the bishop of Munich was stormed by the mob and the Jews taken inside for safety were slaughtered.  Jewish and Christian chroniclers of the time agree that some 10,000 Jews died in this way.  The Catholic king of Hungary, learning of this, massed his troops on the border of his country and destroyed the mob, so that they never reached Jerusalem.   This was the first great blood-letting by Christians of Jews in history.  And it took a millennium for it to occur.  Relations between Christians and Jews had been relatively peaceful, in point of fact.  It is only after this that the blood libel charges, the distinctive clothing, the ghettoes, Passion Plays, pogroms etc begin to be widespread in Christian Europe.  Not before.
    Again, it simply will not do justice to actual history to pretend that the situation of Jews in Christian Europe was always and everywhere as bad as it was at its worst.   The Spanish and Roman Inquistions, contrary to Vise, were very different, with the latter not having the forced conversion of Jews or the limpieza de sangre laws to deal with, but rather traditional papal protection of Jews in force to guide it. 
    Recent Recommended Reading:
    Derek Hastings, Catholicism and the Roots of Nazism:  Religious Identity and National Socialism (Oxford University Press, 2010).  Studies the early period of Nazism in Bavaria up to the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, when Nazism and German Catholicism split definitively.
    Hubert Wolf, Pope and Devil: The Vatican’s Archives and the Third Reich (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010).  Examines the pontificate of Pius XI in which, of course, Eugenio Pacelli was a key actor.
    My review of a book On Augustine, written by a Jewish scholar: 
    St. Anthony Messenger, Spring 2009
    AUGUSTINE AND THE JEWS: A Christian Defense of Jews and Judaism, by Paula Frederiksen. Doubleday. 488 pp. $35.
    Reviewed by EUGENE J. FISHER, retired associate director, Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
     
    MANY PEOPLE, including many Jews, are unaware of the crucial role played by St. Augustine in the survival of the Jews in Christian Europe in the centuries after the Church gained political power at the time of the Emperor Constantine. Of all of the non-Christian religions that existed in the fourth century A.D., Judaism alone was allowed to maintain its ancient status as religio licita, a legally recognized religion.
    It was Augustine’s brilliant theology that established the theological base on which the popes over the centuries drew to defend the rights of Jews to freedom of worship and freedom to practice their religion. Much of his theology was developed in opposition to the anti-Judaism theologies of virtually all other Christian thinkers of the period,
    Even many of those who are aware of the revolutionary nature of Augustine’s thought and its positive influence on papal policy over the centuries are not aware of how he reached his unprecedented (save for St. Paul) conclusions about the Jews. His thinking about the Jews surprisingly had a role in his overall defense of orthodox Catholic Christianity against the chief heresies of his time.
    Frederiksen of Boston University is a Jewish scholar. She carefully, respectfully and, above all, very clearly narrates the progression of thought which Augustine so brilliantly developed.
    Briefly, Augustine was a convert to Catholicism from Manicheanism. This popular Christian heresy taught, among other things, that the body (and everything physical or “carnal”) was evil, and only the soul (and spiritual realities) was good.
    One extreme of this thought was to be found in that of Marcion, a Gnostic “dualist” who taught that there were two distinct gods. The Old Testament God of justice and vengeance demanded of the Jews blood sacrifices and carnal practices such as circumcision and resting on the Sabbath; the New Testament God was concerned with love, mercy and the spirit.
    The coming of Jesus represented the defeat of the evil god of the Old Testament, so Marcion concluded that the Church should destroy all of its books, and even New Testament books Marcion and the later Manichees felt to be “too fleshly, too Jewish,” and thus evil.
    Augustine the convert preserved for the Church much of its Sacred Scripture by defending the Catholic faith in these matters. To him, at stake were the very nature of Christ as Incarnate Son of God and the very nature of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, as a physical sign in which Christ is fully present, not only spiritually but also physically.
    Frederiksen narrates the development and presentation of Augustine’s arguments, particularly against their greatest proponent of Augustine’s time, Faustus. Throughout she makes Augustine’s fourth-century rhetoric and reasoning clear to the modern reader. At one point, as she herself notes, she takes 1,600 words to explain a particularly dense Augustinian passage of only 480 words!
    In Part One, Frederiksen narrates the social and intellectual history of the Hellenistic world into which Augustine was born.
    The second part is a biography of Augustine, drawing on sources such as his own Confessions, which enabled him to become a biblical theologian of great insight. He could not only correct the (mis)interpretations of his mentor, St. Ambrose of Milan, but of his contemporary, St. Jerome, on, for example, the writings of St. Paul.
    This section, entitled “The Prodigal Son,” reads as a powerful narrative of the journey of a great soul and a great mind, one of the greatest in Christian history.
    The third section, “God and Israel,” draws out just how Augustine’s understanding of “the redemption of the flesh” in the Incarnate Christ also led him to his startling (for the time) defense of the Jews and of their continuing right of the Jews to worship as God told them to do in their Scripture. God, for Augustine, did not lie to the Jews. What he told them to do must forever be acknowledged as God’s will, which Jews must faithfully observe until the end of time.
    But unlike many Christian thinkers–then and now–Augustine did not see the observance of God’s will for Israel and the Christian observance of God’s will for humanity in Christ as an either/or proposition. The Jewish Way, God’s Way for the Jews, did not, could not, given the nature of God as Truth, become an evil or wrong way with the revelation of the New Way.
    While the Jews killed Jesus as their ancestors killed the prophets, Augustine does not proceed to accuse them of “deicide.” Rather, he states that they have on them the Mark of Cain, which of course is God’s mark, setting the Jews aside, for all time, as God’s to deal with. No humans can attempt to do violence to the Jews or try to force the Jews to convert without risking the wrath of God himself.
    This book requires close reading, but will richly reward it for its contributions not only to our understanding of the teachings of Augustine, but with a better understanding of contemporary theological issues as well.
     
     
    EF original:
    AUGUSTINE AND THE JEWS:  A Christian Defense of Jews and Judaism, by Paula Frederiksen.  Doubleday.  488 pp.  $35.00.
    Reviewed by Eugene J. Fisher, Retired Associate Director, Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
    MANY PEOPLE, including many Jews, are unaware of the crucial role played by St. Augustine in the survival of the Jews in Christian Europe in the centuries after the Church gained political power at the time of the Emperor Constantine.  Of all of the non-Christian religions that existed in the fourth century A.D., Judaism alone was allowed to survive and maintain its ancient status as religio licita, a legally recognized religion.  It was Augustine’s brilliant theology, much of which he developed contrary to the anti-Judaism theologies of virtually all other Christian thinkers of the period, which established the theological base on which the popes over the centuries drew to defend the rights of Jews to freedom of worship and freedom to practice their religion.
         Even many of those who are aware of the revolutionary nature of Augustine’s thought and its positive influence on papal policy over the centuries are not aware of how he reached his unprecedented (save for St. Paul) conclusions about the Jews and the role they played in his overall defense of orthodox Catholic Christianity against the chief heresies of his time.  Frederiksen of Boston University, who is herself a Jewish scholar, carefully, respectfully and above all very clearly narrates the progression of thought which Augustine so brilliantly developed.
         Briefly, Augustine was a convert to Catholicism from Manicheeism, an extremely popular Christian heresy which taught, among other things that the body and everything physical or “carnal” was evil, with the spiritual realities such as the soul alone being good.  One extreme of this thought was to be found in that of Marcion, a Gnostic “dualist” who taught that there were two distinct gods, the Old Testament god of justice and vengeance who demanded of the Jews blood sacrifices and carnal practices such as circumcision and resting on the Sabbath, and the New Tesament god of love, mercy and the spirit.  The coming of Jesus represented the defeat of the evil god of the Old Testament, so Marcion concluded that the Church should destroy all of its books, and even New Testament books Marcion and the later Manichees felt to be “too fleshly, too Jewish,” and thus evil. 
         Augustine, the convert from such stark thinking which would have deprived the Church of so much of its Sacred Scripture and inspired Word of God, undertook to defend the Catholic faith in these matters, especially since, to him, the very nature of Christ as Incarnate Son of God and the very nature of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, as a physical sign in which Christ is fully present, not only spiritually but physically, were at stake.
         Frederiksen narrates the development and presentation of Augustine’s arguments, particularly against their greatest proponent of Augustine’s time, Faustus.  Throughout she strives, and succeeds admirably, in making Augustine’s fourth century rhetoric and reasoning clear to the modern reader.  At one point, as she herself notes, she takes 1600 words to explain a particularly dense Augustinian passage of only 480 words!
         To accomplish this, Frederiksen in Part One narrates the social and intellectual history of the Hellenistic world into which Augustine was born.  The second part is a biography of Augustine, drawing on sources such as his own Confessions, which enabled him to become a biblical theologian of such insight as to enable him to correct the (mis)interpretations not only of his mentor, St. Ambrose of Milan, but of his contemporary St. Jerome on, for example, the writings of St. Paul.  This section, entitled “The Prodigal Son,” reads as a powerful narrative of the journey of a great soul and a great mind, one of the greatest in Christian history.
         The third section, “God and Israel,”  draws out just how Augustine’s understanding of “the redemption of the flesh” in the Incarnate Christ also lead him to his startling (for the time) defense of the Jews and of the continuing right of the Jews to worship and practice their faith as God told them to do so in their Scripture.  God, for Augustine, did not lie to the Jews.  What he told them to do in the Law was and hence in a real sense must forever be acknowledged as God’s will that the Jews faithfully observe and will observe, he opines, until the end of time.  In so observing the “carnal, this-worldly” commands of the Law, which Augustine calls “the old (or ancient) sacraments,” of course, the Jews at once witness to the validity of the Old Testament as God’s Word and hence to their fulfillment and transcendence in the New Law of Christ. 
         But unlike many Christian thinkers then and now, Augustine did not see the observance of God’s will for Israel and the Christian observance of God’s will for humanity in Christ as an either/or proposition.  The Jewish Way, God’s Way for the Jews, did not, could not, given the nature of God as Truth, become an evil or wrong way with the revelation of the New.
         While the Jews killed Jesus as their ancestors killed the prophets, Augustine does not proceed to accuse them of “deicide.”  Rather, he states that they have on them the Mark of Cain, which of course is God’s Mark, setting the Jews aside, for all time, as God’s to deal with.  No humans can attempt to do violence to the Jews or try to force the Jews to convert without risking the wrath of God Himself.
         This book requires close reading, but will richly reward it for its contributions not only to our understanding of the teachings of Augustine, but with a better understanding of contemporary theological issues as well. 
     
     
     

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    This response to Eugene Fisher is only partial.  Perhaps I will feel called upon to say more shortly, but first I feel called upon to acknowledge some of what he says.

    I have, overall, heard good things about the Jesuits compared to, say, the Dominicans and the Franciscans.  Moreover, I have had dear friends who attended Jesuit universities in New Orleans and in Chicago.  I was simply pointing out that the “blood purity” idea, which, as you say, survived among the Jesuits until after WWII, was a forerunner to the 19th and 20th century’s viewing Jews genetically rather than religiously. 

    Yes, we are all children of one couple and of ONE FATHER.  We are all one species, as evidenced by the fact that fertile pairs can be obtained from any two humans from diverse parts of the world.  We both come from traditions which cherish that human unity and I want to acknowledge that. 

    I am also well aware of the disparities in the percentages of Jews murdered in various Catholic countries.  Poland was the worst, having murdered 90% of its Jews.  The Ukraine was a close second.  Italy was indeed a better place than either of those, losing “only” 20% of its Jews to the murderers, thus scoring better even than Bulgaria, which lost 22% of its Jews.  The Bulgarian government, which, like Italy, was formally allied with Germany, stood up to the Nazis and refused to give up its Jews.  Unfortunately, Bulgaria did give up the Macedonian Jews under its aeagis. 

    When I was in Florence, I visited the beautiful synagogue there.  During services, sitting in the women’s section, I heard from the woman sitting beside me that, during the war, the Germans had stabled their horses in this lovely little duomo.  But AFTER the war, she said, the people of Florence pitched in and restored the synagogue to its former beauty.  Even now, forty years after having learned of this, I am moved to tears at the goodness of the Italian people.  You don’t have to convince me.   In spie of the horrible races held in Rome during Carnival for centuries, and in spite of the dehumanizing ghetto in Rome, it feels to me as if there is a special intimacy, outside of Rome at least, between Jews and Italians, perhaps because we are both Mediterranean peoples.  (I feel this way about the Greeks as well, despite the fact that in ancient times, both Hellenizers and Romans were our conquerors.)   

    I also want to acknowledge the fact that when Augustine advised that the Jews should survive but not thrive, he probably saved, thereby, all Jewry under Constantine’s rule from extinction.  We have only to note that the pagans were all converted or killed, and to realize that, but for Augustine’s well-timed and (at the time) generous advice, the same would almost certainly have been our fate as well. 

    Unfortunately, Augustine’s advice, while it kept us alive throughout that dangerous century, also kept us peached against, excoriated, and hated for nearly two millennia.  Indeed, the Popes repeatedly acted to try to save us from mob violence over the centuries–mob violence which, as I am sure you are aware, was repeatedly stirred up, during Holy Week but also year round, from Christian pulpits.  Indeed, I have visited various denominations of Christian churches and have myself heard sermons about what a mythical “Jew” thinks, says, and does, a demonic figure totally at variance from any real men and women, including those living along the Rhine and elsewhere in Christian Europe. 

    I mention the Rhine because of the Crusades, and especially the evil done by the followers of Peter the Hermit at the beginning of the first Crusade, although I have recently learned that most of the Crusaders’ murderous depredations decreased enormously after the loss of those same followers.  Still, the destruction of the seminaries and of their students and teachers (Rashi having providentially survived because he was not attending), the desperate suicides of the jews of Cologne, Mayence, Worms, and Speyer, and the resultant estrangement of the formerly-amicable relations among Jews and Christians of that era has lasted nearly a millennium.  John and John Paul II have tried to repair the breach, but we do not know who the next pope will be or what changes he may introduce (or reintroduce).  It would not be the first time that decades of goodness have been succeeded by worse decades of evil.    I do not excoriate Catholics.  We are all human.  The institution and its directives went astray and promoted hatred and fear.  This was an error, and it led honest Catholics astray.  It is difficult now to undo the fact that many generations have followed an errant path and were therefore open to cooperating with an evil that they had been conditioned not to recognize.  I am hoping that you, with Gd’s help, will do what you can, and that what you can is far more than you yet realize. 

    We must do all we can, now, while we can, to further the good work of Pope John and of Pope John Paul II.   It is my heartfelt wish to increase amicability among us.  My concern is that the proclamation of Pope Pius XII as a saint might make him an unfortunate example leading to a deleterious effect.  Much remains to be done on the Catholic side to further the brave attempts of the past forty-plus years to undo the millennia-long excoriation of the mythic “Jew,” and I hope Gd will help you to encourage its accomplishment.  May your attempts in that direction be blessed and crowned with success beyond your hopes.  Remember, whatever happens, to look for meaning and blessing everywhere, and to be encouraged in your promotin of joy and life and courage and mutual appreciation among all peoples.    Seek and you shall find.

    I apologize for stopping to respond without having read your entire post.  Perhaps I will want to respond further after having read more of it.  Thank you for your post. 

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    I do not know the proper address for Eugene J. Fisher, but having read the remainder of his post I see that he addressed the matter of the Crusades hinself and that we are essentially in agreement about that, as well as about Augustine.   

    To everyone I wish to apologize for the uncaught typos in my prior post. 

    Thank you again for your attention. 

  • Eugene Fisher says:

    I think Dr. Vise and I are on the same page, if not necessarily in the same paragraph, and I thank her for her kind words.  A couple of complexifying points on her latest. 
    First, regarding Poland.  She is quite correct about the high percentage of Polish Jews exterminated by the German Nazis in Poland and Ukraine.  But (and here I go again) a complexifying factor is that for the Aryan purist Germans, Poles and Ukranians were Slavs, i.e. of a lower racial order than Germans or Danes.  Hence they felt much more free in terrorizing those populations.  Something like 20-30% of the Polish Catholic clergy, for example died in the concentration camps.  Auschwitz was originally built to “house” Poles.  It was actually Auschwitz/Birkenau where the Jews were systematically murdered.  As Pope John Paul II said, in meeting a group of Jewish survivors in Warsaw in the summer of 1987, you (Jews) were the first victims of Nazism.  We Poles were slated next for extinction (save for the few that were “Aryan” enough to be able to be bred with Germans). 
    In Poland, unlike in occupied Western Europe, if any person helped a Jew, he or she was killed immediately, and most often her or his entire family.  So it would have to have been an heroically courageous person who helped a Jew in any, even a minor way.  And yet, and yet, the largest group of Righteous Gentiles honored in Yad va Shem and in the Holocaust Museum in Washington, are Polish Catholics.  Yes, there was antisemitism in Poland, as Jedwabne showed beyond a shadow of a doubt.  But there is much doubt that Poland, left to itself and not conquered and occupied by the gonocidal Germans, would have come up with the idea, much less implemented it, of murdering all its Jews. 
    Second, on Augustine.  Please remember that Augustine did not invent the deicide charge.  Had he never existed, that would have been the prevailing Christian idea about Jews anyway.  And Jews would not have survived in Christendom.  Just re-read the writing of Chrysostum.
    Yes, there were ghettoes in Rome and throughout Europe.  And yes the worst attacks on the Jews came during Holy Week.  A small point is that during Holy Week, the bishops of Rome and other cities most often mandated that Jews  stay in the ghettoes and locked the gates, not to harras the Jews, but to protect them, placing guard around the ghettos to do so.
    Why, in G-d’s name, did these same bishops not figure out that the problem was not with the Christians who went to Church on Good Friday, but with the nefarious priests who preached hatred of Jews during Holy Week?
    Sigh.
    Gene Fisher

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Gene Fisher courteously replies that he thinks we “are on the same page, if not necessarily in the same paragraph, and I thank her for her kind words.” 

    For my own part, I think and hope we are indeed on the same page, and I appreciate his courtesy. 

    He adds the following:   
    “First, regarding Poland.  She is quite correct about the high percentage of Polish Jews exterminated by the German Nazis in Poland and Ukraine.  But (and here I go again) a complexifying factor is that for the Aryan purist Germans, Poles and Ukranians were Slavs, i.e. of a lower racial order than Germans or Danes.”

    To this I am duty bound to add that of course they are not really of a lower racial order.  They were merely defined as such by the Nazis.  I’m sure that’s what you mean.  And we must honor Pope John Paul II especially since he had the opportunity, in his youth, to help some of the Jews.  And on one occasion, so I have heard and read, a woman came to him with a Jewish child and asked him to baptize the child, and he advised her to allow the child to remain unbaptized as its parents would have wished.  (Very unlike the beleaguered Pope Pius IX, for example, who had Jewish children baptized and kidnapped out of the ghetto.)  That is one of the reasons that I honor Pope John Paul II.  It must have been an honor and a pleasure to work with him.  But perhaps there were certain difficulties? 

    However, although I have read a great deal about certain Poles who did risk everything in order to hide Jews, I have also heard of other Poles who did the opposite.  For example, a soldier was walking along shooting Jewish children, and he saw a blonde child and didn’t shoot her, and the Polish woman in the doorway nearby said, “You missed one!” and pointed her out, and he went back and shot her.  I am one of those Irish-looking Jews and I used to think that I could have “passed” for Aryan, but it turns out that “this is what Jewish looks like,” and the Poles knew it and would point out the Jews who didn’t look like the stereotypes and would have been able to fool the German. 

    Moreover, as I regret to mention, you seem to forget the pogroms of 1919.  My father was a child in the Ukraine during those pogroms, and they needed no gun-toting Nazis to encourage them to torture and slaughter as many Jews as they could, in the Ukraine and also in Poland.  Many websites discuss this horrible but forgotten slaughter, which pales only by comparison with the holocaust,  and I cite some of them in a couple of earlier posts, in order  illustrate the temper of the Eastern European Christians.  I don’t mention Russia, since they were Orthodox Christians, not Roman Catholics.  But the Black Book about the Ukrainian participation in the Shoah clearly indicates that when it came to murdering Jews, there were plenty of Eastern European volunteers.  Believe me, I wish it were ot true that they were reluctant, but in fact they had already murdered many during the 1919 pogroms.  Pope Pius XI, before becoming Pope, was sent as nuncio to Poland because of those pogroms; he was supposed to help the beleaguered survivors among the Jews.  Repeat:  that was in 1919. 
    Moreover, in 1945, the survivors who tried to return to their home towns and home neighborhoods did so at the peril of their lives:  their neighbors did NOT WANT THEM BACK.  After the defeat of Germany, the Jews in Poland and Ukraine had to esape from the Poles and the Ukrainians.   

    One more detail.  The Poles who were, alas, slaughtered by the Nazis were mostly adult males,  not elderly, not female, not children.  The men of fighting age.  But among the Jews even infants were dumped alive into a bonfire.  The intent in the case of the Poles was evidently to enslave them and to destroy their resistance rather than to exterminate them.  The Nazis evidently recalled the literal relationship between the word “Slav” and the word “slave”; a thousand years ago, the Slavs were much in demand as slaves.  Perhaps that historical sorrow was the origin of the Nazis’ negative attitude towards Slavs. 

    The worst shame was that the resistance fighters in the forset refused to allow Jews to buy guns or ammo at any price, or to allow the Jewish resistance to wori with them.  Somehow the Jewish resistance fighters were able to get some guns anyway, and used them to kill German soldiers and acquire German guns and ammo…no thanks to the Polish fighters, who were as apt to kill a Jewish fighter as to sell him any bullets.  Evidently the priests had done their job well in Poland, preaching year round rather than only during Holy Week. 

    Fisher adds that “It was actually Auschwitz/Birkenau where the Jews were systematically murdered”

    Yes, but before that the Jews were unsystematically murdered in the forests just beyond their villages, and covered with dirt, layer upon layer of bodies.  A few were not dead and managed to crawl out and escape.  I would have to look up the name of the German official who afterwards went back and had many of these burial sites dug up, covered with gasoline, and burnt.  

    And, as I expect you know, a priest, certainly eastern European, possibly Polish, has been seeking through the forests to find the remains of tiny Jewish villages and of the dead themselves barely under the ground.  He has a dog to help him, and he is getting old.  Gd bless him!  Because of him, at least people know at least where some of the villages WERE. 

    I think there were more Righteous Gentiles in Poland in part because there were more Jews in Poland.  The 300,000 Jews who survived…some of them were in the camps, but some of them survived in hiding, and that’s a lot of people to hide.  Clearly the local population, or rather some few members of that population, allowed Jews to sleep in their barn, or brought them food in the forest, or otherwise assisted them.  

    I thought, dear sir, that I had already acknowledged tthat Augustine’s contribution was both positive and necessary in the light of the deicide charge of the era.  As for Chrysostum, I find his writings to be dreary reading and would rather not re-read them.  The foul things he said about the synagogues are well-nigh unprintable.  Of course what this actually means is that many faithful Christians were going to the synagogues to get a dose of what they evidently thought was “the real stuff”.  It would have been nice had Chrysostum discouraged them less effectively.  Just think, if not for his sermons, you and I might be attending services together today.  The road not taken….

    Mr. Fisher adds this past paragraph:
    Yes, there were ghettoes in Rome and throughout Europe.  And yes the worst attacks on the Jews came during Holy Week.  A small point is that during Holy Week, the bishops of Rome and other cities most often mandated that Jews  stay in the ghettoes and locked the gates, not to harrass the Jews, but to protect them, placing guard around the ghettos to do so.
    Why, in G-d’s name, did these same bishops not figure out that the problem was not with the Christians who went to Church on Good Friday, but with the nefarious priests who preached hatred of Jews during Holy Week?
    Sigh.

    Back from him to me again: 
    It is good of you to be concerne in retrospect concerning those sermons.  They may still be going on.  But my dear sir, that was part of the carrying out of the directive that the Jews should “survive but not thrive” and those preachers had their instructions from above to preach in the hate-inspiring manner that they did.  For nearly two thousand years the churchgoers of Europe have been listening to those sermons.  I should tell you that on the infrequent occasions when I have attended Catholic services, I have been spared such sermons there, but there are certain Protestant congregations where such sermons are routinely delivered in what might almost be called a spirit of joy and my friends who had invited me didn’t even notice, but enthusiastically asked how I had liked the service. 

    Even though you are officially retired from your career, if Gd is willing and your health permits, I hope you will continue to do whatever Gd sends you to do in order to undo the negative emotional effects of those perfidious sermons over the past millennium or so. 

    Hopefully we are now all squared away. 

    Thank you again for your concern and for your posts.   

  • Son of Trypho says:

    “Pope Pius XI, before becoming Pope, was sent as nuncio to Poland because of those pogroms”

    This is actually factually incorrect.  Ratti was made Apostolic Visitor to Poland and Lithuania in 1918 and then in 1919 Nuncio to Poland.  His mandate did not directly concern Jewish interests/concerns but rather the Vatican’s interests in the new Polish state which had just emerged from 120+ years of foreign oppression.

    Incidentally many of your posts contain content which is an unfortunate blend of anti-Catholic (and Christian) prejudice and continual attempts to portray incidents without their historical context.

    I hope this site cleans some of this thread up as it is particularly unpleasant.

  • Son of Trypho says:

    “when Augustine advised that the Jews should survive but not thrive, he probably saved, thereby, all Jewry under Constantine’s rule from extinction.”

    -Another error.  The only Constantine alive during Augustine’s lifetime was Constantine III who was a military usurper that ruled Britain and Spain for a short period of time.  He certainly wasn’t in any position to cause Jewish extinction in the Empire, nor did he do so in the territories he controlled.

  • Ray Dubuque says:

    Sonny,
    You complain (without specifying whom you are addressing) :

    “Incidentally many of your posts contain content which is an unfortunate blend of anti-Catholic (and Christian) prejudice and continual attempts to portray incidents without their historical context.
    I hope this site cleans some of this thread up as it is particularly unpleasant.”

    When Adolf Hitler offered to lead one of the world’s most “Christian” nations on earth, with some 98% of its citizens professing to be Christian, to  “clean up” Europe of its “unpleasant” “Jewish problem”, where do you suppose that he got the millions of assistants he would need to actually carry out that ambitious endeavor?  Mars? Venus?
    No. He found most them in the pews of the Catholic and Lutheran churches of Germany. Those churches provided not only the “grunts” who did the actual butchering of their Jewish neighbors, but the top leadership of the Third Reich, people like

    “Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Josef Goebbels, Reinhard Heydrich, Rudolf Hoess, Julius Streicher, Fritz Thyssen (who bankrolled the Nazi rise to power), Klaus Barbie, and Franz Von Papen were all Roman Catholics, as were the heads of all of these NAZI countries : Leon Degrelle of Belgium, Emil Hacha of Bohemia-Moravia, Ante Pavelic of Croatia, Konrad Henlein of Sudetenland, Pierre Laval and then Henry Petain of Vichy-France. and the R.C. priest, Msgr. Josef Tiso, of Slovakia.
    (who wasn’t even defrocked after the defeat of the Nazis). Although these were among the most visible Catholic lay people in their countries at the time, did Pope Pius XII excommunicate a single one of them? NO. How can anyone say that this pope did “all that he could”, when he failed to take this obvious measure so as to make it clear to the millions of Catholic faithful who were enabling the Nazis to carry out their campaigns of mass murder, not only against Jews, but against their fellow Catholics in Poland, that they should have no part in these monstrous of crimes and most mortal of sins? Apologists for Pius XII who claim that their crimes caused these people to be “automatically excommunicated” miss the point that excommunication isn’t intended to tell GOD who is a Catholic and who isn’t but to tell THE FAITHFUL whom to shun.
    On the other hand, after the Nazis were defeated and no longer posed any threat to the pope, the Vatican, or the Catholic Church anywhere, did Pope Pius XII allow the Vatican to be used to protect thousands of Catholic war criminals such as the above to escape punishment for their war crimes? YES. Whose side was the pope on?
    Here are some of the more infamous war criminals the Vatican protected from prosecution:
    Adolf Eichmann, “the architect of the Holocaust”, ,
    Alois Brunner , referred to as his “best man” by Eichman,
    Dr. Josef Mengele, “the Angel of Death” ,
    Franz Stangl, commandant of the SobibÛr and of Treblinka extermination camp ,
    Gustav Wagner assistant to Franz Stangl,
    Klaus Barbie, “the Butcher of Lyon” ,
    Edward Roschmann, “the Butcher of Riga”,
    Aribert Heim, Mauthausen concentration camp’s “Dr. Death”,
    Walter Rauff, believed responsible for nearly 100,000 deaths
    Andrija Artuković, “the Himmler of the Balkans”
    Ante Pavelić, head of Catholic Croatia, arguably the most murderous regime in relation to its size in Axis-occupied Europe.

    [from my web page http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/NaziLeadership.html ]

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Ray
    I have decided not to keep these responses going because it is like talking to a wall, but are you actually saying that the Vatican helped all of these people escape judgment? With such a hate filled misrepresentation I am sure you can prove this. The movies Odessa File or Amen or the play the Deputy and other fictions are not proof. Documents, letters, and eye witnesses are proof. The so called research of the historical revisionist doesn’t count either.

    The Vatican freely admits the actions of Nazi sympathizing Bishop Alois Hudal helped some Austrian Nazis escape. But there also exists a letter where Archbishop Montini was shocked at the notion and rebuked Hudal for even suggesting the Vatican help these wanted criminals escape.
    By the way Ray, I think you know who “son of Trypho” is referring to in his well founded criticism. Just look at the cartoon the Galus Australis assigned to you.

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    The Nazis could not achieve the Shoah alone. 

    The documentation of mass cooperation from ordinary Germans, Poles, and Ukrainians, mostly Catholic and Lutheran, is abundant. 

    The Catholic Bulgarians and the Protestant Danes are notable for having refused either to hand over their Jews, or to participate in murdering them.  The Danes and the Bulgarians saved most of their Jews.  So did the Italians, possibly because the Pope intervened in that case.  So this documentation is far from being anti-Catholic.  All the Catholics I know are good, decent people who have been kind to me.  I will mention one specific valiant Catholic at the end of this post, as a shining example of how Catholics can act, when they believe it is the right thing to do. 

    See the following sampling of texts on Christian (and Catholic) hostility to Jews and to Jewish worship, hostility which led most to believe that saving Jews was not the right thing to do: 

    The Teaching of Contempt. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965, by Jules Isaac
    Hitler’s Willing Executioners by Daniel J. Goldhagen
    Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll
    Six Million Crucifixions by Gabriel Wilensky
    While Six Million Died by Arthur Morse 
    The Jew and the Cross by Dagobert David Runes
    Christ Killers by Jeremy Cohen 
    The History of Anti-Semitism by Leon Poliakov
    Anti Jewish Prejudices in German Catholic Sermons by Walter Zwi Bacharach
    The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany by Guenter Lewy
    The Hidden Encyclical of Pius XI by Georges Passelecq and Bernard Suchecky
    The Popes Against the Jews by David Kertzer
    Third Reich and the Christian Churches by Matheson
    Vatican Diplomacy and the Jews During the Holocaust by John Morley
    The Holocaust and the Christian World: Reflections of the Past, Challenges for the Future, ed. Rittner, Carol, Smith, Stephen D. and Steinfeldt, Irena, Editors 
    Vatican Secret Diplomacy: Joseph P. Hurley and Pope Pius XII by Charles R. Gallagher 
    The Holocaust and the Christian World: Reflections of the Past, Challenges for the Future ed. by Carol Rittner, Ste[jem D. Smith, and Irena Steinfeldt.   
    The Destruction of the European Jews, by Raul Hilberg

     

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    I took the following from two of the end notes of Wilenky’s Six Million Crucifixions:

    For an inventory of antisemitism in lectionaries and recommendations on expunging them of antisemitic polemic see Norman A. Beck, Removing Anti-Jewish Polemic from our Christian Lectionaries: A Proposal (http://jcrelations.net/en/?id=737), Norman A. Beck, Mature Christianity: The Recognition and Repudiation of the Anti-Jewish Polemic of the New Testament, Norman A. Beck, Mature Christianity in the 21st Century, and Lillian Freudmann, Antisemitism in the New Testament.

    As an example of what’s in the liturgical cycle we can mention the “Reproaches”from the American Catholic Church prayer book. These are antisemitic chants blaming the Jews for the death of Jesus. They take the form of words placed in the mouth of Jesus retelling how good “he” was to the Jews [but according to the Hebrew Bible, how good Gd was to the Jews], and how bad they supposedly were to Jesus.  Here are some examples of these statements, found in the liturgy only, not in the Christian Bible: “My people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me! I led you out of Egypt, from slavery to freedom, but you led your Savior to the cross [contrary to the gospel accounts]” and “For your sake I scourged your captors and their first-born sons, but you brought your scourges down on me [but again the gospels say it was Roman soldiers who scourged Jesus]. . . I led you on your way in a pillar of cloud, but you led me to Pilate’s court. . . . For you I struck down the kings of Canaan, but you struck my head with a reed [again, contrary to the gospels] . . . . I raised you to the height of majesty, but you raised me high on a cross [again, contrary to the gospel account].” Even though these statements are put on the lips of Jesus, they do not appear anywhere in Scripture. They are traditional works that incite antipathy toward Jews that date from the ninth century, and are considered to be optional. Despite the libelous message, forty percent of the parishes in the U.S. chant them at the peak of the liturgical cycle. 

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    In one of my previous posts here, I mentioned The Black Book.  Now I have found some information on its contents according to Wikipedia.  Until now my only knowledge of “The Black Book” came from a lecture on its contents given at the JCC five years ago.  That lecture emphasized the book’s on-the-spot documentation, at the end of WWII, of the eager participation of Ukrainian Catholics in the murdering of Jews, both in 1919 and during the Shoah.  I see now, however, that the Black Book also documents the participation of the Poles and the Latvians and others in Eastern Europe in the murdering of their Jews as well.  

    The Black Book: The Ruthless Murder of Jews by German-Fascist Invaders Throughout the Temporarily-Occupied Regions of the Soviet Union and in the Death Camps of Poland during the War 1941–1945 alternatively The Black Book of the Holocaust, or simply The Black Book, (Чёрная Книга, Chornaya Kniga; transliteration of the Yiddish would be Dos Shvartzer Bukh) was a result of the collaborative effort by the Jewish anti-fascist committee (JAC) and members of the American Jewish community to document the anti-Jewish crimes of the Shoah and the participation of Jews in the fighting and the resistance movement against the Nazis.

    The Black Book was partially printed in the Soviet Union by the Yiddish publisher Der Emes.  But the entire edition, the typefaces, as well as the manuscript, were destroyed. First the censors ordered changes in the text to conceal the specifically anti-Jewish character of the atrocities and to downplay the huge role of Ukrainians who eagerly volunteered to work as Nazi police officers.  Then in 1948 the Soviet edition of the book was scrapped completely. The collection of original documents that Ehrenburg handed down to the Vilnius Jewish Museum after the war was secretly returned to him upon the Museum’s termination in 1948. The JAC was also disbanded, its members purged at the outset of the state campaign against the “rootless cosmopolitans”–one of the Soviet euphemisms for “the Jews”.   Typically, the official Soviet policy regarding the Shoah was to present it as atrocities committed against Soviet citizens, without acknowledging the genocide of the Jews.
    A Russian-language edition of the Black Book was published in Jerusalem in 1980, and finally in Kiev, Ukraine in 1991.

    That is about all Wikipedia has on the Black book.  However, it also has a link to a website where it is possible to preview a translation of The Black Book into English, and even to order a copy for oneself.  It was translated by Ilya Ehrenburg and Vasily Grossman.  The website is http://www.worldcat.org/title/complete-black-book-of-russian-jewry/oclc/48100080?loc=&tab=holdings

    In the light of so much hatred, I wish that more had been done to reward the heroic souls who behaved otherwise, such as the valiant young Polish Catholic woman who, with the assistance of some 20 like-minded individuals, managed to save about 2,500 Jewish babies and children.  The babies she simply carried out of the Warsaw ghetto in a gunny sack.  Those old enough to talk were taught the Creed and other material that any Catholic child would know.  She would take such a child by the hand and walk him/her into the cathedral which bordered the ghetto, just before the guard changed.  Then she would walk out the other door of the cathedral, past the new guard, who could suppose that they had entered from outside the ghetto.  They would not so assume, however, until they had catecumized the child and received a creditable answer.  She found people to shelter each child, and kept a list on tissue paper, kept in a glass jar, buried under a certain tree.  She slept in a different locale every night but was finally betrayed and arrested and beaten.  Her leg and foot were broken and she was scheduled for execution but was rescued and hidden.  After the war she dug up the glass jar and reclaimed the children, but their parents were never found.  She succeeded in finding Jewish homes for them, however.  

    Her name was Irena Sendler and she lived to a ripe old age.  If you Google her you will find numerous sites extolling her achievements.   

    The names of the few such valiant rescuers are recorded at Yad Vashem.  Doubtless there were more, possibly twice as many as are now listed.  I wish that every such rescuer could be honored and rewarded.  But after then end of WWII, when asked about their heroism, such rescuers merely say, “I didn’t do much.  Only what I could.  Only because it was morally necessary.”

    If only more were that morally sensitive.  I am one of those tenderhearted ones who will catch a spider in a paper cup and take it outside, rather than step on it.  This involves the risk of being bitten, but some of us regard every life as precious, and the human life of anyone of any color or creed is even more precious than that of a spider.  I have spoken up for Africans when they were being bad-mouthed, and for Muslims, and for Catholics.  I cannot tolerate hearing anyone being blamed because of the system into which they have been born.  But I can complain when any system, however well-meant and virtuous in other regards, bad-mouths another group to the point of honoring the extermination of that other group.  This is a poison going back to Paul’s Epistles and to the Gospels.  I do not know how or if Christianity can be healed of this poison.  But in the face of such abysmal results, it is necessary at least to point it out, in hopes that those Christians with more compassion for the survival of others than embarassment at their own dirty linens (and everyone has dirty linens) will seek and find a way to heal this poison.  Only Christians can do this.  I would not begin to know how to achieve it.   

    Irena Sendler is one of those for whom every child is precious. 

    If only the doctrines that they had been taught had not poisoned the minds of so many of the people of Europe.  Those doctrines should have been such as to incited them to resist the Nazis program, which was to exterminate Jews as they might exterminate insect pests or spiders.  Instead of resisting the Nazi program, people leaped to assist them.  Sigh.  If only more of the people had been willing and able, as were Irena Sendler and precious few others, to see Jews as fellow human beings. 

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Gary Krupp, you are, I believe, a gentleman. 

    Help me out here.  I am seeing more and more ad hominem remarks.

    This is not a fight. 

    This is information. 

    If the inforamtion is inaccurate, is there a way of reporting the person who abandons honor in this fashion so that they cannot return? 

    If the information is accurate–and remember it should be information about the Shoah and the people who did or did not participate in it or instigate it or encourage it or provide the basis for it–that kind of information is meaningful.  Unfortunately, every individual who helped or hindered had a national and/or a religious identity. 
    We need to be aware that every national and/or religious identity had people in it who behaved well or badly, for various reasons.  Maybe some people  behaved badly becasue they were simply hateful or they were afraid of what would happen or they were trying to gain rank or power or material goods.  But there were all too many people who killed Jews because they thought it was the right thing to do.  I imagine that these very people would be kindly and decent to non-Jews, but had been wrongly taught, throughout life, to regard Jews as literallyl demonic, and now the time had come, so they imagined, to cleanse the world of what they had been taught to regard as a scourge.  I realize that this concept must be as painful to you as it is to me.  But the fact is that many hundreds, probably thousands, of people did think such things, and so they did what they honestly believed was the right thing, and I feel we have no right to hate them for it.  I am not even sure we have a right to punish the individuals who did these things.  What we do need to do, however, is to guard against the repetition of such events.  

    Pope John Paul II was a good man, and we were fortunate to have him for as long as we did.  The current Pope is not so young, and we may not have him as long.  After him, what kind of Pope will we have?  And whom do we want to see serving as a role model for that Pope?  

    It is important that the healing which Pope John opened between the Jews and the Catholics be continued and built upon.  Therefore it is also important that those whom the church canonizes should be those who can be role models for the next pope.  

    I realize that you think well of Pope Pius XII, and you realize that the things I have learned about him give me serious pause.  

    But my posts are in the service of amity between Catholics and Jews.  And to that end, I provide information on the mistakes made by the Church in the past.  I know that the church has also done many good things, and perhaps I should sometimes give space to them, but it is very important for the Church to seek to avoid those same past mistakes, mistakes which enriched the ground for the Holocaust. 

    Nobody can say that the church alone caused the Holocaust.  It absolutely did not do so alone.  

    But the other “causes” would never have arisen if not for the actions of the church.  
    However, if they somehow had arisen on their own, they would have been insufficient, on their own, to spawn the Holocaust.  

    If any of us provides useful information about errors the church made that prepared the minds of Europe to accept the mass murdering of Jews, that information is worth having so the church knows what to avoid.

    And if one of us knows useful information about good things the church did, or might have done, to lessen or eliminate the deleterious actions of the Nazis, that too is good information, so the church knows what roads to go and what goals to pursue.  

    Hopefully, that is the goal of all of us, but we disagree as to how to achieve it.  

    Let us avoid remarking about one another, or about our cartoons (doesn’t mine look lame?  sweet, but lame?)  but confine our remarks to the question of whether our facts are good and our arguments are sound.     

    Would you agree? 

    Thank you. 

  • Eugene Fisher says:

    Rgarding Catherine Vise’s latest, the priest who is searching in Ukraine for the remains of Jews, with much success, is Fr. Patrick Desbois.  He is French and the staff person for Catholic-Jewish relations for the French Bishops’ Conference (as I was for the US Bishops).  He spends every summer in the Ukraine at this sacred work, and was given an award for it by B’nai B’rith International. 
    Pius IX (Pio Nono in Italian) was a nasty guy in a lot of ways.  He did not personally kidnap the child (there was only one) of one of the most prominent Jewish families in Italy, but ended up raising the boy in the Vatican himself.  The Jewish family’s Catholic maid of some years was fired by them.  Later, she went to the Catholic authorities (this was in the them Papal States where church law was civil law) and claimed that one night the boy was sick and that, fearing for his life, she baptized him.  According to the canon law of the time, that meant that the boy had the right to a Catholic upbringing, so the boy was taken away from his family.  When he was 21, he was given the choice to return to Judaism and his family if he wished.  But by that ime he wanted to become a priest, and did. 
    It is, as Vise notes, a tragic story, second only in Jewish history to the Dreyfus affair.  Pio Nono, when he was first pope, was something of a reformer and actually abolished the Roman ghetto.  But then the Italian unification grabbed the papal states, save for The Vatican itself, and Pius XI turned into a bitter and spiteful man, reinstating the ghetto “guding” the First Vatican Council into giving huge central power to the Vatican, thus becoming the “anti-reformer” pope. 

  • Eugene Fisher says:

    On the idea of beatifying Piux XII, I have long and publically held the position that this should not be done until the Vatican archives for the period 1939-1946 are released, do that scholars can study all the available evidence before Pius’ cause is moved forward.
    Gene Fisher

  • Thank you Mr. Fisher for your contributions to this discussion. Even though I think you are right that the Mortara case may have been the only case of a Jewish child kidnapped by Pio Nono, it certainly was not the only case of a Jewish child kidnapped by the Church. I am not an expert on canon law, but I believe you may be mischaracterizing they canon law of Pius IX’s time. If I’m not mistaken, it wasn’t that “the boy had the right to a Catholic upbringing”. Rather, according to canon law, once the child was baptized he was a Christian and could not be returned to his Jewish parents, and thus he was sent to the House of Catechumens to receive a Catholic education whether he or his parents liked it or not.

    It’s also true that Pio Nono demolished the walls of the Roman Ghetto. Actually, under his papacy they went up and down a number of times. The Italian unification process was just part of what made him bitter; ultimately he was unable to cope with Modernity. (BTW, I assume you meant Pius IX and not XI, didn’t you?)

    Regarding your last point about the canonization of Pius XII, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Even though I am skeptical and given what we know about the role of the Church and Pope Pius XII today I doubt it, I definitely think it would be problematic to canonize him before the archives are opened and scrutinized by independent scholars. Ultimately it’s the Church’s prerogative who they canonize, but in this particular case rushing to canonize the wartime pope cannot be seen as anything but an attempt to whitewash history. Since when is the Church in a hurry to do anything? As Father Pawlikowski and others have written, at the very least having to potentially write negatively about a Catholic saint would pose a serious quandary for Catholic scholars studying the archives.

    One minor detail, concerning something Ms. Vise said above: unfortunately, I think the highest percentage of success in making their country judenrein goes to Lithuania, which thanks to the very active role played by the local population managed to murder more than 95% of its Jews.

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Gd bless Fr. Patrick Desbois, and Gd bless you, Eugene Fisher, for posting his name where all can see and honor it. 

    Fr. Patrick Desbois is restoring some feeling of memory to us.  It has been so frustrating, all these decades, to have noplace to go to mourn our dead, or even to imagine mourning them.   My own aunt, uncle, cousin, and other collateral precedents were in the Ukraine; only my father, his grandfather, and two of his aunts left before the Hitler years.  All his mother’s people, and one of his father’s sisters, remained behind.  It is good to think that in some sense they now have a recognized burial site.  I only wish I knew where to find Daddy’s mother’s tombstone, since she was murdered earlier,  in the 1919 pogroms. 

    As for Pius IX, he had one of the longest papacies of anyone.  He came to office as a liberal. 

    But then came 1848.  Workers and the poor took to the streets everywhere, including Rome.  the Pope disguised himself as a priest and fled the city.  He was in exile in Gaeta when the revolutionaries declared a “government” and elected a few Jews to the governing board.  That did it for him.  Afterwards he hated liberals and Jews. 

    He retained a lot of wisdom.  In an era of nationalism, he creaed a “nationality” of Catholicism–an almost landless nationality.  It flourished on the devotion to Mary.  He was the one who said she had been born without sin.  He was the one who said she had been assumed bodily into heaven.   When Bernadette said she saw Mary at Lourdes, he was the one who established evidence so the site could be declared sacred, and devotees have come there forhealing ever since.  He was the one who declared the Pope infallible.  (I am using “he” even when others were involved, as it was his idea every time.) 

    Pope Pius IX acquired a great deal of spiritual capital and devotion.  When Bismarck tried to cut the Catholics out of the loop in the newly united Germany (a Germany which deliberately excluded Catholic Austria), Pope IX’s activities in connection with the persecuted priests, bishops, and German Catholic church outlasted Bismarck’s abilty to attack, and the exiled and imprisoned priests and bishops were able to return.  The church in Germany even made common cause with the German Jews against Bismarck’s opppressive acts against both, to the benefit of both groups.  That is how oppressed groups should help each other.  Pope IX did a great deal of good work resisting the predations of the German ruler in THAT era.  It just goes to show what a determined Pope can do against a persecuting German ruler if he puts his mind to it, if you catch my drift.  

    Please, sir, how am I to address you?  Mr. Fisher?  Fr. Fisher?  Father Fisher?  Thank you for any response. 

    I am pleased to hear that you support delaying the beatification of Pope Pius XII until the archives have been opened and studied.  That way the world can hopefully agree as to whether the beatification should proceed.  Of course the world still might not be united, but at least the aspect of mystery will no longer be an impediment to either side. 

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    By the way, I have learned of something called “The Jaeger Report” which can be viewed on line at  
    (http://www.holocaust-history.org/works/jaeger-report/htm/intro000.htm). 

    It offers horrific details of the activities of SS-Standartenfuehrer Karl Jaeger, who commanded the murder spree of Einsatzkommando 3.  

    He lists, efficiently, day by day, the numbers murdered and what they were. 

    Here is one example:

    August 15
    and 16, 41
     
     
    Rokiskis
     
     
     
    3200 Jews, Jewesses and Jewish children 5 Lith. Comm., 1 Pole, 1 partisan
     
     
     
    3,207

    The right hand column is the total for those two days, but the above is not typical.  Usually he lists how many of each adult gender, and how many children.  

    The following examples are more typical:  

    August 23, 41
     
     
     
    Panevezys
     
     
     
    1312 Jews,
    4602 Jewesses
    1609 Jewish children
     

    7,523

    August 18 to
    22, 41
     
    Dist. Rasainiai

     
    466 Jews, 440 Jewesses,
    1020 Jewish children
     

    1,926

    August 25, 41
     
     
     
    Obeliai
     
     
     
    112 Jews,
    627 Jewesses,
    421 Jewish children
     

    1,160

    August 25
    and 26, 41
     
     
    Seduva

     
     
    230 Jews,
    275 Jewesses,
    159 Jewish children
     

    664

    August 26, 41

     
     
    Zarasai

     
     
    767 Jews,
    1,113 Jewesses,
    1 Lith. Comm.
    687 Jewish children,
    1 fem. Russ. Comm.
     

     

    2,569

    He wants us to know that it was hard work, hauling all those people to the place of execution and getting them all buried.  In the following paragraph, which is his own words, it is not clear to me whether he is bragging or complaining:  

    *  *  *
    “I can state today that the goal of solving the Jewish problem for Lithuania has been achieved by Einsatzkommando 3. In Lithuania, there are no more Jews, other than the Work Jews, including their families. They are:
    In Schaulen around 4,500
    In Kauen “ 15,000
    In Wilna “ 15,000

    “I also wanted to kill these Work Jews, including their families, which however brought upon me acrimonious challenges from the civil administration (the Reichskommisar) and the army and caused the prohibition: the Work Jews and their families are not to be shot! The goal of making Lithuania free of Jews could only be attained through the deployment of a raiding commando with selected men under the leadership of SS First Lieutenant Hamann, who completely and entirely adopted my goals and understood the importance of ensuring the co-operation of the Lithuanian partisans and the competent civilian positions. The implementation of such activities is primarily a question of organization. The decision to systematically make every district free of Jews necessitated an exhaustive preparation of each individual operation and reconnaissance of the prevailing circumstances in the applicable district. The Jews had to be assembled at one or several locations. Depending on the number, a place for the required pits had to be found and the pits dug. The marching route from the assembly place to the pits amounted on average to 4 to 5 kilometers. The Jews were transported to the place of execution in detachments of 500, at intervals of at least 2 kilometers. The attendant difficulties and nerve-wracking activity occasioned in doing this are shown in a randomly selected example: In Rokiskis, 3,208 people had to be transported 4.5 kilometers before they could be liquidated. To accomplish this task in 24 hours, more than 60 of the 80 available Lithuanian partisans had to be allocated for transportation and cordoning off duty.”

    * * * 

    At the same time, I have just learned of the Ponary Diary:  the diary kept at Ponary by Kazimierz Sakowicz, from 1941 to 1943.  It describes the murders of fifty to sixty thousand Jewish men, women, and children, “by the Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators”.   Anyone can read about it at the following website:  

    http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/excerpts/sakowicz_ponary.pdf

    However, this atrocious story can be found at numerous other websites.  I saw the list when I googled “ponary diary of kazimierz sakowicz”; you may find “better” results under one of the other website entries.  

    This post is long enough for now.  Let us reconvene after we have all read what the Lithuanian part in all this was.  

     

     

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Well, the far right column got moved over into the next line. 

    So in the previous post, please look at the next line for the total number murdered that day. 

    Sorry about the spacing.  It was not like that when I entered the information. 

    I wonder if the webmaster would be kind enough to edit this, since I cannot access it to do so.  Just taking out the extra blank lines would be a big help. 

    Thank you. 

    Meanwhile try to ignore the spacing and notice what the post is about:  the gruelling tedious work of driving all those people about to be murdered.  Poor fellow. 

    Jaeger never was tried for these murders.  He was imprisoned and awaiting trial and he managed to commit suicide. 

    I named the website.  Do look for yourselves.  It’s only a few pages.  And look at the other website I named above, if you can stomach reading what the Lithuanians did. 

    I wanted to add that Vilna (Wolno) was a Jewish cultural and spiritual center for hundreds and hundreds of years.  One of the great spiritual and biblical minds of all time, known as the Vilna Gaon, put his stamp on the area.  This was a great center of personal spiritual development known as “mussar,” where exercises were developed to help young men practice various positive attributes:
     humility, patience, gratitude, compassion, orderliness, equanimity, simplicity, honor, enthusiasm, silence, generosity, truth, moderation, lovingkindness, responsibility, trust, faith, and awe, among others.  
    Patience helps diminish anger,
    lovingkindness conquers fear,
    and so on, so the proper balance of all attributes can, by this discipline, be attained. 

    In 1941, the Soviets made a sweep of the “clerics” in Lithuania and scooped up a certain family, a mussar rabbi and his wife and daughter, and sent them all to Siberia, where they spent the next several years freezing and starving.  This turns out to be an example of Gd’s lovingkindness in the guise of judgment, for, being in Siberia, they were spared from being caught and killed by the Nazis.  And so they survived and came to Canada, where that mussar rabbi’s son-in-law in now the headmaster rabbi of a parochial school centered in mussar–and this is how mussar survived in spite of the murder of almost every teacher and student in Lithuania. 
    And because of this little parochial school, a formerly secular Jew, desperate to improve the spiritual tone of his life, has learned mussar and is now teaching it online, in person, via books, and in other ways, across the United States and Canada, among other places.  I met this man when he first began teaching, and I met him again ten years later.  How he has grown!  I learn merely by sitting in the same room with him, and even more when he teaches. 
    We gathered for Saturday morning services, and instead of a sermon we heard a talk from this mussar student who was now our teacher even though he lives in Canada and we live in Texas.  He spoke of the day when Moses climbed Mt. Sinai and entered into the realm of the angels.  The angels said, “He’s only a human.  How dare he come up here and take away Gd’s Torah?”  (The word “Torah” means “teaching” and can refer to the Ten Commandments, to the entire Pentateuch, or to the entire Bible, or to the entire scope of Jewish learning.)  Moses thought Gd would tell them to leave him alone and would give him the Torah.  But Gd said, “You tell them, Moses.”  Moses thought, “Who, me, tell the angels?”  And Gd said, “You can do it.  Take hold of My throne.” 

    At this point my hand went to my heart.  How did I know to do that?  And why was my heart suddenly such a source of radiant strength?  I’d heard this story at least half-a-dozen times before this, and I’d never responded to it this way before. 

    Yes, he finished the story with what Moses said, and he told us that our hearts are indeed Gd’s throne.  But how did I know it before he said the explanation?  How come I could feel it? 

    This was no longer an ordinary man.  This was a man who had disciplined himself spiritually every day and night for ten years, who had learned from a master and had become himself a living perfect master.  This is a man who speaks without words.

    All because of one man, one brand snatched from the burning, one man who lived to teach his son-in-law, who taught one secular soul who became a living perfect master who has reached hundreds of students, Jews, Christians, and lost souls, living thousands of miles apart. 

    But alas for the scores and scores of other teachers and their hundreds of students who were murdered, and for all that they might also have taught to so many more of us! 

    And if you want to learn mussar [pronounced “moose are”], you might start by reading Climbing Jacob’s Ladder or Everyday Holiness.  The idea being that everyone can reach higher and higher levels of holiness in everyday life; we don’t have to be nuns and monks to do it.  We can hold down a job and be part of a family and still open our hearts to Gd to be transformed.   

  • To me one of the more interesting aspects of what Ms. Vise has written about the Ukraine and Lithuania is the underlying reality of why the genocide took place there. In those countries, as in other countries occupied by the Germans (or their proxies) such as Latvia, Belarus, Poland, Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary, France, etc., the Germans made use of the local population to perpetrate their deeds. In those countries it was—for the most part—the local auxiliaries who willingly participated in denouncing their Jewish neighbors, helping Germans round them up, cordoning them off, bludgeoning them, jeering at them, and ultimately shooting them naked at the edge of a mass grave.

    One needs to ask the question of why the locals were so willing to murder Jews, and why they showed such zeal. The reason why this is an important question is because, first, the myth that the Germans forced the locals to become auxiliaries in the extermination campaign is untrue, and second, because the local populations were not subjected to the relentless racial propaganda and brainwashing the German population had been exposed to. Thus, one needs to dig deeper into the psyche of these willing perpetrators to understand why they were so antisemitic. Actually, one needs to ask the question of what made these people antisemitic in the first place. Surely many hated Jews because they felt Jews were associated with the Bolsheviks, and surely some hated Jews because they felt they had too much money, and surely there were many other reasons, all absurdly baseless. But why were the local Christian populations so ready to accept these and many other accusations against their Jewish neighbors? After all, it’s true some Jews were Bolsheviks, but so were some Christians. Some Jews were wealthy, but most were poor, even very poor.

    The ancestors of these Ukrainians and Lithuanians taught their children that Jews were responsible for the social upheavals and revolutions of the 19th century. Their ancestors in turn told their children that the Jews were guilty of poisoning wells, of bringing the Black Plague, and of killing little Christian boys to extract their blood to make Passover bread. And their ancestors had told their children that Jews were Christ-killers, bent on defiling the Christian mind, of desecrating the host, of being minions of the devil, of usury, of blindness when faced with what they perceived to be the obvious theological truth, and on and on. These people asked themselves the question of what kind of person would reject Jesus, God, and to them self-evidently true Christian revelation. To them, it was a simple manichean dichotomy: either the Jews were wrong in their rejection of Jesus as the messiah, or Jesus was not the messiah. Clearly unable to accept the latter, they chose the former and realized that only an enemy of Jesus would be blind to him and his revelation. To Christians, the anti-Christ was associated with the Jews. From there, it should not be too surprising that European Christians syllogistically arrived at the conclusion that since only agents of Satan would fight Jesus, then the Jews had to be agents of Satan.

    It’s really not that hard to understand why Eastern Europeans already deeply hated Jews at the beginning of WWII when one understands the previous 2000 years of relentless vilification and persecution of Jews in Christian teachings. It’s really not that hard to understand why all those Ukrainiand and Lithuanian people signed up to kill their Jewish neighbors, and why they did it with gusto, all day long, day after day, when one understands that to these people those Jews were the killers of Christ, evil, demonic and allegedly responsible for all the ills of the world, concepts they heard all their lives from the New Testament to the writings of the Church Fathers going through popular folklore and priestly sermons. No one should be too surprised then that these people killed with a clean conscience, given that they never heard from their Pope, bishops, or parish priests that murdering Jews and stealing their property was a crime and a mortal sin and that participation in mass murder would condemn their souls to hell. Even more than that, no one should be too surprised they continued to slaughter Jews given they thought that what they were doing was the right thing, while the leaders of the Lithuanian Catholic Church “forbade the priests to help Jews in any way whatsoever” or priests in Poland were instructing the faithful in their sermons that “No trace of a Jew is to remain. We should erase them from the face of the earth.”

    Gabriel Wilensky

  • Son of Trypho says:

     “Surely many hated Jews because they felt Jews were associated with the Bolsheviks, and surely some hated Jews because they felt they had too much money, and surely there were many other reasons, all absurdly baseless. But why were the local Christian populations so ready to accept these and many other accusations against their Jewish neighbors? After all, it’s true some Jews were Bolsheviks, but so were some Christians. Some Jews were wealthy, but most were poor, even very poor.”

    -How can the reason of hating Jews for being associated with Bolshevism be “absurdly baseless” when you admit that “it’s true that some Jews were Bolsheviks”?   

    Because some Christians were Bolsheviks (though I’d like to see some evidence of practicing Christians who were Bolsheviks before you go down that path) doesn’t invalidate the sentiment by any means.  Jews are more than a religious identity which makes the comparison invalid here.

  • Eugene Fisher says:

    To respond first to Dr. Vise, my title is Dr. Eugene Fisher.  I worked for the Church, but left the seminary after 6 years.  So I understand how priests think, but am not one.  Indeed, I was the first layperson (and the youngest) ever to become the director of a secretariat in what was then called the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in 1977. Gene works fine for addressing me, now that we’ve gotten to know one another through this exchange.  Regarding Son of Trypho’s question, Christians were vulnerable to all sorts of accusations about Jews, because of the centuries of Christian teaching of contempt against Jews and Judaism.  Deep-seated prejudice does not need logic to prevail.
    Gabriel Wilensky states that ” the myth that the Germans forced the locals to become auxiliaries in the extermination campaign is untrue.”  If one reads Patrick Desbois’ book about his experiences in Ukraine, one discovers that while some locals were willing, others were indeed forced into doing things they really did not want to do.  It is, unsurprisingly, a very mixed reality.
    Gene Fisher

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Gabriel Wilensky
    “Surely many hated Jews because they felt Jews were associated with the Bolsheviks, and surely some hated Jews because they felt they had too much money, and surely there were many other reasons, all absurdly baseless. But why were the local Christian populations so ready to accept these and many other accusations against their Jewish neighbors? After all, it’s true some Jews were Bolsheviks, but so were some Christians. Some Jews were wealthy, but most were poor, even very poor.”

    Vise
    Shmuel lived with his mother in a house with one room, from which she sold vegetables.  Then she married her childhood sweetheart and between the two of them they moved into a “big house…with three rooms.”  After Shmuel’s mother and stepfather and baby brother were murdered in a pogrom on Purim in 1919, he fainted, and when he woke up he was in his grandfather’s house in another shtetl.  When asked how he knew is grandfather loved him, he said, “He gave me the BREAD out of his MOUTH.”  But the growing boy never had enough nourishment and didn’t reach his full height.  The proof of it was that although Shmuel was 5’8″ tall, his son was 6’2″ tall.  That’s part of the reason people think of Jews as short:  people who grow up undernourished from lack of milk and meat and fresh fruits and vegetables, people who live on bread and occasionally beans and turnips, are very apt not to reach their full height. 

    So, yes, most of the Jews in Europe, and especially in the little villages in Eastern Europe, lived in unimaginable poverty.  Some were called “luftmenschen” (air people) because they had no visible means of support.  They earned a little here, a little there, and managed to stay alive.

    But despite their physical hunger, they were spiritually deeply nourished.  Shmuel saw his grandfather praying every morning with his tallis and tefillin, in accordance with the biblical commandment.  He yearned for the day when he, too, could doven (pray) as an adult, instead of with a child’s prayers.  And when he and his grandfather escaped from Ukraine into Poland, and his grandfather was arrested for several months, the boy took the opportunity to pretend to be 13 (he was actually 12) and began praying as an adult, which he did every single morning for the rest of his life. 
    I already mentioned the mussar movement in Lithuania and Latvia.  These Jews, even more than Shmuel, whose Jewish education was interrupted by the flight from the Ukraine, were deeply involved in prayer and in spiritual development through moral exercises to develop their souls with good habits. 
    -How can the reason of hating Jews for being associated with Bolshevism be “absurdly baseless” when you admit that “it’s true that some Jews were Bolsheviks”?  
    Son of Trypho says
    Because some Christians were Bolsheviks (though I’d like to see some evidence of practicing Christians who were Bolsheviks before you go down that path) doesn’t invalidate the sentiment by any means.  Jews are more than a religious identity which makes the comparison invalid here. 

    Vise
    I’d like to see some evidence of practicing Jews who were Bolsheviks before you start making those kinds of distinctions.  The fact is, of course, that most Jews were practicing Jews, and practicing Jews were inimical to Bolsheviks. 

    It should be obvious that the practicing Jews like Shmuel and like the teachers and students in the mussar movement, depicted above in anticipation of this very sneer against Jews, and, for that matter, most Jews in general, did not become Bolsheviks, since Bolshevism was inimical to their Jewish identify and to their Jewish faith. 

    The remark above is typical of the thinking of those who murdered Jews, it being their assumption that Jews were the offspring and allies of the devil and capable only of evil, whereas Christians, especially “practicing” Cjhristians, were capable only of good. 

    But it doesn’t work that way.  Practicing Christians who have been taught to think of Jews as devils are quick to think that it is virtuous to kill devils or Jews. 

    And practicing Christians, or non-practicing gentiles brought up within earshot of Christian sermons, were quick to think every evil of Jews, including the charge of “bolshevism”.  If even three Jews are bolshevists, then “the Jews” must be bolshevists. and if even one Jew as enough money to afford a real house and good food, then “the Jews” have all the money too.  It doesn’t matter that these are opposites and both can’t be true, because devils are capable of every evil, including mutually exclusive evils.  

    So we see illustrated in this forum,in the accusation above that “the Jews” WERE TOO all bolsheviks, and “practicing Chrsitians” were not.  This sneering assumption is the very prejudice and hatred which motivated the Ukrainians and the Lithuanians and the Poles to point out Jews to the Nazis (who could not tell which people were Jews and which were not), and to participate eagerly in rounding up Jews and murdering them.  And, for whatever reason, it suited the church of that time to encourage this murderous behavior. 

    The charge that “the Jews” were “all Bolsheviks” is simply false and the assumption that “all Bolsheviks” were Jews (as implicit in the demand to prove that ANY “practicing Christians: were Bolsheviks) is even further from the truth.  But of course, for those who hate Jews, facts and truth remain irrelevant.  And that is the point.  The church, as Dr. Fisher confirms, spent centuries teaching everyone in hearing distance to hate “the Jews, and created a mythic “Jew” for them to hate, so it became easy to accuse “the Jews” of every enormity.  The plague, for example. 

    When the Plague hit Europe and people ” all over Europe, including the real Jews, were mysteriously dying, the ridiculous accusation was made that “the Jews” had poisoned the wells and “caused” the plague.  Actually, a ship from Asia had arrived with sick rats, and the fleas from these rats infected European rats, and thus the disease spread rapidly everywhere.  But instead of seeking the real cause, people automatically assumed that anything evil had to be caused by Jews, who had been identified in the popular mind with the devil, as Wilensky explained above. 

    I was very hesitant to mention the evils of which the Jews were routinely but falsely accused, knowing that even today in the United States, there are people all too ready to believe these lies.  But they are lies.  That is why I took the time to look up the facts about the Mussar movement, both in Lithuania and in the Unites States today.  The Mussar movement remains almost entirely unknown among nonJews, and yet there are some nonJews today learning sprituality via the exercises taught in the Mussar movement. 

    One way that I know this is through my Christian pen pal in Oregon.  That is more than a mere personal story; it is a factual example of current reality that I know because I keep up with what is going on in the Jewish community and in Jewish/Christian relations.  For example, I belong to an interfaith group and I host and attend interfaith dinners and am involved with an interfaith project right now.  

    So my seemingly personal examples reflect current reality.  

    As for the members of the Lithuanian mussar movement, the man I mentioned before is the only one I know of who survived the murders of Lithuanian Jewry.  There may be others, but since 95% of all the Lithuanian Jews were murdered, it’s doubtful how many there possibly can be. 

    I want the readers to know the facts and also the facts behind the facts.  The murder of Lithuanian Jewry was the opposite of what it pretended to be. (It pretended to be the obliteration of vermin or of bolsheviks or whatever.)  These murders were, on the contrary, the destruction of a longstanding deeply spiritual biblically-versed community.  

    The loss of that gentle kindly community was of course was a loss to American Jews, who sought to learn from it even at a distance, but it was also a loss to the world, and the world needs to be aware of what it has lost, and to grieve this loss with us, rather than to pity us for what is regarded as merely our loss, or to complain that they are tired of hearing about it.  They may be tired of hearing about the loss–we are still experiencing the loss, and tired of enduring both the loss and the fact that almost nobody recognizes it AS a loss.   

    The failure to recognize as a loss the obliteration of tens of thousands of individual villages, the obliteration of schools where young people learned exercises that contributed to kindness and spirituality, the murder of millions of women and children and babies, is part and parcel with the learned assumption that those who were killed were to be regarded (again, falsely) as being, at best, pitiful but worthless.  They were not pitiful and they were far from worthless.  They were valuable people who were contributing so much, and their contribution is sorely missed. 

    The book, “The Last of the Mohicans,” was written by a man who did not recognize the loss of a whole tribe of people as a loss.  But I feel the loss of the Mohicans, and I feel the loss of the Cambodian intelligensia, and I feel the loss of the majority of Armenians, and I feel the loss of the people being butchered in Africa, now and in the days of the Tutsis.  Every culture contributes something valuable to the worldquilt in which we live, and every loss is our loss. 

    But it’s hard to miss their contribution if you are going to accept the false assumption that they were not Christians and therefore must be devils.  The very fact that people fail to miss them fits the fact, the unfortunate and uncomfortable truth, that for centuries the church had indeed taught lies about these good people, had falsely taught, from the pulpit and in the schools, that these good people were to be regarded as devils, and sent missonaries to obliterate their cultures.  

    And that assumption underlies the world’s failure to offer more than, at best, pity, when it should be feeling grief at the deep loss to humanity represented in these lives and these cultures.  The church must rethink its attitude towards those outside the church and to nourish and cherish the existence of variety in the human family.  

    It must be very hard for good people, good Christians like Dr. Fisher, who know the truth and love their faith.  

    Maybe that is why that couple left the theater at intermission after seeing the mob attack the wedding.  Such scenes are difficult for decent people to stomach. 

     

  • Son of Trypho says:

    Fisher

    There may well have been anti-Judaic teachings in the Church for centuries but this does not, to me at least, invalidate the point which I was making. 

    It is certainly true that many Jews (ethnic rather than religious – I draw this distinction because non-Jewish members of their own state perceived them as different from their ethnic identities) were involved in radical politics including Bolshevism in the inter-war period.  These ethnic Jews were willing party to atrocities committed by these political groups including, for instance, the Bolsheviks against Ukrainians in this inter-war period. 

    I am uncertain as to why this is considered “absurdly baseless” as a plausible explanation for hatred of Jews by many of these people?

    Unlike Wilensky, I am trying to contextualise the atrocities in light of the historical circumstances – which admittedly are complex, rather than attempting as he seems to be, to put forward one particular explanation i.e. Christian anti-Judaism as the cause.

    I would not deny that perhaps these anti-Judaic sentiments influenced perceptions of Jews, but I don’t believe they were the primary motivation for local anti-Jewish actions at the time. 

    I would like to see some evidence where any of the participants actually directly state that they committed their crimes because they were either obeying Church instructions, or fulfilling their religious beliefs rather than assuming that they did them because they committed the crimes.

  • Son of Trypho says:

    Vise

    I admit to taking some umbrage at the comparisons you draw between people who perpetuated the Shoah and my thinking.  Nonetheless, in the spirit of charity I will put it simply for you.

    Some Jews were Bolsheviks.
    Not all Jews were Bolsheviks.
    The Jews that were Bolsheviks were what would be called secular Jews – they were not religious Jews.
    These secular Jews were still identified as Jews by their non-Jewish neighbours. 
    Judaism is not only a religion, but also an ethnic identity – see Israel.

    As discussed above with Dr Fisher, I would like to see some actual evidence rather than your or Wilensky’s assertions that Christianity was the only or primary cause of anti-Judaism in this period.  I admit that it influenced it, but there were other factors too which you are deliberately ignoring, for whatever reasons you may have.

    It would be akin to me asserting that anti-Christian hatred has been taught since the Mishnaic period with prayers and discourses against the minim – and without providing the historical and theological context behind those issues would be grossly unfair.

  • Cathryn Vise says:

    Wilensky
    ”Surely many hated Jews because they felt Jews were associated with the Bolsheviks, and surely some hated Jews because they felt they had too much money, and surely there were many other reasons, all absurdly baseless. But why were the local Christian populations so ready to accept these and many other accusations against their Jewish neighbors? After all, it’s true some Jews were Bolsheviks, but so were some Christians. Some Jews were wealthy, but most were poor, even very poor.”
    Son of Trypho
    -How can the reason of hating Jews for being associated with Bolshevism be “absurdly baseless” when you admit that “it’s true that some Jews were Bolsheviks”?   
    Vise
    Are you saying that it is proper to “hate ‘the Jews’ for being associated with Bolshevism” if ANY Jews at all are bolsheviks?

    But it is not OK to hate “the gentiles” or “the Christians” for being “associated with Bolshevism” if ANY of the people who grew up in a Christian family and heard anti-Jewish sermons were Bolsheviks? 

    Surely such a one-sided claim, if it were made, would be inspired by prejudice.  Evidently that sentence did not mean what it seemed to say. 

    Son of Trypho
    Because some Christians were Bolsheviks (though I’d like to see some evidence of practicing Christians who were Bolsheviks before you go down that path) doesn’t invalidate the sentiment by any means.  Jews are more than a religious identity which makes the comparison invalid here. 

    Vise
    I repeat, if it’s OK to say that a person raised as a Christian doesn’t count if he has ceased to be a practicing Christian, then it is hardly fair to attack practicing Jews as “bolsheviks” when it is only the “non-practicing” Jews who are “bolsheviks”–and in any case it would not be proper to hate either as a group because some are bolsheviks.  It would not even be proper to murder all bolsheviks of whatever group. 

    Therefore Wilensky is perfectly right to say that murdering all the Jews because some are Bolsheviks is absurdly baseless, and the objection to this statement is also absurdly baseless.

    So what was the purpose of saying that Wilensky”admits” that “some Jews” were Bolsheviks?

    Whatever is going on, there will always be “some Jews” who are involved.  “Some Jews” get baptized and become Christians.  “Some Jews” meditate and become Buddhists or Hindus.  In fact, most of the non-east-Asian Buddhists and Hindus in the United States are Jews.  Does that mean that “the Jews” are Buddhists?  Or that “the Jews” are Hindus?  Or that the Christians should hate “the Jews” because of either?  So why say that Wilensky “admits” that “some Jews” were Bolsheviks? 

    And of course “some Jews” were bolsheviks back then, and two reasons are obvious:  one, most Jews were desperately poor, and all Jews were oppressed; and the bolsheviks promised some relief from that poverty and oppression.  Second, the bolsheviks promised that when they took over, they would treat everyone equally, instead of persecuting Jews, and “some Jews” believed them.  If you’ve seen “Fiddler on the Roof,” you will recall that the second daughter’s beloved, Perchik, was one of those types, and that the other Jews dismissed him.  But under the circumstances, it would have been a miracle if no Jews had grasped at straws, such as the hope that bolshevism’s claims would be honored.  Those claims were not honored, of course. 

    A taste of Stalin cured THAT, and Putin isn’t that much better.  Thank Gd most of the Jews have gotten out of Russia by now and hopefully the rest will soon.  And of those who got out, most men eagerly went to finally get circumcised, having lost out on this because of the severe punishment for it for the greater part of a century.  Adult men, even elderly men who certainly would be most vulnerable, eagerly became “practicing Jews”. 

    The attempted analogy with the “min” fails, for several reasons.
    First, the Jews already had an identity.  They did not define Jewishness in opposition to Christianity.  But the Christians had no identity yet, and they defined Christians almost from St. Paul onward as being free of “Jewish Law” and consistently defined “judaizing” as heresy.  Meanwhile, Jews, of course, disliked having Jews leave the Jewish fold and go over to the Christians or, for that matter, to anyone else.  A non-Jewish Christian is not a “min”.  The Romans had outlawed circumcision and Torah learning; a “min” is a disloyal Jew who tattles to the Romans when learn Jews Torah or circumcise their sons and thereby, regardless of belief, increases the weight of Roman oppression.   

    The church today bears the responsibilty of trying to reverse this image in the eyes of churchgoers. 

    However, my experience in attending church services, and in hearing the sermons there preached, continues to give me pause, since the sermons still consist of a list of unlikely thoughts, words, and deeds which the preacher attributes to “the Jews”–and every single item on the list is totally foreign to any actual Jewish beliefs and practices.  A mythic evil version of “the Jews” still unfortunately haunts church sermons, and still teaches worshippers to regard actual Jews, who are so unlike the sermonic versions, with aversion.   

    Yes, these are the very kind of claims that the churches made, and still make, from the pulpit, and that these are the very kind of claims that encourage churchgoers to hate “the Jews,” or, worse, to fear “the Jews” as some sort of bogeyman.  And the church was and is wrong to do this, and anyone else who does it is also wrong to do it.  It is wrong of the church to retain the prayer vilifying Jews, a prayer which was cited in an earlier post and which reappears toward the bottom of this post. 

    I am thankful that in the United States today we have so many good Christian Catholics like Dr. Fisher or like my Catholic friends, neighbors, in-laws, and kin. 

    I always object to anyone saying about “the Catholics” or “the blacks” or “the Latinos” or “the whatever” any of the kinds of things that the church preached for centuries about “the Jews”. 

    Dr. Fisher said, “The historical teaching of contempt and the negative practices of Christians against Jews which Vise cites did indeed lay the groundwork, as it were, for the rise of modern, racial antisemitism.  But with the sole exception of Spain, which alone practiced the limpieza de sangre, the Church’s attidude and practice was not in our modern sense “racial.”  Thus, Christian teaching and practice, indefensible as they were, can be said to have been a necessary cause for understanding the rise of genocidal antisemitism, but not a sufficient cause.  Over the centuries, beginning with the 12th century, they led to expulsions, ghettos and pogroms, but the notion of racialism, of humanity divided in separate species, was the product of post-Christian thinking, disguising itself in the terminology of the Enlightenment and science.”  Dr. Fisher’s statement is precisely accurate, but I added the bold.  The phrase, limpieza de sangre, means “purity of blood” and, as Dr. Fisher acknowledges, was customary in Spain and is “racial” in tenor.  The descendants of Spanish Jews who converted in 1492are called “New Christians” or “conversos” to this day. 
       
    In one of the footnotes of Wilensky’s “Six Million Crucifixions” I found the following list of books about antisemitism in lectionaries: 

    “For an inventory of antisemitism in lectionaries and recommendations on expunging them of antisemitic polemic see Norman A. Beck, Removing Anti-Jewish Polemic from our Christian Lectionaries: A Proposal (http://jcrelations.net/en/?id=737), Norman A. Beck, Mature Christianity: The Recognition and Repudiation of the Anti-Jewish Polemic of the New Testament, Norman A. Beck, Mature Christianity in the 21st Century, and Lillian Freudmann, Antisemitism in the New Testament.”
    In another footnote in Wilensky’s book, I found the following quotes from a classic and still-used Catholic prayer: 

    “As an example of what’s in the liturgical cycle we can mention the ‘Reproaches’ from the American Catholic Church prayer book. These are antisemitic chants blaming the Jews for the death of Jesus. They take the form of words placed in the mouth of Jesus retelling how good ‘he’ was to the Jews [but according to the Hebrew Bible, how good Gd was to the Jews], and how bad they supposedly were to Jesus.  Here are some examples of these statements, found in the liturgy only, not in the Christian Bible: ‘My people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me! I led you out of Egypt, from slavery to freedom, but you led your Savior to the cross [contrary to the gospel accounts]’ and ‘For your sake I scourged your captors and their first-born sons, but you brought your scourges down on me [but again the gospels say it was Roman soldiers who scourged Jesus]. . . I led you on your way in a pillar of cloud, but you led me to Pilate’s court. . . . For you I struck down the kings of Canaan, but you struck my head with a reed [again, contrary to the gospels] . . . . I raised you to the height of majesty, but you raised me high on a cross [again, contrary to the gospel account].’

    “These statements are put on the lips of Jesus, even though they do not appear anywhere in Scripture. They are traditional works that incite antipathy toward Jews that date from the ninth century, and are considered to be optional. Despite the libelous message, forty percent of the parishes in the U.S. chant them in English, for all to understand, at the peak of the liturgical cycle.”  (I added the bold.)   

    This prayer is sheer slander.  Meanwhile, any such diatribe is simply absent from all the Jewish prayerbooks—whether against Christians or anyone else. 

    It is specious to speak of any Jewish “hatred” of Christians.  There is a simple aversion to being persecuted.  There is an aversion to having any Jews break the promise made at Sinai to be faithful to Gd alone; there is an aversion to having any Jews go “astray after other gods” (see Deuteronomy 13).  Nonetheless, prayers expressing aversion to Catholics are nonexistent in any Jewish prayerbook.  Prayers despising any group are absent from Jewish prayerbooks and from Jewish   doctrine.  On the contrary, Jewish doctrine, as written in the Shulchan Aruch, specifically says that if a Catholic refers to the Trinity and all the saints, Gd regards it as if the speaker were intending to refer to the One Gd Who created heaven and earth and who brought us out of Egypt.  Jewish doctrine. far from requiring that Catholics abandon their faith and worship as Jews do, says that the righteous of all nations have a place in the World to Come, so long as they avoid attacking or despising Jews for remaining faithful to Gd. 
    The only ones required by Jewish doctrine to avoid non-Jewish worship are…Jews. 
     

  • Ray Dubuque says:

    Sonny puts for the following challenge:
    “I would not deny that perhaps these anti-Judaic sentiments influenced perceptions of Jews, but I don’t believe they were the primary motivation for local anti-Jewish actions at the time.
    I would like to see some evidence where any of the participants actually directly state that they committed their crimes because they were either obeying Church instructions, or fulfilling their religious beliefs rather than assuming that they did them because they committed the crimes.”
    How disconnected from reality can you be?  Ask any person WHY they are motivated to do this or that, and they can’t tell you EXACTLY why. And when it comes to shameful activities, fare from telling you the TRUTH, i.e. that they are motivated by greed, envy, lust, anger, or whatever, they will “rationalizae” and put forth some noble reason. If they are still “loyal Catholics”, the last thing they will say is “my church made me do it.”
    But rather than ask IF the church caused Catholics to persecute Jews, MY QUESTION as a Christian clergyman and a former R.C. priest, is
    “WHY DIDN’T THE CHURCH PREVENT Catholics from persecuting the Jews?” As the agency responsible for teaching its members morality, why did that church do such a lousy job of teaching the Ten Commandments, that millions of its members had no problem cooperating with WHOEVER WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE HOLOCAUST?
    One possilbe answer is that the Church ddin’t do much to stop the Holocaust because it was so responsilbe for CREATING the atmosphere that fueled the holocaust.
    See http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/RCscandal
     
     

  • Son of Trypho,
    When I see Roman Catholics, like yourself,  who care more about defending the reputation of their church than in finding out WHY 6 million Jews died at the hands of “Christians” and fellow “Catholics”, I see the priorities of Roman Catholics are STILL SCREWED UP!  You are proving that the situation that you DENY existed THEN STILL EXISTS TO THIS DAY !
    And even if a “practicing Catholic” doesn’t give a damn about Jews being unjustly treated, as a former Roman Catholic priest myself, I don’t understand why such Catholics don’t care about the moral, spiritual and eternal well-being of the millions of their fellow Roman Catholics who SHOULD HAVE BEEN TOLD that they could not participate in the torture and murder of a SINGLE innocent human being, let alone 10 MILLION such human beings, 6 million of whom may have been Jews, but 4 million others of whom may have been Roman Catholics like themselves.
    Maybe you can explain these mysteries to me.
     

  • Son of Trypho says:

    Too late have I seen the folly of engaging in dialogue those who have no intention of reasonable discourse.  Like all the other sensible people who have abandoned this thread as a result of the bad faith expressed here by some, I too take my departure as it is now clearly an exercise in futility to continue.

    Best wishes to Pave the Way Foundation and Dr Fisher for their good works and intentions.

    I will humbly beseech St Teresia Benedicta of the Cross to intercede for all of good faith and intentions.

  • Dr. Fisher, maybe we can correspond privately? You may contact me directly by sending me a message through the Six Million Crucifixions web site (http://www.SixMillionCrucifixions.com/Contact.html) so you do not need to put your email address in this public forum. Thanks!

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Ray,  What denomination are you a Reverend of?

  • Observer says:

    Gary,
    Ray is a member of the United Methodist Church:
    http://liberalslikechrist.org/Rayspage.htm
     

  • Gary Krupp says:

    Interesting how Ray accuses the Roman Catholic Church of how it allowed the extermination of Jews when his is a reverend in the United Methodist Church whose position on Israel is so unbalanced and one sided.
    Please see http://www.unitedmethodistdivestment.com/ where Ray’s Church of choice, is trying to explain why they are promoting divestment of Israel.  Here, they openly deny Israel’s right to self defense and the true history of the region all of which is necessary for Israel’s survival. They are openly aiding, abetting, and supporting the sworn enemies of the JEWISH STATE OF ISRAEL. I think this very clearly qualifies Ray’s past comments, which seem to be more interested in demonizing the Roman Catholic Church in the name of the 6 million martyrs.
    I close with the exact exiting sentiments of Son of Trypho, and I thank him for his praise for our attempt to allow the everyday people read documents and listen to eye witness testimony, in order to reach their own conclusions on Pope Pius XII.
     

  • As “Observer” found with a minimum of effort is that I am indeed a clergyman in the United Methodist Church, although most of my education (some 24 years) was in Roman Catholic schools and seminaries.
    Of the 300+ web pages that I have published on the web since 1996, not a single one is designed to win converts to my denominational home.  My purpose has always been to promote the teaching not of MY CHURCH but of my idol, Jesus of Nazarus, whose teaching and example I believe have been implimented much better by the liberals of America (which I emphasize at my http://LiberalslikeChrist.Org/ site) than by the so-called “one, true church” of Rome (whose false claims I expose at my http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/ site).

  • Nice try, Mr. Krupp, but although I call the U.M.C. home,  I am not an apologist or promoter of that church which incidentally, I would be the first to expose as a FRAUD if it claimed as the RCC does to be “the one and only authentic Christian church”.
    As for the matter of Israel, aware as I am of my limitations, I have not been able to devote much time to the study of the nations of Israel and/or Palestine, and have been careful not make a fool of myself by taking stands on issues on which I am totally uninformed.
     
     

  • Ms. Vise,
    Lest I forget any longer, I’ve been meaning to comment on the terrible experience of your immediate familiy as well as the millions of other Jews with whom you are related.  Although I may be a more distant relative, I view these people as family as well, and am totally ashamed of those who so brutally mistreated these brothers and sisters, while imagining themselves to be followers of Jesus, a Jew who wouldn’t have condoned such behavior in a million years!
     

  • Eugene Fisher says:

    Dear Rev. Dubuque,
    The Catholic church does not claim to be “the one and only authentic Christian church”.  Others, such as the Orthodox, Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran, Reformed are authentically Christian.  And the Orthodox Churches are fully a Church, bishops and all.  It gets technical after this, because of the question (as the Catholic Church sees it) of the validity of orders.  The Swedish Lutheran church, like the Orthodox, has full validity of orders.  But there is no question about whether any of the mainline Protestant denominations are “authentically Christian.”
    Gene Fisher

  • Dear Dr. Fisher,
    For the sake of non-Catholics here, what you are saying here is that I am perfectly accurate in stating that the Roman Catholic Church thinks that it alone is 100% authentic, but to the extent that other entities are Roman Catholic, they SHARE in the Roman Catholic church’s authenticity (i.e. some 90%, some 75%, some 33%, or whatever.
    Roman Catholics who view all their non-Catholic family and friends as good people who may be just as pleasing to God as they are, may be nice Catholics, but they are not authentic Catholics in that they don’t believe what their church actually teaches.  As I show with an abundance of authoritative official proclamations at my jesuswouldbefurious.org/OneTrueChurch.html page such “liberal” ideas make them “heretics” or “protestants” at heart.
    But don’t tell them that.

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