Hitler with Cesare Orsenigo, nuncio to Germany, in 1935.

In the 1930s, the Catholic Church was faced with the dilemma of how to respond to the rise of Nazism. After initially making an effort to negotiate a modus vivendi with Nazi Germany, it found such accommodation increasingly difficult in the face of ever more aggressive challenges by Nazi Germany.

After Adolf Hitler became chancellor on January 30 1933, and following Hitler's March 23 1933 address to the Reichstag in which he acknowledged Christian belief as the " unshakeable foundation of the moral and ethical life of our people", Cardinal Bertram announced that the bishops had dropped their prohibitions against Nazi membership. They remained silent on April 1 1933 when the Nazi Party called for a national boycott of Jewish businesses, and on April 7, when Hitler decreed the Aryan clause reorganisation of the civil service, excluding Jews from all employment related to the government. The bishops' decision opened the way for a Concordat between the Holy See and Hitler's government. The Concordat was signed on July 20 1933. It gave the Catholic Church what it wanted in order to preserve the autonomy of ecclesiastical institutions and their religious activities; it assured Hitler that the Church would end so-called political Catholicism. Article 31 acknowledged the Church would not support social or political causes.

The Vatican felt it necessary to issue two encyclicals opposing the policies of Mussolini and Hitler: Non Abbiamo Bisogno in 1931 and Mit Brennender Sorge in 1937, respectively. Mit Brennender Sorge included criticisms of Nazism and racism.

Professor Robert Krieg has argued the the Church's model of itself "as a hierarchical institution intent on preserving itself so that God's grace would be immediately available to its members" prevailed over other models , such as the model of mystical communion, or moral advocate.[1]


Further information: [[:Catholic bishops in Nazi Germany]]

The Bavarian region, the Rhineland and Westphalia as well as parts in south-west Germany were predominantly Catholic, and the church had previously enjoyed a degree of privilege there. North Germany was heavily Protestant, and Catholics had suffered some discrimination. In the late 1800s, Bismarck's Kulturkampf had been an attempt to almost eliminate Catholic institutions in Germany, or at least their strong connections outside of Germany.

The revolution of 1918 and the Weimar constitution of 1919 had thoroughly reformed the former relationship between state and churches.

With this background, Catholic officials wanted a concordat strongly guaranteeing the church's freedoms. In 1929, Eugenio Pacelli's brother, Francesco, had successfully negotiated a concordat with Mussolini as part of an agreement known as the Lateran Treaty. A precondition of the negotiations had involved the dissolution of the parliamentary Catholic Italian Popular Party.

Therefore, the Holy See represented in Germany by Nuncio Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, made unsuccessful attempts to obtain German agreement for such a treaty, and between 1930 and 1933 he attempted to initiate negotiations with representatives of successive German governments.[2] Catholic politicians from the Centre Party repeatedly pushed for a concordat with the new German Republic. In February 1930 Eugenio Pacelli became the Vatican's Secretary of State, and thus responsible for the Church's foreign policy, and in this position continued to work towards this 'great goal'.[2][3]

Political Catholicism

Main article: Political Catholicism

John Cornwell claims that Pius XI disliked political Catholicism because it was beyond his control. According to Cornwell, a succession of Popes took the view that Catholic party politics "brought democracy into the church by the back door". Cornwell asserts that the result of the demise of the Popular Party was the "wholesale shift of Catholics into the Fascist Party and the collapse of democracy in Italy".

Catholic opposition to Communism

John Cornwell asserts that Pius XI and his new secretary of state, Eugenio Pacelli, were determined that, at a time that saw the church persecuted by Communists and socialist regimes from Russia to Mexico and later Spain, no accommodation was to be reached with Communists. At the same time, Cornwell alleges that Pius XI and Pacelli were more open to collaboration with totalitarian movements and regimes of the right.[4]

Catholic opposition to the Nazi Party

With the sole exception of the southern part of the state of Baden,[5] Germany's Catholic population, particularly in rural areas, barely withheld support from the Nazi Party until its takeover of power in 1933.

Before Hitler rose to power, many priests and leaders in the German Catholic Church failed to oppose Nazism on the grounds of its incompatibility with Christian morals.

Nazi attitudes towards the Church

The attitude of the Nazi party to the Church ranged from tolerance to near total renunciation.[6] Many Nazis were anti-clerical in both private and public life.[7] The Nazi party had decidedly pagan elements.[8]

One position is that the Church and fascism could never have a lasting connection because both are a "holistic Weltanschauung" claiming the whole of the person.[6]

Although both Hitler and Mussolini were anticlerical, they both understood that it would be rash to begin their Kulturkampfs prematurely, such a clash, possibly inevitable in the future, being put off while they dealt with other enemies.[9]

John Cornwell asserts that Hitler was continually preoccupied by "the fact that German Catholics, politically united by the Center Party, had defeated Bismarck's Kulturkampf -- the "culture struggle" against the Catholic Church in the 1870s". According to Cornwell, Hitler was convinced that his movement could succeed only if political Catholicism and its democratic networks were eliminated.[4] As evidence that Hitler was justified in fearing the Catholic Church, Cornwell reports that...

Into the early 1930s the German Center Party, the German Catholic bishops, and the Catholic media had been mainly solid in their rejection of National Socialism. They denied Nazis the sacraments and church burials, and Catholic journalists excoriated National Socialism daily in Germany's 400 Catholic newspapers. The hierarchy instructed priests to combat National Socialism at a local level whenever it attacked Christianity.[4]


Main article: Reichskonkordat

On 20 July 1933, the Vatican signed the Reichskonkordat, an agreement with Germany, partly in an effort to stop Nazi persecution of Catholic institutions.[10][11]

Negotiations with Hitler

On 30 January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor. In his address to the Reichsatg on March 23 he acknowledged Christian belief as the "unshakeable foundation of the moral and ethical life of our people", he promised to honour the Holy See's concordats with individual German states, to maintain government support for church-related schools, uphold religious education in the public schools. he promised he would secure a good working relationship with the papacy. After Hitler's speech his government was given dictatorial powers through an Enabling Act, - the Weimar Constitution formally set aside,- passed by all parties in the Reichstag except the Social Democrats and Communists (whose deputies had already been arrested). Hitler had obtained the votes of the Centre Party, led by Prelate Ludwig Kaas, by issuing oral guarantees of the party's continued existence and the autonomy of the Church and her educational institutions. On March 28 Cardinal Bertram announced that the bishops had dropped their prohibitions against Nazi membership, having previously publicly forbidden participation in the party since 1931. The episcopacy kept silent when the Nazis called for a national boycott of Jewish businesses on April 1, and again on April 7, when Hitler's 'Aryan Clause' excluded Jews from all employment related to the government. The bishops announced on April 6 that negotiations toward a concordat between the Holy See and Germany would soon begin in Rome. [12]

Hitler began enacting laws restricting movement of funds (making it impossible for German Catholics to send money to missionaries, for instance), restricting religious institutions and education, and mandating attendance at Hitler Youth functions (held on Sunday mornings to interfere with Church attendance).

On April 8 Hitler sent his vice chancellor Franz von Papen, a Catholic nobleman, founder of Kreuz und Adler (Cross and Eagle) - an association of wealthy Catholics,established to forge links between Catholicism and Nazism,- and former member of the Centre Party, to Rome, to offer negotiations about a Reichskonkordat, a nationwide concordat. On behalf of Cardinal Pacelli, Ludwig Kaas, the out-going chairman of the Centre Party, negotiated the draft of the terms with Papen.

Throughout the years of the Weimar Republic, the National Socialists had always been a staunch opponent of such an agreement, but now Hitler intended to deal a decisive blow against Political Catholicism and at the same time gain international recognition of his fledgling regime. [citation needed]

The Centre Party's chairman Kaas had arrived in Rome shortly before Papen; because of his expertise in Church-state relations, he was authorized by Cardinal Pacelli to negotiate terms with Papen, but pressure by the German government forced him to withdraw from visibly participating in the negotiations.

Hitler met the representative of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Wilhelm Berning of Osnabrück, -who held favourable views of Hitler- [13]on April 26. At the meeting, Hitler declared:

“I have been attacked because of my handling of the Jewish question. The Catholic Church considered the Jews pestilent for fifteen hundred years, put them in ghettos, etc., because it recognized the Jews for what they were. In the epoch of liberalism the danger was no longer recognized. I am moving back toward the time in which a fifteen-hundred-year-long tradition was implemented. I do not set race over religion, but I recognize the representatives of this race as pestilent for the state and for the Church, and perhaps I am thereby doing Christianity a great service by pushing them out of schools and public functions.”

The notes of the meeting do not record any response by Bishop Berning. In the opinion of Martin Rhonheimer (Opus Dei); "This is hardly surprising: for a Catholic Bishop in 1933 there was really nothing terribly objectionable in this historically correct reminder. And on this occasion, as always, Hitler was concealing his true intentions."[14] The issue of the concordat prolonged Kaas' stay in Rome, leaving the party without a chairman, and on 5 May Kaas finally resigned from his post. The party now elected Heinrich Brüning as chairman. At that time, the Centre party was subject to increasing pressure in the wake of the process of Gleichschaltung and after all the other parties had dissolved (or were banned like the SPD), the Centre Party dissolved itself on 6 July, and was not mentioned in the concordat.

The bishops saw a draft of the Reich Concordat on May 30 1933 when they assembled for a joint meeting of the Fulda bishops conference, (led by Breslau's Cardinal Bertram), and the Bavarian bishops' conference, (whose president was Munich's Michael von Faulhaber). Bishop Wilhelm Berning of Osnabruck, and Archbishop Conrad Grober of Freiburg - both admirers of Hitler - presented the document to the bishops. [15] The strongest critics of the concordat were Cologne's Cardinal Karl Schulte and Eichstatt's Bishop Konrad von Preysing who pointed out that since the Enabling Act had established a dictatorship, the church lacked legal recourse if Hitler decided to disregard the concordat.[16] Notwithsatnding, the bishops approved the draft and delegated Grober, a friend of Cardinal pacelli and Monsignor Kaas, to present the episcopacy's concerns to Pacelli and Kaas. On June 3, the bishops issued a statement, drafted by Grober, that announced their support for the concordat.

Though the Vatican tried to hold back the exclusion of Catholic clergy and organisations from politics,[clarification needed] it accepted the restriction to the religious and charitable field, which effectively meant acquiescing to end the Centre Party. During the concordat negotiations, Cardinal Pacelli had acquiesced in the party's dissolution but he was nonetheless dismayed that it occurred before the negotiations had been concluded. The day after[clarification needed] government issued a law banning the founding of new political parties, thus turning the NSDAP into the party of the German state.

One of Hitler's key conditions for agreeing to the concordat, in violation to earlier promises, had been the dissolution of the Centre Party, which occurred on July 5.[2][17]

On 14 July 1933 Hitler accepted the Concordat, which was signed a week later. Shortly before signing the Reichskonkordat on 20 July, Germany signed similar agreements with the major Protestant churches in Germany. The concordat was finally signed, by Pacelli for the Vatican and von Papen for Germany, on 20 July. The Reichskonkordat was ratified on September 10, 1933.

Article 16 required bishops to make an oath of loyalty to the atate. Article 31 acknowledged that while the church would continue to sponsor charitable organisations, it would not support political organisations or social and political causes. Article 31 was supposed to be supplemented by a lsit of protectd catholic agencies but this list was never agreed upon. Article 32 excluded clergy and the members of religious orders from political and social activities.

Effect of the concordat on Hitler's prestige

Most historians consider the Reichskonkordat an important step toward the international acceptance of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.[18] Guenter Lewy, political scientist and author of The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany, wrote:

"There is general agreement that the Concordat increased substantially the prestige of Hitler's regime around the world. As Cardinal Faulhaber put it in a sermon delivered in 1937: "At a time when the heads of the major nations in the world faced the new Germany with cool 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."

The Catholic Church was not alone in signing treaties with the Nazi regime at this point. The concordat was preceded by the Four-Power Pact Hitler had signed in June 1933.

John Cornwell reports that "millions of Catholics joined the Nazi Party, believing that it had the support of the Pope."[4]


After the signing of the treaty on 14 July, the Cabinet minutes record Hitler as saying that the concordat had created an atmosphere of confidence that would be "especially significant in the struggle against international Jewry." John Cornwell interprets Hitler's statement as "claiming that the Catholic Church had publicly given its blessing, at home and abroad, to the policies of National Socialism, including its anti-Semitic stand".[4]

Cornwell reports that Hitler made the support of the Centre Party for the Enabling Act a precondition of his signing the Reichskonkordat. This legislation would give him dictatorial powers. According to Cornwell, "[i]t was Kaas... who bullied the delegates into acceptance." Next, Hitler insisted on the "voluntary" disbanding of the Centre Party, the last truly parliamentary force in Germany.

Cornwell writes...

The fact that the party voluntarily disbanded itself, rather than go down fighting, had a profound psychological effect, depriving Germany of the last democratic focus of potential noncompliance and resistance: In the political vacuum created by its surrender, Catholics in the millions joined the Nazi Party, believing that it had the support of the Pope. The German bishops capitulated to Pacelli's policy of centralization, and German Catholic democrats found themselves politically leaderless.[4]

In the Reichskonkordat, the German government achieved a complete proscription of all clerical interference in the political field (articles 16 and 32). It also ensured the bishops' loyalty to the state by an oath and required all priests to be Germans and subject to German superiors. Restrictions were also placed on the Catholic organisations.

In a two-page article in the L'Osservatore Romano on 26 July and 27 July, Cardinal Pacelli said that the purpose of the Reichskonkordat was:

"not only the official recognition (by the Reich) of the legislation of the Church (its Code of Canon Law), but the adoption of many provisions of this legislation and the protection of all Church legislation."[citation needed]

Pacelli told an English representative that the Holy See had only made the agreement to preserve the Catholic Church in Germany; he also expressed his aversion to anti-Semitism.[19]


According to John Jay Hughes, church leaders were realistic about the Concordat’s supposed protections.[20] Cardinal Faulhaber is reported to have said: "With the concordat we are hanged, without the concordat we are hanged, drawn and quartered."[citation needed] In Rome the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pacelli (later Pius XII), told the British minister to the Holy See that he had signed the treaty with a pistol at his head. Hitler was sure to violate the agreement, Pacelli said — adding with gallows humor that he would probably not violate all its provisions at once.[20]

The real issue was not, as the Nazis contended, a struggle with 'political Catholicism', but that the regime would tolerate the Church only if it adapted its religious and moral teaching to the materialist dogma of blood and race - that is, if it ceased to be Christian."[21]

When the Nazi government violated the concordat (in particular article 31), German bishops and the Holy See protested against these violations. Between September 1933 and March 1937 Pacelli issued over seventy notes and memoranda protesting such violations. When Nazi violations of the Reichskonkordat escalated to include physical violence, Pope Pius XI issued the 1937 encyclical Mit brennender Sorge.[22][23] quotation "Violence had been used against a Catholic leader as early as June 1934, in the 'Night of the Long Knives' ... by the end of 1936 physical violence was being used openly and blatantly against the Catholic Church.

Deteriorating relationship with the Nazi regime

Appearing before 250,000 pilgrims at Lourdes in April 1935, Cardinal Pacelli said:

[The Nazis] are in reality only miserable plagiarists who dress up old errors with new tinsel. It does not make any difference whether they flock to the banners of the social revolution, whether they are guided by a false conception of the world and of life, or whether they are possessed by the superstition of a race and blood cult.

In 1936, Archbishop Cesare Orsenigo, Papal Nuncio to Germany, asked Cardinal Pacelli, then Vatican Secretary of State, for instructions regarding an invitation from Hitler to attend a Nazi Party meeting in Nuremberg, along with the entire diplomatic corps. Pacelli replied, ”The Holy Father thinks it is preferable that your Excellency abstain, taking a few days’ vacation.”

In 1937, Orsenigo was invited along with the diplomatic corps to a reception for Hitler’s birthday. Orsenigo again asked the Vatican if he should attend. Pacelli’s reply was, “The Holy Father thinks not. Also because of the position of this Embassy, the Holy Father believes it is preferable in the present situation if your Excellency abstains from taking part in manifestations of homage toward the Lord Chancellor,”

During Hitler’s visit to Rome in 1938, Pius XI and Pacelli avoided meeting with him by leaving Rome a month early for the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo.

The Vatican was closed, and the priests and religious brothers and sisters left in Rome were told not to participate in the festivities and celebrations surrounding Hitler’s Visit. On the Feast of the Holy Cross, Pius XI said from Castel Gandolfo, “It saddens me to think that today in Rome the cross that is worshipped is not the Cross of our Saviour.”

Denouncing the "war of ideologies"

Peter Kent writes:

Once the Rome-Berlin Axis had been proclaimed, the Holy See sought to drive a wedge between Germany and Italy. In early January 1937, a series of articles in Osservatore Romano returned to the theme of denouncing the war of ideologies attendant on the Spanish Civil War, and as Mussolini sought to turn Italian opinion towards Germany, the Pope sought to turn it in the opposite direction. A public protest against the German treatment of the Church was called for so that there should be no doubt where the Pope stood and what attitude Catholics should take.[24]

Mit brennender Sorge

Main article: Mit brennender Sorge

The Catholic Church officially condemned the Nazi theory of racism in Germany in 1937 with the Encyclical "Mit Brennender Sorge", signed by Pope Pius XI. Smuggled into Germany to avoid prior censorship and read from the pulpits of all German Catholic churches, it condemned Nazi ideology [25] as "insane and arrogant". It denounced the Nazi myth of "blood and soil", decried neopaganism of Nazism, its war of annihilation against the Church, and even described the Führer himself as a 'mad prophet possessed of repulsive arrogance.'

Although there is some difference of opinion as to the impact of the document, it is generally recognized as the "first ... official public document to criticize Nazism". [28]

Impact and consequences

According to Eamon Duffy "The impact of the encyclical was immense, and it dispelled at once all suspicion of a Fascist Pope."[29]

The "infuriated" Nazis increased their persecution of Catholics and the Church[30] by initiating a "long series" of persecution of clergy and other measures.[31][32]

Gerald Fogarty asserts that "in the end, the encyclical had little positive effect, and if anything only exacerbated the crisis."[33] The American ambassador reported that it “had helped the Catholic Church in Germany very little but on the contrary has provoked the Nazi state...to continue its oblique assault upon Catholic institutions.”

Nazi retaliation

Frank J. Coppa asserts that the encyclical was viewed by the Nazis as "a call to battle against the Reich" and that Hitler was furious and "vowed revenge against the Church".[34]

Thomas Bokenkotter writes that, "the Nazis were infuriated, and in retaliation closed and sealed all the presses that had printed it and took numerous vindictive measures against the Church, including staging a long series of immorality trials of the Catholic clergy."[27]

The German police confiscated as many copies as they could and called it “high treason.”

According to Owen Chadwick, the "infuriated" Nazis increased their persecution of Catholics and the Church.[35] According to John Vidmar, Nazi reprisals against the Church in Germany followed thereafter, including "staged prosecutions of monks for homosexuality, with the maximum of publicity".[36]

Shirer reports that, "[d]uring the next years, thousands of Catholic priests, nuns and lay leaders were arrested, many of them on trumped-up charges of 'immorality' or 'smuggling foreign currency'."[21]

The "Conspiracy of Silence"

While numerous German Catholics, who participated in the secret printing and distribution of Mit brennender Sorge, went to jail and concentration camps, the Western democracies remained silent, which Pope Pius XI labeled bitterly as "a conspiracy of silence".[37]

Condemnation of anti-Semitism

Pius XI asserted to a group of pilgrims that antisemitism is incompatible with Christianity.[38]

German Catholics and the Holocaust

Catholic bishops in Nazi Germany differed in their responses to the rise of Nazi Germany, World War II, and the Holocaust during the years 1933-1945.

Cardinal Adolf Bertram, ex officio head of the German church from 1920-1945

Archbishop Konrad Gröber of Freiburg was known as the “Brown Bishop” because he was such an enthusiastic supporter of the Nazis. In 1933, he became a “sponsoring member” of the SS. In 1943, Grober expressed the opinion that bishops should remain loyal to the "beloved folk and Fatherland", despite abuses of the Reichskonkordat.[39] After the war, however, he claimed to have been such an opponent of the Nazis that they had planned to crucify him on the door for the Freiburg Cathedral.

Bishop Wilhlem Berning of Osnabrück sat with the Deutsche Christen Reichsbishop in the Prussian State Council from 1933 to 1945, a clear signal of support for the Nazi regime.

Cardinal Adolf Bertram ex officio head of the German episcopate also had some affinity for the Nazis. In 1933, for example, he refused to intervene on behalf of Jewish merchants who were the targets of Nazi boycotts, saying that they were a group “which has no very close bond with the church.”

Bertram sent Hitler birthday greetings in 1939 in the name of all German Catholic bishops, an act that angered bishop Konrad von Preysing.[39] Bertram was the leading advocate of accommodation as well as the leader of the German church, a combination that reigned in other would-be opponents of Nazism.[39]

Bishop Buchberger of Regensburg called Nazi racism directed at Jews “justified self-defense” in the face of “overly powerful Jewish capital.”

Bishop Hilfrich of Limburg said that the true Christian religion “made its way not from the Jews but in spite of them.”

Bishops von Preysing and Frings were the most public in the statements against genocide.[40] According to Phayer, "no other German bishops spoke as pointedly as Preysing and Frings".[40]

Cardinal Faulhaber asserted that "History teaches us that God always punished the tormenters of…the Jews. No Roman Catholic approves of the persecutions of Jews in Germany."

During the war, the Fulda Conference of Bishops met annually in Fulda.[39] The issue of whether the bishops should speak out against the persecution of the Jews was debated at a 1942 meeting in Fulda.[41] The consensus was to "give up heroic action in favor of small successes".[41] A draft letter proposed by Margarete Sommer was rejected, because it was viewed as a violation of the Reichskonkordat to speak out on issues not directly related to the church.[41]

Knowledge of the Holocaust

According to historians David Bankier and Hans Mommsen a thorough knowledge of the Holocaust was well within the reach of the German bishops, if they wanted to find out.[42] According to historian Michael Phayer, "a number of bishops did want to know, and they succeeded very early on in discovering what their government was doing to the Jews in occupied Poland".[43] Wilhelm Berning, for example, knew about the systematic nature of the Holocaust as early as February 1942, only one month after the Wannsee Conference.[43] Most German Church historians believe that the church leaders knew of the Holocaust by the end of 1942, knowing more than any other church leaders outside the Vatican.[44]

However, after the war, some bishops, including Adolf Bertram and Conrad Grober claimed that they had not been aware of the extent and details of the Holocaust, and were unsure of the veracity of the information that was brought to their attention.[44]

Nazi persecution of German Catholics

File:Survivors liberation dachau.jpg
Surviving prisoners at Dachau concentration camp wave on liberation day. Of the 2700 ministers who were ultimately imprisoned there during World War II, over 2600 were Roman Catholic priests, 2000 were ultimately put to death.[45]

Some German clergy were sent to the concentration camps for voicing opposition to the Nazi regime; these included the pastor of Berlin's Catholic Cathedral Bernhard Lichtenberg, Saint Maximilian Kolbe and the seminarian Karl Leisner. Many Catholic laypeople also paid for their opposition with their life, including the mostly Catholic members of the Munich resistance group White Rose around Hans and Sophie Scholl.

In 1941 the Nazi authorities decreed the dissolution of all monasteries and abbeys in the German Reich, many of them effectively being occupied and secularized by the Allgemeine SS under Himmler. However, on July 30, 1941 the Aktion Klostersturm (Operation Monastery) was put to an end by a decree of Hitler, who feared the increasing protests by the Catholic part of German population might result in passive rebellions and thereby harm the Nazi war effort at the eastern front.[46]

Historical evaluation

Some German bishops have been praised for their wartime actions. According to Phayer, "several bishops did speak out".[42] Heinrich Wienken (a post-war bishop) very likely personally hid Jews in Berlin during the war.[39] Clemens August Graf von Galen was a well-known public opponent of the Nazi "euthanasia" program, if not the Holocaust itself.[42]

Phayer asserts that the German episcopate—as opposed to other bishops—could have done more to save Jews.[42] According to Phayer, "had the German bishops confronted the Holocaust publicly and nationally, the possibilities of undermining Hitler's death apparatus might have existed. Admittedly, it is speculative to assert this, but it is certain that many more German Catholics would have sought to save Jews by hiding them if their church leaders had spoken out".[42] In this regard, Phayer places the responsibility with the Vatican, asserting that "a strong papal assertion would have enabled the bishops to overcome their disinclinations" and that "Bishop Preysing's only hope to spur his colleagues into action lay in Pope Pius XII".[43]

Papacy of Pius XII

Main article: Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust

Further information: Pope Pius XII and Judaism


Dr. Joseph Lichten wrote: "Pacelli had obviously established his position clearly, for the Fascist governments of both Italy and Germany spoke out vigorously against the possibility of his election to succeed Pius XI in March of 1939, though the cardinal secretary of state had served as papal nuncio in Germany from 1917 to 1929."[47]

The day after Pacelli's election, the Berlin Morgenpost said: ‘The election of cardinal Pacelli is not accepted with favor in Germany because he was always opposed to Nazism and practically determined the policies of the Vatican under his predecessor.’ Der Angriff, the Nazi party organ, warned that Pius' policies would lead to a “crusade against the totalitarian states”.

Hidden encyclical

Some historians have argued that Pacelli, as Cardinal Secretary of State, dissuaded Pope Pius XI — who was nearing death at the time[48] — from condemning Kristallnacht in November 1938,[49] when he was informed of it by the papal nuncio in Berlin.[50] Likewise the prepared encyclical Humani Generis Unitas ("On the Unity of Human Society"), which was ready in September 1938 but, according to the two publishers of the encyclical[51] and other sources, not forwarded to the Vatican by the Jesuit General Wlodimir Ledochowski.[52] On January 28, 1939, eleven days before the death of Pope Pius XI, a disappointed Gundlach informed author La Farge,."It cannot continue like this" The text has not been forwarded to the Vatican. He had talked to the American assistant to Father General, who promised to look into the matter in December 1938, but did not report back.[53]

It contained an open and clear condemnation of colonialism, racism and antisemitism.[52][54][55] Some historians have argued that Pacelli learned about its existence only after the death of Pius XI and did not promulgate it as Pope.[56] He did however use parts of it in his inaugural encyclical Summi Pontificatus, which he titled "On the Unity of Human Society."[57]

Invasion of Poland

Main articles: Pope Pius XII and Poland and Reorganization of dioceses during World War II

In his first encyclical Summi Pontificatus (October 20, 1939), Pius XII publicly condemned the invasion, occupation and partition of Poland.

The blood of countless human beings, even noncombatants, raises a piteous dirge over a nation such as Our dear Poland, which, for its fidelity to the Church, for its services in the defense of Christian civilization, written in indelible characters in the annals of history, has a right to the generous and brotherly sympathy of the whole world, while it awaits, relying on the powerful intercession of Mary, Help of Christians, the hour of a resurrection in harmony with the principles of justice and true peace.
- Summi Pontificatus, 106.

In Poland, the Nazis murdered over 2,500 monks and priests and even more were imprisoned.[35]

Protest of Dutch bishops

The Archbishop of Utrecht was warned by the Nazis not to protest the deportation of Dutch Jews. In defiance, he published a letter on April 19, 1942, which was read in every Catholic church in the country. The bishops of Holland jointly denounced "the unmerciful and unjust treatment meted out to Jews by those in power in our country." The Nazis responded by revoking the exception that had been given to Jews who had been baptized and a round up was ordered. The Gestapo made a special effort to round up every monk, nun and priest who had even a drop of Jewish blood. Some 300 victims were deported to Auschwitz and immediately sent to the gas chambers. Among them was Saint Edith Stein. According to John Vidmar, "The brutality of the retaliation made an enormous impression on Pius XII."[58] Henceforth, he avoided open, confrontational denunciations of the Nazis.[59]

Dr. Peter Gumpel writes:

The action of the Dutch bishops had important repercussions. Pius XII had already prepared the text of a public protest against the persecution of the Jews. Shortly before this text was sent to L’Osservatore Romano, news reached him of the disastrous consequences of the Dutch bishops’ initiative. He concluded that public protests, far from alleviating the fate of the Jews, aggravated their persecution and he decided that he could not take the responsibility of his own intervention having similar and probably even much more serious consequences. Therefore he burnt the text he had prepared. The International Red Cross, the nascent World Council of Churches and other Christian Churches were fully aware of such consequences of vehement public protests and, like Pius XII, they wisely avoided them.[60]

The Holocaust

The Israeli historian Pinchas Lapide interviewed war survivors and concluded that Pius XII "was instrumental in saving at least 700,000, but probably as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi hands". Most historians dispute this estimate[61] while Rabbi David Dalin called Pinchas Lapide's work "the definitive work by a Jewish scholar" on the holocaust.[62]

Cardinal Secretary of State Luigi Maglione received a request from Chief Rabbi of Palestine Isaac Herzog in the Spring of 1940 to intercede on behalf of Lithuanian Jews about to be deported to Germany. Pius called Ribbentrop on March 11, repeatedly protesting against the treatment of Jews. In his 1940 encyclical Summi Pontificatus, Pius rejected anti-semitism, stating that in the Catholic Church there is "neither Gentile nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision."[63]

On January 2, 1940, the United Jewish Appeal for Refugees and Overseas Needs in Chicago sent the Pope a contribution of $125,000 toward the Vatican's efforts to save "all those persecuted because of religion or race." The Pope kept in place an emigration program established by his predecessor, Pius XI, which helped Jews gain admittance to Brazil. Between 1939 and 1941, 3,000 Jews reached safety in South America.

Between 1939 and 1944, Pius XII supplied passports, money, tickets and letters of recommendation to foreign governments so Jewish refugees could receive visas. Through these actions, another 4,000-6,000 Jews reached safety.

Alleged antisemitism

In the summer of 1942, Pius explained to his college of Cardinals the reasons for the great gulf that existed between Jews and Christians at the theological level: "Jerusalem has responded to His call and to His grace with the same rigid blindness and stubborn ingratitude that has led it along the path of guilt to the murder of God." Historian Guido Knopp describes these comments of Pius as being "incomprehensible" at a time when "Jerusalem was being murdered by the million".[64]

Alleged silence regarding the Holocaust

Pius XII has been accused of not making strong enough protests against the murder of the Jews.

The Vatican was prohibited by the Lateran Treaty from intervening in political matters, and likewise by the German concordat – any breach of which by the Vatican would justify further breaches by the Nazis. The Italians themselves argued that any criticisms of Germany were political interventions in breach of the Lateran treaty, since Germany was Italy ’s ally.

Another reason proffered for Pius' reluctance to do so was a perceived need for firm proof that would be sustainable in any diplomatic exchanges or in the court of world opinion; unproven (and demonstrably false accusations) had been made regarding atrocities allegedly committed by German troops during World War I. Furthermore, without being even-handed and condemning Stalin’s atrocities against Soviet and Polish citizens, the Pope would be vulnerable to accusations of bias against the Nazis; such an accusation could have seriously undermined the influence the Vatican might have over German Catholics. The Allies were exceedingly anxious to prevent a Papal condemnation of Stalin, which would have hurt the Allied effort.[Note 1]

Pius XII also never publicly condemned the Nazi massacre of 1.8 - 1.9 million mainly Catholic Polish gentiles (including 2,935 members of the Catholic Clergy),[66][67] nor did he ever publicly condemn the Soviet Union for the deaths of 1,000,000 mainly Catholic Polish gentile citizens including an untold number of clergy.[68]

In a letter to Konrad von Preysing, Bishop of Berlin, Pius referred to the Nazi retribution in Holland as one reason why he offered only muted criticism in his public statements:

"We leave it to the [local] bishops to weigh the circumstances in deciding whether or not to exercise restraint, ad maiora mala vitanda [to avoid greater evil]. This would be advisable if the danger of retaliatory and coercive measures would be imminent in cases of public statements of the bishop. Here lies one of the reasons We Ourselves restrict Our public statements. The experience We had in 1942 with documents which We released for distribution to the faithful gives justification, as far as We can see, for Our attitude."

In a conversation with Archbishop Giovanni Battista Montini (later Pope Paul VI), Pius said, "We would like to utter words of fire against such actions; and the only thing restraining Us from speaking is the fear of making the plight of the victims worse" [69]

In December 1942, when Tittman asked Cardinal Secretary of State Maglione if Pius would issue a proclamation similar to the Allied declaration "German Policy of Extermination of the Jewish Race", Maglione replied that the Vatican was "unable to denounce publicly particular atrocities."[70] However, in his Christmas address the Pope expressed his concerns for the “hundreds of thousands who, through no fault of their own, and solely because of their nation or race, have been condemned to death or progressive extinction.”

A month later Ribbentrop wrote to the German Ambassador to the Holy See: “there are signs that the Vatican is likely to renounce its traditional neutral attitude and take up a political position against Germany . You are to inform him (the Pope) that in that event Germany does not lack physical means of retaliation.” The Ambassador reported that Pius indicated that “he did not care what happened to himself, but that a struggle between Church and State could have only one outcome – the defeat of the State. I replied that I was of the contrary opinion….. an open battle could bring some very unpleasant surprises for the Church. … Pacelli (Pius XII) is no more sensible to threats than we are. In event of an open breach with us, he now calculates that some German Catholics will leave the Church but he is convinced that the majority will remain true to their Faith. And that the German Catholic clergy will screw up its courage, prepared for the greatest sacrifices.”

On April 30, 1943, Pius wrote to Bishop Von Preysing of Berlin to say: "We give to the pastors who are working on the local level the duty of determining if and to what degree the danger of reprisals and of various forms of oppression occasioned by episcopal declarations... ad maiora mala vitanda (to avoid worse)... seem to advise caution. Here lies one of the reasons, why We impose self-restraint on Ourselves in our speeches; the experience, that we made in 1942 with papal addresses, which We authorized to be forwarded to the Believers, justifies our opinion, as far as We see.... The Holy See has done whatever was in its power, with charitable, financial and moral assistance. To say nothing of the substantial sums which we spent in American money for the fares of immigrants."[71]

Conversions of Jews to Catholicism

The conversion of Jews to Catholicism during the Holocaust is one of the most controversial aspects of the record of Pope Pius XII during that period.

According to Roth and Ritner, "this is a key point because, in debates about Pius XII, his defenders regularly point to denunciations of racism and defense of Jewish converts as evidence of opposition to antisemitism of all sorts.[72] The Holocaust is one of the most acute examples of the "recurrent and acutely painful issue in the Catholic-Jewish dialogue", namely "Christian efforts to convert Jews".[73]

Persecution of Catholics by Nazi Germany

Catholic clergy, religious orders and laity, especially converted Jews, all suffered persecution under the Nazi regime. Many were deported to concentration camps and were either murdered or died from hardship and privation.[74]

Criticism of Pius XII

After the war, some historians accused the Church of encouraging centuries of antisemitism, and Pope Pius XII of not doing enough to stop Nazi atrocities.((#tag:ref|A leading proponent of this criticism is David Kertzer. However, many scholars dispute Kertzer's findings. Jose Sanchez, history professor at St. Louis University criticized Kertzer's work as polemical and exaggerating the papacy's role in anti-Semitism.[75] Scholar of Jewish-Christian relations Rabbi David G. Dalin criticized Kertzer for using evidence selectively to support his thesis.[76] Ronald J. Rychlak, lawyer and author of Hitler, the War, and the Pope, also decried Kertzer's work for omitting strong evidence that the Church was not anti-Semitic.[77][78]

However, many others including prominent members of the Jewish community have refuted these criticisms of Pius and spoken highly of his efforts to protect Jews.[79]

After the war, Pius XII's efforts to protect their people were recognised by prominent Jews including Albert Einstein and Rabbi Isaac Herzog.[80] However, the Church has also been accused by some of encouraging centuries of antisemitism and Pius himself of not doing enough to stop Nazi atrocities.[78][81] Prominent members of the Jewish community have contradicted these criticisms.[79] Lichten, Lapide, and other Jewish historians report that the Catholic Church provided funds totalling in the millions of dollars to assist Jews during World War II.

In 1999, British journalist and author John Cornwell published Hitler's Pope, a book that examines the actions of Pope Pius XII during the Nazi era and explores the charge that he assisted in the legitimization of Hitler's Nazi regime in Germany through the signing of the Reichskonkordat. The book is critical of Pius' conduct during the Second World War, criticizing him for not doing enough, or speaking out enough, against the Holocaust. Cornwell argued that Pius's entire career as the nuncio to Germany, cardinal secretary of state, and pope was characterized by a desire to increase and centralize the power of the Papacy, and that he subordinated opposition to the Nazis to that goal. He further argued that Pius was anti-Semitic and that this stance prevented him from caring about the European Jews.[82]

Cornwell has been praised for attempting to bring into the open the debate on the Catholic Church's relationship with the Nazis, but also accused of making unsubstantiated claims and ignoring positive evidence. Some commentators have characterized the book as having since been "debunked".,[83][84][85][86][87] The author, himself, has since retracted his accusations in substantial part,[84][88][89] saying that it is "impossible to judge the motives" of the Pope.[86][87] but that "Nevertheless, due to his ineffectual and diplomatic language in respect of the Nazis and the Jews, I still believe that it was incumbent on him to explain his failure to speak out after the war. This he never did." [90]

Historian John Toland noted: “The Church, under the Pope’s guidance…saved the lives of more Jews than all other churches, religious institutions and rescue organizations combined…the British and Americans, despite lofty pronouncements, had not only avoided taking any meaningful action but gave sanctuary to few persecuted Jews.”

The Ratlines: Helping Nazis to flee

At the end of the war, top Catholic officers organized the so-called ratlines that allowed Nazi war criminals to flee towards South America and other destinations via Francoist Spain. Bishop Alois Hudal and Cardinals Luigi Maglione, Eugene Tisserant and Antonio Caggiano, as well as the Roman Seminar in San Girolamo degli Illirici of Father Krunoslav Draganović were specially active in this task. Thousands of presumed European Catholic immigrants, actually Nazis in disguise, were able to escape from Europe using these networks.

Apology of Pope John Paul II

In 2000 Pope John Paul II on behalf of all people, apologized to Jews by inserting a prayer at the Western Wall that read "We're deeply saddened by the behavior of those in the course of history who have caused the children of God to suffer, and asking your forgiveness, we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the Covenant."[91] This papal apology, one of many issued by Pope John Paul II for past human and Church failings throughout history, was especially significant because John Paul II emphasized Church guilt for, and the Second Vatican Council's condemnation of, anti-Semitism.[92] The papal letter We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, urged Catholics to repent "of past errors and infidelities" and "renew the awareness of the Hebrew roots of their faith."[92][93]


  1. ^ Pius XII explained to Tittman that he could not name the Nazis without at the same time mentioning the Bolsheviks.[65]

See also


  1. ^ Robert A. Krieg, Catholic Theologians in Nazi Germany , p.viii
  2. ^ a b c Ludwig Volk Das Reichskonkordat vom 20. Juli 1933.
  3. ^ Klaus Scholder "The Churches and the Third Reich".
  4. ^ a b c d e f Cornwell, John (October 1999). "Hitler's Pope (Abridged)". Vanity Fair.
  5. ^ Catholicism, Political Culture, and the Countryside Oded Heilbronner
  6. ^ a b Laqueur, Walter (1996). Fascism: Past, Present, Future. Oxford University Press. p. 41. ISBN 9780195117936.
  7. ^ Laqueur, Walter (1996). Fascism: Past, Present, Future. Oxford University Press. p. 42. ISBN 9780195117936.
  8. ^ Laqueur, Walter (1996). Fascism: Past, Present, Future. Oxford University Press. p. 148. ISBN 9780195117936.
  9. ^ Laqueur, Walter (1996). Fascism: Past, Present, Future. Oxford University Press. pp. 31, 42. ISBN 9780195117936.
  10. ^ Coppa, p. 132-7
  11. ^ Rhodes, p. 182-183 quotation "His contention seemed confirmed in a speech by Staatsminister Wagner in Munich on the 31st March 1934, only nine months after the signature of the Concordat. Wagner said if the Church had not signed a concordat with Germany, the National Socialist government would have abolished the Catholic Youth organisations altogether, and placed them in the same 'anti-state' category as the Marxist groups. ... If the maintenance of Catholic education and of the Catholic Youth associations was, as we have seen often enough before, the principal aim of Papal diplomacy, then his phrase, 'the Concordat prevented greater evils' seems justified. ... "The German episcopate considered that neither the Concordats up to then negotiated with individual German States (Lander), nor the Weimar Constitution gave adequate guarantees or assurance to the faithful of respect for their convictions, rights or liberty of action. In such conditions the guarantees could not be secured except through a settlement having the solemn form of a concordat with the central government of the Reich, I would add that since it was the German government which made the proposal, the responsibility for all the regrettable consequences would have fallen on the Holy See if it had refused the proposed Concordat. Although the Church had few illusions about National Socialism, it must be recognized that the Concordat in the years that followed brought some advantages, or at least prevented worse evils. In fact, in spite of all the violations to which it was subjected, it gave German Catholics a juridical basis for their defence, a stronghold behind which to shield themselves in their oppositions to the ever-growing campaign of religious persecution."
  12. ^ Robert Krieg, p.6 Catholic Theologians in Nazi Germany
  13. ^ Krieg, p.6
  14. ^ Rhonheimer, Martin (November 2003). "The Holocaust: What Was Not Said". First Things Magazine. Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  15. ^ Krieg p.6
  16. ^ Krieg p.6
  17. ^ Toland & Atkin.[clarification needed]
  18. ^ Berenbaum, Michael. The World Must Know. p. 40.
  19. ^ Coppa, Frank J. (2006). The papacy, the Jews, and the Holocaust. Catholic University Press of America. p. 154. ISBN 0813214491.
  20. ^ a b Hughes, John Jay (2007-05-18). "An Antidotal History". National Review Online. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
  21. ^ a b Shirer, p. 235 quotation "On July 25, five days after the ratification of the concordat, the German government promulgated a sterilization law, which particularly offended the Catholic Church. Five days later the first steps were taken to dissolve the Catholic Youth League. During the next years, thousands of Catholic priests, nuns and lay leaders were arrested, many of them on trumped-up charges of 'immorality' or 'smuggling foreign currency'.
  22. ^ Coppa132
  23. ^ Rhodes197"Rhodes, p. 197
  24. ^ Peter Kent, p. 590
  25. ^ Frattini, p. 230
  26. ^ "The Popes in the 20th Century", Carlo Falconi, p. 229-230, Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 1968
  27. ^ a b c Bokenkotter, pp. 389–392, quotation "And when Hitler showed increasing belligerence toward the Church, Pius met the challenge with a decisiveness that astonished the world." Cite error: The named reference "Bokenkotter389" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  28. ^ Carlo Falconi described the Reichskonkordat as being "so little anti-Nazi" and noted that "silence surrounds" the more serious errors associated with Nazi ideology whilst its "conciliatory olive branch" to Hitler "deprived the document of its noble and exemplary intransigence". Falconi nevertheless asserts that even within these limitations it remains the "first great official public document to dare to confront and criticize Nazism, and the Pope's courage astonished the world", though it was fated "to be credited with a greater significance than it possessed".[26] Bokenkotter describes it as "one of the greatest such condemnations ever issued by the Vatican."[27]
  29. ^ Duffy, (paperback edition) p. 343 quotation "In a triumphant security operation, the encyclical was smuggled into Germany, locally printed, and read from Catholic pulpits on Palm Sunday 1937. Mit Brennender Sorge ('With Burning Anxiety') denounced both specific government actions against the Church in breach of the concordat and Nazi racial theory more generally. There was a striking and deliberate emphasis on the permanent validity of the Jewish scriptures, and the Pope denounced the 'idolatrous cult' which replaced belief in the true God with a 'national religion' and the 'myth of race and blood'. He contrasted this perverted ideology with the teaching of the Church in which there was a home 'for all peoples and all nations'. The impact of the encyclical was immense, and it dispelled at once all suspicion of a Fascist Pope. While the world was still reacting, however, Pius issued five days later another encyclical, Divini Redemptoris denouncing Communism, declaring its principles 'intrinsically hostile to religion in any form whatever', detailing the attacks on the Church which had followed the establishment of Communist regimes in Russia, Mexico and Spain, and calling for the implementation of Catholic social teaching to offset both Communism and 'amoral liberalism'. The language of Divini Redemptoris was stronger than that of Mit Brennender Sorge, its condemnation of Communism even more absolute than the attack on Nazism. The difference in tone undoubtedly reflected the Pope's own loathing of Communism as the ultimate enemy. The last year of his life, however, left no one any doubt of his total repudiation of the right-wing tyrannies in Germany and, despite his instinctive sympathy with some aspects of Fascism, increasingly in Italy also. His speeches and conversations were blunt, filled with phrases like 'stupid racialism', 'barbaric Hitlerism'."
  30. ^ Chadwick, Owen p. 254 quotation "The encyclical was smuggled into Germany and read from the pulpits on Palm Sunday. It made the repression far worse; but it too was necessary to Christian honour."
  31. ^ Bokenkotter389"
  32. ^ Courtois, p. 29 quotation "... Pope Pius XI condemned Nazism and Communism respectively in the encyclicals Mit Brennender Sorge ... and Divini redemptoris ... ."
  33. ^ Fogarty, Gerald P. (2008-08-15). "A Pope in Wartime". America. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
  34. ^ "The papacy, the Jews, and the Holocaust", Frank J. Coppa, p. 162-163, CUA Press, 2006, ISBN 0813214491
  35. ^ a b c Chadwick, Owen pp. 254–255.
  36. ^ Vidmar, p. 254.
  37. ^ Franzen, 395
  38. ^ Vidmar, pp. 327–333, quotation: "Mark well that in the Catholic Mass, Abraham is our Patriarch and forefather. Anti-Semitism is incompatible with the lofty thought which that fact expresses. It is a movement with which we Christians can have nothing to do. No, no, I say to you it is impossible for a Christian to take part in anti-Semitism. It is inadmissible. Through Christ and in Christ we are the spiritual progeny of Abraham. Spiritually, we are all Semites."
  39. ^ a b c d e Phayer, 2000, p. 75.
  40. ^ a b Phayer, 2000, p. 77.
  41. ^ a b c Phayer, 2000, p. 74.
  42. ^ a b c d e Phayer, 2000, p. 67.
  43. ^ a b c Phayer, 2000, p. 68.
  44. ^ a b Phayer, 2000, p. 70.
  45. ^ Vidmar, p. 329.
  46. ^ Mertens, Annette, Himmlers Klostersturm: der Angriff auf katholische Einrichtungen im Zweiten Weltkrieg und die Wiedergutmachung nach 1945, Paderborn; München ; Wien; Zürich : Schöningh, 2006, pp. 33, 120, 126.
  47. ^ Joseph Lichten, "A Question of Moral Judgment: Pius XII and the Jews," in Graham, 107.
  48. ^ Phayer, 2000, p. 3.
  49. ^ Walter Bussmann, 1969, "Pius XII an die deutschen Bischöfe", Hochland 61, p. 61–65
  50. ^ Gutman, Israel, Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, p. 1136.
  51. ^ Passelecp, Suchecky p.113-137
  52. ^ a b Hill, Roland. 1997, August 11. "The lost encyclical." The Tablet.
  53. ^ Passelecq, Suchecky. p.121.
  54. ^ Humani Generis Unitas
  55. ^ www.adl.org/main_Interfaith/nostra_aetate.htm?Multi_page_sections=sHeading_4
  56. ^ On March 16, four days after coronation, Gundlach informs LaFarge, that the documents were given to Pius XI shortly before his death, but that the new Pope had so far no opportunity to learn about it. Passelecq, Suchecky. p.126.
  57. ^ Encyclical of Pope Pius on the unity of human society to our venerable brethren: The Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other ordinaries in peace and the communion with the Apostolic see (AAS 1939).
  58. ^ a b c Vidmar, p. 331.
  59. ^ Duffy, (paperback edition) p. 348 quotation "It is clear from Maglione's intervention that Papa Pacelli cared about and sought to avert the deportation of the Roman Jews but he did not denounce: a denunciation, the Pope believed, would do nothing to help the Jews, and would only extend Nazi persecution to yet more Catholics. It was the Church as well as the Jews in Germany, Poland and the rest of occupied Europe who would pay the price for any papal gesture. There was some weight in this argument: when the Dutch Catholic hierarchy denounced measures against Jews there, the German authorities retaliated by extending the persecution to baptized Jews who had formerly been protected by their Catholicism."
  60. ^ Gumpel, Peter. Pius XII As He Really Was.
  61. ^ Deák, p. 182.
  62. ^ Dalin, p. 10
  63. ^ Dalin, 2005, p. 73
  64. ^ Knopp, Guido (2000). Hitler's Holocaust. Sutton. p. 250. ISBN 0-7509-2700-3.
  65. ^ Hilberg, Raul, The Destruction of the European Jews, (2003)3rd Ed pg 1204 - 1205.
  66. ^ United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Polish Victims, Accessed December 17, 2008.
  67. ^ Craughwell, Thomas J.The Gentile Holocaust Catholic Culture, Accessed December 17, 2008
  68. ^ Poland's Holocaust, Tadeusz Piotrowski, 1998 ISBN 0-7864-0371-3, P.20
  69. ^ Rhodes, Anthony. The Vatican in the Age of the Dictators (1922-1945). p. 244.
  70. ^ Hilberg, Raul. The Destruction of the European Jews. p. 315.
  71. ^ Letter of Pius XII of 30th April, 1943 to the Bishop of Berlin, Graf von Preysing, published in "Documentation catholique" of 2nd February, 1964.
  72. ^ Roth and Ritner, 2002, p. 44.
  73. ^ Roth and Ritner, 2002, p. 236.
  74. ^ When Dutch bishops protested against the wartime deportation of Jews, the Nazis responded by increasing deportations[27] of Jews and converts to Catholicism.[58] "The brutality of the retaliation made an enormous impression on Pius XII."[58] In Poland, the Nazis murdered over 2,500 monks and priests and even more were imprisoned.[35]
  75. ^ Book review The Popes Against the Jews. The Vatican's Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism By David I. Kertzer
  76. ^ Dalin, David G. (2001-10-29). "Popes and Jews - Truths and Falsehoods in the history of Catholic-Jewish relations". The Weekly Standard. ((cite news)): Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  77. ^ Daniel Kertzer's The Popes Against the Jews by Ronald J. Rychlak (The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights)
  78. ^ a b Eakin, Emily (1 September 2001). "New Accusations Of a Vatican Role In Anti-Semitism; Battle Lines Were Drawn After Beatification of Pope Pius IX". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 March 2008.
  79. ^ a b Bokenkotter, pp. 480–481, quotation:"A recent article by American rabbi, David G. Dalin, challenges this judgement. He calls making Pius XII a target of moral outrage a failure of historical understanding, and he thinks Jews should reject any 'attempt to usurp the Holocaust' for the partisan purposes at work in this debate. Dalin surmises that well-known Jews such as Albert Einstein, Golda Meir, Moshe Sharett, and Rabbi Isaac Herzog would likely have been shocked at these attacks on Pope Pius. ... Dalin points out that Rabbi Herzog, the chief rabbi of Israel, sent a message in February 1944 declaring 'the people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness ... (is) doing for our unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history.'" Dalin cites these tributes as recognition of the work of the Holy See in saving hundreds of thousands of Jews."
  80. ^ Bokenkotter p. 192 quotation "The end of the war saw the prestige of the papacy at an all-time high. Many nations had ambassadors accredited with the Vatican. The President of the United States sent his personal representative, while a constant stream of the world's celebrities moved through its portals. The Holy Year of 1950 brought millions of more humble pilgrims to the tomb of Peter. The pope gave daily addresses on every conceivable subject and was widely quoted around the world. The number of Catholic dioceses increased during his reign from 1,696 to 2,048. ... Einstein, for instance, in an article in Time, paid tribute to Pius and noted that the Church alone 'stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign.' ... 'Rabbi Herzog, the chief rabbi of Israel, sent a message in February 1944 declaring "the people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness ... (is) doing for our unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history."' David Dalin cites these tributes as recognition of the work of the Holy See in saving hundreds of thousands of Jews."
  81. ^ Phayer, pp. 50-57
  82. ^ Phayer, 2000, p. xii-xiii.
  83. ^ Anger, Matthew The Rabbi and the Pope Homiletic and Pastoral Review, 2008 Ignatius Press
  84. ^ a b Dalin, David The Myth of Hitler’s Pope:How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis, p. 138, Regnery Publishing 2005
  85. ^ Rychlak, Ronald J. and Michael Novak Righteous Gentiles, p. xiii, Spence Pub. Co., 2005
  86. ^ a b "The Papacy", The Economist, December 9, 2004, p. 82-83.
  87. ^ a b John Cornwell, The Pontiff in Winter (2004), p. 193.
  88. ^ Rychlak, Ronald J. and Michael Novak Righteous Gentiles, p. xiii, Spence Pub. Co., 2005
  89. ^ Johnson, Daniel The Robes of the Vicar New York Sun June 15, 2005
  90. ^ The Bulletin (Philadelphia, Sept. 27, 2008
  91. ^ Randall, Gene (26 March 2000). "Pope Ends Pilgrimage to the Holy Land". CNN. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
  92. ^ a b Bokenkotter, p. 484
  93. ^ Vatican (12 March 1998). "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 7 November 2008.


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