PIUS XII & THE HOLOCAUST
http://www.catholicleague.org/pius/dalinframe.htm (by Rabbi David Dalin)
PETITION FOR THE BEATIFICATION OF POPE PIUS XII
Pope Pius XII
(1876 - 1958)
[Portrait by Yousuf Karsh of Ottawa]
Pope who saved the Jews from the Nazis.)
"Pius XII? This is the only human being who
has always contradicted me
and who has never obeyed me."
Adolf Hitler --- from Hans Jansen's The Silent Pope? (2000)
"Nazi Protest U. S. Cardinal's Hitler Attack"
Thursday, May 20, 1937, The Houston Press on George Cardinal Mundelein of Chicago
"Assails Nazi Persecution of Jews, Prelate Dares Der Fuhrer to Complain"
Monday, November 4, 1938, The Baltimore Sun on its own Archbishop Michael J. Curley
PAPAL DIPLOMATS WHO HELPED JEWS
Filippo Bernardini in Switzerland
Giuseppe Burzio in Slovakia
Andrea Cassulo in Rumania
Angelo Roncalli in Turkey
Angelo Rota in Hungary
Valerio Valeri in France
FRENCH BISHOPS WHO HELPED JEWS
Pierre-Marie Cardinal Gerlier of Lyons
Archbishop Jules Saliege of Toulouse
Bishop Piere Theas of Montaubaum
HUNGARIAN BISHOPS WHO HELPED JEWS
Bishop Vilmos Apor of Gyor
Archbishop Jozsef Mindszenty of Vesprem
ITALIAN BISHOPS WHO HELPED JEWS
Bishop Carlo Agostini of Padua
Archbishop Pietro Boetto of Genoa
Archbishop Elia Dalla Costa of Florence
Bishop Federico Dalla Zuanno of Cardi
Archbishop Maurillo Fossati of Turin
Bishop Giuseppe Placido Nicolini of Assisi
Bishop Antonio Santin of Trieste
Archbishop Ildefonso Schuster of Milan
Bishop Antonio Torrini of Lucca
Archbishop Mario Vianello of Perugia
POLISH BISHOPS WHO HELPED JEWS
Archbishop Romuald Jalbrzykowski of Wilno
Bishop Todor Kubina of Czestochowa
Bishop Jan Kanty Lorek of Sandomierz
Bishop Stanislaw Lukomski of Lomza
Bishop Karol Niemira of Pinsk
Archbishop Adam Sapieha of Krakow
Archbishop Boleslaw Twardowski of Lwow
OTHER BISHOPS WHO HELPED JEWS
Archbishop Jozef-Ernest van Roey of Mechlin
Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac of Zagreb
Archbishop Andrzey Szeptyckyj of Lwow
KEY CATHOLICS WHO SAVED JEWS
Pere Marie-Benoit / Padre Benedetti
Aristides des Sousa Mendes
Padre Pietro Tacchi-Venturi
1. In two of the seven plots to overthrow Adolf Hitler, Pius XII was involved
in at least two of them.
2. Bishops in the Third Reich who vigorously opposed the Nazis: Wilhelm Berning of Osnabruck, Clements von Galen of Munster, Joseph Maschens of Hildesheim, Johannes B. Sproll of Rottenburg, and Konrad von Preysing of Berlin.
3. More than 4,000 priests were killed by the Nazis, incuding 868 Poles at Dachau,
780 from various nations at Mauthausen, and 123 shot in France (one estimate holds
that at least 4,000 were killed at Buchenwald alone).
4. Israel Zoller (Zolli), Rome's Chief Rabbi during World War II, converted to
Roman Catholicism and took the same baptismal name, Eugenio, as Pius XII
in appreciation of what the Pope had done for the Jews.
THE DOCUMENTS OF THE HOLY SEE
The eleven volumes, Actes et Documents du Saint Siege Relatifs a la Seconde Guerre Mondiale (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1865-81), edited by Pierre Blet and other Jesuits, deal with the victims of the war (especially volumes 6, 8, 9, and 10) and show that Pius and the Church, more than any individual or international agency rose to the challenge of the Holocaust and used the resources of the Roman Catholic Church to help the Jews. This was at a time when the Pope and the Church were engaged in a struggle for survival against the Nazis who imprisoned, tortured, and killed thousands of clergy and religious, not to mention many more of the laity. Unfortunately, while scholars like Walter Adolph and Ulrich von Hehl acknowledge this in their studies, others like John F. Morley and John T. Pawlikowski do not appear to understand this crucial aspect of the problem. Though doubts have been raised in recent years, about the validity of these documents, they can be reviewed in general through John S. Conway's "Records and Documents of the Holy See Relating to the Second World War," Yad Vashem Studies, 15 (1983), 327-345. In La Civilta Cattolica (March 21, 1996), in face of the criticism raised about these documents, Pierre Blet, one of the original editors of those documents, said: "But when a legend is created from unrelated elements and with the aid of imagination, discussion is meaningless. The only thing possible is to counter the myth with the historical reality proved by incontestable documentation. For this reason, Pope Paul VI, who was Substitute of the Secretariat of State had been one of the closest collaborators of Pius XII, as early as 1964 authorized the publication of the documents of the Holy See relating to the Second World War." Doubts were raised about gaps in the documents selected as, for example, v. 8, p. 466, which refers to the controversial letter of Gerhart Riegner of the World Jewish Congress about the Nazi extermination of Jews, but that document was not included among the papal ones because it had already been published (pp. 105-109) in Saul Friedlander's Pius XII land the Third Reich (1964). Consequently, a Catholic-Jewish Commission was set up in November of 1999 to review those same documents with three Catholic scholars (Eva Fleishner, Gerald Fogarty, and John Morley) and three Jewish scholars (Michael Marrus, Bernard Suchecky, and Robert Wistrich) which, divided in its reports, went out of existence in July of 2001. Yet, to paraphrase Pierre Blet, even if "a smoking gun" were to be found in any review of the Vatican Archives, it is not clear how this would absolve Pius XII of his alleged failure during World War II. This revisionist view of the pope has tended towards irrational behavior since ideas do have consequences. Today this is evident in the outrageous interference in the internal affairs of the Roman Catholic Church when some Jewish leaders, to the pubic embarrassment of their own religious colleagues, have called for a halt to any process leading to the beatification of Pius XII.
THE PERPETUATION OF LEGENDS
Doubts, then, about the validity of the papal documents of World War II are just ways of perpetuating "the black legend" about Pope Pius XII. "Every historian knows that once a story or a legend is out there, you can't kill it," said Peter Hoffman, an historian writing in the February 2000 issue of Inside the Vatican. "Never. You can come up with the best arguments, it will stay there, especially if it's one that goes down easily." Fabrications of documents against the Catholic Church arouse during the Cold War in both Eastern and Western Europe, as Robert A. Graham's refutation of Virgilio Scattolini's writings make clear in La Civilta Cattolica (1973: III, 467-478. These were also reported by Agostino Bono in The Boston Globe (February 1, 1992). Such allegations, including one mentioned in US News & World Report (March 30, 1998) alleging that the Vatican had stashed away gold taken from the Jews during the Holocaust or similar stories found in the works of writers like Avro Manhattan and Edmond Paris that one Dragutin Kamber (1901-69) was a Jesuit who was a leader of the executions that took place in the concentration camp at Jasenovac in Croatia during World War II (in this connection, see "The Inventions and Lies of Dr. [Milan] Bulajic on the Internet," as refuted by Vladimir Zergavic in 1997). If these writers can be found lacking in the essential components of historical accuracy, specificlaly, knowledge and truth, how can they be trusted to portray what really happened in the past? Obviously, such historians have their own agenda and forget that objective evidence is the fundamental criterion of historical truth.
THE VATICAN AND THE STATE OF ISRAEL
The Vatican, from Pius XII through John Paul I, had refused to recognize the State of Israel. This was underscored in Pius' major disciple, Pope Paul VI who, during his trip to Israel in January of 1964, refrained from even mentioning Israel other than to refer to it in terms of the Holy Land. Since those popes insisted on the internationalization of Jerusalem, the effect was to harden Israel's view towards the Vatican and even towards Pius XII forgetting that the latter had sympathy for the Zionist dream of a homeland for the Jews. In fact, the pope's position was minor compared to the opposition of leading Americans like Dean G. Acheson, George C. Marshall, and James V. Forrestal in opposing the creation of the State of Israel. That the pope's position was based on his legitimate concerns for the Roman Catholics living in Israel and for the holy shrines in Jerusalem itself were not taken into account. Some contemporary Jewish leaders think that Pius was more concerned about safeguarding the Church, objectively his primary obligation as pope, than in saving Jews during the Holocaust when, in fact, he was even handed in his attempts to help both Christians and Jews. While it is easy today for the pope's critics to put the Catholic Church on the defensive by saying that Pius XII coud have done more, this was not so clear during those horrible days of World War II when he was recognized as "a lonely voice" (and the only voice) raised in defense of those victims, among them many Catholic priests whom he could not save from extinction. Yet, despite what his critics say today to confuse the issue and to belittle the testimones from prominent Jewish agencies and their representatives during the life of Pius, such opponnents cannot annul the historical redcord of his help during the Holocaust. All this was recognized and affirmed by the World Jewish Congress, the World Zionist Organization, and the State of Israel itself, not to mention such a prominent newspaper as The New York Times. Even a revisionist approach to the study of the past can help enrich our understanding of it, it cannot reject a basic principle of historical study, that is, to evaluate a person not only according to one's own times but also according to the times in which he lived. According to his own times, Pope Pius XII was a hero, but according to our own times, in the opinion of these revisionists, he is a villain. In fact, at the pope's death, some Israelis had suggested that a forest be planted in Israel for all that Pius had done to save Jews during the Holocaust. To this day, that expectation remains unfulfilled to the amazement of those who know how widespread was the expression of gratitude by Jews at the end of World War II and at the time of his death. This is particularly so when one recalls that the State of Israel wanted to honor a chief assistant to Pius, the future Pope Paul VI, who did not think that he should accept a distinction for merely doing his duty in organizing the papal relief efforts during World War II. However, Pope John Paul II turned all that around by recognizing the State of Israel in the agreements signed on December 30, 1993 and by following up this with his historic trip to Israel in March of 2000, thereby dramatically turning around relations between Israel and the Vatican.