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The myth of Pius XII being “Hitler’s pope” is debunked

by Rodan ( 36 Comments › )
Filed under Holocaust, Special Report, World War II at February 17th, 2013 - 11:44 pm

For years Catholic haters claimed Pope Pius XII was a Nazi Collaborator. A Smear book called Hitler’s Pope has become gospel. Now an Independent researcher who had access to Vatican files, has debunked the myth of Hitler’s Pope.

by Dalya Alberge

Pius XII has long been vilified as “Hitler’s pope”, accused of failing publicly to condemn the genocide of Europe’s Jews. Now a British author has unearthed extensive material that Vatican insiders believe will restore his reputation, revealing the part that he played in saving lives and opposing nazism. Gordon Thomas, a Protestant, was given access to previously unpublished Vatican documents and tracked down victims, priests and others who had not told their stories before.

The Pope’s Jews, which will be published next month, details how Pius gave his blessing to the establishment of safe houses in the Vatican and Europe’s convents and monasteries. He oversaw a secret operation with code names and fake documents for priests who risked their lives to shelter Jews, some of whom were even made Vatican subjects.

Thomas shows, for example, that priests were instructed to issue baptism certificates to hundreds of Jews hidden in Genoa, Rome and elsewhere in Italy. More than 2,000 Jews in Hungary were given fabricated Vatican documents identifying them as Catholics and a network saved German Jews by bringing them to Rome. The pope appointed a priest with extensive funds with which to provide food, clothing and medicine. More than 4,000 Jews were hidden in convents and monasteries across Italy.

During and immediately after the war, the pope was considered a Jewish saviour. Jewish leaders – such as Jerusalem’s chief rabbi in 1944 – said the people of Israel would never forget what he and his delegates “are doing for our unfortunate brothers and sisters at the most tragic hour”. Jewish newspapers in Britain and America echoed that praise, and Hitler branded him “a Jew lover”.

However, his image turned sour in the 1960s, thanks to Soviet antagonism towards the Vatican and a German play by Rolf Hochhuth,The Deputy, which vilified the pope, accusing him of silence and inaction over the Jews. It was a trend that intensified with the publication ofHitler’s Pope, a book by John Cornwell.

However, as the Vatican’s secretary of state before the war, the future pope contributed to the damning 1937 encyclical of Pius XI, With Burning Anxiety, and, as Pius XII he made condemnatory speeches that were widely interpreted at the time – including by Jewish leaders and newspapers – as clear condemnations of Hitler’s racial policies. [........]

Professor Ronald J Rychlak, the author of Hitler, the War and the Pope, said: “Gordon Thomas has found primary sources … He has tracked down family members, original documentation and established what really was a universal perception prior to the 1960s. He’s shown what the people at the time – victims, rescuers and villains – all knew: that Pius XII was a great supporter of the victims of the Holocaust.”

Asked why the Vatican had not made the new material available until now or, where stories were known, disseminated them more widely,Thomas said: “The church thinks across centuries. If there’s a dispute for 50 years, so what?”

William Doino, a Vatican historian, described Thomas’s research as “unique and groundbreaking”. He spoke of the book’s new insight, for example, into Hugh O’Flaherty, an Irish priest: “Everybody has always praised [O'Flaherty] because he helped Jews and escaped POWs. They made a movie about him, The Scarlet and the Black, with Gregory Peck. However, they always say he was acting on his own authority and that Pius was either aloof or not giving him anything. [........]

The book also tells the story of Vittorio Sacerdoti, a young Jewish doctor who was able to work in a Vatican hospital, inventing a fictitious deadly disease that deterred Germans from entering. Dozens of fake patients were taught to cough convincingly.

Thomas interviewed Sacerdoti’s cousin, who recalled that as a child she was one of those patients – “feeling there was nothing wrong with her, yet having to cough regularly in the ward”.

The Vatican is so excited by The Pope’s Jews that it is supporting a feature documentary film being planned by a British producer who has bought the rights to it.

[.........]

Thomas, who also wrote the book Voyage of the Damned, about Jewish refugees, recalled: “The Vatican people said, ‘How wonderful, the truth out at last’.”

Read the rest – Vatican hopes secret files exonerates ‘Hitler’s pope’

As a reminder as to why the Pope did not do more against the Nazis, Stalin once asked “How many divisions the Pope had?”  Most of the Nazi collaboration accusations were invented by Communists. So next time a person repeat this junk and lies, just point out they are using Communist talking points.

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36 Responses to “The myth of Pius XII being “Hitler’s pope” is debunked”
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  1. sk (skzion)
    1 | February 18, 2013 1:02 am

    You’re using the *Guardian* as a source?


  2. Aussie Infidel
    2 | February 18, 2013 2:40 am

    sk (skzion) wrote:

    You’re using the *Guardian* as a source?

    Actually having the Guardian as the source lends weight in this particular case. Such a stance by what is the prime socialist rag in the UK is so out of character that one wonders how this story ever got past the sub-Editors let alone got published. The anti-Vatican bias in the Guardian over the years has reached truly absurd levels.
    The story’s sourced information is about 40 years old so it’s not exactly news. For some reason it appears that the new author giving this historical information another ‘run around the block’ is puzzling. Maybe the Guardian’s journalist owes someone and this bit of free publicity for yet another book on Pius XII and the Reich connection is a form of recompense for something. I can’t really think of another logical reason why the Guardian would publish this puff piece.


  3. 3 | February 18, 2013 4:10 am

    Then again, this is The Grauniad we’re discussing here.
    Rodan, hope everything is OK!


  4. waldensianspirit
    4 | February 18, 2013 7:09 am

    As a heretic I should not comment


  5. waldensianspirit
    5 | February 18, 2013 7:22 am

    Baldwin also made “disparaging remarks’’ about Miller’s mother, the photographer said.

    :mrgreen:

    I’m on Baldwin’s side on this one. A person should be able to take a quiet walk with their dog in the morning without this kind of grief.

    And since when does drug dealer = African-American?


  6. 6 | February 18, 2013 7:33 am

    @ waldensianspirit:

    Mixed feelings here. Sure, he should be able to walk his dog without grief. But celebrities seem to relish being in the limelight all the time, and treated like everything they say/do is important. And some of his (alleged) comments were way over the line.


  7. 7 | February 18, 2013 7:38 am

    @ waldensianspirit:

    Can’t tell who has the right or the wrong of this, since it’s all “he said, she said.” However, you take the “star celebrity” route, you have to take everything that goes with it. That’s just part of the deal.


  8. 8 | February 18, 2013 8:08 am

    @ waldensianspirit:

    Alec Baldwin’s a pussy! 8O


  9. 9 | February 18, 2013 8:15 am

    @ Iron Fist:

    And of course, Kim Jong-il is an Asshole!


  10. coldwarrior
    10 | February 18, 2013 9:05 am

    questioning the source is frankly pointless here. this isnt an opinion piece, the info can be independently verified upon publication of the book.

    just because something is published in a left wing paper doesnt make it false, just because something is published in a conservative media outlet doesnt make it fact.

    so, what we ask here is can the infor be independently verified? yes

    is the author showing a bias here, or sticking to the facts? looks like sticking to the facts that can be verified from other sources.


  11. Lily
    11 | February 18, 2013 9:40 am

    @ coldwarrior:

    Excatly. Plus there was more facts and evidence that many priests were sent to concentration camps…many Catholic’s sent to concentration camps. Many Catholic’s were murdered for simply speaking out or being Catholic. Another hidden secret too was when our soldiers were caught and became POW’s ..the Jewish and Catholic soldiers were singled out and sent to concentration camps.

    http://www.amazon.com/Given-Up-For-Dead-Concentration/dp/0465091156

    I have this book and even Amazon cannot describe it correctly…Jewish and Catholic soldiers were singled out period and sent to concentration camps to die.


  12. 12 | February 18, 2013 9:54 am

    @ Lily:

    I believe I saw something on the History Channel about this….


  13. sk (skzion)
    13 | February 18, 2013 12:00 pm

    To clarify: when I first saw this, the actual meat of the reference wasn’t there. There was only a reference to the Guardian.


  14. 14 | February 18, 2013 12:05 pm

    I agree that John Cornwell’s “Hitler’s Pope” was disgusting.

    Rychlak’s Hitler, the War, and the Pope was the one I read. It doesn’t excuse all the decisions Pius XII made, but he does at least absolve the Pope of responsibility for the horrors he had to deal with.

    Rychlak’s endorsement of this new one carries a lot of weight with me.


  15. Moe Katz
    15 | February 18, 2013 12:17 pm

    Aussie Infidel wrote:

    sk (skzion) wrote:
    You’re using the *Guardian* as a source?

    Actually having the Guardian as the source lends weight in this particular case. Such a stance by what is the prime socialist rag in the UK is so out of character that one wonders how this story ever got past the sub-Editors let alone got published. The anti-Vatican bias in the Guardian over the years has reached truly absurd levels.
    The story’s sourced information is about 40 years old so it’s not exactly news. For some reason it appears that the new author giving this historical information another ‘run around the block’ is puzzling. Maybe the Guardian’s journalist owes someone and this bit of free publicity for yet another book on Pius XII and the Reich connection is a form of recompense for something. I can’t really think of another logical reason why the Guardian would publish this puff piece.

    The Guardian is antisemitic at times as well. Maybe their anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish biases canceled out in this case. But you never know, there’s a wonderful old piece on the BBC site refuting the existence of a Palestinian ‘Right of Return,’ and that’s about the last place you’d expect to find such a thing.


  16. 16 | February 18, 2013 12:24 pm

    I looked up Cornwell. He wrote “Hitler’s Pope” in the 1990s. At the time he was a lapsed Catholic. But he returned to the faith in the 2000s. I assume that he is currently in communion with the Church.

    He also wrote (mostly) a hatchet-job on John Paul II, (mostly) right before rejoining the Church. The book has been noted as uneven by critics.

    More recently he’s been attacking Dawkins and other militant atheists. Also wrote a NON hatchet-job about Cardinal Newman.

    So it would be nice if Cornwell were to revisit his most famous book and say something about it.


  17. waldensianspirit
    17 | February 18, 2013 1:59 pm

    The Catholic Church was not a monolith during the time. All different kinds of problems arose from the independent activities such as those of Alois Hudal


  18. mtc
    18 | February 18, 2013 6:41 pm

    I’m glad people are realizing that Pope Pius XII helped the Jews during World War II. He was praised after the war by Golda Meir no less. Pius was recently declared Venerable by Pope Benedict which is two steps below sainthood.


  19. sk (skzion)
    19 | February 18, 2013 11:05 pm

    People, this is not a major issue for me. HOWEVER, a few thousand saved Jews doth not a Jew-protecting Pontiff make.

    I also notice that if the Papacy’s explanation for not contesting the Hitler-Pious connection (its long term focus) is true, its speedy acceptance of this new claim cannot be explained.

    Look, Hitler was no fan of Catholicism. He liked Islam. But the Catholic Church has no history of Jew-friendliness. Much of Protestantism doesn’t, either.

    I’m happy to move on, obviously, but let’s not do any whitewashing

    Millions of Jews were slaughtered in mainly Catholic Europe. A few thousand saved hardly debunks this datum.


  20. 20 | February 18, 2013 11:45 pm

    sk (skzion) wrote:

    But the Catholic Church has no history of Jew-friendliness.

    Rodan did not post this thread about “the Church”. Rodan was talking about one particular Pope.

    sk (skzion):

    Millions of Jews were slaughtered in mainly Catholic Europe. A few thousand saved hardly debunks this datum.

    Again: Rodan was not talking about the Catholic peoples. Rodan was talking about this one Pope.

    You have taken this thread into entirely different directions.

    Was there a point, here; or was this just general Catholic-bashing? I mean, we could have a conversation about how “most Catholics didn’t do enough to stop the Holocaust” but that is the same argument anti-Semites make when they say “70% of American Jews are to the Left of the American populace, who supported Obama to the tune of 50%; and far to the left of us true-blue American white men, who generally voted against him twice”.

    Both comments are arguably true. But they are not the whole truth. And they lead to dark places.

    As I appreciate Jews (or mixed Jews – I mean, I am one) who support conservatism (as most Jews on this site do); it would be nice if you, personally, would support individual Catholics who support Jews.


  21. Speranza
    21 | February 19, 2013 7:54 am

    @ Zimriel:
    I am a Jew and I do not view the Catholic Church of 2013 as the the same as the Catholic Church of 1413.


  22. yenta-fada
    22 | February 19, 2013 9:29 am

    Speranza wrote:

    @ Zimriel:
    I am a Jew and I do not view the Catholic Church of 2013 as the the same as the Catholic Church of 1413.

    Ditto.


  23. 23 | February 19, 2013 4:23 pm

    Slept on it. I was probably too ranty and I was definitely playing with fire; but I didn’t know how else to express it.

    Yenta + Sper, I’ve read your work here and I like almost all of what you’ve posted; I wasn’t directing my comment at you. You don’t have to prove anything to me. :^)


  24. sk (skzion)
    24 | February 19, 2013 4:48 pm

    Speranza wrote:

    @ Zimriel:
    I am a Jew and I do not view the Catholic Church of 2013 as the the same as the Catholic Church of 1413.

    I am a Jew, and I am utterly unimpressed by Jews who use their Jewish status as some kind of talisman to exonerate or excuse someone or some institution. This is usually a move of the Left. Sorry to see it here.


  25. yenta-fada
    25 | February 19, 2013 5:18 pm

    sk (skzion) wrote:

    Speranza wrote:
    @ Zimriel:
    I am a Jew and I do not view the Catholic Church of 2013 as the the same as the Catholic Church of 1413.
    I am a Jew, and I am utterly unimpressed by Jews who use their Jewish status as some kind of talisman to exonerate or excuse someone or some institution. This is usually a move of the Left. Sorry to see it here.

    Heh. Status Jews. You came in at the end of the movie and think you know the plot. You are welcome to bring your views here, but you criticize too easily. You can make your own case without denigrating others.


  26. sk (skzion)
    26 | February 19, 2013 5:24 pm

    Zimriel wrote:

    Yenta + Sper, I’ve read your work here and I like almost all of what you’ve posted; I wasn’t directing my comment at you. You don’t have to prove anything to me. :^)

    Swell, Zimriel. I’m sure they’re relieved.

    Unfortunately, you managed to miss my point, utterly. Rodan starts this blog entry with a claim about a debunking in relation to Pius. However, my point was that in mainly Catholic Europe, a few thousand Jews allegedly saved by the work of a pope is laughable–is rounding error. So, I said, “a few thousand saved Jews doth not a Jew-protecting Pontiff make. . . . Millions of Jews were slaughtered in mainly Catholic Europe. A few thousand saved hardly debunks this datum.” I thought I was quite clear that Pius can hardly be exonerated for his silence by the excuse that he allegedly saved a few thousand Jews. Of course, individual Catholics in Europe cannot be excused either. But, as you said, the issue was Pius, not the Catholic on the street. It is simply ridiculous to claim that a Pope could not have moved far more Catholics to oppose Hitler. He didn’t, and therefore they didn’t.

    Vatican II understood that the groundwork for Hitler was laid by the Church itself. Perhaps that, plus reluctance to criticize Pius, was why no effort at “debunking” has occurred before now. The “explanation” that the Vatican moves over hundreds of years is utterly preposterous as well.

    You say, “most Catholics didn’t do enough to stop the Holocaust” but that is the same argument anti-Semites make when they say “70% of American Jews are to the Left of the American populace, who supported Obama…”

    So, you are equating Catholic involvement in the Holocaust with dumb Jews of today who support Hussein? Are you serious? There is good historic reason for today’s Jews to look at Catholics (and Christians generally) with suspicion. Granted, today’s Jews should get over it. Perhaps you, though, should consider the “dark area” in which you liken the Holocaust to a presidential vote.

    It is an obvious straw man that “the Catholic Church of 2013 [is not] the same as the Catholic Church of 1413.” Of course not. The issue is whether the Catholic Church of the early-mid 20th century had much in common with that of 1413.

    As I have said before–though perhaps not on this site–I prefer not to dwell on historical Christian behavior. Muslims are the problem now, and they must be met with some unity across other groups. That said, a “debunking” of Pius can expect to meet with “heightened scrutiny.”


  27. sk (skzion)
    27 | February 19, 2013 5:29 pm

    @ yenta-fada:
    IN yenta-fada wrote:

    You came in at the end of the movie and think you know the plot. You are welcome to bring your views here, but you criticize too easily.

    Huh? I was one of the first participants on this blog. I am back because many points made here demand some criticism.

    Frankly, it seems that every post becomes an exercise in irrelevant free-association.


  28. 28 | February 19, 2013 5:41 pm

    @ sk (skzion):

    You don’t know what you are talking about.


  29. Speranza
    29 | February 19, 2013 5:44 pm

    Zimriel wrote:

    Slept on it. I was probably too ranty and I was definitely playing with fire; but I didn’t know how else to express it.
    Yenta + Sper, I’ve read your work here and I like almost all of what you’ve posted; I wasn’t directing my comment at you. You don’t have to prove anything to me. :^)

    I know.


  30. Speranza
    30 | February 19, 2013 5:46 pm

    sk (skzion) wrote:

    I am a Jew, and I am utterly unimpressed by Jews who use their Jewish status as some kind of talisman to exonerate or excuse someone or some institution. This is usually a move of the Left. Sorry to see it here.

    Chill out. Jews need a strong Catholic Church and Christianity needs Judaism – we face the same threats.


  31. sk (skzion)
    31 | February 19, 2013 5:53 pm

    Rodan wrote:

    @ sk (skzion):
    You don’t know what you are talking about.

    Can you expand on that, Rodan?


  32. sk (skzion)
    32 | February 19, 2013 5:54 pm

    Speranza wrote:

    sk (skzion) wrote:
    I am a Jew, and I am utterly unimpressed by Jews who use their Jewish status as some kind of talisman to exonerate or excuse someone or some institution. This is usually a move of the Left. Sorry to see it here.
    Chill out. Jews need a strong Catholic Church and Christianity needs Judaism — we face the same threats.

    I’m trying to chill. I even agree with you.


  33. yenta-fada
    33 | February 19, 2013 5:57 pm

    sk (skzion) wrote:

    @ yenta-fada:
    IN yenta-fada wrote:
    You came in at the end of the movie and think you know the plot. You are welcome to bring your views here, but you criticize too easily.
    Huh? I was one of the first participants on this blog. I am back because many points made here demand some criticism.
    Frankly, it seems that every post becomes an exercise in irrelevant free-association.

    Nice to know you are here to save us from ourselves. I think there are too many posts on American elections, but that’s just me. If I were ready to create a good post and hang around to discuss it, I would do so. Perhaps writing a post is something you might do if you wish to create content more to your liking. Volunteer organizations depend on the hard work of a small number of people.


  34. sk (skzion)
    34 | February 19, 2013 6:00 pm

    “Frankly, it seems that every post becomes an exercise in irrelevant free-association.”

    I was unclear. I meant that most posts are followed by replies that are not related to the point of the post. I meant no disrespect to Rodan or others who post here.


  35. yenta-fada
    35 | February 19, 2013 6:07 pm

    sk (skzion) wrote:

    “Frankly, it seems that every post becomes an exercise in irrelevant free-association.”
    I was unclear. I meant that most posts are followed by replies that are not related to the point of the post. I meant no disrespect to Rodan or others who post here.

    I appreciate your clarification. Just about every thread is treated as an open thread. Most people who post do so from work and pop in when they can. Same with people who work from home or are busy with families and life in general. Free time is a luxury.


  36. 36 | February 19, 2013 9:27 pm

    I’d heard most of that already from an atheist professor in College. he was onr of the people rescued from the NAZIs in the early part of WW2, then joined the US army and fought to defeat Hitler. He fairly bristled when mention was made in class about Pious being Hitlers tool.


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