Sunday, 20 August 2006

The Myth of Hitler's Pope

Over the last decade there has been a whole stream of books attacking Pius XII for his alleged ‘silence’ in the face of the Holocaust– an ‘anti-Pius’ campaign that transfers the guilt of the Nazi regime onto the Catholic Church. A new book has come to the Pope’s defence, The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued the Jews from the Nazis, written by Rabbi David Dalin. There is an excellent review of it in The American Spectator entitled ‘Hitler’s Pope?’ – especially good because is written by a best selling historian of the Holocaust, Sir Martin Gilbert.

Readers won’t need convincing of Pius’ innocence, but the article added some little details which I hadn’t been aware of before:

  • As Secretary of State under Pius XI, Pacelli made 55 protests against Nazi policy, so much so that Hitler tried to prevent his election at the Conclave of 1939.
  • After his election ‘Pius XII responded to Mussolini's anti-Jewish legislation by appointing several Jewish scholars who had been dismissed from the university to positions inside the Vatican. Among them was the distinguished Jewish cartographer, Roberto Almagia, a professor at the University of Rome since 1915. On the day after his dismissal, Almagia was appointed director of the geography section of the Vatican library. While working there he completed an exceptional four-volume study of the Vatican's cartographic holdings. Another dismissed Jewish scholar, Professor Giorgio Levi della Vida, a world authority on Islam, was also given a job in the Vatican library, cataloguing the Arabic manuscripts.’
  • Thanks to Pope Pius, a larger percentage of the Jews were saved from deportation in Rome than in any other city then under German occupation.
  • Both the Vatican and 150 Catholic institutions in the city gave shelter to the Jews. Several thousand were housed at Castel Gandolfo and the papal apartments were used as a sort of maternity unit!
  • At the Pope's bidding, many senior clergy were involved in hiding the Jews, including the future Paul VI.

Pius XII - not guilty, m'lud!



Blogger fjg said...

Moscow’s Assault on the Vatican
The KGB made corrupting the Church a priority

"By Ion Mihai Pacepa"

12:17 pm  

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