A Student of History

March 31, 2007

Pope helped Jews flee Holocaust

Filed under: The past that is still with us — John Maass @ 11:08 am

Here is more reliable proof to rebut the arguments made by communists, leftists and anti-Catholics that Pope Pius XII was a Nazi sympathizer, or as a number of deeply flawed modern “histories” have it, Hitler’s Pope.  This is from The Telegraph (UK):

Pius XII, the wartime pontiff often condemned as “Hitler’s Pope”, was actually considered an enemy by the Third Reich, according to newly discovered documents.

Several letters and memos unearthed at a depot used by the Stasi, the East-German secret police, show that Nazi spies within the Vatican were concerned at Pius’s efforts to help displaced Poles and Jews.

In one, the head of Berlin’s police force tells Joachim von Ribbentropp, the Third Reich’s foreign minister, that the Catholic Church was providing assistance to Jews “both in terms of people and financially”.

The column goes on to report that:

La Repubblica, the newspaper that discovered the papers, said they were sent to the heads of the Stasi, after the Second World War.

The revelations they contain will help to clear the name of Pius XII, Eugenio Pacelli, who has long been criticised for turning a blind eye to the Holocaust. During the war, the British Foreign Office even described him as the “greatest moral coward of our age”.

A report from a spy at work in the Vatican states: “Our source was told to his face by Father Robert Leibner [one of Pius’s secretaries] that the greatest hope of the Church is that the Nazi system would be obliterated by the war.”

Gee, doesn’t sound like the pro-Nazi conspiracy alleged to have taken place in the 1930s and 1940s afterall.  This is the main pitfall when historians/writers engage in polemical, agenda-driven history–they get proven wrong by the documents.  The most outrageous of these attacks was John Cornwell’s Hitler’s Pope (1999), which suggested that Pius XII, who had been the papal envoy to Germany before the war, was sympathetic to the Nazis.

Now, of course, an historian need not be a Catholic to write the history of this man or the times in question.  That should go without saying.  Nevertheless, it is often useful when evaluating an author’s objectivity (or, as is too often the case, lack thereof) in approaching a subject.  In Cornwell’s case, he admits to a loss of faith and leaving the Catholic Church (though he came back.)  Could this be an influence on his writing about Vatican politics during WWII?

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Pope helped Jews flee Holocaust By John Maass Several letters and memos unearthed at a depot used by the Stasi, the East-German secret police, show that Nazi spies within the Vatican were concerned at Pius’s efforts to help displaced Poles and Jews. … A Student of History – https://fusilier.wordpress.com […]

    Pingback by Vatican - Kaizenlog.com | Malta — June 14, 2016 @ 12:40 pm | Reply


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