new!: July 29, 2010
The Forgotten Pope Who Challenged Hitler
By Rabbi Marvin Hier
Earlier this year, eighteen Catholic scholars from the United States, Germany, and Australia, took the unprecedented step of writing a letter to Pope Benedict XVI, urging him to slow down the canonization process that would designate Pope Pius XII a saint of the Catholic Church, until more evidence could be found to defend the action against charges that he failed to do enough during the Nazi Holocaust. Pope Benedict inherited the Pius XII dossier from his predecessors but angered critics, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, when he issued a decree in December 2009, recognizing Pius’s “heroic virtues,” moving him one step closer to Sainthood.
Normally, it is not the business of Jews who the Catholic Church designate a saint, but Pius XII must be an exception to the rule because it would require us to teach our children and grandchildren that while history’s greatest crime was being committed and 6 million Jews, 1/3 of all of world Jewry were exterminated, a saint was sitting on the throne of St. Peter.
While the Vatican continues to push the candidacy of Pius XII, the other Pope who lived during the times of Adolf Hitler, Pius XI, is never mentioned as a candidate for Sainthood. Yet it is this Pope more than any other that many believe came closest to dramatically changing the course of WWII. Achille Ratti took the name Pius XI in 1922, when he was elected Pope, the same year Benito Mussolini marched on Rome.
But his misfortune was presiding over the church during the advent of the ‘age of the dictators,’ Mussolini and Hitler. In the early years, Pius XI, despite his misgivings, sought accommodation with them fearing confrontation would weaken the church. So in 1929, he signed a Concordat with fascist Italy which protected the independence of the Vatican, but lessened his ability to confront Mussolini’s aggression.
He also allowed his Secretary of State, Cardinal Pacelli (the future Pius XII), to sign a **Concordat with Hitler in 1933, hoping to preserve Catholic institutions in Germany. But the moral cost was high. He did not protest when the Germans passed the first antisemitic laws in 1933 excluding non-Aryans from public office, or when they passed the infamous Nuremberg Laws in 1935.**
But Pius XI soon became very troubled by his deal with the ‘devil’ and the more he observed their inhumanity and deceit, the more determined he was to confront them. In his 1937 Encyclical **”Mit Brennender Sorge (With Burning Anxiety),” he lambasted those who worshiped the superiority of race. A year later, when the Austrian Cardinal ** Innitzer welcomed Hitler’s takeover of Austria, Pius XI summoned him to the Vatican and forced him to issue a humiliating public retraction.
But the apex of his resistance came when he ignored his own inner circle of advisors and instructed an American Jesuit priest visiting the Vatican, Father John **Lafarge, to write an encyclical condemning racism and antisemitism. The pope had read Lafarge’s book on the racial injustice done to American ‘Negroes’ and knew instinctively that Lafarge was the right man for the job. He told the startled priest to write the encyclical as if he were the Pope. Lafarge and two colleagues worked feverishly outside of Paris to prepare the document they called, “Humani Generis Unitas (The Unity of the Human Race).”
On September 20, 1938, Father Lafarge handed in the completed document to Wladimir Ledochowski, the Father Superior of the Jesuits in Rome.
Although the document retained elements of Catholic teachings – that the Jews’ rejection of Christ caused them “to perpetually wander over the face of the Earth,” ***it also condemned anti-Semitism in language never before uttered by a Pope and never acknowledged by the church for twenty centuries. “…Millions of persons are deprived of the most elementary rights, denied legal protection against violence and robbery, exposed to every insult and public degradation, innocent persons are treated as criminals, even those who in time of war fought bravely for their country are treated as traitors…. This flagrant denial of human rights sends many thousands of helpless persons out over the face of the earth without any resources….”
Coincidentally, on the day Lafarge handed in the Encyclical, Pius XI, speaking to a group of Christian pilgrims, said, “…Abraham is our patriarch and forefather. Anti-Semitism is incompatible with that lofty thought…. 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…. Spiritually, we are all Semites.”
Tragically, Father Lafarge’s document was too shocking for some conservative prelates in Rome. They delayed sending it on to the ailing Pope who kept asking for it but never saw it until it was too late. With Lafarge’s Encyclical on his desk, **Pius XI died on February 10, 1939, before he could sign it. The new Pope, Pius XII, refused to issue it. **
Mysteriously, the document soon disappeared and not another word was heard about it until the National Catholic Reporter broke the story some
43 years later.
What would have happened if the encyclical had been signed? Many believe that it would so have divided Germany’s 45 million Catholics that it would have delayed or prevented Hitler’s plans of launching WWII.
Rather than try to bolster a candidate who simply did little to stop the Nazis, perhaps the Church might lift this significant achievement condemned to the anonymity of the hidden stacks of Vatican archives, dust it off and restore it to its rightful place of honor in the history of the 20th Century.
Rabbi Marvin Hier is the Founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
The Catholic Church did in fact intervene with Admiral Horthy to spare the deportees. However, by then 437,000 Jews , at least, had been deported. Some of these went to labor camps, but the vast majority to Auschwitz Birkenau. The NY Times and the BBC both broadcast these facts to the world in 1944. However, more Jews were later to be deported when the Nazis overthrew the Hungarian Gov’t, and operated with quislings.
It still raises as many questions as it answers. The proof of the Holocaust should have spurred the Allied gov’ts. to do more to liberate Auschwitz. The Red Army liberated Majdanek in July 1944, yet Stalin then halted his advance into Poland, in order for the Nazis to crush the Home Armee of Poles.
This betrayal of Poland helped lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths of Jews as well; because the Red Army could and should have pushed on past Majdanek to Auschwitz Birkenau. Instead Stalin ordered the Red Army to halt.
It also raises questions as to why the Allies couldn’t have just bombed the camp altogether, which would have been the best solution, even though many would have died.
Furthermore, it proves conclusively that Hitler knew about the Holocaust, because when he learned that Horthy had stopped the deportations, he became enraged.
Eric John Waschneck (* April 29th 1887 in Grimsby , † September 22 1970 in Berlin ) was a German cameraman , director , screenwriter and film producer ., Nazi film director.
Dr Goldensohn conducted post-war interviews with the top Nazi henchmen captured. This is a truly shocking book
wiki bio: In the summer of 1942, US Consul to the Vatican Myron C.Taylor went on his most significant mission yet. He was asked to convey to the Pope that the U.S. would win the war and there would be no peace without victory. Another accomplishment of this trip was to influence the Pope to speak out in the atrocities being perpetuated against the Jews.
David S. Wyman. Notes that the Vatican was able to stop the Deportations from Slovakia for two years. It proves that they could have done more then.
p.563, Dr. Weizsacker discusses Bishop Hudal’s letter, and the Vatican’s attitude to the deportation of the Jews. this is especially distressing, since it was Hudal who was in charge of giving out passports after the War to the nazi ratline.
“The Vatican was kept well-informed of the unfolding atrocities perpetuated in the new Catholic State” of Croatia, (officially named, NDH). page 229, Friedlander, Years of Extermination. That’s very damning.
John F. Pollard, The Vatican and Fascism.
John F. Morley, Vatican Diplomacy and the Jews during the Holocaust in Italy : 1939-1943 (1980)
Eugen Kogon, Mass Murder: Documentary history of the use of poison gas, Yale University.
Saul Friedlander, The Years of Extermination, Nazi Germany, has over 50 references to killing by poison gas in the camps.
This book, “Devil’s Disciples” has 29 references to the gas chambers in the book, all documented.
by Anthony Read. P. 671,”Christian Wirth from Stuttgart, had built a prototype gas chamber in a disused prison in Brandenburg.”P. 721, “Gas vans.” p.723, Eichmann and Hoess discuss gas as a method of killing prisoners.
Dr Carl Jacob Burkhardt, Nov 7 1942 states that Hitler ordered the Holocaust . “I then asked him whether the word extermination , or its equivalent was employed, to which he replied that the words “must be Juden frei” were utilized. He then made it clear that since there is no place to send these Jews, and since the territory must be cleared of these Jews, it is obvious what the net result would be. ”
“… direct references to the death camps on BBC broadcasts in June 1942 and again in June 1944.” (p. 262, Fritzsche, Life and Death in the third Reich.) Also, p. 247, BBC reported on the murder of an estimated 700,000 Jews as of June 1942.”
Hitler, the Germans, and the Final Solution (Paperback)
by Prof. Ian Kershaw. Has an enormous amt of info on the Holocaust
“On September 9  Colonel Eduard Wagner discussed the future of Poland with Hitler’s Army Chief of Staff, General Halder. “It is the Fuhrer’s and Goering’s intention, ” Wagner wrote in his diary, “to destroy and exterminate the Polish nation. More than that cannot even be hinted at in writing.” p. 6m Martin Gilbert, The Second World war
Int’l Red Cross
source: Favez. Memo from US Consul Paul C. Squire about his interview with Dr. Burkhardt, 7 Nov 1942.
from, “The Red Cross and the Holocaust: “had the Allies known in 1943 all that we know now, they would surely have chosen to bomb Auschwitz-Birkenau and other Nazi extermination camps…” Jean Claude Favez.
Philip Etter, Swiss Official during the War. Mentioned as having influenced the Intl Red Cross on neutrality, and stifling any criticism of Adolf.
Diana Mosley: “I asked about the Holocaust, of course, expecting a David Irving-style refutation, but was astounded not to get one. “I’m sure he was to blame for the extermination of the Jews,” she answered. “He was to blame for everything, and I say that as someone who approved of him.'”
Wilhelm Baur; Kurt Schmitt (d. 1950); two more Nazis.
Rolf Rienhardt (* July 2 1903 in Bucharest , † March 16 1975 in Badenweiler ) Nazi propagandist.
Also, Joseph Berg (?).
Gerhard Weinberg, UNC Professor, discovered Hitler’s Second Book which claims Europe and Britain will join and attack America.
David Cesarani, British Historian.”Hungarian officials proved especially willing subscribers, undertaking all duties from asset stripping to loading the trains, leaving Eichmann with little to do. ”
Intl Red Cross and escapes.
IRC and death camps
Richard Hartenberger :an Austrian SS lieutenant (1943) and employees of (RSHA).
“I can only repeat that, if Eichmann, at least I personally never said about Jews such measures it throughout Section IV B 4 ranging from the typists to the top it was known that the Jews were systematically killed. We were also aware that the able-bodied Jews partly sorted out and as long as they could, were used for labor, while the non-working Jews were liquidated. Therefore, if someone claims to have the unit, known nothing about it, he probably does so for obvious reasons. Es war eben kein Geheimnis.”  It was not a secret. ” 
Bild, the German tabloid, having recently forced the BND through the courts to release a few files, uncovered an index card from 1952 that made clear that West German intelligence officials already knew Eichmann was living in Argentina. The card listed his alias there, or something close to it, and a contact who edited a well-known Nazi magazine in Buenos Aires, Der Weg.
West German authorities had claimed they had no clue, Also indicates that they didn’t want to bring attention to the past of Hans Gloebke
[Globke], Adenauer’s aide.
Winston Churchill, The Second World War (Vol six):
‘There is no doubt this is the most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world, and it has been done by scientific machinery by nominally civilised men in the name of a great State and one of the leading races of Europe. ‘ http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/genocide/churchill_holocaust_01.shtml
Winston Churchill on the Holocaust
IBM site in Germany still doesn’t acknowledge Black’s research on its role during the Holocaust.
“German Railway, the Reichsbahn, Dehomag’s biggest customer, dealt directly with senior management in Berlin. Dehomag maintained punch card installations at train depots across Germany, and eventually across all Europe.” ibid. Dehomag, is German IBM.
” IBM Germany, using its own staff and equipment, designed, executed, and supplied the indispensable technologic assistance Hitler’s Third Reich needed to accomplish what had never been done before-the automation of human destruction. More than 2,000 such multi-machine sets were dispatched throughout Germany, and thousands more throughout German-dominated Europe. Card sorting operations were established in every major concentration camp. People were moved from place to place, systematically worked to death, and their remains cataloged with icy automation. ” from “The transfer Agreement”, Black.
Edwin Black shows how IBM ‘s Germany subsidiary enabled Hitler’s Holocaust. IBM claimed ignorance. Yet they made a huge profit in that year 1939 when the German Army invaded Poland.
Whether at that time I had doubts against the use of gas vans I cannot say. The main issue for me at the time was that the shootings were a considerable burden for the man who were in charge thereof and that this burden was taken off them through the use of the gas vans.
From my translation of the deposition of former SS Obersturmfuehrer Walter Rauff before the German Embassy in Santiago de Chile on 28 June 1972.
on the argument over whether or not they should have bombed Auschwitz.
“During those seven months, the
president of the Jewish Agency, the head of its political department, the
chairman of its Rescue Committee, and its representatives in Washington,
London, Geneva, Budapest, Istanbul, Jerusalem, and Cairo, repeatedly pressed
American, British, and Soviet diplomats, as well as the Polish and Czech
governments in exile, to bring about the bombing of Auschwitz. ”
It also mentions that the USSR refused to do anything that would help ‘national groups.’