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Pope Pius XII told French churches not to return Jewish war babies
Israel insider ^ | 31 december 2004 | Israel Insider

Posted on 12/31/2004 12:55:30 PM PST by Almab

Pope Pius XII told French churches not to return Jewish war babies By Israel Insider staff and partners December 31, 2004

The Vatican instructed the Catholic church in France not to return baptized Jewish children to their families after the Holocaust, according to a letter dated November 20, 1946, published Tuesday in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

Many such children had been placed by Jewish parents in the Church's care to protect them from deportation by the German. After the war, the Pope instructed that they should be returned to surviving parents only if they had not been baptized.

A letter containing these instructions was sent by the Papal Holy Office to Angelo Roncalli -- who later became Pope John XXIII -- who was at the time Pius' representative in Paris. Roncalli had a reputation for favoring Jews during his previous service as the Holy See's envoy to Istanbul. In Paris he helped many Jews escape to the Jewish State in formation. He reportedly disobeyed Vatican instructions by helping to return Jewish minors to their families.

Roncalli's methods in defying the papal orders are not detailed in the diaries. However, one of the first things he did when he became pope in 1960 was to place a repudiation of anti-Semitism on the agenda of the Second Vatican Council.

"Please note that this decision has been approved by the Holy Father," the Vatican letter emphasizes, referring to Pope Pius XII.

Pius sought to restrict the number of children the church returned to their families by, among other things, ordering that baptized children "may not be entrusted to institutions that are not in a position to guarantee them a Christian upbringing."

According to Pope Pius, Jewish orphans were to be treated as "fair game" for the Church to convert. "Regarding those children who no longer have parents and for whom the Church has been responsible, it is not advisable that they be abandoned by the Church itself or entrusted to persons who have no rights whatsoever over them ? unless they are able to take responsibility over themselves. This obviously applies to children who have not been baptized."

On July 19, 1946, he sent a letter to the chief rabbi in Israel, Isaac Herzog (father of Israeli president Haim Herzog), in which he gives him permission "to use his [Roncalli's] authority so these children can return to their original environment."

Amos Luzzato, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, reacting to the revelation, said that "The documents indicate that the Vatican completely ignored the Holocaust and murder of Jews. There is a sticking to theological arguments as though this were an ordinary situation, when in practice these children were not entrusted to churches to convert to Christianity but to save them from murder."

The publication of the letter to Roncalli is expected to make it difficult for the Vatican to ignore accusations that Pius did little to combat Nazi persecution of Jews and even helped Nazi war criminals to evade justice. They may hamper the campaign by current Pope John Paul II to lay the groundwork for beatifying Pius XII.

TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: antisemitism; church; judaism; pope; vaticanchildren
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To: ChicagoHebrew

Read the article again. The statement was made about orphans.

21 posted on 12/31/2004 2:04:52 PM PST by Jaded (Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. - Mark Twain)
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To: bahblahbah


THE RESCUE OF THE JEWS. The Holy See made every possible effort to help the Jews.

Jewish population in Europe as the war begins

When Hitler came to power, about 6 million Jews lived in Central and Western Europe and 3 million inside the Soviet Union. About 600,000 were German, 180,000 Austrian, 270,000 French, 340,000 British, 150,000 Dutch, 360,000 Checks, 500,000 Hungarian, and 3 ½ million Poles. The first attacks against the German Jews started in March 1933 by way of several anti-Semite laws. Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud and many other important scientists were among the 100,000 Jews who were able to escape between 1933 and 1939.

Israel Honors Pius XII

Israeli senior diplomat and now Orthodox Jewish Rabbi, Pinchas Lapide, with access to Yad Vashem’s archives, has stated in his book, “Three Popes and the Jews”, that “The Catholic Church relief and rescue program under the pontificate of Pius XII was instrumental in saving the lives of as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi’s hands. That was more than all other Churches, religious institutions and international rescue organizations put together.” (17) The Israelis recognized the lives saved by planting a forest, in commemoration, of as many trees in the Negeb, SE of Jerusalem. This forest was shown to Pope Paul VI during his first state visit to Israel.

At the end of the War, the World Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, Albert Einstein, and many other prominent Jewish leaders expressed their deep gratitude toward Pius XII and the Catholic Church. On the death of Pius XII (1958), Golda Meir, the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, gave a heartfelt eulogy for the Pope before the UN Assembly.

In his scholar book, “The Last Three Popes and the Jews”, Lapide said that Pius XII was one of the few world leaders outside the Jewry itself who was quick to recognize the danger of Nazism. Lapide demonstrates convincingly the consistent and active protection provided to the Jews in Europe by the papacy. In Lapide’s words:

“When armed force ruled well-nigh omnipotent, and morality was at its lowest ebb, Pius XI commanded non of the former and could only appeal to the latter, in confronting with bare hands, the full might of evil.
A sounding protest, which might turn out to be self-thwarting-or quiet piecemeal rescue? Loud words- or prudent deeds? The dilemma must have been sheer agony, for whichever course he chose horrible consequences were inevitable. Unable to cure the sickness of an entire civilization, and unwilling to bear the brunt of Hitler’s fury, the Pope, unlike many far mightier than he, alleviated, relieved, appealed, petitioned-and saved as most efficient he could by his own lights.
Who, but a prophet or a martyr could have done much more?
The Talmud teaches us that ‘whoever preserves one life, it is accounted to him by Scripture as if he had preserved a whole world.’
If this is true-and it is as true as that of most Jewish of tenets, the sanctity of human life-then Pius XII deserves that forest in Judean hills, which kindly people of Israel proposed for him in October 1958. A memorial forest with 860,000 trees.” (Emphasis added. “Three Popes and the Jews.” pp.267-269)

22 posted on 12/31/2004 2:07:55 PM PST by Dqban22
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To: Almab; Religion Moderator

And I wonder why the moderator hasn't deleted your callous and anti Catholic post.

But, not surprised, Anti Catholicism is the last great prejudice allowed here at Free Republic.

May God Have Mercy on You.

23 posted on 12/31/2004 2:11:19 PM PST by Smocker
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To: Smocker; Religion Moderator; Jim Robinson
Anti Catholicism is the last great prejudice allowed here at Free Republic.


24 posted on 12/31/2004 2:13:37 PM PST by Admin Moderator
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To: sgtbono2002


Jewish organizations and the Holy See work together in the rescue of Jews.

The efforts of the Vatican, in coordination with Jewish organizations, to save the Hungarian Jews during those tragic months is well documented in the chronicles of the Holy See day by day, week by week. On March 25, 1944 the Apostolic Delegate in Washington, Msgr. Cicognani, informed the Vatican that the Jewish War Refugee Board were urging that measures be taken to aid the nearly 2 million Jews from Hungary (and Romania) and the Polish refugees who were living under terror and persecution and now threatened with extinction.

The Nuncios insisted, many times unsuccessfully, that the baptized Jews had all the rights of the non-Jewish Catholics, and for the other Jews they demanded that they be treated according to the norms of fundamental human rights. Nuncio Msgr. Rotta protested to no avail to the prime minister, Dom Sztojay, and to the foreign minister himself: “The very fact of persecuting men merely on account of their racial origin, is a violation of the natural law.” It is estimated that Msgr. Rotta alone had given over 80,000 false baptism certificates as a safeguard for the Jews, but, as the Hungarian Foreign Minister replied to the Nuncio’s protestations, “the problem is one of race, which is not changed by baptism.”

The atrocities multiplied and the nuncio, as head of the diplomatic corps in Budapest, mobilized the Ambassadors of the four other neutral Nations. On August 21, Rotta and the envoys of Sweden, Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland, presented a very strong protest to the government. The deportations were “unjust in their motive-for it is absolutely inadmissible that men should be persecuted and put to death just because of their racial origin- and brutal in their execution”; (21) said the draft note written by Rotta. The indefatigable Nuncio and the Holy See continued their struggle in favor of the Jews.

On October 29, The Holy Father sent an open telegram to Hungarian Cardinal Seredi asking for a special day of prayers and a collection to help the Jews. Encouraged by the Pope, the Hungarian priests and religious opened their houses to the Jews. In the end, in spite of all the efforts, about 550,000 Hungarian and refugee Jews had died; 150,000 survived in Budapest and 40,000 in the provinces. As Jeno Levai, the foremost scholar of the Holocaust in Hungary, said of Pius XII that it was “a particularly regrettable irony that the one person in all occupied Europe who did more than anyone else to halt the dreadful crime and alleviate its consequences is today made the scapegoat for the failures of others.” (22)


The most heartbreaking and humiliating case for the Holy Father was that in Slovakia the head of State, Tiso, was a Catholic priest and the population mostly Catholic. Slovakia was a protectorate of Germany since 1939, and as such, the racial anti-Semite laws were applied. Dr. Livia Rotkirchen of Yad Vashem, affirms that it may be said that the letters of protest delivered by the Vatican during the years 1941-1944 prove sufficiently that the Vatican objected to the deportation of Jews from Slovakia and later added that they were backed by numerous oral pleas and protests. As everywhere else, the clergy and religious took Jews into hiding.

Unfortunately, there were other cases where the Catholics supported the Nazis. Some Catholics betrayed one of the main tenets of their faith, “to love your neighbor”, and were involved with the Nazi terror. But one cannot blame Pius XII, nor the Church for the actions of those who strayed from the faith-any more than one can not put the blame upon the Jewish leaders for the fact that there were Jewish Kapos and Jewish policemen who helped the Nazis enforce their extermination policies.

There are allegations that The Church helped some Nazis war criminals escape to South America after the end of the war. While it is fully proven and documented that The Church helped over 800,000 Jews to escape from certain death, there is not a single proven case of a Nazi criminal who had been helped to escape by the Vatican. That does not mean that there may exist a case in which a clergy helped a Nazi to escape, but certainly, not with the knowledge, and much less the approval, of the Holy See. We must not forget that the Nazis tortured thousands of Catholic priests and nuns to death.


The Belgian Jews were more fortunate. Seventy-five percent of the 90,000 living during the Nazi occupation were saved. Among the reasons, the German Commander in Chief, General von Falkenhausen, was a humane individual who heeded to the pleas of Queen Elizabeth and Cardinal Van Roey. Countless priests organized rescue networks. Refuge was widely available. The Bishop of Liege gave the Rabbi of the city a cassock and introduced him to the Gestapo as his secretary.


In France of the 350,000 pre-war Jews, 150,000 were deported; including 22,000 children; of the deported only 3,000 survived. The 200,000 that were saved were due to the help of the laity and the courage of three Church leaders, Archbishop (later Cardinal) Saliege of Toulouse, Cardinal Gerlier of Lyons and Bishop Theas of Montauban (later Lourdes). Theas was imprisoned; Saliege would have had the same fate but for his illness; so would Gerlier but for his rank in the Church.

Saliege referring to the horrible scenes witnessed in his diocese strongly denounced the crimes. He cried, “Jews (who) are our brothers.” Theas described the “scenes of indescribable suffering and horror…all men are brothers, created by one God…the current anti-Semitic measures are a violation of human dignity and the sacred rights of the individual and the family. May God comfort and strengthen those who are persecuted.” Cardinal Gerlier exhorted: “The deportations of Jews now in course cause such painful scenes that we must lift our voices in conscientious protest…who will stop the Church from loudly confirming in this dark hour the irrefutable rights of men, the sanctity of family ties, the inviolability of the right to asylum, and that brotherly charity which Christ has taught us?” In the middle of the tragedy, the French people, individuals, families, clergy, religious communities all worked together to save the Jews. Many French Catholics went to jail rather than betray the Jews. (23)


In Yugoslavia, Cardinal Stepinac was at the forefront in the defense of the Jews. When in March 1943, the government ordered all the Jews to report to the police for transfer to camps in Poland, Stepinac sent a strong protest to the dictator, and, from the pulpit he condemned the rule: “No civil power or political system has the right to persecute a person on account of his racial origins. We Catholics protest against such measures, and we will combat them.” Earlier, Stepinac had led a delegation to protest against the persecution of the Jews, and the anti-Jewish program was canceled.

At the end of the War and with the conquest of Yugoslavia by the Communists, the Catholics were to become the victims again of violent oppression and repression. Priests were killed and imprisoned and Cardinal Stepinac was the victim of a mock trial and condemned to sixteen years of hard labor. The world also remained silent while the onslaught of Christians was going on at the hands of the Communist thugs.

Pius XII created agencies to coordinate relief work. American Jews and Cardinal Spellman channeled throughout the Pope generous humanitarian aid for the Jews.

From the first days of the war, Pope Pius XII distributed untold sums to aid the Jews all over Nazi occupied Europe. One of Pius XII’s first steps at the beginning of the War was the creation of two official agencies with pontifical rank to coordinate relief work, the Pontifical Aid Commission and the Office for Information. The first body, in liaison with local organizations, channeled supplies of food, medicine, and clothing, to the needy, to the prisoners of war in particular. It was a task of vast proportions involving 40 countries; financial grants were provided for the repatriation of 630,000 displaced persons; full responsibility was taken for 53,000 victims. Church authorities joined forces with national and international Jewish agencies. American Jews also trusted on the hands of the Pope large sums that were distributed according to the wishes of the donors. Cardinal Spellman also channeled generous humanitarian aid from the U.S. Catholics.

The Vatican Information Office handled over one and a quarter million requests and succeeded in locating over half a million of the displaced persons, mostly Jews, a success ratio of 44 percent, in spite of the non cooperation from the Nazis and little, if at all, cooperation from the Allies. The communication with prisoners of war was another of its important services. Both Agencies were under the direction of Msgr. Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Pope Paul VI.


The fact is, as affirmed Graham, that even before 1944, the world Jewish organizations had recognized in the Vatican a friend who was willing- and often able- to help their people during their tragic ordeal in occupied Europe. The concerns of the Jewish organizations were also those of the Holy See. Sometimes The Church acted on the appeal of a Jewish organization, at other times, they acted on the basis of reports received from its own representatives in the occupied territories where they held a relationship of confidence with the local Jewish leaders. In many instances, the Holy See had already acted upon information received from its own nuncios before the appeals from Jewish organizations arrived at the Vatican.

Pope Paul VI, who was a close collaborator with Pius XII, authorized in 1964 the publications of the documents of the Holy See relating World War II. In Volume X, there is a day-by-day record of the Holy See’s correspondence with the most active international Jewish organizations. Among the more important of these are the ones from the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe, the World Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Congress, Agudas Israel World Organization, Vaad Hahatzala of the Unions of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada, Hijefs (Schweizerischer Hillfsverein fur Judische Fluchling im Ausland), the Jewish Agency for Palestine and the American Jewish Committee.

In November, 1943, Herzog, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, wrote to Cardinal Roncalli, (the future Pope John XXIII) then Apostolic Delegate to Turkey and Greece, stating: “I take this opportunity to express to your Eminence my sincere thanks as well as my deep appreciation of your kindly attitude to Israel and of the invaluable help given by the Catholic Church to the Jewish people in its affliction. Would you please convey these sentiments which come from Sion, to His Holiness the Pope (Pius XII) along with the assurances that the people of Israel know how to value his assistance and his attitude.” (24) The American Jewish Welfare Board wrote to Pius XII on July 1944 to express their appreciation for the protection given to the Jews during the German occupation of Italy.

In 1944 the War Refugee Board came into existence as the united effort of several American Jewish organizations. During and after the war, the War Refugee Board publicly acknowledged its close relationship with the Holy See. The documentation includes the correspondence from eminent rabbinical leaders who made special appeals to the Holy See; among them are the Grand Rabbi of Jerusalem, Dr. Issac Herzog; the Grand Rabbi of the British Empire, Dr. Joseph Hertz; and Rabbi Abraham Kalmanowitz, leader of the rabbinical school of Mir, in Lithuania.

Fr. William Saunders has quoted Dr. Raphael Cantoni, a leader in Italy’s Jewish Assistance Committee, declaring that “The Church and the Papacy have saved Jews as much and insofar as they could Christians. Six million of my co-religionists have been murdered by the Nazis…but there would have been many more victims had it not been for the efficacious intervention of Pius XII.” (25)

The British Ambassador to the Vatican says that the Pope was the most warmly humane, kindly, sympathetic, and saintly character he had known

D’Arcy Osborne, the Protestant Minister of Britain to the Vatican wrote of Pope Pius XII: as “the most warmly humane, kindly, generous, sympathetic, and incidentally saintly, character who has been my privilege to meet in the course of a long life.” (26)

Charles de Gaulle described the Pope as pious and compassionate

Charles de Gaulle, after an audience with the Pope on June 30, 1944, declared: “The Holy Father receives me. Beneath the kindly welcome and the simplicity of his language, I am gripped by the sharpness and power of his thought. Pius XII judges everything from a viewpoint superior to that of men…the supernatural burden, which is laid on him alone in all the world, weighs, one feels, on his soul, but he carries it without flinching, certain of his goal, sure of his way…Pious, compassionate, political in the highest meaning these words can have, thus this pontiff and sovereign appears to me, through the respect which he inspires in me.” (27)

On October 12, 1945, Leo Kubwitsky, on behalf of the World Jewish Congress made a gift of 2 million lire (the equivalent of over one million dollars at present value) to the Vatican as a token of gratitude. Pius XII decided that the sum should go exclusively to needy people of Jewish origin. Jews who had first hand knowledge, or participated in the extraordinary efforts of Pius XII and the Catholic Church in saving Jewish lives during this most tragic period, were not short in publicly expressing their profound gratitude while this great Pope was still alive. Moshe Sharett, Israel’s first Foreign Minister, (and later the second Prime of Minister), met Pius XII in 1945 and said later: “I told him that my first duty was to thank him, and through him, the Catholic Church, on behalf of the Jewish people, for all they had done in various countries to rescue Jews, to save children and Jews in general.” (28)

The Founders of the State of Israel express their condolences at the death of Pius XII

Among those who mourned the death of Pius XII pronouncing heartfelt tributes were the President of Israel Ben-Zevi, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress and the World Zionist Organization, and many Rabbis including Dr. Israel Goldstein of New York. Rabbi Elio Toaff, Chief Rabbi of Rome, said: “More than anyone else, we have had the opportunity to appreciate the great kindness, filled with compassion and magnanimity, that the Pope displayed during the terrible years of persecution and terror, when it seemed that there was no hope left for us.” Rabbi Israel Zolli stated: “What the Vatican did will indelibly and eternally engraved in our hearts…Priests and even high prelates did things that will forever be an honor to Catholicism.” (29)

The Israeli’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs.Golda Meir’s cablegram to the Vatican read; “We share in the grief of humanity at the passing away of His Holiness Pope Pius XII. In a generation afflicted by wars and discords, he upheld the highest ideals of peace and compassion. When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the Pope was raised for the victims. The life of our times was enriched by a voice speaking out on the great moral truths above the tumult of daily conflict. We mourn a great servant of peace.” (30)

Unfortunately, today we are witnessing a campaign against this great benefactor of Humanity. His memory is being slandered and dishonored through falsehoods and innuendoes. This matter should be open to honest analysis and discussion. Legitimate discrepancies might exist while studying historical facts, but that should not be of excuse for those people who are moved by the same great evils of ignorance, hatred, and bigotry that made possible the brutal onslaught of innocent people by the Nazis and the Communists.


The relationship of trust and collaboration during WW II between the Holy See, the Jewish organizations, the Allies’ intelligence services and their governments, including the anti-Nazi German Generals, is well proven and documented. However, there is not the slightest thread of evidence to substantiate the preposterous and vicious allegations raised against Pius XII and the Catholic Church of collaboration or sympathizing with the Nazis.

Did the Church do enough to save the Jews? As usual those who do the less complain the most and those who do the most always think they could have done even more. When Michael O’Carroll, author of the scholar book “Pius XII: Greatness Dishonoured” related in the Foreword that in 1957 he met Dr. Isaac Herzog, Chief Rabbi of Israel, and he told him with emotion of an audience he had with the Pope and how they discussed the prophet Ezechiel. “My blessing to him” said the saintly old man, and O’Carroll promised to be the bearer of the message of his goodwill. When O’Carroll gave the message to Pius XII he added “I think Jews everywhere are grateful for what you did for them during the war.” “I wish I could have done more” was the Pope’s reply.

On February 28, 1945, the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Isaac Herzog, sent a letter of gratitude to the
Apostolic Nuncio in Rumania, Msgr. Andrea Cassulo, stating that: “The people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness and his illustrious delegates, inspired by the eternal principles of religion which form the very foundations of civilization, are doing for us unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history, which is living prove of divine Providence in this world.” (31)

Rabbi Herzog’s heartfelt words should suffice to forever end the slanderous attacks to the memory of the great protector of the Jews, Pius XII and the Catholic Church.

Those testimonies aforementioned, as powerful as they might be, are just a few samples of the hundreds of messages of gratitude sent to Pius XII by Jews from around the world. There are at least 4 to 5 million descendants of those 860,000 Jews around the world whose lives were saved by Pius XII and the Catholic Church. They should be able to bring to light much more valuable documentation if they were to delve into their family’s historical records, the Israeli’s archives, and so many other serious, unbiased, Jewish scholarly research in this matter.

In Pius XII’s own words in an address given on June 13, 1943, he said: “Our speeches and messages will not be able to be crossed out or run down by anyone, neither in their intentions nor essence. Everyone has been able to hear them as words of truth and peace…The Church is not afraid of the light of truth, neither of the past, the present, nor the future.” (32)

To those seeking the truth, what a better witness than the testimony of Albert Einstein, the great Jewish physicist, who had first hand experience of the horrors of Nazism? In 1944 he said: “Being a lover of freedom, when the Nazi revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, but the universities were immediately silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of newspapers, but they, like the universities were silenced in a few short weeks. Then I looked to individual writers…they too were mute. Only the Church,” Einstein concluded, “stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing the truth…I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel great affection and admiration…and am forced thus to confess that what I once despised, I now praise unreservedly.”(33)

Just as the evils of the Holocaust must never be forgotten, neither should the kindness of those spiritual brothers from another faith who tried to help the Jews, at the risk of their own lives, under the most enormously dangerous travails be forgotten. The truth will prevail and with it, a greater understanding and brotherhood among Jews and Catholics.

25 posted on 12/31/2004 2:14:39 PM PST by Dqban22
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To: Smocker
And I wonder why the moderator hasn't deleted your callous and anti Catholic post.

If such a letter from the Vatican to Cardinal Roncalli exists, then there's nothing anti-Catholic about pointing out a very odd practice.

It's especially odd if gypsies and other unbelievers' children were treated differently than baptized Jewish children after WWII.

26 posted on 12/31/2004 2:16:35 PM PST by sinkspur ("How dare you presume to tell God what He cannot do" God Himself)
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To: Jaded



The Vatican was thoroughly aware of the Nazi’s ruthlessness and intransigence, especially toward the Jews, and intensified its diplomatic maneuvers in favor of the Jews in Romania, Slovakia and Hungary. The Nuncio in Bucharest, Msgr. Andreas Cassulo, had a close relationship of trust with the Chief Rabbi, Dr. Alexander Shafran and the Jewish community. An exodus operation of orphan Jews under the age of 16 was under way with the Nuncio’s tutelage.

Thanks to the Holy See’s intervention the age of those allowed to leave was made to include those until the age of 16 years instead of until the age of 12. In cooperation with Jewish organizations, the aim was to send the children through Turkey to Palestine. On July 11, 1944 the first Rumanian refugee ship arrived in Istanbul carrying 250 children from Costanza.

On May 25, 1945, Nuncio Cassulo transmitted to the Holy See two messages from Rabbi Shafran, in one he referred to Cassulo: “The high moral authority of the Nuncio saved us, he prevailed so that the deportation should not take place. It was he who obtained the repatriation of all the Jews from Transnystria, but for the Jewish orphans in particular he was a loving father. With deep satisfaction he did inform me that they might leave for the Holy Land.” (19)

In his message to the Pope, Rabbi Shafran “expressed his gratitude for what has been done for him and for the Jewish community. Now he has begged me (the Nuncio) to convey to the Holy Father his feelings of thankfulness for the generous aid granted to prisoners in concentration camps on the occasion of the Christmas festivities. At the same time he told me he had written to Jerusalem, to the Chief Rabbi Herzog, and also elsewhere, in America, to point out what the Nunciature has done for them in the time of present difficulties.” (20)

According to the Jewish historian, David Herstig, who in 1967 in Stuttgart’s newspaper Die Rettung, wrote that he calculated that 360,000 Romanian Jews in Israel owed their life to Pope Pius XII.


The Pope protested strongly against the deportations of Jews in Slovakia, Hungary and Vichy, France, since these were formerly Catholic countries where Fascists had gained control and they still had a majority of Catholic citizens. In Hungary the Nunciature used thousands of blank and forged forms to help Jews escape. A Red Cross worker even complained that the use of forged documents was against the Geneva Convention! The Apostolic Nuncio in Hungary, Msgr. Angelo Rotta, responded; “my son, you need have no qualms of conscience because rescuing innocent men and women is a virtue. Continue your work for the glory of God.” And the Nuncio continued with the covert operation.

In Hungary, until 1944, in spite of the enactment of severe anti-Semitic laws, the Jews enjoyed relative safety beyond Nazi control. The Hungarian government of the Regent, Admiral Nicholas Horthy, a Protestant with good relations with the Vatican, did not turn over to the Germans any of its Jews, not even the many refugees from Poland and Slovakia. In fact, he had allowed his country to become the haven of refuge for Jews. Unfortunately, on March 23, 1944, German troops marched into Hungary. Budapest and its outskirts remained under the Regent’s control until October, but massive deportations to Auschwitz from outlying parts of the country began in mid-May. The deportations were interrupted, acting upon direct appeal from the Pope, in early June when Admiral Horthy temporarily regained control. However, the Germans arrested Horthy in October, putting control of all Hungary in the hands of the fanatical anti-Semites of the Arrow Cross, and the massacre of Jews resumed. From that moment the Jews were also being deported to labor camps in Austria. Not until December 23, 1944, did the Eichmann Kommando leave Budapest.

27 posted on 12/31/2004 2:21:37 PM PST by Dqban22
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To: bahblahbah


The facts negate this vile and often-made baseless allegation by those who are blinded by ignorance and/or anti-Catholic bigotry. Unfortunately, many people of good will, lacking reliable information, had fallen victims to this campaign of character assassination against Pius XII and the Catholic Church.

There was never any ambiguity on the Vatican Secretary of State’s feelings about Hitler’s regime, and the Nazis knew it. When Cardinal Pacelli was elected Pope on March 2, 1939, the next day the Berlin Morgenpost (the Nazi party’s newspaper) wrote: “The election of Cardinal Pacelli is not accepted with favor in Germany because he was always opposed to Nazism and practically determined the policies of the Vatican under his predecessor.” (2)

According to Mother Pasqualina Lehner, his close collaborator, Nuncio Pacelli said of Hitler: “This man is completely carried away; everything he says and writes has the mark of his egocentrism; this man is capable of trampling on corpses and eliminating anything that is an obstacle. I cannot understand how there are so many people in Germany who do not understand him, and cannot draw conclusions from what he says or writes. Has any of them even read his horrifying ‘Mein Kampf’?” (3)

During Pacelli’s twelve years as Apostolic Nuncio in Germany (1917-29), he made 44 public speeches and in 40 of these attacked the fundamental tenets of the Communism and National Socialism. Already in April 1933, as Secretary of State of Pope Pius XI, he sent an urgent request to the new Nazi government “not to let it be influenced by anti-Semitic aims.”

On April 28, 1935, at Lourdes, where he went as the Pope Legate, Pacelli said to 250,000 pilgrims: “They (the Nazis) are in reality only miserable plagiarists who dress up old errors with new tinsel. It does not make any difference whether they flock to the banners of social revolution, whether they are guided by a false conception of the world of life, or whether they are possessed by the superstition of a race and blood cult.” (4) Certainly, these were very strong words coming from such a consummated diplomat.

Hitler’s discussions with his closest collaborators, as well as the diaries and decrees by Goebbles, Bormann, Rosenberg and Himmler, denote that from the beginning Hitler and his followers were motivated by a pathological hatred toward the Catholic Church. All those who did not adhere unconditionally to their way of thinking and acting were considered and treated as enemies, who had to be annihilated, said Fr.Gumpel.

As Jewish historian Dr. Joseph L. Litchen wrote in the Anti-Defamation Bulletin for October, in 1958, commenting on Pius XII, “the new Vicar of Christ” said Litchen, “showed no softening after his election toward Hitler’s brutal policies; Pius the Pope was the same as Pacelli the priest.” (5)

28 posted on 12/31/2004 2:23:41 PM PST by Dqban22
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To: Jaded

It was about orphans WITH FAMILIES -- i.e. brothers, uncles, grandparents etc. Yes, it is unconscionable not to return an orphan to his family.

29 posted on 12/31/2004 2:37:51 PM PST by ChicagoHebrew (Hell exists, it is real. It's a quiet green meadow populated entirely by Arab goat herders.)
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To: ChicagoHebrew


In 1937, Pius XI published the Encyclical “Mit Brennender Sorge,” stating that Catholics must never be anti-Semite.

On March 14, 1937, before it was fashionable to denounce the German Führer as a villain and long before the creation of the concentration camps and the gas chambers, Pius XI, ably seconded by his Secretary of State, wrote the Encyclical “Mit Brennender Sorge” meaning “with burning anxiety”. It dealt with the nazi threat to racial minorities and specifically the Jews addressing the Encyclical directly to the German people.

The Encyclical exhorted that Catholics must never be anti-Semitic because “we are all Semites spiritually” and ought to hold the Jewish people in high regard accordingly. The Encyclical exposed to the world the III Reich’s persecution of the Catholic Church as well as the incompatibility between the principles of the National Socialism and those of the Catholic faith.

The German government prohibited the entrance of the Encyclical to the country and it became necessary to smuggle it into Germany under the nose of the ruthless Gestapo. On Sunday March 21, The Encyclical was read from 12,000 Catholic pulpits across Germany. As a result, the Nazi’s campaign of innuendoes against The Church as well as the persecution of Catholics worsened.

The German Catholic hierarchy thanked Pope Pius XI for the letter, which strongly condemned both, racism and anti-Semitism. The Pope pointed to Cardinal Pacelli saying that it was he who had been responsible for the Encyclical. It was the Secretary of State, who asked the German Cardinal Faulhaber to submit a draft text, which he amended carefully. Pacelli also bore the burden of its defense when the Encyclical was the subject of strong German diplomatic protests; he did so personally, not by delegation.

The Vatican condemns Communism with the Encyclical “Divini Redemptori” in 1937

Pius XI and his Secretary of State were following the Magisterium of the Church when they published on March 19, 1937, the Encyclical “Divini Redemptori.” It was a most comprehensive and devastating condemnation of Communism as “intrinsically perverse.” Already Pius IX, as early as 1846, pronounced in the Encyclical “Qui pluribus,” a solemn condemnation of Communism “that infamous doctrine which is absolutely contrary to natural law itself, and if once adopted would utterly destroy the rights, the property and possessions of all men, and even society itself.” Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical “Quod apostolici muneri,” defined communism as “the fatal plague that insinuates itself into the very marrow of human society only to bring about its ruin.” Pius XI and Pius XII were highly active, energetic and zealous opponents of totalitarianism and oppression in every form-for them, National Socialism and Communism were both intrinsically evil.

Pope Pius XII’s first Encyclical, “Summi Pontificatus”, in 1939, attacks Nazism and Communism

Pius XII’s first encyclical on October 27, 1939, “Summi Pontificatus” reiterated the attack on the German regime and the Gestapo was ordered to prevent its distribution. In it, the Pope declared his position “against exacerbated nationalism, the idolatry of the state, totalitarianism, racism, the cult of brutal force, contempt of international agreements”, against all the characteristics of Hitler’s political system; he laid the responsibility for the scourge of the war on these aberrations. The Allies airdropped 88,000 copies of the Encyclical over Germany.


The Pope was well aware that any public denunciation against Hitler would make things even worse for the Jews. His polices were aimed at saving the Jews. In fact, that was the same policy followed by the International Red Cross and the World Council of Churches both based in Geneva as well as the one recommended by most of the International Jewish organizations involved in the rescue operations of Jews. Gerhart Riegner, the representative of the World Jewish Congress in Geneva, accepted the validity of this policy –preferring action rather than words, as the common goal.

Historian Fr. W. Saunders has stated that we must remember that any defiance of the Nazi regime meant immediate and severe retaliation. Jean Bernard, Catholic Bishop of Luxembourg, who was detained at Dachau, later wrote: “The detained priests trembled every time news reached us of some protest by a religious authority, but particularly by the Vatican. We all had the impression that our warders made us atone heavily for the fury these protest evoke (on them.)” (6)

Fr. Robert A.Graham, S.J., has said that: “it may surprise the contemporary generation to learn that the local Jewish communities and the world Jewish bodies did not, for the most part, urge the Pope to speak out. Their objective was far more concrete and down-to-earth… Appeals to world opinion, high-sounding though it may appear, would have seemed cheap and trivial gestures to those engaged in rescue work…The need to refrain from provocative public statements at such a delicate moments was fully recognized in Jewish circles.” (7)

When an Italian priest, Fr. Scavizzi, a chaplain on a military train travelling through Poland, told the Pope of the conditions in the camps, especially of the Jews, the Holy Father broke down and wept. Bitterly, Pius XII confided to him: “After many tears and many prayers I have judged that a protest of mine not only would fail to help anyone, but would create even more fury against the Jews, multiplying acts of cruelty. Perhaps my solemn protest would have earned me praise from the civilized world, but it would also have brought more implacable persecution of the Jews… I love the Jews.” (8)

Massive onslaught of Jews and Catholics after Dutch Bishops publicly protested Jewish deportations

The Pope knew first hand of the results of open confrontation with the Nazis. The Catholic clergy of Holland protested more loudly, and frequently against Jewish persecutions than the Catholic hierarchy of any other Nazi-occupied country. The end result was that over 110,000, or 80 percent of all the Jews, were deported to death camps, even more, in comparison, than anywhere else in the West. The reprisal included also thousands of Catholics, including the distinguished Catholic Carmelite philosopher Edith Stein, a converted Jew. In fact, Pius XII had his own even stronger protest ready to be published that very evening in the L’Osservatore Romano. But he had the draft burnt saying: “If the protest of the Catholic Bishops has cost the lives of 40,000 people, my intervention would take at least 200,000 to their deaths.” (9) Without an army to support him, the struggle was fought through diplomatic and humanitarian channels, and through covert actions, that risked the neutral status of the Vatican State.

The Protestant Dutch Reformed Church refrained from protesting openly the Nazi’s persecution of the Jews, as a result, the lives of the Jews converted to the Reformed Church were spared, and none was deported to the concentration camps. In Germany, most of the Protestants not only supported Hitler, but many of them became part of the political German Protestant church, the so-called “German Christians”, under a “Bishop of the Reich” imposed by the Nazis. The German authorities had repeatedly complained to the Papal Nuncio that “the Catholic clergy were unwilling or slow to celebrate their military victories, whereas the Protestant ministers did so.” Nevertheless a small minority of anti-Nazis Protestants existed under the leadership of the great evangelical theologians, Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as the hero of the German resistance, the pastor of Dahlem, Rev. Martin Niemoller.

With the existing proven facts, can in all consciousness, truly be said that Pope Pius XII remained silent throughout WWII while millions of Jews and gentiles were exterminated? I do not think so. The Pope was not silent during WWII, he was not even neutral-he was on the Allies’ side.


Unfortunately, anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism exist even today. Certainly there was anti-Semitism at that time all around the world, but it was not mainly from Catholics and much less from the Catholic Church. Germany was not alone; there was plenty of anti-Semitism in the highest spheres of the Allied governments.

Jewish historian Richard Breitman has written five books, one on the Holocaust and another on Nazism. He is, up to this day, the only person authorized to study the OSS secret documents of U.S. espionage during WWII. The Italian newspaper “Corriere della Sera.” interviewed him on June 29, 2000. In the article, Breitman not only confirms the role played by Pius XII in defending and safeguarding the persecuted during the Nazi regime but he also found “the Allied silence on the Holocaust surprising. Their first testimonies are from the end of 1942…” He also remarked that the documents denoted how the Nazis considered that the Vatican was in the side of the Allies. (10)

The reaction of the US, French and British governments at that time, and even later, when knowledge of the concentration camps existed, were certainly not in solidarity for the persecuted Jews. In the middle of the genocide, Britain closed the doors of Palestine to the Jews. The U.S. government accepted a total of 10,000-15,000 Jewish refugees throughout the war – a truly scandalous statistic.

Jewish leaders ask Allies to bomb railway lines to concentration camps

The posturing with strong public declarations followed by the empty deeds of the allied leaders did not save any Jewish lives. On June 6, 1944, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the well known Zionist leader, later president of Israel, proposed to the British Minister, Anthony Eden, that the railway line to Auschwitz should be bombed. The British, after consultation, denied the request alleging the “great technical difficulties involved.” As the Jews died by the thousands daily, why was there not a rescue plan on the Allied side to counter the Nazi machinery of extermination? The Allies had already dropped tens of thousands of bombs on German cities. Why was that simple request which would have saved hundreds of thousands Jews and Christians refused? Later on, J.F. Martin, chief private secretary of Winston Churchill, explained “the great technical difficulties.” In a letter to Dr. Weizmann he wrote that they had discussed the matter with the Soviets and that the Soviets vetoed it.

When the evacuation of over 60,000 Jews from Bulgaria was suggested, Eden replied that the whole problem with the Jews was very difficult. “If we do that (said Eden) then the Jews of the world will be wanting us to make similar offers in Poland and Germany.” (11)

In 1943, there was a memorandum from British embassy sent to the U.S. State Department expressing their fear that the Germans may “change over from a policy of extermination to one of extrusion, and aim, as they did before the war, at embarrassing other countries by flooding them with refugees.” The State Department blocked, with Roosevelt’s connivance, efforts in Congress to help the Jewish refugees on their way to Palestine. (12)

The Jews depended on the success of The Catholic Church’s lone efforts -they had no other friends on the side of the Allies.

Franco offers refuge in Spain to persecuted Jews.

The reaction of the Western democracies was in stark contrast with that of “Fascist” Spain. General Franco’s regime, even though his country was devastated and impoverished after a bloody civil war, recognized all the Sephardic Jews living in the Nazi occupied territories as Spanish citizens. That measure allowed them to return to Spain- the beloved Sepharad, land of their ancestors where they lived a golden age more than five centuries ago. Franco’s government also collaborated with the Holy See and several South American countries in providing false passports for Jews trying to flee the Nazi scourge. More than 50,000 Jews were saved thanks to the Spanish government actions. When the Nazis discovered the covert operation, some of the Latin American countries retracted from accepting the validity of the faked passports. The Vatican, on January 24, 1944, interceded with the Latin American governments asking them to recognize the passports “no matter how illegally obtained”, and the humanitarian operation proceeded. Brazil gave 3,000 enter visas. Paraguay, Chile and others South American countries were also very receptive to the Pope’s pleas in favor of the Jews.

30 posted on 12/31/2004 2:55:33 PM PST by Dqban22
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To: Smocker

The original poster got nuke very early on in this thread, the kitties weren't here to make a public display of it.

31 posted on 12/31/2004 2:57:18 PM PST by Jaded (Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. - Mark Twain)
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To: Dqban22


32 posted on 12/31/2004 3:04:01 PM PST by Netizen (jmo)
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To: Netizen

One can argue back and forth ad nauseum about Pius XII and hitler and the Holocaust. Stating whether or not he could have saved Jews is not anti -Catholic however. The actions of individual Catholics good or bad does not detract from the good things the church does. However if John Paul II had been the Pope during WW II , far more Jews would have been saved.
Also if the American and British airplanes had bombed the death camps and raillines to them, many fewer people would have died. The excuse that it would have detracted from the war effort hasd always been a joke. The Russians virtuall singlehandedly defeated the Germans. Remember it was Hitler himself that called the Anglo-American theatre of operations a "SIDESHOW OF THW WAR"

33 posted on 12/31/2004 3:20:50 PM PST by avitot
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To: Netizen

According to Pope Pius, Jewish orphans were to be treated as "fair game" for the Church to convert. "Regarding those children who no longer have parents and for whom the Church has been responsible, it is not advisable that they be abandoned by the Church itself or entrusted to persons who have no rights whatsoever over them ? unless they are able to take responsibility over themselves. This obviously applies to children who have not been baptized."

34 posted on 12/31/2004 3:21:06 PM PST by Jaded (Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. - Mark Twain)
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To: Almab

If true this is absolutely sickening

35 posted on 12/31/2004 3:22:39 PM PST by montag813
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To: ChicagoHebrew
Hey,read that article again. It refers to not handing children over to 'institutions' or 'persons'. Nowhere does it say 'parents'.

Remember many of these children were orphans and had been sent to France as well as to Spain and Italy for protection. Most of the children were from eastern Europe which the Big Three had managed to divide up by 1946. The eastern European countries were awarded to Josef Stalin,who was a Communist. Until the Nazis began their purge,Communism and Fascism were viewed by the Church as equally deadly to humankind,and for good reason.

When the war ended the Pope was under no illusions or delusions that Communists had suddenly become less of a threat to man than they had been before the war. I am sure it was necessary to be somewhat circumspect in trying to save children from being claimed by 'institutions' or 'persons' that would take them back to their homeland to be enslaved for the good of that government.

I think if you study further and look deeper you will find that things are not at all as they try to tell us they were.

When I was about twelve,five or six years after the war was over,my eighth grade teacher told us that history would portray things far differently than the facts would bear out,if they were uncovered. She then told us that Roosevelt had given half the world away to slavery so that Stalin would back him to be imperial ruler of the world,which she said was his dream. I never forgot that and think retrospectively that she just may have been correct.

36 posted on 12/31/2004 3:44:58 PM PST by saradippity
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To: Netizen


37 posted on 12/31/2004 3:59:16 PM PST by Dqban22
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To: Jaded

Pius XII Rehabilitated By Jewish Historian.

Culture/Society News Keywords: PIUS XII, JEWS
Source: EWTN
Published: 7/10/00

New Documents Prove Nazis Distrusted Him for Helping Jews
ROME, JULY 7 ( "Hitler distrusted the Holy See because it hid Jews," stated Jewish historian Richard Breitman. He has written 5 books, one of which is on the Holocaust, and another on Nazism. Breitman confirms the role played by Pius XII in defending and safeguarding the persecuted during the Nazi regime.

Th professor at American University in Washington, is a consultant for the working group for the restitution of Jewish property, which group has obtained the declassification of the OSS dossier. In an interview with the Italian newspaper "Corriere della Sera" on June 29, Breitman (who to date is the only person authorized to study the OSS documents of U.S. espionage during the Second World War), explained that the documents "are only the tip of the iceberg.

Over the next 3 years, additional millions of pages will be made public. But what impressed him most in regard to Italy, was German hostility toward the Pope, and the September 1943 plan to "Germanize" the country. Breitman also found "the Allied silence on the Holocaust surprising. Their first testimonies are from the end of 1942..."

Asked about relations between Pius XII and the Germans, Breitam responded: "In general, the Germans considered the Pope as an enemy. In a telegram, someone suggested to play on his old anti-communism, to induce him to 'understand' Nazism, and to take him from Rome to the north: the Vatican and Germany would have formed a common front against the USSR, and the Vatican would fall under Berlin's control. But the proposal was rejected because the majority knew that Pius XII would never leave Rome, and that the Vatican was on the side of the Allies."

How did they know it? "The Nazis had spies in the Vatican. Among their dispatches deciphered by our espionage one spoke of an Allied plan to disembark in Sardinia, another of the departure of a diplomatic train with Jews on board, transported from Rome to Spain. Only the Vatican was up-to-date, the Nazi 'moles' told general Karl Wolff, SS chief in Italy. Berlin distrusted the Pope and the Vatican, because it knew they hid Jews."

Breitman's statements in part deny the thesis of those who at present speak of Pius XII as "Hitler's Pope" and, at the same time, confirm the hypotheses, advanced at other times by Catholic historians and researchers, according to whom the OSS documents and those of the corresponding British secret service, would result in demonstrating how great and meritorious was the action carried out by the Vatican in favor of the persecuted. Sadly, the respective U.S. and British dispatches have to date denied Catholic historians permission to see these documents but, sooner or later, truth will end up in the public domain.

38 posted on 12/31/2004 4:01:40 PM PST by Dqban22
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To: Dqban22
Must you leave the caps on?

It seems that not all were returned.

39 posted on 12/31/2004 4:11:02 PM PST by Netizen (jmo)
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To: Dqban22

Read my bloody posts. I said that the source was dubious. I wasn't saying this was true. Rather, I was posting about the horrible attitude of some posters that -- if it was true -- Jewish families should be denied their children. That is sick.

40 posted on 12/31/2004 6:07:54 PM PST by ChicagoHebrew (Hell exists, it is real. It's a quiet green meadow populated entirely by Arab goat herders.)
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