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Unholy Trinity: The Vatican, The Nazis, and The Swiss Banks Paperback – June 15, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Aarons and Loftus make a valiant effort to untangle the complex trails of diplomatic and intelligence operations in postwar Europe, focusing on Vatican participation. They document the Vatican role in British and American smuggling of Nazis to Latin America and in sending Nazi "Freedom Fighters" to Eastern Europe, noting the key role of Giovanni Montini (later Pope Paul VI). The authors conclude that Western intelligence was heavily infiltrated by double agents who harnessed many operations to Moscow's ends. Though perhaps less startling to historians than the authors suggest, this deliberately provocative account will undoubtedly stir up controversy. Buy it if you have interested patrons.
- Nancy C. Cridland, Indiana Univ. Libs., Bloomington
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Head-spinning documentation of how Vatican immunity shielded Nazi war criminals from just punishment--and unwittingly aided the Communist cause. Aarons is an Australian expert on Nazi fugitives; Loftus (The Belarus Secret, 1982) is the former chief prosecutor of the Justice Department's Nazi War Crimes Unit. Vatican accommodation of Nazi escapees is well known. Less known is that by 1944 Soviet intelligence had penetrated German intelligence and was using the Vatican, which was smuggling tens of thousands of Nazis to Argentina and elsewhere via diplomatic immunity, to infiltrate the Nazi escapees with large cadres of Communist spies. Similarly, Red spies joined the German scientists being swept off to Britain and America immediately after the war (without standing trial for war crimes); thereafter, the Soviets were privy to atomic secrets firsthand. Much of this activity, according to the authors, sprang from an episode in which Papal Nuncio Eugenio Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) was attacked by Communists in Munich on May Day 1919 and became a fervent, lifelong anti-Communist. Thus came about his ties with the Nazis, who during the Nazi occupation of Italy threatened the Vatican's very survival. Referring to the infiltration of British intelligence at its top levels by Soviet spies, Aarons and Loftus proclaim that ``behind the Nazis were the Vatican, behind the Vatican were the British, behind the British were the Communists.'' One old spy, though, told the authors, ``Forget the Communists. Trace the money.'' Doing this, they report briefly--perhaps as a teaser for their promised follow-up book--on clever international banking concerns outwitting WW II politicians, militarists, and intelligence services for their own aggrandizement. Much that is new, all of it disturbing. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Revised edition (June 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031218199X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312181994
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 104 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a thorough book. Contrary to what the critics on this page have written, the book includes: (1) Interviews with catholic priets directly involved with smuggling Nazi collaborators (2) Intelligence documents from France, the US, British and Russia (3) Media reports from Italy and other places at the time (4) interviews with some of those who were smuggled through the Vaticans 'Ratline', and of course photos and miscellaneous personal testimony from others involved or affected. In other words, the authors bring an enormous amount of evidence to bear on the issue of Vatican complicity in helping war criminals escape from justice.
The other critics on this page, it seems, have either not read the book, are talking about another book, or believe that the Vatican is mankinds sole connection to God or whatever and can do no wrong.
The critics charge that the Vatican was pro-communist is ludicrous. Communist persecution of Catholics behind the Iron curtain was a principle motivation for the Vatican to protect ex-Nazis. See, the Nazis hated the Communists as well. The vatican and the Pope desperately wanted to stop the eastward expansion of the communists. So they turned to ex-Nazi leaders (who still had connections, military equipment and money) for help. That is a key part of the story (theres more to it, though).
Even so, the Vatican was not a monolithic entity. There were elements within the church that hated the Nazis, and elements that supported them (most notably the Catholic priests connected to the Pavelic regime). Like any large organization, different people had different opinions. But the evidence is very strong that the highest levels of the Vatican supported helping ex-Nazis.
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73 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Bill Stouffer on September 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
First published in Britain under the title Ratlines in 1991, and in the United States the following year under the title Unholy Trinity: the Vatican, the Nazis and Soviet Intellegence, the current revised edition of the book replaces "Soviet Intellegence" in the subtitle with the Swiss Banks." This latest title change reflects the recent direction of the international investigations into the Vatican's role in WWII. The bulk of the book (Chapters 1-12) remains unchanged from earlier editions. The authors have, however, added an introduction and a new chapter of revised conclusions
Using previously classified government documents, the authors give the most detailed account in print of the Catholic Church's collaboration in the smuggling of Fascist and Nazi war criminals out of Europe at the end of the Second World War. Officials at the Vatican who helped these men get false papers and safe passage included then Monsignor Montini (later Paul VI) and Bishop Hudal, author of the clero-fascist Foundations of National Socialism. Among those who thus escaped justice, at least temporarily, were Adolph Eichmann, chief administrator of the holocaust, Walter Rauff, director of the mobile gas truck extermination program, Franz Strangel, Commandant at Treblinka, and Ante Pavelic, fascist Croatian dictator. Many other ex-Nazis were recruited by the church to become "freedom fighters" against the Eastern bloc. Aarons and Loftus argue Vatican's primary motivation throughout this operation was an anti-communism so fanatical that it knew no moral limits. The second half of the book recounts how the church's smuggling operation was infiltrated and turned against the West by the Soviet Union.
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59 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Pete Agren on November 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
In tackling such a paramount topic that will offend the core of many people's religious beliefs and its institution, Aaron and Loftus have stirred up a torrent of controversy with this book. ...
Obviously, for a reader to believe whether Aarons and Loftus' claims are valid, they will have to read the book for themselves.
I first heard about this book from an associate professor of genocide studies at a major US college who highly recommended it because of the authors' extensiveness in their research.
As I began reading the book, I noticed Aarons and Loftus footnoted any important piece of information and have over 60 pages of end notes in the back of the book for documentation. It is unfortunate they could not document more from the Vatican itself but because the papal state chooses to not open its files, this controversy will keep continuing. And considering it just opened files on the Spanish Inquisition a few years ago, I doubt any of us will be around when the Vatican finally divulges the truth on this disturbing piece of history. Many people will object to this book but their anger should be directed at the Vatican, who could end this controversy by opening its files. If there's nothing to hide, then why aren't the documents available to an impartial researcher, unlike Father Graham?
Aaron and Loftus break "Unholy Trinity," into two major sections, part one being "The Church's War Against Communism," and the second "Communism's War Against the Church."
The first section is on how bishops like Hudal and Draganovic harbored war criminals and smuggled them to safety in South America.
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