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The Pope and the Holocaust: Pius XII and the Vatican Secret Archives Kindle Edition
For over two decades, Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII, has been blasted in the public square as "Hitler's Pope", accused by bestselling authors of cowardice in the face of the Nazi regime. Some have even said that the pope was complicit in Hitler's grab for power, privately fueled by a hatred for the Jewish people. And if they are right, who would not join in condemning a leader like this, especially one who claims to represent all Christians?
But what if this image of Pius XII is completely backward? Archival and archaeological researcher Michael Hesemann has unearthed thousands of documents—including from the Vatican Secret Archives (or the Vatican Apostolic Archive), only recently opened to scholars—to give a startling picture of Eugenio Pacelli as a shrewd diplomat and a champion of the Jewish people during World War II. Saving thousands upon thousands of lives, Pius demonstrated such courage and compassion in these times that Jewish leaders across the globe praised him, and the ecumenical Pave the Way Foundation has since nominated him for the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum's Righteous among the Nations award.
The Pope and the Holocaust traces Pacelli's fight for peace in the 1930s and 1940s, including his years as apostolic nuncio in Germany, where he resisted Nazism. Even some of his most controversial moves, such as the 1933 Vatican concordat, were made to protect Jewish and Christian lives. What emerges clearly from Hesemann's evidence is a portrait of a man radically committed to the Jews and the revelation God gave to them. As Pope Pius himself remarked in 1938, "It is not legitimate for Christians to take part in anti-Semitism. Spiritually, we are all Semites."
"Very wisely and helpfully, Professor Hesemann takes up the task of Father Peter Gumpel, who had scoured thousands of documents related to Pius XII and the Nazi Holocaust, and who also had the privilege of knowing Pius the man. Hesemann has befriended the Vatican Apostolic Archive, finding therein a treasure trove of material to produce this painstaking work of unvarnished truth."-- Reverend Peter M.J. Stravinskas, Ph.D. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
Michael Hesemann studied history and cultural anthropology at the University of Göttingen, Germany. His forty-four books have been published in sixteen languages. He has participated in archaeological excavations in the Holy Land and has helped to date a number of discoveries and relics, including in Nazareth. He has advised and appeared in programs for the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and EWTN. He is the author of Mary of Nazareth and coauthor, with Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, of the international bestseller on Pope Benedict XVI, My Brother, the Pope.--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B0B8454MYY
- Publisher : Ignatius Press (July 29, 2022)
- Publication date : July 29, 2022
- Language : English
- File size : 10680 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 599 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #614,746 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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This book in its English translation seems to be entirely consistent with the German original, except for one sentence on page 371 with " Ob er ihn bei der Deutshen Botschaft vorstellen konne, fragte er Montini." being translated as "Montini asked whether he could introduce him at the German Embassy." - a very jarring idea. The German text clearly means that Montini was asked whether ...
Anyone interested in the issue of where Pius XII stood vis a vis the Nazis should consult this book, and also Hesseman's previous work, "Der Pabst, der Hitler trotzte".
Unlike many of the historical revisionist who have profited on poor scholarship and deliberate omissions, Michael has spent thousands of hours combing through documents and securing copies of these documents proving every statement he makes
The book starts well before the war and takes us through the death of Pope Pius XI and the rapid election of Pius XII, right up to the end of the war and the Pope's reaction to the founding of the State of Israel. It includes the Pope's involvement in German plots against Hitler's life, the Church's outspoken condemnation of Nazi brutality and the Vatican's determination to work quietly and secretly to save people even at great risk to the Pope himself - and it is all presented in a hard-to-put-down style that makes this book a must-read.
From Wikipedia: "Ignatius Press is a Catholic publishing house based in San Francisco, California, US. It was founded in 1978 by Father Joseph Fessio, a Jesuit priest and former pupil of Pope Benedict XVI."
Top reviews from other countries
I read the book "The Pope and the Holocaust" by Michael Hesemann on the advice of a third party, after reading “The Pope at War” by David Kertzer. Those who advised me stated that Kertzer had not been objective, accusing him of "cherry picking" to discredit Pius XII, and instead suggesting the book by dr. Hesemann as a balanced and correct work.
I am only a middle-of-the-road man, not a "scholar". I am animated by a certain curiosity and therefore I decided to follow the advice.
At the beginning, I was somewhat disturbed by the fact that, in 2012, dr. Hesemann had co-authored a book with Pope's brother Georg Ratzinger, "My Brother, the Pope." I have assimilated from countries with an English culture that, if someone is in a likely conflict of interests, the best way is to make it explicit immediately. In this way, it cuts any possible dispute in the bud. In fact, the book, which is often rather rough against dr. Kertzer and other authors gives the impression that it comes from a decidedly biased author.
The book does not cover the period Eugenio Pacelli spent in Germany as Nuncio first in Munich in 1917 and from 1920 in Berlin. It's a justifiable choice given the title, but I think covering even that period would have been appropriate.
In any case, the result I have reached is positive. The historical reconstruction documented in the book led me to understand the reasons for Pius XII's "silence" during the terrible years 1939-1945. The author brings us real facts and explains the reasons why any Pope's decisive and antagonistic positions would have caused extremely serious damage to the Church and the Catholic people. So for that, “Bravo!”
There are also details that made me smile. On p. 70 it is stated that “he (Eugenio Pacelli) had known and esteemed Judaism since his childhood”. The fact is mentioned that his best friend and classmate was a Jew, Guido Mendes. Very good. However, let us remember that the teaching of the Church (I studied the Catechism in the 1940s, with the Dominican friars) was clearly contrary to the Jews: they were the deicidal people, the people about which falsehoods of all kinds were cultivated, starting from physical differences to tales about their behavior. We arrived at the case of Simonino da Trento. I, therefore, cannot believe that a person so integrated into the doctrine of the time and respectful of it could have developed a positive feeling towards the deicidal people "since childhood".
And we come to April 29, 1919, when the Nunciature was occupied by communist rebels and was cleared only a few hours later. However, the car was requisitioned "due to military necessity" and only the following day was it was returned, with a lot of damage. His report to the Secretary of State communicated the occupation of the Nunciature and strangely the main news was the sad story of the luxury car. In his report to Gasparri Pacelli described the communist rioters and their leader, Eugen Levien: “This Levien is a young man, about 30 or 35, also Russian and a Jew. Pale, dirty, with vacant eyes, hoarse voice, vulgar, repulsive…..”. It describes “a gang of young women, of dubious appearance, Jews like all of them, …. with a provocative demeanor and suggestive smiles”. And he continues “The boss of this female gang was Levien’s mistress, a young Russian woman, a Jew, and a divorcee …..”. It appears that the rioters were guilty of being Bolsheviks and Jews. This ill accords with having "known and esteemed Judaism" since his childhood.
Another spontaneous smile was aroused by the statement on page 100 “although pomp and splendor were foreign to his nature, …… gave instructions to spare no expense or effort in organizing his coronation”. This statement is already a contradiction in itself. However, there are other facts that show how Eugenio Pacelli, as Nuncio, greatly appreciated beautiful things.
Let us remember that in 1917 the situation in Italy was very hard and the war was very difficult. Despite this, the train that carried Pacelli to Munich, in addition to a carriage for his use, also had a carriage carrying 60 cases of special foodstuffs for Pacelli's delicate stomach; authorizations from four ministries were required to obtain the goods and then ship them. And Italy was starving.
When he arrived in Munich (May 1917) he found in front of the door of the Nunciature a Mercedes Benz donated by a politician from the Centre, Matthias Erzberger, Pacelli communicated the news to the Secretary of State, Gasparri, with an enthusiastic letter:
“It is a beautiful Benz 18/45 H.P. car, strong and elegant. It has all the novelties of the automotive industry…… . It is a car truly worthy of a Papal Representative.” Even later, Pacelli's enthusiasm for automobiles did not diminish.
I conclude and repeat that now the deafening silence of the Pope during the Second World War has been clarified to me with skill and facts, which I accept.
However, I do not see in what capacity the Pope, in an audience of 3 August 1946 to the DELEGATES OF THE SUPREME ARAB PALESTINE COMMITTEE, when every limitation on his freedom had been overcome, was able to say:
This is why, after receiving numerous appeals and complaints from various parts of the world in recent days and for various reasons, we feel it superfluous to tell you that we reject any recourse to force and violence, wherever it comes from, just as we have also repeatedly condemned the persecutions in the past of fanatical anti-Semitism unleashed against the Jewish people.
Condemned multiple times in the past? To use a colloquial Italian phrase I would say "But when ever?”
17 Nov 2022