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The Pope's Jews: The Vatican's Secret Plan to Save Jews from the Nazis Hardcover – October 2, 2012
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“Many may find fault with the pope's decision to "keep silent" and not single out by name the Nazis or their crimes; however, Thomas is convincing in his revelations about the pope's secret work and relays how complex and sensitive these issues were for everyone involved at the time. Any World War II history buff or Holocaust researcher will find this book an important balance to existing historical scholarship.” ―Library Journal on The Pope's Jews
“The reputation of Pius XII, pope from 1939 to 1958, has been subjected to criticism for the pontiff's alleged silence about the Holocaust. The best-known Pius-bashing title is Hitler's Pope, by John Cornwell (1999). In this rebuttal to Cornwell and other critics, Thomas recounts the period of maximum danger for the Vatican during WWII, from September 1943 to June 1944, when German forces occupied Rome, and Hitler sought to kidnap the pope. He also tried to capture the city's Jewish population, an operation that largely fizzled from the Nazi point of view, with most Jews eluding the dragnet (although about 1,200 did not). How the rest were saved is Thomas's main case for Pius, which he makes by narrating activities of local Jewish leaders, Vatican prelates, and German officers. When the SS sprang its trap, thousands of Jews had received shelter in Rome's churches, convents, and the Vatican itself. Suggesting that Pius was responsible for this, Thomas presents an earnest defense while sketching Rome's menacing atmosphere during the Nazi occupation. Pair this title with Ralph McInerney's Defamation of Pius XII (2001).” ―Booklist on The Pope's Jews
“Gordon Thomas's new book The Pope's Jews: The Vatican's secret Plan to Save the Jews from the Nazis, is one of the few books that accurately reflects the truth of the terrible years of the War II based on primary source documented evidence rather than unsupported accusations. He logically assembles the jig saw puzzle of evidence and analyzes it with his personal lifelong wisdom, into an easy to read page turner. Mr. Thomas will be further sustained with the opening of the Vatican Secret Archives. I think this book should one day make a very exciting film.” ―Gary Krupp on The Pope's Jews
“[Thomas's] book will ignite a contentious debate about the interpretation of his evidence and Pius's role during the Holocaust.” ―Publishers Weekly on The Pope's Jews
“An episodic, fast-paced narrative.” ―Kirkus Reviews on The Pope's Jews
“With knowledge cultivated by the serious study of espionage, Gordon Thomas sees through disinformation that has obscured the view of others. With the determination of a great investigator, he provides accounts that were previously unknown, and with the writing skills of a bestselling author, he breathes life into the story of Pope Pius XII and the Jews of World War II. The Pope's Jews is a riveting account of an immensely important but often misunderstood slice of history.” ―Ronald J. Rychlak, author of Hitler, the War, and the Pope and Righteous Gentiles on The Pope's Jews
“A highly readable, and often riveting, book that gives a very good sense not only of the difficulties faced by the Catholics in saving their fellow Jewish Italian citizens but in surviving the daily obstacles of finding food for themselves.” ―Dr. Eugene Fisher, a leading Catholic scholar, The Catholic News Service on The Pope's Jews
“In The Pope's Jews Thomas explores the controversy in depth, revealing dramatic new details. Thomas is no ordinary writer: he is one of the most prominent political and investigative journalist of our time. What gives the Pope's Jews such power is its immediacy. The heroes were many – even though now long forgotten – but Thomas' book brilliantly brings them back to life, paying them homage and providing some long-overdue recognition. All Jews and Catholics – and not only them – should read this vitally important book.” ―William Doino, contributing editor Inside the Vatican on The Pope's Jews
“Thomas is convincing about the Pope's secret work.” ―Social Science on The Pope's Jews
“The Pope during World War II supposedly did little as Europe's Jews were exterminated wholesale. Gordon Thomas sets out to debunk that notion. The Pope's Jews show how Pius oversaw a covert network of priests, nuns and Roman citizens who forged documents and smuggled Jewish refugees to Switzerland, the United States and Palestine while Vatican infirmaries became hiding places. The Pope was considered such a threat that Nazi officials hatched a plot to kidnap him. All the while he had to keep the Germans from finding out about the secret operations that saved hundreds of lives.” ―The Washington Post on The Pope's Jews
“The Pope's Jews offers an extraordinary well-researched account as well as a magnificent portrait of the refugees, the residents of Rome's ghetto and Rome's Catholic community. In doing so Thomas has provided a most welcome addition to the fight to preserve Pius' good name. This book follows the timeline of events as they actually occur: headline making events as the Ardeatine massacre , Hitler's demand for gold, the bombing of Rome by Allied planes and the battle for Rome. To his credit the author lists his sources. In Thomas' The Pope's Jews there is little reason to expect the opening of the archives will alter the end results that the Catholic Church under Pope Pius' leadership, rescued more Jews than any other institution or government.” ―Bill Loughlin, The National Catholic Register on The Pope's Jews
“Thomas' riveting narrative relates the wartime decision in regard to the Jews made by Pope Pius XII. He cites the Pope's orders to open convent and monastery doors to harbour Jews, issuing Vatican passports that allowed thousands of German Jews to leave Nazi Germany. As Thomas notes "the wartime files will fully end the controversy about ‘Hitler's Pope' and silence the argument that he is not worthy to become a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.” ―Jack Fischel, The Jewish Book Council of America on The Pope's Jews
“Literally impossible to put down.” ―The New York Times on Gideon's Spies
“Tells it like it was--and like it is.” ―Meir Amit, former Director General of Mossad on Gideon's Spies
“A compelling read, with any number of disturbing revelations.” ―FHM on Gideon's Spies
“Authoritative history of Britain's spy services by a veteran who has been writing about "the Great Game" for fifty years [and a] well-written page-turner that demystifies the notoriously foggy "wilderness of mirrors.” ―Kirkus Reviews on Secret Wars
“A fine depiction of the multifaceted context of this cause célèbre.” ―Kirkus Reviews on Operation Exodus
About the Author
GORDON THOMAS is a bestselling author of forty books published worldwide, and a leading expert on the often sinister world of secret intelligence. He lives in England.
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The related information is grounded in reality and adds to the knowledge of what is known.
Pope Pius XII had no divisions and had no weapons. Yet, despite the lack of resources he was instrumental in saving many lives. What he had and those who cooperated with him had been made available to the persecuted. On a visit to the United State Pacelli later to become Pius XII "silenced" a popular priest for perceived anti-Semitism. and CBS lost an audience of thirty million every Sunday afternoon.
Even before the war started, he told the church leaders to help Jews leave Germany with the financial assistance of the Church. At pg. 49 of the book the author recounts the morning of September 1, 1939 (The day Hitler invaded Poland).
On that morning, the Pope issued encoded orders to Archbishop Pacini in Poland to start organizing Poland's Jews into hiding places in every available shelter. A second encoded message went to Monsignor Ironically in Istanbul "to prepare thousands of baptismal certificates to give Jews, which would allow them passage through Turkey to the Holy Land."
Other messages were to be sent to all other nuncios and bishops in neutral countries ordering them to increase "all pressure you can on their host governments to provide visas for Polish Jews.".
He also contacted Fr. Alan Weber to set up a network to help German Jews to emigrate from Germany to Rome.
The fact that the baptismal certificates were actually issued and provision made where possible reinforces the conclusion that the messages were sent, received and acted upon While those who did little or nothing to help the persecuted in Germany and Russia wrung their hands criticizing Pius XII, he was one of the few who actually did do something whereby many lives were saved.
In "Jews" by George E. Berkley on page 202 in the paragraph starting `When the deportations began...similar actions are described in the Pope's attempts to aid the persecuted people.
While the world slept and denied what they knew was happening, it appears that somebody was doing something. When the veterans came home they showed us photos of the atrocities.
The holocaust happened and so few did anything. The dead were truly our brothers and sisters.As the facts become known and are known justice to the victims deserves an honest and fair appraisal of what happened and an honest understanding as to the challenges confronting leaders and those who did what they could to help them.
The activities of the Pontiff were necessarily in secret, but the effects of what he ordered such as the preparation of baptismal certificates did take place, people were housed and fed in Church facilities. Playing cat and mouse with Hitler and his goons took extraordinary courage, intelligence and prudence when you are not the cat.
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'Pope Pius XII (r. 1939-1958) has been widely maligned as “Hitler’s Pope,” criticized for perceived...Read more