- Series: Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy
- Paperback: 424 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press; 1st Paperback Edition edition (March 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300093101
- ISBN-13: 978-0300093100
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,880,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy 1st Paperback Edition Edition
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Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy describes what the Vatican did--or did not do--to help Jews in Italy in World War II. Author Susan Zuccotti, who has written two other books about the Holocaust, demonstrates that little help of any kind came from Popes Pius XI and XII or their senior officials. She finds that the most significant gestures of help offered by the Church to Jews in Italy were made by clerics and believers--mostly nuns, monks, and priests--uninvolved in top-level Vatican discussions. By 1942, the pope "knew and believed a great deal about the exterminations." In 1943, when Germans took control of northern and central Italy and attempted to exterminate the region's Jewish population, the Vatican knew very clearly the magnitude of the genocide. The Vatican's silence, Zuccotti argues, still resonates in the Church's statements about the Holocaust today.
The Church has not yet completed the process of dealing honestly with its history during the Holocaust. It has not yet made clear whether popes and high Vatican officials are to be included among its sons and daughters in every age who sometimes committed regrettable errors.Zuccotti's research ranges wide, from the anti-Jewish tone of Jesuit publications in the years leading up to World War II to contemporary interviews with Holocaust survivors. Her book is a significant addition to a chapter of Christian history that the Church has still to reckon with. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Even before WWII ended in Europe, defenders of Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli), according to the author, were busy manufacturing a myth that the Holy Father directly and indirectly was responsible for saving the lives of "hundreds of thousands" of Jews. Coming both from Jews and Christians, these testimonials seemed to be proof that Pius XII personally intervened in the rescue of Jews from the Shoah, a view supported by the Jesuit Robert Graham, Sister Margherita Marchione, the Catholic League and the current pope, John Paul II.However, a recent spate of books, including John Cornwell's Hitler's Pope and Michael Phayer's The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, have severely damaged the claims of papal intervention. To definitively separate myth from reality, historian Zuccotti's new book, while hindered somewhat by the partial accessibility of Vatican archives to scholars, is an authoritative, balanced and, in the end, devastating indictment of moral failure on the part of the Church as an institution, despite the heroic acts of some of its members.Indeed, Zuccotti clearly delineates a history of anti-Semitism in Italy and the Vatican, including the policies of Pacelli's immediate predecessor, Pope Pius XI, who, despite his "hidden encyclical" denouncing racism, was, she says, publicly timid in the face of fascism and Nazism. Moreover, she maintains that her primary source, the 11-volume Actes et documents du Saint Sige relatifs la seconde guerre mondiale, a collection selectively put together after the war by the handpicked representatives of the Vatican, is "more than adequate" to determine what the Vatican "actually did to help Jews in Italy, the country where they enjoyed the greatest opportunity to be useful." What emerges is a complex picture: According to this account, Pius XII was informed early on about the massacres taking place on the eastern front, but he publicly condemned neither Nazism nor the persecution of the Jews, nor did he provide refuge.Until scholars are permitted full and unfettered access to the archives, the story of the Vatican's actions during the Holocaust must remain incomplete. And until then, Zuccotti's treatise will stand for many as the the greatest access to the truth available.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
In contrast to these and some other authors, Zuccotti presents her arguments by giving fair consideration to both sides of the issue. Her fine scholarship is evident throughout this entire study, which is meticulously annotated and documented, but her writing is directed to general readers of history, rather than to her professional peers. The book makes for very enjoyable reading on this painfully tragic subject.
Anyone who is interested in reading about Eugenio Pacelli (Pope Pius XII) and his efforts--or lack thereof--to reduce or even address the persecution of European Jews before and during World War II should begin with this book.
the life and times of Eugenio Pacelli (Pius XII), I proceeded to delve further into the
"silence"/Holocaust issue. Was Pius XII's witness one of failure or was he truly the angelic shepherd?
UNDER HIS VERY WINDOWS lured me. In Rome, I had walked from the Vatican to the heart of the
Jewish Ghetto, a 1.7 mile distance. The title spoke to me not of the obvious derisive reference to
Pius and the Jews rounded up by the Nazis, but of the author's inability to grasp the significance of her
own "windows" metaphor and of the larger, more complex historic picture--the Vatican at one of its lowests ebbs.
The war years, including Pius XII's virtual incarceration with the diplomatic corps, had followed on the heels
of loss of the papal states/60 years as prisoner of the Vatican, seizure of Rome (the Roman Question).
How surprised I was to find this fascinating subject a laborious read. Laborious because the author listed
authoritative positions then served to discredit them by dismissing such views without proper exploration of
their validity. As Dr. Margherita Marchione notes in SHEPHERD OF SOULS; A PICTORIAL LIFE OF PIUS XII,
"Susan Zuccotti simply ignores the hard evidence that is available. ...she does not consult 900 pages of sworn
depositions for the Pope's beatification, which clearly show that he did everything possible to help the
Jews and other refugees during World War II. She insults Pius XII's memory and Catholic rescuers of
helpless Jews, many of whom I have personally interviewed."
Ann Lackey 7/29/12