The Evangelization Station

Best Catholic Links


Search this Site


Home


Contact


Feedback


Mailing List


Pray for Pope Francis


Scroll down for topics


100+ Important Documents in United States History


Anti-Catholicism


Apostolic Fathers of the Church


Articles Worth Your Time


 Biographies & Writings of Notable Catholics


Catholic Apologetics


Catholic Calendar


Catholic News Commentary by Michael Voris, S.T.B.


Catholic Perspectives


Catholic Social Teaching


Christology


Church Around the World


Small animated flag of The Holy See (State of the Vatican City) graphic for a white background

Church Contacts


  Church Documents


Church History


Church Law


Church Teaching


Demonology


Doctors of the Church


Ecumenism


Eschatology

(Death, Heaven, Purgatory, Hell)


Essays on Science


Evangelization


Fathers of the Church


Free Catholic Pamphlets


 Heresies and Falsehoods


How to Vote Catholic


Let There Be Light

Q & A on the Catholic Faith


Links to Churches and Religions


Links to Newspapers, Radio and Television


Links to Recommended Sites


Links to Specialized Agencies


Links to specialized Catholic News services


Liturgy

General Instruction of the Roman Missal


Mariology


Marriage & the Family


Modern Martyrs

Mexican Martyrdom


Moral Theology

****

Pope John Paul II's

Theology of the Body


Movie Reviews (USCCB)


New Age


Occult


Parish Bulletin Inserts


Political Issues


Prayer and Devotions


Pro-Life

****

Hope after Abortion

Project Rachel

****

Help & Information for Men

****


Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults


Sacraments


Scripture


Spirituality


The Golden Legend


Vatican


Vocation Links & Articles

 


What the Cardinals believe...


World Religions


Pope John Paul II

In Memoriam


John Paul II

Beatification


Pope Benedict XVI

In Celebration



Visits to this site

800,000 Saved by Pius XII’s ‘Silence’   

Donald DeMarco

In response, to the controversy stimulated by The Deputy, Jewish historian Pincus Lapide researched the matter and concluded that as many as 800,000 Jewish survivors owe their lives to the pontiff's leadership.

Pope Pius XII
Rolf Hochhuth's play The Deputy, had its world premier in Berlin in the year 1963.

The Deputy is Pius XII, the “deputy” or vicar of Christ. The play was soon translated into English and imported to Broadway in New York City. The playwright contends that Pope Pius XII, when he was the sovereign pontiff of the Catholic Church, might have prevented deportations and the mass murder of so many Jewish people had he spoken out against the Nazi extermination camps. His “silence,” according to Hochhuth, was criminal, inhuman and cowardly.

The storm of controversy The Deputy generated and continues to generate is almost certainly the largest ever raised by a play in the history of drama. Hochhuth himself, an instant celebrity at age 31, added to the storm's intensity when he came to the United States in 1964 accompanied by an unusual amount of press and radio-TV coverage, together with a great outpouring of emotion.

In reviewing the play in 1964, The New York Times stated that its “facts may be in dispute; the history imperfect; the indictment too severe.” America condemned the play as “an atrocious calumny against the memory of a good and courageous world leader occupying the Chair of Peter during one of the great crises of humanity.” Cardinal Francis Spellman called the play “an outrageous desecration of the honour of a great and good man, and an affront to those who know his record as a humanitarian who love him and revere his memory:”

In response to the play's contention that the pontiff was criminally responsible for the death of countless Jews, Jewish historian Pincus Lapide set to work researching the matter. The result was his book, Three Popes and the Jews, in which he defended Pius XII. According to Lapide, as many as 800,000 Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust owe their lives to the pontiff's leadership.

The pope may have been silent, but he was not inactive. In order to be effective in assisting the Jews, he had to act surreptitiously. Had he been too outspoken, he most likely would have invited swift and severe retaliation from both the Fascists in Italy and the Nazis in Germany. When Hochhuth was asked in an interview whether the pope should have protested publicly, granted that his opposition would have retaliated, his answer was categorical: “Absolutely.”

In The Pope and the Holocaust, researchers John Bader and Kateryna Fedoryka provide evidence that both Pope Pius XI and XII were targeted by Hitler because of their pro-humanity efforts which included stern repudiations of anti-Semitism. It was only too clear that the pope could be most helpful if he remained alive and acted covertly. It is now well known how nearly all Catholic convents in Europe were hiding Jews and that the Vatican was instrumental in forging thousands of documents, especially in southern France, to facilitate their emigration.

The pope was involved in the systematic work done by nuncios throughout Nazi-occupied Europe of enlightening the heads of governments in Catholic countries about the true and murderous meaning of the word “resettlement.”

The Jewish community has not been silent about what Pius XII did for his persecuted brethren. In October 1945, the World Jewish Congress made a financial gift to the Vatican in recognition of the work the Holy See performed in rescuing Jews from Fascist and Nazi persecutions. Dr. Israel Goldstein of the same World Jewish Congress said, on the occasion of Pius XII's death, “The Jewish community told me of their deep appreciation of the policy which had by the pontiff for the Vatican during the period of the Nazi-Fascist regime to give shelter and protection to the Jews, whenever possible.

Hochhuth and his supporters alleged that Pope John XXIII would have acted differently had he been the pope instead of Pius XII. They cited with admiration Roncalli's (John XIII's surname) rescue record as apostolic delegate in Istanbul. But Roncalli never failed to point out that the reportedly heroic things he did then were done with the approval and even on orders from the Vatican.

The glib way in which thoughtless or uninformed writers condemn Pius XII for his “silence” is a good example of the very propaganda and prejudice that the Nazis themselves exemplified in spreading their doctrine of anti-Semitism.

The “data smog” of endless sound-bites and factoids that our information superhighway supplies often clouds reality. Education is not the mere accumulation of information, but an integrated and often complex understanding of how things really are or truly have been.

One cannot begin to take steps to eradicate prejudice by exchanging an old prejudice for a new one. Factoids travel faster than truth. This itself is a truth that cannot be ignored in the continuing fight against prejudice.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

DeMarco, Donald. “800,000 Saved by Pius XII's `Silence'.” Catholic Register (May 18, 1998).

 

webmaster  www.evangelizationstation.com

Copyright © 2004 Victor Claveau. All Rights Reserved