Pope Pius XII Hero of the Holocaust

 Pope Pius XII had opposed Hitler from the beginning.  No one did more to help the Jews than he did.  Jewish leaders around the world including Golda Meir, Israel's Foreign Minister, to Jewish physicist Albert Einstein to Rabbis from around the world had nothing but praise for Pope Pius XII. 

This perspective began to change in 1963 when the fictitious play called The Deputy portrayed the Pope as by being silent in regards to the horrors committed by the Third Reich.  Now, many falsely accuse the Pope of furthering the Nazi atrocities during WWW II.  And the testimonies of the Jewish leaders of that time have been ignored as if their reliability as to what actually happened during WWW II was somehow questionable. 

Now, just recently a KGB agent who defected to the west, admitted that the fictitious play The Deputy was a communist plot concocted by them to destroy Pope Pius XII’s reputation as well as that of the Vatican

Below you will find excerpts from several historians including many Jews who have documented Pope Pius XII’s valiant behavior as had been attested to by the Jews of that time.  Most of the information below is easily verifiable. 

Pope Pius XII (born March 2, 1876; died October 9, 1958) was pope from 1939 until 1958. He was born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli.


A cartoon of Pope Pius XII

Notice the following incontrovertible facts:

1.  Pope Pius XII is identified by "Pacelli,"   which was his name as a Cardinal, before being elevated to the Papacy.

2.  The woman has obviously distinctive Jewish characteristics.

3.  Pacelli is mocked as being Anti-Nazi.

4.  The date of the cartoon is July 1937.  This is important.  Those who have been attacking Pope Pius XII  claim that if he had opposed Nazism then Hitler would have never been able to commit his atrocities against the Jews.  These attackers of the Pope have since been forced to admit that the Pope did come to the aid of the Jews after 1942 AD, however they claim that by then it was to late.  This cartoon demonstrates that Pope Pius's opposition to Hitler was much earlier.

5.  The source of the cartoon is a Nazi wishing to malign Pius XII.  Therefore, the source is not biased toward Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII.

6.  It is objective data, not just some opinion of a person living today. 



See the selected quotes from the following:

Three Jews and a Pope

By Sister Margherita Marchione, Ph.D.

No Pope throughout history did more than Pope John Paul II to create closer relations with the Jewish community, to oppose anti-Semitism, and to make certain that the evils of the Holocaust never occur again. … Pope John Paul II … declared that “the Jews are our dearly beloved brothers,” and indeed “our elder brothers in faith.” …

It is important to note:

1. The Holy See's February 9, 1916 condemnation of anti-Semitism, which Eugenio Pacelli (the future Pius XII), then working in the Secretary of State's office, helped formulate. [This statement appeared in the New York Times, April 17, 1916 under the headline: “Papal Bull Urges Equality for Jews.”]

2. The January 22, 1943 report written by the Nazi's Reich Central Security Office, which condemned Pius XII's 1942 Christmas Address for “clearly speaking on behalf of the Jews” and which accused the Pontiff of being a “mouthpiece of the Jewish War Criminals.”

[Also see The New York Times editorials praising Pope Pius XII on Christmas Day in 1941.  It states:  “The voice of Pius XII is a lonely voice in the silence and darkness enveloping Europe this Christmas. … His program … calls for … equal treatment for minorities, freedom from religious persecution. … the Pope put himself squarely against Hitlerism.”] ...

3. The Nazi plan, reported in the July 5, 1998 issue of the Milan newspaper Il Giornale, which described Hilter's plan to “massacre Pius XII with the entire Vatican,” because of the “Papal protest in favor of the Jews.” …

The Jewish chaplain of the Fifth American Army [stated during a Thanksgiving service in Rome’s Jewish Temple]: “If it had not been for the truly substantial assistance and the help given to Jews by the Vatican and by Rome’s ecclesiastical authorities, hundreds of refugees and thousands of Jewish refugees would have undoubtedly perished before Rome was liberated.” (L’Osservatore Romano, July 30, 1944). ...

The truth of the matter is that Pope Pius XII condemned Hitler and protested more than 60 times. Politically the pope could do nothing; however, in a humanitarian effort to save the lives of Jews and other victims of Nazism, he did more than any other world leader!


“Pius XII and the Jews,”  By historian and Rabbi David G. Dalin,   which was published in The Weekly Standard Magazine.  This article is also on the web.  See Feb. 26, 2001 for the article in their BOOK  AND  ART  Section at the above URL.

... Given the recent attacks, the time has come for a new defense of Pius—because, despite allegations to the contrary, the best historical evidence now confirms both that Pius XII was not silent and that almost no one at the time thought him so.

In January 1940, for instance, the pope issued instructions for Vatican Radio to reveal "the dreadful cruelties of uncivilized tyranny" the Nazis were inflicting on Jewish and Catholic Poles. Reporting the broadcast the following week, the Jewish Advocate of Boston praised it for what it was: an "outspoken denunciation of German atrocities in Nazi Poland, declaring they affronted the moral conscience of mankind." The New York Times editorialized: "Now the Vatican has spoken, with authority that cannot be questioned, and has confirmed the worst intimations of terror which have come out of the Polish darkness." In England, the Manchester Guardian hailed Vatican Radio as "tortured Poland's most powerful advocate."  ...

In March 1935, he wrote an open letter to the bishop of Cologne calling the Nazis "false prophets with the pride of Lucifer."   ...

The Nazis were "diabolical," he told friends privately. Hitler "is completely obsessed," he said to his long-time secretary, Sister Pascalina. "All that is not of use to him, he destroys; . . . this man is capable of trampling on corpses." Meeting in 1935 with the heroic anti-Nazi Dietrich von Hildebrand, he declared, "There can be no possible reconciliation" between Christianity and Nazi racism; they were like "fire and water."   ...

Indeed, throughout the 1930s, Pacelli was widely lampooned in the Nazi press as Pius XI's "Jew-loving" cardinal, because of the more than fifty-five protests he sent the Germans as the Vatican secretary of state.   ...

When French bishops issued pastoral letters in 1942 attacking deportations, Pius sent his nuncio to protest to the Vichy government against "the inhuman arrests and deportations of Jews from the French-occupied zone to Silesia and parts of Russia." Vatican Radio commented on the bishops' letters six days in a row—at a time when listening to Vatican Radio was a crime in Germany and Poland for which some were put to death. ("Pope Is Said to Plead for Jews Listed for Removal from France," the New York Times headline read on August 6, 1942. "Vichy Seizes Jews; Pope Pius Ignored," the Times reported three weeks later.) In retaliation, in the fall of 1942, Goebbels's office distributed ten million copies of a pamphlet naming Pius XII as the "pro-Jewish pope" and explicitly citing his interventions in France.   ...

A deeper examination reveals the consistent pattern. Writers like Cornwell and Zuccotti see the pope's 1941 Christmas address, for example, as notable primarily for its failure to use the language we would use today. But contemporary observers thought it quite explicit. In its editorial the following day, the New York Times declared, "The voice of Pius XII is a lonely voice in the silence and darkness enveloping Europe this Christmas. . . . In calling for a ‘real new order' based on ‘liberty, justice, and love,' . . . the pope put himself squarely against Hitlerism."

So, too, the pope's Christmas message the following year—in which he expressed his concern "for those hundreds of thousands who, without any fault of their own, sometimes only by reason of their nationality or race, are marked down for death or progressive extinction"—was widely understood to be a public condemnation of the Nazi extermination of the Jews. Indeed, the Germans themselves saw it as such: "His speech is one long attack on everything we stand for. . . . He is clearly speaking on behalf of the Jews. . . . He is virtually accusing the German people of injustice toward the Jews, and makes himself the mouthpiece of the Jewish war criminals," an internal Nazi analysis reads.   ...

A Dutch bishops' pastoral letter condemning "the unmerciful and unjust treatment meted out to Jews" was read in Holland's Catholic churches in July 1942. The well-intentioned letter—which declared that it was inspired by Pius XII—backfired. As Pinchas Lapide notes: "The saddest and most thought-provoking conclusion is that whilst the Catholic clergy in Holland protested more loudly, expressly, and frequently against Jewish persecutions than the religious hierarchy of any other Nazi-occupied country, more Jews—some 110,000 or 79 percent of the total—were deported from Holland to death camps."   ...

But Zuccotti, ... Cornwell's vicious attack in Hitler's Pope ...  All are about using the sufferings of Jews fifty years ago to force changes upon the Catholic Church today.

It is this abuse of the Holocaust that must be rejected. A true account of Pius XII would arrive, I believe, at exactly the opposite to Cornwell's conclusion: Pius XII was not Hitler's pope, but the closest Jews had come to having a papal supporter—and at the moment when it mattered most. 


Quotes From Catalyst Magazine:  
Pope Pius XII  Hero of the Holocaust

 June 1998  Catalyst Magazine:

by Sister Margherita Marchione

... principles against racial persecution and genocide as set forth in the encyclical, "Mit Brennender Sorge" issued in 1937. As Secretary of State, the future Pope Pius XII played an important part in drafting the document. In fact, upon its publication, the Nazi press carried vulgar cartoons and claims that "Pius XI was half Jewish and Cardinal Pacelli was all Jewish." Two months before that anti-semitic horrors of Kristallnacht (The Night of the Broken Glass), Pius XI stated: "Anti-Semitism is inadmissible; spiritually we are all Semites." (Pius XII: Greatest Dishonoured, 1980, p.45)

The day after Cardinal Pacelli’s election to the Papacy, the Nazi newspaper Berliner Morgenpost (March 3, 1939) stated its position clearly: "The election of Cardinal Pacelli is not accepted with favor in Germany because he was always opposed to Nazism and practically determined the policies of the Vatican under his predecessor."

With the start of the war in September 1939, Pius XII pleaded that "in occupied territory the lives, the property, the honor, the religious convictions of the inhabitants will be respected." The following month he issued "Summi Pontificatus," the encyclical condemning radicalism.

In his 1939 Christmas message to the Cardinals, Pius XII referred to the invasion of Poland and related events: "We have been forced to witness a series of acts which are irreconcilable, both with the practices of international law, and with the principles of natural right based on the elementary feelings of humanity; acts which demonstrate in what chaotic and vicious circles we are now living….

"We find premeditated aggression against a small work-loving, peaceful people on the pretext of a threat which never existed nor was possible. We find atrocities and illicit use of means of destruction against old men, women and children. We also find contempt for freedom and for human life, from which originate acts which cry to God for vengeance." (The Tablet of London, December 30, 1939, p. 748)

On January 27, 1940, Vatican Radio proclaimed to the world the dreadful cruelties marked with uncivilized tyranny that the Nazis were inflicting on the Jewish and Catholic Poles. The German ambassador protested while the Nazis jammed the broadcasts.

Among the ninety-three Papal communications to German bishops in World War II, a letter from Pius XII to Bishop von Preysing of Berlin is dated April 30, 1943: "It was for us a great consolation to learn that Catholics, in particular those of your Berlin diocese, have shown such charity towards the sufferings of the Jews. We express our paternal gratitude and profound sympathy for Monsignor Lichtenberg, who asked to share the lot of the Jews in the concentration camps [Dachau] and who spoke up against their persecution in the pulpit.

"As far as episcopal declarations are concerned, We leave to local bishops the responsibility of deciding what to publish from Our communications. The danger of reprisals and pressures – as well perhaps of other measures due to the length and psychology of the war – counsel reserve. In spite of good reasons for Our open intervention, there are others equally good for avoiding greater evils by not interfering Our experience in 1942, when We allowed the free publication of certain Pontifical documents addressed to the Faithful justifies this attitude." [The Dutch bishops’ declaration on behalf of the Jews, resulted in the deportation from Amsterdam to Auschwitz of ninety per cent of them, including baptized Jews.]

...  It is well known that, in consonance with the Pope’s direct urging, hundreds of convents, monasteries, and other religious buildings were opened, not only in Italy, but also in Poland, France, Belgium and Hungary, to shelter and hide thousands of men, women, and children from Nazi cruelties.

Everywhere those protecting Jews and other refugees were not immune from suspicion and arrest, were sent to prison, and were treated with brutality and contempt. Many were murdered in reprisal killings. Priests and nuns were also arrested, imprisoned, and subjected to brutal interrogation. Many were sent to concentration camps and gas chambers.

In his book The Last Three Popes and the Jews (Souvenir Press, London, 1967), Jewish historian Pinchas Lapide concludes that during the Nazi period "Pius XII, the Holy See, the Vatican’s Nuncios, and the whole Catholic Church saved between 700,000 and 850,000 Jews from certain death."   ...

Jewish physicist Albert Einstein testified to his appreciation of Pius XII’s actions in an article published in Time magazine (December 23, 1940, p.40): "Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I had never any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom."

Marc Saperstein, a professor of Jewish history and director of the program in Judaic studies at the George Washington University wrote: "The suggestion that Christian doctrines or practice led directly to the Nazi death camps is misleading and inappropriate…. The fundamental responsibility for the Holocaust lies with the Nazi perpetrators. Not with Pope Pius XII. Not with the Church. Not with the teachings of the Christian faith." (Washington Post, April 1, 1998) 

December 1999 Catalyst Magazine:

Ronald J. Rychlak

 [See this section for the real motives of John Cornwell and the hidden agenda behind his book.] 

April 1999 Catalyst Magazine:

by Sr. Margherita Marchione

Members of the media seem to deliberately falsify historical facts about the Holocaust, periodically renewing their attacks on Pope Pius XII. Unfortunately these false statements can engender the same hateful feelings that in the past have led to both anti-Catholicism and anti-Semitism.

In the words of the Jewish-Hungarian scholar, Jeno Levai, it is a "particularly regrettable irony that the one person [Pope Pius XII] in all of occupied Europe who did more than anyone else to halt the dreadful crime and alleviate its consequences is today made the scapegoat for the failures of others."   …

In 1940, in a letter to be read in all churches entitled Opere et Caritate ("By Work and by Love"), Pope Pius XII instructed the Catholic bishops of Europe to assist all people suffering from racial discrimination at the hands of the Nazis.

Two years later, on July 26, 1942, the day after the Dutch bishops ordered – in all Catholic churches --- a strong denunciation of the Nazi deportation of Jews, the Nazi occupation officers met in The Hague. The record of the meeting clearly states that because the Catholic bishops interfered in something that did not concern them, deportation of all Catholic Jews would be completed within that week and no appeals for clemency would be considered.

Among those sent to the Auschwitz gas chamber at that time was Edith Stein, a distinguished intellectual who, after her conversion from Judaism to Catholicism, became a Carmelite nun. On October 11, 1998, Edith Stein, known as Sister Benedicta of the Cross (1891-1942), was canonized by Pope John Paul II. Edith Stein was killed because she was Jewish, but is also true that the Nazis sent her and other converts to Auschwitz in retaliation for the Dutch Catholic bishops’ pastoral letter condemning Nazi atrocities. 

March 1998 Catalyst Magazine:


An honest evaluation of Pope Pius XII’s words and actions will exonerate him from false accusations and show that he has been unjustly maligned. ...

The New York Times editorial (December 25, 1942) was specific: "The voice of Pius XII is a lonely voice in the silence and darkness enveloping Europe this Christmas...He is about the only ruler left on the Continent of Europe who dares to raise his voice at all." The Pope’s Christmas message was also interpreted in the Gestapo report: "in a manner never known before...the Pope has repudiated the National Socialist New European Order [Nazism]. It is true, the Pope does not refer to the National Socialists in Germany by name, but his speech is one long attack on everything we stand for. …Here he is clearly speaking on behalf of the Jews."

Perhaps the rest of the world should interpret the Pope’s words as they were meant and, undoubtedly, correctly understood by the Nazis, i.e.: POPE PIUS XII WAS ALWAYS OPPOSED TO NAZISM.

The Jewish Community publicly acknowledged the wisdom of Pope Pius XII’s diplomacy. In September 1945, Dr. Joseph Nathan—who represented the Hebrew Commission—stated "Above all, we acknowledge the Supreme Pontiff and the religious men and women who, executing the directives of the Holy Father, recognized the persecuted as their brothers and, with great abnegation, hastened to help them, disregarding the terrible dangers to which they were exposed." 


by James Akin

... On April 28, 1935, four years before the War even started, Pacelli gave a 
speech that aroused the attention of the world press. Speaking to an audience of 250,000 pilgrims in Lourdes, France, the future Pius XII stated that the Nazis "are in reality only miserable plagiarists who dress up old errors with new tinsel. It does not make any difference whether they flock to the banners of social revolution, whether they are guided by a false concept of the world and of life, or whether they are possessed by the superstition of a race and blood cult." [3] It was talks like this, in addition to private remarks and numerous notes of protest that Pacelli sent to Berlin in his capacity as Vatican Secretary of State, that earned him a reputation as an enemy of the Nazi party.

The Germans were likewise displeased with the reigning pontiff, Pius XI, who showed himself to be a unrelenting opponent of the new German "ideals"—even writing an entire encyclical, Mit Brennender Sorge (1937), to condemn them. When Pius XI died in 1939, the Nazis abhorred the prospect that Pacelli might be elected his successor.

Dr. Joseph Lichten, a Polish Jew who served as a diplomat and later an official of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, writes: 
"Pacelli had obviously established his position clearly, for the Fascist governments of both Italy and Germany spoke out vigorously against the possibility of his election to succeed Pius XI in March of 1939, though the cardinal secretary of state had served as papal nuncio in Germany from 1917 to 1929.  ...

Former Israeli diplomat and now Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Pinchas Lapide states that Pius XI  "had good reason to make Pacelli the architect of his anti-Nazi policy.  Of the forty-four speeches which the Nuncio Pacelli had made on German soil between 1917 and 1929, at least forty contained attacks on Nazism or condemnations of Hitler's doctrines ... 
Pacelli, who never met the Fuhrer, called it 'neo-Paganism.'  " [5]   ...

A few weeks after Pacelli was elected pope, the German Reich’s Chief Security Service issued a then-secret report on the new Pope. Rabbi Lapide provides an excerpt:

"Pacelli has already made himself prominent by his attacks on National Socialism during his tenure as Cardinal Secretary of State, a fact which earned him the hearty approval of the Democratic States during the papal elections. . . . How much Pacelli is celebrated as an ally of the Democracies is especially emphasized in the French Press." [6] 
.. . 
Notice in particular that the Pope was not merely allowing Jews to be hidden in different church buildings around Rome. He was hiding them in the Vatican itself and in his own summer home, Castel Gandolfo. His success in protecting Italian Jews against the Nazis was remarkable. Lichten records that after the War was over it was determined that only 8,000 Jews were taken from Italy by the Nazis [16]—far less than in other European countries. In June,1944, Pius XII sent a telegram to Admiral Miklos Horthy, the ruler of Hungary, and was able to halt the planned deportation of 800,000 Jews from that country. 
.. . 
Rabbi Safran of Bucharest, Romania, sent 
a note of thanks to the papal nuncio on April 7, 1944: "It is not easy for us to find the right words to express the warmth and consolation we experienced because of the concern of the supreme pontiff, who offered a large sum to relieve the sufferings of deported Jews. . . . The Jews of Romania will never forget these facts of historic importance." [18]

The Chief Rabbi of Rome, Israel Zolli, also made a statement of thanks: "What the Vatican did will be indelibly and eternally engraved in our hearts. . . . Priests and even high prelates did things that will forever be an honor to Catholicism." [19]

After the war, Zolli became a Catholic and, to honor the Pope for what he had done for the Jews and the role he had played in Zolli’s conversion, took the name "Eugenio"—the Pope’s given name—as his own baptismal name. Zolli stressed that his conversion was for theological reasons, which was certainly true, but the fact that the Pope had worked so hard on behalf of the Jews no doubt played a role in inspiring him to look at the truths of Christianity.


[3] Robert Graham, S.J., ed., Pius XII and the Holocaust (New Rochelle, New York: Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, 1988), 106.

[4] Joseph Lichten, "A Question of Moral Judgment: Pius XII and the Jews," in Graham, 107.

[5] Pinchas E. Lapide, Three Popes and the Jews (New York: Hawthorn, 1967), 118.

[6] Ibid., 121. 
[18] Lichten, 130. 
[19] American Jewish Yearbook 1944-1945, 233. 


Point by Point Rebuttal by Church Historian Dr. Peter Gumpel 
ZENIT - september 16, 1999

Typical is the fact that thousands of Polish and other priests were killed by the Nazis and that the standard work of Professor Dr. Ulrich von Hehl (now in its third edition): "Priester unter Hitlers Terror" (Priests -- in Germany -- Under the Terror of Hitler) is never mentioned or quoted by Cornwell. On the whole, one must say that Cornwell, who has never lived in a highly organized criminal police state, is totally unaware of the situation prevailing in such a state and that, in consequence, a great many of his judgements, appraisals, suggestions, etc., are completely unrealistic, utopian and anachronistic.  From an historical point of view, one must be able to understand the situation as it was then and not judge it with the hindsight from today’s situation in free countries. To proceed in such an irresponsible manner is a capital mistake which is everywhere present in the book of Cornwell. 


by Dimitri Cavalli

In a March 6, 1939 editorial, "Leadership for Peace," the Palestine Post in Jerusalem said: "Pius XII has clearly shown that he intends to carry on the late Pope's [Pius XI] work for freedom and peace... we remember that he must have had a large part to play in the recent Papal opposition to pernicious race theories and certain aspects of totalitarianism ..."

In praising Cardinal Pacelli's election, the Jewish Chronicle in London on March 10, quoted an anti-Nazi speech he delivered in Lourdes in April 1935 and the hostile statements expressed about him in the Nazi press. "It is interesting to recall... on January 22 [1939], the Voelkischer Beobachter published pictures of Cardinal Pacelli and other Church dignitaries beneath a collective heading of 'Agitators in the Vatican against Fascism and National Socialism,"' the Jewish Chronicle noted. ...

Pius XII's decision to appoint Luigi Cardinal Maglione as the Vatican's new Secretary of State also brought favorable reactions. The March 16, 1939 Zionist Review in London said that the Cardinal's appointment "confirms the view that the new Pope means to conduct an anti-Nazi and anti-Fascist policy."

Certainly, such statements made by Jewish newspapers and organizations show they considered the newly elected Pope Pius XII a friend of democracy and peace, and an enemy of racism and totalitarianism. Cardinal Pacelli's role in negotiating the concordat with the Nazis did not cause any concern. Instead, many Jews cited his anti-Nazi speeches, and his role as Vatican Secretary of State, which helped produce the 1937 anti-Nazi encyclical, Mit brennender Sorge, and numerous protests against the persecution of the Catholic Church in Germany. ...

On January 26, 1940, the Jewish Advocate in Boston reported, "The Vatican radio this week broadcast an outspoken denunciation of German atrocities in Nazi [occupied] Poland, declaring they affronted the moral conscience of mankind." Exiled Polish Cardinal August Hlond of Gnezo and Poznan had given the Vatican detailed reports about the Nazi persecution of the Church in Poland. On the Pope's orders, Vatican Radio broadcast the cardinal's reports. The front-page story quoted one Vatican Radio broadcast as saying, "Jews and Poles are being herded into separate ghettos, hermetically sealed and pitifully inadequate for the economic subsistence of the millions designed to live there." This broadcast was also important because it gave independent confirmation of media reports about Nazi atrocities, which were previously dismissed as Allied propaganda. ...

By early 1942, the Nazis began to implement their plans to exterminate the Jews. The Vatican had no practical way of bringing these plans to a halt, but sought to assist endangered Jews and other victims on a case-by-case basis. This assistance ranged from actively opposing the deportations to meeting the material and spiritual needs of refugees. For example, on April 14, 1942, Rabbi Naftali Adler and Dr. Max Pereles, the representatives of thousands of Jewish refugees interned at the Ferramonti concentration camp in southern Italy, sent a letter of thanks to the Pope, who sent "an abundant supply of clothing and linen" to the children at the camp, and took care of the prisoners' other needs. "This noble and generous gift proves anew what the whole world knows and admires that Your Holiness is... also the paternal guardian and promoter of the ideal of humanity for all mankind," they wrote. (Actes, VIII, pp. 505-507). ...

The many tributes to Pius XII began in July [1944]. "It is gradually being revealed that Jews have been sheltered within the walls of the Vatican during the German occupation of Rome," reported the July 7 Jewish News in Detroit. A July 14 editorial in the Congress Weekly, the official journal of the American Jewish Congress, added that the Vatican also provided Jewish refugees with kosher food.

Also on July 14, American Hebrew in New York published an interview with Chief Rabbi Israel Zolli of Rome. "The Vatican has always helped the Jews and the Jews are very grateful for the charitable work of the Vatican, all done without distinction of race," Rabbi Zolli said. After the war, Rabbi Zolli converted to Catholicism, which brought him much severe criticism from some Jews. Dr. Zolli's conversion was widely attributed to his gratitude for what the Pope did for Jews. In his 1954 memoirs, Before the Dawn, however, Dr. Zolli strongly denied this assertion. Instead, he claimed to have witnessed a vision of Christ, who called him to the faith. ...

During the following months, Rabbi Stephen Wise, the president of the American Jewish Congress, Chief Rabbi Joseph Hertz of the British Empire, composer Irving Berlin, Congressman Emmanuel Cellar of Brooklyn, the Emergency Committee to Save the Jews of Europe, the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada, and the World Agudas Organization also lauded Pius XII for helping endangered Jews. At the time, Rabbi Wise also condemned Christian indifference toward the extermination of Jews.  ...

Pope Pius XII died on October 8, 1958. Many Jewish organizations and newspapers around the world mourned his passing, and recalled his wartime efforts to rescue Jews. At the United Nations, Golda Meir, Israel's Foreign Minister, said, "When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the Pope was raised for the victims. The life of our times was enriched by a voice speaking out on the great moral truths above the tumult of daily conflict." The Zionist Record (October 17) in South Africa published Meir's moving eulogy along with tributes from Jewish organizations to the late Pope.

"Adherents of all creeds and parties will recall how Pius XII faced the responsibilities of his exalted office with courage and devotion," declared the Jewish Chronicle in London on October 10. "Before, during, and after the Second World War, he constantly preached the message of peace. Confronted by the monstrous cruelties of Nazism, Fascism, and Communism, he repeatedly proclaimed the virtues of humanity and compassion."

In the Canadian Jewish Chronicle (October 17), Rabbi J. Stern recalled that Pius XII "made it possible for thousands of Jewish victims of Nazism and Fascism to be hidden away..." In the November 6 edition of the Jewish Post in Winnipeg, William Zukerman, the former American Hebrew columnist, wrote that no other leader "did more to help the Jews in their hour of greatest tragedy, during the Nazi occupation of Europe, than the late Pope."

Representatives of the World Jewish Congress, American Jewish Congress, American Jewish Committee, Synagogue Council of America, New York Board of Rabbis, the Anti-Defamation League, Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, Rabbinical Council of America, National Council of Jewish Women, and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations also gracefully eulogized Pope Pius XII. The Chief Rabbis of London, Rome, Jerusalem, France, Egypt, Argentina and many other Jewish newspapers also paid tribute to the late Pope.


Letter Shows Future Pius XII Opposed Hitler in 1923


Inside The Vatican, a Catholic periodical,  announced on March 4, 2003 that an extraordinary letter emerged from the Vatican archives.


The letter, written in 1923 by [Eugenio Pacelli] the future Pius XII, proves his opposition to Nazi anti-Semitism. …

The letter is dated November 14, 1923, and was written by Eugenio Pacelli, at that time the Holy See’s nuncio (ambassador) in Bavaria (southern Germany), to Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, Vatican Secretary of State under Pope Pius XI (1922-1939).

The letter refers to Adolf Hitler’s failed attempt to take over the local government in Munich in the National Socialist Party’s "putsch" of November 9, 1923 -- just five days before the day this letter was written.

In his letter, Pacelli -- contrary to the allegations of a number of recent authors like John Cornwell (author of "Hitler’s Pope") on the relations between Pius XII and the Nazis -- denounces the National Socialist movement as an anti-Catholic threat and at the same time notes that the cardinal of Munich had already condemned acts of persecution against Bavaria's Jews.

Therefore, this letter is previously unpublished proof that Pacelli was in opposition to Nazism, seen both as anti-Catholic and as anti-Semitic, already in 1923 -- 10 years before Hitler came to power, and 16 years before Pacelli was elected Pope Pius XII.

The letter thus is important evidence against the charge of Cornwell and others that Pius XII was in some way sympathetic to the Nazi regime. … 

Here [Click at this web site]  is the original Italian text of the letter, which bears protocol number 28961 and is dated November 14, 1923, and which deals with the anti-Catholic nature of the nationalist movement in Munich. ... 

Here is an English translation of the text:

"The facts about the nationalist uprising, which in recent days has disturbed the city of Munich (see dispatches No. 443, 444 and 445) are already known to your most reverend eminence from the Italian press; I therefore do not need to repeat them in this respectful report. Still, upon one point, which I alluded to already in dispatch No. 444, I believe it opportune to communicate to Your Eminence some further details, that is, regarding the demonstrations of an anti-Catholic character which accompanied the uprising itself, but which have not surprised those who have followed the publications of the papers of the right-wing radicals, like the Volkischer Beobachter (Folkish Observer) and Heimatland (Homeland).

"This character was revealed above all in the systematic attacks on the Catholic clergy with which the followers of Hitler and Ludendorff, especially in street speeches, stirred up the population, thus exposing the ecclesiastics to insults and abuse.

"The attacks were especially focused on this learned and zealous Cardinal Archbishop, who, in a sermon he gave in the Duomo on the 4th of this month and in a letter of his to the Chancellor of the Reich published by the Wolff Agency on the 7th, had denounced the persecutions against the Jews.

"To this was added the unfounded and absurd rumor in the city, probably spread intentionally, that accused the cardinal of having changed von Kahr’s mind, who, as is known, while at the beginning in the Bürgerbraukeller (beer hall) had apparently, to avoid violence, adhered to the Hitler-Ludendorff coup d’etat, later came out against it.

"Thus is was that, during the confusing events of last Saturday, a numerous group of demonstrators gathered in front of the front door of the bishop’s residence, shouting "Down with the Cardinal!" ("Nieder mit dem Kardinal!")

"His Eminence was by good fortune absent from Munich, having left that day to consecrate a new church in a town near Müldorf; but, when he returned in his car the following evening, he was greeted by a similar hostile demonstration. These anti-Catholic sentiments also manifested themselves in chaotic student gatherings, the day before yesterday, in the University, which were attended by people who did not attend the university (and were not even from Bavaria) obliging the Rector in the end to close the university until further notice. Also in the university, object recently of repeated acts of the charitable solicitude and generosity of the Holy Father on behalf of the students, there were denunciations of the Pope, of the Archbishop, of the Catholic Church, of the clergy, of von Kahr, who, even though he is a Protestant, was characterized by one of the orators as an honorary member of the Society of Jesus (Ehrenmitglied der Jesuiten)."

A Former Russian KGB Admits to Assailing the Character of Pope Pius XII

Moscow’s Assault on the Vatican

Published originally by National Review.

Ion Mihai Pacepa

The KGB made corrupting the Church a priority.

The Soviet Union was never comfortable living in the same world with the Vatican. The most recent disclosures document that the Kremlin was prepared to go to any lengths to counter the Catholic Church’s strong anti-Communism.

In March 2006 an Italian parliamentary commission concluded “beyond any reasonable doubt that the leaders of the Soviet Union took the initiative to eliminate the pope Karol Wojtyla,” in retaliation for his support to the dissident Solidarity movement in Poland. …

In my other life, when I was at the center of Moscow’s foreign-intelligence wars, I myself was caught up in a deliberate Kremlin effort to smear the Vatican, by portraying Pope Pius XII as a coldhearted Nazi sympathizer. … The story has never before been told. …


Battling the Church

Eugenio Pacelli, by then Pope Pius XII, was selected as the KGB’s main target, its incarnation of evil, because he had departed this world in 1958. “Dead men cannot defend themselves” was the KGB’s latest slogan. …

Because Pius XII had served as the papal nuncio in Munich and Berlin when the Nazis were beginning their bid for power, the KGB wanted to depict him as an anti-Semite who had encouraged Hitler’s Holocaust. The hitch was that the operation was not to give the least hint of Soviet bloc involvement. The whole dirty job had to be carried out by Western hands …

The KGB produces a play

In 1963, General Ivan Agayants, the famous chief of the KGB’s disinformation department, landed in Bucharest to thank us for our help. He told us that “Seat-12” had materialized into a powerful play attacking Pope Pius XII, entitled The Deputy … Agayants also told us that The Deputy’s producer, Erwin Piscator, was a devoted Communist… He (Agayants) was a living legend in the field of desinformatsiya. …

The Deputy saw the light in 1963 as the work of an unknown West German named Rolf Hochhuth, under the title Der Stellvertreter. Ein christliches Trauerspiel (The Deputy, a Christian Tragedy). Its central thesis was that Pius XII had supported Hitler and encouraged him to go ahead with the Jewish Holocaust. It immediately ignited a huge controversy around Pius XII, who was depicted as a cold, heartless man more concerned about Vatican properties than about the fate of Hitler’s victims. …

Today, many people who have never heard of The Deputy are sincerely convinced that Pius XII was a cold and evil man who hated the Jews and helped Hitler do away with them. As KGB chairman Yury Andropov, the unparalleled master of Soviet deception, used to tell me, people are more ready to believe smut than holiness.


Falsehoods undermined

Toward the mid 1970s, The Deputy started running out of steam. In 1974 Andropov conceded to us that, had we known then what we know today, we would never have gone after Pope Pius XII. What now made the difference was newly released information showing that Hitler, far from being friendly with Pius XII, had in fact been plotting against him.

Just a few days before Andropov’s admission, the former supreme commander of the German SS (Schutzstaffel) squadron in Italy during World War II, General Friedrich Otto Wolff, had been released from jail and confessed that in 1943 Hitler had ordered him to abduct Pope Pius XII from the Vatican. That order had been so hush-hush that it never turned up after the war in any Nazi archive. Nor had it come out at any of the many debriefings of Gestapo and SS officers conducted by the victorious Allies. In his confession Wolff claimed that he had replied to Hitler that his order would take six weeks to carry out. Hitler, who blamed the pope for the overthrow of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, wanted it done immediately. Eventually Wolff persuaded Hitler that there would be a great negative response if the plan were implemented, and the Führer dropped it. …

Israel Zoller, the chief rabbi of Rome between 1943-44, when Hitler took over that city, devoted an entire chapter of his memoirs to praising the leadership of Pius XII. “The Holy Father sent by hand a letter to the bishops instructing them to lift the enclosure from convents and monasteries, so that they could become refuges for the Jews. I know of one convent where the Sisters slept in the basement, giving up their beds to Jewish refugees.” … On February 13, 1945, Rabbi Zoller was baptized by Rome’s auxiliary bishop Luigi Traglia in the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli. In gratitude to Pius XII, Zoller took the Christian name of Eugenio (the pope’s name)