All of the sites I’ve researched this on seem to indicate this was said, if it was said by anyone, by not Pope Pius XII, but the Papal Nuncio in Bratislava; I will show later why this does not seem to be the case at all.
A couple of clerics seem to show up here; one is Archbishop Kmetko who seemed to have actually harbored an anti-Semitic attitude. However, the Papal Nuncio of Bratislava, a one Archbishop Giuseppe Burzio, was actually involved this way in World War II:
Ordained in 1924, he later served as the Holy See’s Apostolic Delegate to Bratislava during World War Two. He protested the antisemitism and totalitarianism of the Nazi aligned Slovakian regime of Josef Tiso. Pope Pius XII appointed the 39-year-old Burzio to bring pressure to bare on the Slovakian government. Burzio advised Rome of the deteriorating situation for Jews in the Nazi puppet state, sparking Vatican protests on behalf of Jews. Burzio also lobbied the Slovakian government directly.
In 1942 Burzio and others reported to Tiso that the Germans were murdering Slovakia’s deported Jews. Tiso hesitated and then refused to deport Slovakia’s 24,000 remaining Jews. When the transportation began again in 1943 Burzio challenged Prime Minister Tuka over the extermination of Slovak Jews. The Vatican condemned the renewal of the deportations on 5 May and the Slovakian episcopate issued a pastoral letter condemning totalitarianism and antisemitism on 8 May 1943. In August 1944, the Slovak National Uprising rose against the People’s Party regime. German troops were sent to quell the rebellion and with them came security police charged with rounding up Slovakia’s remaining Jews. Burzio begged Tiso directly to at least spare Catholic Jews from transportation and delivered an admonition from the Pope: "the injustice wrought by his government is harmful to the prestige of his country and enemies will exploit it to discredit clergy and the Church the world over.”
So, let me ask you this. In light of this evidence, do you think the Papal Nuncio of Bratislava, Archbishop Giuseppe Burzio, would have said that?
We must always research every single claim that is made, we must always seek the truth.
It is easy to create a web page that says anything. If this was true we would not find universal praise of Pope Pius XII by the Jews before 1963. In 1963 opinions began to change because of a play called The Deputy. This play was part of a KGB plot to discredit the Vatican. See web site below.
Rather than allow ourselves to be misled by quotes that have no reasonable claim to authenticity, we need to look at quotes that can be documented by physical evidence.
“More than anyone else, we have had
the opportunity to appreciate the
great kindness, filled with compassion
and magnanimity that the Pope
displayed during the terrible years of
persecution and terror” –-Elio Toaff, Chief Rabbi of Rome
Also, look at
The New York Times editorials praising Pope Pius XII on
Christmas Day in 1941.
See more quotes at
Well the fact that most of the accusations towards Pius XII being anti Semitic come after World War 2 and not during it should give it hint to you why this is suspect. Remember a lot of the people in concentration camps were Christians both Catholics and Protestants. Just two examples of Catholics Edith Stein who was a nun and Maximilian Kolbe. Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was Protestant suffered for speaking out against the Nazis. Now what is did actually help about 800,000 Jews escape to South America. Which is something that the nation state of Israel even recognizes. And contrary to popular belief he in fact did condemned Nazism in the first Papal encyclical ever issued in German. This if I’m not mistaken was issued in 1937 even before Americans were involved in the war effort. Of course I know the American point of view because I’m American
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 only truth of the 800,000 figure is that Pinchas Lapide made a ‘back of an envelope’ calculation and it took on a life of its own. Finding a reputable historian who would agree with the figure/argument is another matter altogether.
I’m saying this as somebody who thinks that Pius XII, between a rock and a hard place, made the decisions and contributions he could make. The defence of the Pope against uninformed denunciations isn’t helped by equally uninformed claims, however.
That will be a lot easier to say when the Vatican archives for the war years are available (I think it’s supposed to be the common problem of there being so much confidential stuff about people who are still alive).
For example, there were numerous instances of Church organisations hiding Jews, so it’s obvious that Pius hadn’t forbidden them to do so (not suggesting for a minute that he would have done so, just making the point that he obviously hadn’t). What are lacking are direct instructions by Pius to do ‘whatever’ and that’s where the archives are important.
Do I think that Pius was probably responsible for saving many thousands of Jews? I think it very likely, but “total number of surviving Jews in Europe, minus total number of Jews saved by non-Catholics equals total number of Jews saved by Pius” just isn’t on.
*…What of Rome itself? In 1943 the German ambassador to the Holy See, Von Weizsaecker, sent a telegram to Berlin. The telegram has been cited as damning ‘evidence’ against Pius XII.
“Although under pressure from all sides, the Pope has not let himself be drawn into any demonstrative censure of the deportation of Jews from Rome … As there is probably no reason to expect other German actions against the Jews of Rome we can consider that a question so disturbing to German-Vatican relations has been liquidated.”
Von Weizsaecker’s telegram was in fact a warning not to proceed with the proposed deportation of the Roman Jews: ‘there is probably no reason to expect other German actions against the Jews of Rome’. Von Weizsaecker’s action was backed by a warning to Hitler from Pius XII: if the pursuit and arrest of Roman Jews was not halted, the Holy Father would have to make a public protest. together the joint action of Von Weizsaecker and Pius XII ended the Nazi manhunt against the Jews of Rome. 7,000 lives were saved.
**In Hungary, an estimated 80,000 **baptismal certificates were issued by Church authorities to Jews. In other areas of Eastern Europe the Vatican escape network (organised via Bulgaria by the Nuncio Roncalli - later John XXIII) has impressed those writers who have studied the subject, with the effectiveness of the Church’s rescue operation. David Herstig concludes his book on the subject thus:
“Those rescued by Pius are today living all over the world. There went to Israel alone from Romania 360,000 to the year 1965.”
The vindication of Pius XII has been established principally by Jewish writers and from Israeli archives. It is now established that the Pope supervised a rescue network which saved 860,000 Jewish lives - more than all the international agencies put together.
*…Dalin also cited a study that was conducted by former Israeli consul general Pinchas Lapide during the 1960s, as proof that the claims of both the ADL and Cornwell are false.
“In his work, Lapide documents how Pius XII worked for the salvation of at least 700,000 [Jews] from the hands of the Nazis. However, according to another estimate, this figure rises to 860,000,” Dalin told the conference. …*
Conversely, denying a claim doesn’t make it anymore of a fabrication by your insistence that it is, by mere repetition.
I suppose Holocaust deniers could and do make the same claim (that is, of mere repetition not making it so).
Alas, we go with the numbers we got–860,000, and 6+ million, respectively.
C’est la vie.
And imo, neither Lapide, nor Dalin had any reason to fabricate or even fluff their numbers.
What’s more, I doubt we will ever find the numbers you seek in the Vat’s docs anyway, as it would have been dangerous to keep those numbers at all (other than the baptismal certificates–which was essentially above board–even if they were bogus). Pope Pius XII was dancing a very fine line there, with the Vat’s very existence at stake. It would be foolhardy to keep the evidence that would have served as the rope by which to hang the Church, at all, let alone on the very site of the seat of St. Peter. Hence I’d expect that most of the efforts to help those Jews escape were probably not documented at all, or very sparsely, and temporarily, if at all. What do you figure the Pope would need such documentation for, vs. what it could cost the Church?
Seems unnecessarily dangerous, and pointless to boot.
Excerpt from Patrick Madrid’s Pope Fiction on this topic:
The diary of Anne Frank
Anne Frank, the gifted Jewish teenager who perished if 1945 in the Nazi death camp Bergen-Belson, was another victim of this Nazi reprisal against Dutch Jews. Millions around the world have read The Diary of Anne Frank, her poignant memoir which ends abruptly just before she sent to the death camp. Her story is filled with haunting details of her experience of being literally sealed into secret apartment in Holland with her family and another family. Her poignant account of that suffocating existence (never once being able to go outdoors into the sunlight!) is as riveting as it is tragic. Yet, even that hidden, stifled existence, as terrible as it was, would have been infinitely better than the fate that awaited Anne Frank.
All hell broke loose when the Dutch Catholic bishops issued their public condemnation of the Nazi atrocities against the Jews. As we know, the Third Reich was enraged at such an open act of defiance and its response was swift and devastating.
**A pale green horse rampaged through Holland. Its rider was named Death, and hell accompanied him. Storm troopers smashed through Amsterdam, Rotterdam and other major Dutch cities in search of all hiding Jews. And they found thousands of them. **Anne Frank and her family were discovered. This sweet, intelligent young girl was swept into the maw of the Nazi death machine and disappeared into the oblivion of the camps.
She left this earth through a crematorium smokestack.
**Clearly, if that was how the Nazis reacted to a public condemnation of their depredations by the Dutch Catholic bishops, any thinking person can imagine the ferocity they would have unleashed against the Jews of Europe if Pope Pius XII himself had followed suit and issued a similar public condemnation. Many, many more Jews would have been killed as a result.
Pius XII knew this and he agonized daily over it. The irony is that the rest of the world knew he knew it and people near and far praised him repeatedly for his careful but relentless efforts on behalf of the Jews. Pope Pius XII wanted with every ounce of his being to stand at the balcony of St. Peter’s and cry out to humanity at the top of his lungs against the Nazi horror of the Shoah (the Holocaust). The plight of his Jewish brothers and sisters trapped behind Germany’s wall of death weighed on him each day of his pontificate.
I suppose my main purpose is to encourage people to move beyond the simplistic pro/anti-Pius propaganda industries. If people don’t want to, if they think that the complex history of the period is really so simple, well, ok. If they want to say that denying that Pius saved 860,000 Jews is the equivalent of denying the Shoah, then it’s up to them.
All have sinned, and trying to defend either side pro-Jew, pro-Christian , anti-Christian, anti-Semite will be a tall order. Just read some of St. John Crysostoms Homilies, then a few pages of the Talmud with regards to Jesus Christ and Mary. Neither side is totally innocent, the sooner we accept that, the better off we’ll all be.
As soon as Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was ousted from power on July 25, 1943, Adolf Hitler began hatching a plan to kidnap Pope Pius XII and plunder the Vatican. Clearly, the Fuehrer thought, the “Jew-loving” pope had encouraged King Victor Emanuel II and some rival fascist leaders to overthrow his Italian puppet… catholicleague.org/hitlers-plan-to-kidnap-the-pope-2/