The general, who had previously served as Himmler’s chief of staff, suspected why. Award-winning author Dan Kurzman is the only journalist who ever interviewed General Karl Wolff. *Material from this website may be reprinted and disseminated with accompanying attribution. In July 1933, Hitler and Pope Pius XI signed a concordat, or treaty. In July 1933, just six months after Hitler was appointed Chancellor, the … According to Bergen: âThe Concordat pulled the rug out from under potential Catholic opposition in Germany. The question of Joseph Ratzinger’s involvement with Nazi Germany and the Hitler Youth is important in consideration of the life of the man who became Pope Benedict XVI. What effect did the concordat have on opposition to the Nazis within Germany? In July 1933, Hitler and Pope Pius XI signed a concordat, or treaty. Archives of this nature are typically not released until 70 years after a pope’s death, but Francis has decided to release them about a decade early. But the pope did not openly criticize the Nazis until 1937. By Dan Kurzman. The Pope, until then, had felt that if he spoke out strongly against the Jewish genocide, Hitler would not only attack the Vatican but would drag out the hundreds of thousands of Jews from the Vatican institutions in which they were hiding throughout occupied Europe, as well as their Christian protectors. However, the breakdown started in 1936 and ended with many Catholic priests being imprisoned. The Duce was now to regain power in Nazi-occupied northern Italy, and Wolff would be sent to the capital in Fasano, near Salo, primarily to make sure that Mussolini followed the Nazi line. Francis is too polite to … It was headed Massacre of Pius XII with the Entire Vatican. No, says Rabbi David G. Dalin but there was a cleric in league with Hitler: the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini. As the princess departed, the pope promised, “I’ll do all I can.”, When Weizsaecker arrived for a meeting with Maglione, he said he would “try to do something for these poor Jews.” But, he asked, “what would the Holy See do if these things were to continue?”. 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. Roman Catholic opposition at this point was limited to isolated individuals who could easily be removed from their positions and lacked the support of their Church. Following the war Bishop Hudal, a German, helped Nazi war criminals escape to South America. Consider the different ways that the German Christian movement and the Confessing Church movement navigated their relationships with the Nazi government. Others opposed the Nazis. It had seemingly started well after Hitler was appointed Chancellor in January 1933. Hitler wanted him to stand trial before the People’s Court. Clearly, the Fuehrer thought, the “Jew-loving” pope had encouraged King Victor Emanuel II and some rival fascist leaders to overthrow his Italian puppet. Dr. Paul Bookbinder discusses the roles of bystanders and resisters during the Holocaust. The following day Hitler called for an urgent meeting of his military leaders. Feb. 12, 2013— -- When Benedict XVI ascended to the papacy after the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005, world Jewish leaders were nervous about the new German-born pope. In 1933, almost 40% of Germanyâs population was Roman Catholic. (Catalyst, June, 2007) 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. At the same time, in Germany, General Wolff managed to convince Hitler that he would have a hard time suppressing an uprising in Italy if the pope felt forced to speak out and had to be dethroned. Stein, born a Jew, had converted to Catholicism in 1922 and had become a nun and a respected Catholic educator. What compromises did he make? . The Pope Pius XII was suspected of Nazi collaboration and was called Hitlers Pope. He then ordered Cardinal Luigi Maglione, his secretary of state, to summon Ambassador Weizsaecker urgently and protest the action. But Wolff, who revered the SS, may have been prompted as well by other more sordid details of the kidnap plot that were later discovered in a letter that one Italian fascist leader wrote to another. If the people learned that their pope had been abducted, Rahn told the Fuehrer and his chief lieutenants, they might rise up against the Germans. Known as “Hitler’s Pope” Pope Pius XII did not do enough to try to save the doomed Jews of Europe. “Hitler’s mufti” is truth. The concordat was his first international agreement, and it vastly enhanced his respectability in Germany and abroad. Assuming the other criteria for sainthood are met, not to proceed is to be complicit. “The Holy See would not want to be faced with the need to express its disapproval,” the cardinal answered â¦”If the Holy See were forced to [protest], it would trust the consequences to Divine Providence.” In other words, he would speak out publicly if the roundup of Jews continued. Later, more critical accounts were written. A deal with the new German state would demonstrate the patriotism of German Catholicism. Some Catholic leaders welcomed Hitlerâs call to âovercome the un-Germanic spiritâ and feared that âatheistic communismâ was more of a threat to the Catholic Church than the Nazis were. What other options did it have? But Himmler had revealed to Wolff that Hitler had an additional secret mission in mind for him. Is not all this diametrically opposed to the conduct of our Lord and Savior, who, even on the cross, still prayed for his persecutors?2. That concern prompted officials of the Vatican to discuss with Hitler the possibility of an agreement: the Church would pledge to abstain from political activity in Germany in exchange for the Reichâs promise not to persecute the Catholic Church and its members. Pacelli first agreed to help Hitler in 1933, when as a Vatican diplomat he promised Hitler he'd disband a German Catholic political party in a deal that protected the Vatican's rights in Germany. Historian Fritz Stern explains: On the face of it, the Vatican had scored a great triumph. The general rose, clicked his heels togetherâand raised his arm in the Nazi salute! About six weeks later, on September 13, SS General Karl Wolff, the SS commander in Italy, received a phone call from his boss, SS Chief Heinrich Himmler, orchestrator of the Holocaust. Playing on the church’s goals and weaknesses of the time, he managed to cow two popes into submission. Pope Pius XI did not respond to Edith Stein, nor did his successor, Cardinal Pacelli, who became Pope Pius XII in 1939. Two years ago, the Vatican made a deal with Beijing that bought the pope’s silence. In his new book “Let Us Dream,” Pope Francis takes aim at populist politicians whose rallies conjure memories of 1930s fascism, fanned by the likes of Adolf Hitler. And on October 16, the Gestapo in Rome began rounding up the Jews. At the end of the day, Hitler handled the Papacy with unsettling efficiency. Rahn then joined in a conspiracy with Wolff and several other like-minded German officials against the plot and went to see Hitler. The Vatican is opening files on ‘Hitler’s Pope’ almost a decade ahead of schedule. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google, Spanish Translations from Holocaust and Human Behavior, The Weimar Republic: The Fragility of Democracy, Conformity and Consent in the National Community, Storm Troopers, Elite Guards, and Secret Police, Letter of Saint Edith Stein to Pope Pius XI in 1933, Facing History Scholar Reflections: Bystanders and Resisters. The Vatican quarreled with both Hitler and Mussolini on race, but hardly out of concern for the welfare of Jews. What were the short-term consequences of those options? In 1939, realizing what was at stake, Pius had actually joined in a conspiracy by some German generals to overthrow Hitler and, if necessary, a high Vatican official told me, to kill him. Early literature on the war time leadership of Pius XII was positive, including Halecki and Murray's Pius XII: Eugenio Pacelli, Pope of Peace (1954) and Nazareno Padellaro's Portrait of Pius XII (first published in Italian in 1949). The only one present who strongly supported an attack was Martin Bormann, Hitler’s ruthless secretary, who wanted to replace Christianity with a new religion headed by the Fuehrer. The pope loathed Hitler. But did the VaticanÂ .Â .Â .Â really believe that National Socialism would abide by the concordat, was there really much likelihood that the regime would leave untouched a rival organization with its own dogmas and with such sweeping power over education?3, In the months and years after the concordat was signed, the Nazis regularly violated the agreement by shutting down some Catholic organizations, confiscating church property, interfering with Catholic newspapers, and imprisoning or murdering clergy and other Church leaders. 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