The Vatican Archives on Pius XII to be Opened

Francis was also given the sworn testimony of General Karl Wolff, the commandant of Italy and deputy to Heinrich Himmler.  According to this testimony, Wolff was ordered by Hitler to invade the Vatican, kill any Vatican officials they met, and “rescue” Pius XII by taking him to Liechtenstein, where he would be assassinated.  But when this plot was made known to Pius in September 1943, a month before the arrest of Jews in Rome, he wrote his resignation, stating that if the Vatican was invaded the Nazis would arrest him as Eugenio Pacelli, not Pius XII, and ordering the cardinals to leave Rome, elect a new pope, and form a government in exile in Portugal.[9]

One should in any case be somewhat suspicious of the testimony of a man who was the deputy to Heinrich Himmler.  It is simply Gen. Wolff’s account of what he said happened.  The testimony in itself is not proof.  But even allowing the testimony to be a true account, what does it really prove?  Nothing more than that Pius was a clever strategist and planned for various scenarios which might unfold.   The Roman Papacy always has a Plan B.

The Vatican states that the name of Pius XII was smeared by the Soviet Union’s KGB disinformation subversion, beginning in 1963, five years after his death in 1958.  Gary Krupp, a Jew and the president of Pave the Way Foundation, called this the greatest character assassination of the twentieth century.  He said: “the worst character flaw a Jew can have is ingratitude.  It is important for those who are alive today and who have been deceived by Soviet disinformation for five decades to now be aware who it was who saved them.”  He claimed that historical evidence shows that the Roman Catholic “Church”, under Pius XII, saved an estimated 847 000 Jews during World War Two.[10]

The number saved may or may not be close to the truth.  Yes, there were Jews who certainly were sheltered in Vatican structures throughout Italy.  But the problem with claiming that it was all a Soviet character-assassination plot to call Pius pro-Nazi, is that even if the Soviets exploited the situation, there is plenty of evidence which proves that Pius was pro-Nazi!

Krupp, who once hated Pius XII, became one of his strongest advocates.  Although he and his wife Meredith are Jews, they became the first married couple and the first Jews to be knighted together by the Vatican City State.  They are therefore very pro-Roman Catholic.  He said, “The defamation and character assassination of Pacelli [Pius XII], robbed the Jewish people of the dignity of expressing a measure of thanks to the one religious leader who acted to save more Jews than all the religious and political leaders of the era.  This is to me a Jewish responsibility.”[11]

Let us then examine the record of Pius XII, and see if he deserves the praise of Jews and others.

Pius’ Support for Hitler and Nazism, and for the Extermination of the Jews

Let us examine Pius’ support of Adolf Hitler himself, of the German Nazism which bathed Europe in blood, and of the cruel deaths of millions of Jews.  A vast amount of evidence could be given, but we will confine ourselves for the most part to Pius XII himself.

A German Jesuit, Friedrich Muckermann, wrote a book in 1928 which had a preface written by the cardinal, Pacelli – the future Pope Pius XII.  And in this book Muckermann said: “The Pope is calling for a new Catholic Action crusade…. Catholic Action is sounding the assembly of world Catholicism. It must live its time of heroism… the new era can be won only at the price of bloodshed for Christ.”[12]  This was the writing endorsed by the future pope, Pius XII!

When the Vatican signed a concordat with Nazi Germany in July 1933, it was Pacelli, a cardinal at the time, who signed it on the Vatican’s behalf.  Franz von Papen, privy chamberlain to the pope at the time, said: “The Third Reich is the first power in the world, not only to recognise, but also to put into practice, the high principles of the Papacy.”[13]  Ex-German chancellor Heinrich Brüning stated: “Behind the agreement with Hitler stood… the Vatican bureaucracy and its leader, Pacelli.  He visualized an authoritarian state and an authoritarian Church directed by the Vatican bureaucracy, the two to conclude an eternal league with one another.”[14]

Throughout the years before he became pope, “Pacelli’s policy… had been one of public silence and private indifference on the Jewish issue.  As correspondence between the German hierarchy and Pacelli’s office had repeatedly revealed, the attitude was: the Jews must look after themselves.”[15]

Pacelli, as cardinal, signs the concordat between the Vatican and Nazi Germany, 20 July 1933.
Franz von Papen is seated at his right.

Hitler declared that the concordat had created an atmosphere of confidence that would be “especially significant in the urgent struggle against international Jewry.”  Historian John Cornwell, commenting on this, stated: “First, the very fact that the Vatican had signed such a treaty indicated both at home and abroad, despite Pacelli’s disclaimers on July 26, Catholic moral approval of Hitler’s policies.  Second, the treaty constrained the Holy See, the German hierarchy, the clergy, and the faithful to silence on any issue the Nazi regime deemed political.  To be specific, since the persecution and elimination of the Jews in Germany was now a stated policy, the treaty had legally bound the Catholic Church in Germany to silence on outrages against the Jews[16] (emphases added).  No wonder that as Pius XII, Pacelli remained silent when Jews were being annihilated!

Not long after signing the concordat, Pacelli was to claim that he was disgusted with Hitler and Nazism, that he deplored the persecution of Jews, and that he was forced into signing the concordat to prevent the elimination of the German Roman Catholic “Church”.[17]  Pacelli was lying, as the evidence both before and after the signing demonstrated only too amply.

Pacelli wrote a note to the German embassy, asking that Jews who had converted to Roman Catholicism would not suffer.  Note the wording: his entreaty was “on behalf of those German Catholics who themselves have gone over from Judaism to the Christian [Roman Catholic] religion… and who for reasons known to the Reich government are likewise suffering from social and economic difficulties.”  Read it again! “The very fact of making such distinctions [between Jewish converts to Rome and the rest of the Jews] betrayed, of course, Pacelli’s diplomatic collusion with the overall anti-Semitic policy of the Reich”![18]

Hitler was – and remained – a Roman Catholic, inspired by the Jesuit Order, and many of the top Nazis were closely connected to the Jesuits.  The Vatican supported him to the hilt.  Hitler himself admitted: “I learnt most of all from the Jesuit Order.  So far, there has been nothing more imposing on earth than the hierarchical organization of the Catholic Church.  A good part of that organization I have transported direct to my own party…. The Catholic Church must be held up as an example.”  And Walter Schellenberg, chief of the German counter-espionage, said: “The SS had been organized by Himmler according to the principles of the Jesuit Order.”[19]