Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hitler, Nazis and the Catholic Church

Some memorable quotes by Jews during and after World War II regarding the Nazis and the Catholic Church

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.
Albert Einstein. Quoted in Time Magazine, December 23, 1940.

We share in the grief of humanity [at the death of Pius XII]…. 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. We mourn a great servant of peace.
Golda Meir (Former Israeli Prime Minister)

No keener rebuke has come to Nazism than from Pope Pius XI and his successor, Pope Pius XII.
Rabbi Louis Finkelstein, chancellor, Jewish Theological Seminary of America

In the most difficult hours of which we Jews of Romania have passed through, the generous assistance of the Holy See…was decisive and salutary. 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.
Rabbi Alexander Safran, chief rabbi of Romania

The people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness and his illustrious delegates, inspired by the eternal principles of religion, which form the very foundation of true civilization, are doing for our unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history, which is living proof of Divine Providence in this world.
Rabbi Isaac Herzog, chief rabbi of Israel

I told [Pope Pius XII] that my first duty was to thank him, and through him the Catholic Church, on behalf of the Jewish public for all they had done in the various countries to rescue Jews…. We are deeply grateful to the Catholic Church.
Moshe Sharett (who later became Israel’s first foreign minister and second prime minister)

Some memorable quotes from the New York Times (1935 - 1944) regarding the animosity felt between the Catholic Church and the Nazis.

• "NAZIS WARNED IN LOURDES": reporting the protest in 1935 of then Cardinal Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) against "superstitions of race and blood." When Pacelli was elected Pope on March 2, 1939, the Times reported "nearly general applause around the world," except in Germany.

• "POPE CONDEMNS DICTATORS, TREATY VIOLATORS, RACISM": three-column front-page headline reporting the Pope’s first encyclical, October 28, 1939.


• "JEWS’ RIGHTS DEFENDED": reporting the Pope’s "burning words to [Nazi Foreign Minister] Ribbentrop in defense of the Jews in Germany and Poland" (March 14, 1940).

• "Pius XII is a lonely voice in the silence and darkness enveloping Europe this Christmas. . . . The Pope put himself squarely against Nazism" (December 25, 1941).
• "The papacy is throwing the whole weight of its publicizing facilities into an exposé" of Nazi atrocities. (through Vatican radio): January 24, 1942.


• "This Christmas [1942] more than ever [the Pope] is a lonely voice crying out of the silence of a continent": editorial on the Pope’s reference to "the hundreds of thousands who, . . . solely because of their nation or race, have been condemned to death or progressive extinction."
• On August 21, 1944, Pulitzer Prize laureate Anne O’Hare McCormick wrote in the Times that the Pope had given "first priority" to saving Jews.

• "Under the Pope’s direction the Holy See did an exemplary job of sheltering and championing the victims of the Nazi-Fascist regime. . . . None [in Rome] doubts that the general feeling of the Roman Curia was anti-Fascist and very strongly anti-Nazi": Times reporter Herbert L. Matthews, October 15, 1944.

Did Pope Pius XII Help the Jews? Yes of course.

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