How could parish priests criticize a chancellor who had been recognized by their pope?"4. The Vatican had reason to be satisfied: Catholic rights had been put on a new basis and at the same time a regime had been strengthened that seemed to correspond to the Vaticanâs sense that Mussolini and Hitler were indispensable bulwarks against Bolshevism. The general rose, clicked his heels togetherâand raised his arm in the Nazi salute! Bormann, Rahn told me, turned beet-red with anger as he, the ambassador, made his plea. Besides, he worshipped power, and the pope, like Hitler, was one of the world’s most powerful leaders. Pope Pius XII's actions to help persecuted Jews speak far louder than his alleged "silence," experts say. Most of Hitler’s men seemed cool to an attack, fearing such a reaction. Three days earlier, on September 10, German troops had marched into Rome, and German intelligence soon snatched Mussolini from captivity. Francis is too polite to … At the end of the day, Hitler handled the Papacy with unsettling efficiency. But Hitler trusted his secretary most, and it appeared that his advice would be taken. In Hitler's Pope, award-winning journalist John Cornwell shows that Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII, was instrumental in negotiating an accord that helped the Nazis' rise to unhindered power – and sealed the fate of the Jews in Europe.. From columns in newspapers to a new book titled Hitlers Pope, the line is that Pius did not do enough to save Jews from the Holocaust and, therefore, that his imminent canonization would be provocative and unjust.. A deal with the new German state would demonstrate the patriotism of German Catholicism. If he did, they argued, there was virtually no chance that Hitler would cancel his kidnap plan. By the terms of the concordat the church renounced all political activities and in turn the state guaranteed the right to free worship, to circulate pastoral epistles, to maintain Catholic schools and property. And friends of the pope prepared a plan for him to flee to Spain if necessary, though he vowed to remain in the Vatican unless he was carried out. What other options did it have? 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. 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. Hitler wanted him to stand trial before the People’s Court. Thus, no witnesses. Directed by Christopher Cassel. Hitler’s Plan to Kidnap the Pope. Hitler had even more reason to be satisfied. And Wolff assured the pope that he would try to frustrate any new plot against him. Pius XI signature. Consider the different ways that the German Christian movement and the Confessing Church movement navigated their relationships with the Nazi government. By then it was too late. Still, he felt, his mission might be usefulâif he could sabotage it and obtain a blessing from Pius for saving his life and the Church itself. Wolff was overwhelmed when the pope then blessed him. Two years ago, the Vatican made a deal with Beijing that bought the pope’s silence. What effect did the concordat have on opposition to the Nazis within Germany? The plan called for soldiers of the SS Florian Geyer Cavalry, disguised in Italian uniforms, to invade the Vatican shielded by night, kill all members of the curia, and take the pope prisoner. These are strong words and bold claims, but Hitchens goes on: The very first diplomatic accord undertaken by Hitler’s government was consummated on July 8, 1933, a few months after the seizure of power, and took the form of a treaty with the Vatican. In July 1933, Hitler and Pope Pius XI signed a concordat, or treaty. Clearly, the word “kidnap” was on both their minds. 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 Catholic Church kept its side of the bargain. However, the breakdown started in 1936 and ended with many Catholic priests being imprisoned. And on October 16, the Gestapo in Rome began rounding up the Jews. The problem is that the campaign against Pacelli is a defamation. . *Material from this website may be reprinted and disseminated with accompanying attribution. He now had the full confidence of both the Vicar of Christ and the Antichrist, an incredible interworld feat. According to this message, which repeated what a high SS official (perhaps Wolff) told the fascist writer, the purpose of the plot was to avenge “the papal protest in favor of the Jews”â apparently referring to an expected papal outcry when the Roman Jews were rounded up. In July 1933, Hitler and Pope Pius XI signed a concordat, or treaty. His visitor had simply confused his gods. The following day Hitler called for an urgent meeting of his military leaders. Ernst von Weizsaecker, the German ambassador to the Vatican, another anti-Hitler conspirator, tried to convince Pius that he should remain silent when the Nazis rounded up the Jews of Rome. Both men agreed that the war would best end in an Allied-German alliance, without Hitler, to halt the Soviet advance on Europe. The world, like the panzer soldiers, would be led to believe that the “Italians” were guilty. But Himmler had revealed to Wolff that Hitler had an additional secret mission in mind for him. Following the war Bishop Hudal, a German, helped Nazi war criminals escape to South America. The publisher's description of Hitler's Pope, (The Secret History of Pius XII) :. What compromises did he make? That rainy morning, Princess Enza Pignatelli Aragona, a friend of Pius, was awakened by a phone call from a friend, who informed her of the arrests. Referring to the threat of an Allied invasion of Italy, he added: “I do not want the pope to fall into the hands of the Allies or to be under their political pressure and influence.”. In 1933, almost 40% of Germanyâs population was Roman Catholic. The concordat was his first international agreement, and it vastly enhanced his respectability in Germany and abroad. So, finally, Himmler ordered that the roundup stop after only about 1,000 of the 8,000 Roman Jews were picked up. And “we must occupy Rome” and “destroy the Vatican’s power, capture the pope, and say that we are protecting him.” The pope might even have to be killed. Historian Fritz Stern explains: On the face of it, the Vatican had scored a great triumph. By Dan Kurzman. The pope loathed Hitler. Everything you need to get started teaching your students about racism, antisemitism and prejudice. 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. 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