Saturday, May 28, 2011

Red Cross and the Vatican 'helped thousands of Nazis escape'

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/world-war-2/8539981/Red-Cross-and-the-Vatican-helped-thousands-of-Nazis-escape.html

"The Vatican has always refused to comment on its wartime activities and has kept its archive closed to the public."

 I haven't followed the Rome-Nazi connection stuff closely. It seems every year someone comes out with a book making the connections, then Rome's apologists try to de-connect those connections. Well, if the archive is closed, it'll be a long time then till Rome is definitively cleared.

Notice though, the article basically says nothing of substance about Rome and the Nazi's.

16 comments:

Constantine said...

Hi James,

Thanks for this.

The topic has been one of keen interest of mine for some time now. Unfortunately, this is not news. Dr. Michael Phayer documented this in his book, entitled. “The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965.” Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2000.

Perhaps the most damning evidence against those supporters of Pope Pius XII who errantly claim that the pontiff did everything he could for the Jews during the war, is that he did nothing to help them after the war, when it would have not cost him politically to do so. Dr. Phayer explains,


The eagerness of the Vatican to intervene across the board for convicted German war criminals relates closely to the question of its harboring and abetting fugitives from justice during the late war and early postwar era. Interviewing a number of clerical and non-clerical operatives in Rome, historian Gitta Sereny found that Vatican money was used to pay for the escape of war crimes fugitives. Gertrude Depuis, who worked for the Red Cross in Rome, recalled that her personnel took it for granted that Vatican funds were being used for refugees, including fugitives from justice.British and American secret service agents routinely reported the same thing. P. 165.

And again,

More recently, other writers, working independently of each other and using different archival source material, have asserted that the innermost and highest circles of the Vatican (Montini, and thus probably the pope himself) know that their appointees, Bishop Alois Hudal and Father Krunoslav Dragonovic, were helping notorious fugitives from justice such as Franz Stanlg, Adolf Eichmann, and Ante Pavelic…Hudal assisted fugitive Nazis by procuring passports and visas, buying passenger tickets for voyages, and providing pocket money for the refugees. Did the pope know this? Historians Weisbord and Sillanpoa assert that if the rescue of Roman Jews could not have been accomplished without Pope Pius’s “knowledge and encouragement, tacit or explicit,” as his apologists would have it, then neither could the harboring of Nazis and Ustashi. P. 166

Lastly,

In the summer of 1944, during the period of transition from German to American occupation of Rome, a few Georgian priests, some of whom were Nazi collaborators, purchased property in Rome and asked the Holy See’s permission to establish a seminary, such as other nationals like Bishop Hudal ran in the Eternal City. Permission was granted, and the Holy Father gave the Georgian priests his apostolic blessing. Months later, when the “seminarians” turned out to be SS officers with girlfriends, U.S. occupational forces raided the “seminary,” where they found sophisticated radio transmission facilities operating in the basement. The Georgian “rector of the seminary” had the telephone number in his wallet of SS Lt. Colonel Herbert Kappler, the Nazi who had carried out the arrest and deportation of Rome’s Jews. The Holy See claimed to be greatly embarrassed by the exposure of the Nazi-collaborating priests, but the incident did not keep Pope Pius from appointing Nazi sympathizers, such as Bishop Hudal, to positions where they would be in touch with fugitives. We may conclude that at the very least the Holy See allowed an environment to exist in Rome through which fugitives from justice could escape to foreign lands. P. 169.

John Bugay had begun to share some of the work of Dr. David Kertzer whose book, “The Pope's Against the Jews” was developed mainly from the Vatican archives.

This is important stuff. Thanks for keeping it top-of-mind.

Peace.

James Swan said...

Interesting comments. Perhaps if the Vatican archives could be retrived, Rome would be forced to admit things like you posted. I doubt those records will see the light of day in my life time.

But,Romanism has a loophole. Even if they could be connected in the way your comments suggest, Romanism is not refuted according to their standard. They'll simply say the practice of the church during the Nazi years was fallible, it was not the infallible actions of the Holy Spirit led Roman Church.

In fact, they've done this already. The Roman Church made things difficult for the Jews long before the Holocaust:

“In 1553 all copies of the Talmud found in Rome were burned in public. Pope Paul IV (1555-1559) ordered measures to be taken against the Jews, and twenty-four men and one woman were burned at the stake. On July 12, 1555, he issued a bull that renewed all the oppressive medieval legislation against the Jews, excluding them from professions, limiting their financial and commercial activities, forbidding them to own real estate, and humiliating them by obliging them to wear yellow hats.”Lewis W. Spitz, The Protestant Reformation (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1985), 357.

Owen Chadwick likewise documents this: “He forced every Jew to wear a yellow hat and live in a ghetto with only one exit… He caused to be published the first Index of prohibited books… Sixtus of Siena was sent to Cremona, where there was a great Hebrew school (for the destruction of the Talmud was ordered), and reported that he had burnt a store of 12,000 volumes…. Under an Inquisition with extended powers, and a pope ready to suspect everyone, there was almost a reign of terror in the city. ‘Even if my own father were a heretic,’ said the Pope, ‘I would gather the wood to burn him’” [Owen Chadwick, The Reformation (New York: Penguin Books, 1964), 271].

Romanism shakes this stuff off, they'll do the same with the issues you raise.

Paul Hoffer said...

This is an issue that has been discussed numerous times on Catholic Answers forums and elsewhere. The ususal suspects were Croat cardinals or rogue Vatican officials acting on their own to combat Communism or some other drivel.

And while you are at it, why not comment about the thousands of priests, religious, and more ecumenical minded Protestant ministers that met their deaths in Nazi death camps?

I take it that since you imply that the Vatican, a sovereign nation, should not have any state secrets, you feel that the United States of America should do likewise. I take it that you have already filed the FOIA requests to demand the United States reveal how many Nazis it helped sneak into the USA to be morally equivalent, right?

Or for that matter, since this is supposedly an apologetics blog, perhaps you can explain the religious dogma or doctrine in play here or are you ginning up some plain ol'bigotry here?

Constantine said...

Hi James,

I think that the value of Kertzer's work is that he was one of the first to be allowed into the Vatican's archives. Therefore, his findings - as disturbing as they are - are based on Vatican records. I believe Dr. Phayer spent a good deal of time at the Vatican doing his research, but I may be mistaken about that.

Mr. Hoffer's obfuscations should be unearthed. Kertzer and Phayer are not dealing with rogues. Kertzer applies his efforts particularly to centuries of popes whom I presume Mr. Hoffer would not consider "rogue". And the point of Dr. Phayer's work - as illustrated by the last example I cited - is that these atrocities were carried out with the full knowledge of or at least the passive assent by Rome.

For example, in 1939-1940, Monsignor Jozef Tiso passed the first anti-Semitic laws in Slovakia. Pope Pius XII, so pleased to have a "Catholic state" disregarded this fact when awarding an apostolic blessing on Tiso.

It seems that Mr. Hoffer is inclined to engage in a fallacy for which we have been assailed by the folks at Called to Communion. When Mr. H complains that the U.S. allowed for the immigration of Nazi's after the war, it smacks of the "tu quoque" fallacy much trumpeted of late. And it does nothing but distract from Mr. Swan's intent which is to show that the Vatican's discomfiture with the ever increasing facts of its support of Nazi anti-semitism.

Peace.

James Swan said...

I take it that since you imply that the Vatican, a sovereign nation, should not have any state secrets, you feel that the United States of America should do likewise. I take it that you have already filed the FOIA requests to demand the United States reveal how many Nazis it helped sneak into the USA to be morally equivalent, right?

Or for that matter, since this is supposedly an apologetics blog, perhaps you can explain the religious dogma or doctrine in play here or are you ginning up some plain ol'bigotry here?


Paul,

As to the phrase, "plain ol'bigotry," If the bulk of your comments are addressed to me (as the word "you" follows "apologetics blog"), I think you need to take a deep breath, and re-read what I actually wrote.

In the blog entry itself, I commented,"I haven't followed the Rome-Nazi connection stuff closely. It seems every year someone comes out with a book making the connections, then Rome's apologists try to de-connect those connections." Wow, that's really bigoted! You got me there! Then I went really wild and stated, "Well, if the archive is closed, it'll be a long time then till Rome is definitively cleared." Yeah, that's just plain not giving Rome the benefit of the doubt, LOL. I then stated, "Notice though, the article basically says nothing of substance about Rome and the Nazi's. " Oh boy, you got me there being a "plain ol' bigot." I really went after Romanism with that! I stated the very web page I cited offered no proof to back up its charge against Romanism!

in the comment section above I stated Constantine's comments were interesting (btw, they were). Wow, another bigoted remark! Then in another bigoted burst of energy, I blurted out cruelly, "Perhaps if the Vatican archives could be retrived, Rome would be forced to admit things like you posted. I doubt those records will see the light of day in my life time." Oh, that's simply way over the line of decency. How dare I suggest that the Vatican could either prove or disprove the charges Constantine cited. Pure meanness! I lastly reminded Constantine that even if the charges were true, Romanism is not refuted according to her standards (examples given). Outrageous! How dare I suggest that moral failure doesn't refute Romanism!

You got me Paul, job well done.

Sigh. It's no wonder a commenter over on Triablogue recently stated that I'm "too calm" towards Romanism.

James Swan said...

And it does nothing but distract from Mr. Swan's intent which is to show that the Vatican's discomfiture with the ever increasing facts of its support of Nazi anti-semitism.

One would think, the True Church and the successor of Peter would want to admit any wrong doings, beg for forgiveness, and then continue to direct the bride of Christ towards holiness.

One would think.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Constantine, I am not obfuscating. I merely am confused about the point of posting an article about the political activities of a sovereign country on an apologetics blog/ There are plenty of questionable things our own country did during WWII: the illegal interrment of American citizens,droppong the atom bomb on centers of Christian Japan as opposed to more appropriate military targets, its own questionable alliances with communist countries, anti-semitism, to focus on another country's alleged foreign policy wrongdoings. If the point of the article was to focus on the moral compromises that occur when sovereign nations carry out foreign policy or suggesting that politcal powers within the Catholic Church were motivated by theology rather than politics or a morbid fear of communism, then I could understand its posting on an apologetics blog. Short of that, I can think of no other reason other than bigotry to post it.

James Swan said...

Paul,

Help out a simple-minded bigot like myself here. First my apologies, as I didn't know of your dual citizenship, and I meant no offense to your other homeland. As an American, I have no problem with anyone wishing to probe into the secret dealings of the U.S.A. If I recall correctly, the United States is declassifying WW2 era materials. Perhaps you can write to the rulers of your other nation and point this out, since, as you know, America rules the world, maybe Vatican city would be tempted to follow the examples of the world leader.

Are you in essence saying any possible abuses perpetuated by your other country are beyond questioning and scrutiny? I can appreciate your loyalty to your homeland, but it is disturbing that you wish to give your other nation a free pass. I guess you and I are different like that. I'd want my country to admit fault, so as to not further embarrass any of her people by deliberate obfuscation.

James Swan said...

Short of that, I can think of no other reason other than bigotry to post it.

There are two reasons.

1. One thing that motivates me to post a blog entry like this is due to my emphasis on Luther studies, and Romanist interpretations of Luther. See for instance, http://tquid.sharpens.org/luther_Jews.htm#a6. There, I expressly explain the ludicrous nature of Romanist criticism of Luther's vitriol against the Jews. Tie into that, any Romanist who dares argue Luther was responsible for the Holocaust. Romanists have absolutely no ivory tower from which to criticize Luther from.

2. Historical curiosity. I've likewise read a number of charges on this issue directed towards Romanism, and then I watch Rome's defenders bite back- for instance, http://www.amazon.com/Why-Catholics-Right-Michael-Coren/dp/0771023219/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306609817&sr=8-1#_ It would appear to me, Rome could very easily settle all of this.

As I stated above, linking the Roman church to war atrocities does not refute Romanism, which is why you'll rarely see me engage such topics. I don't have any emotional connections to Romanism, in the sense that, I was not raised in Roman Catholicism, so I don't have an axe to grind. That is Father Flannery, or Sister Mary never did anything to me personally. I'm therefore not looking under every stone to prove that Rome is a corrupt evil empire that destroys everything she touches. I know some folks are like that, I'm not. I'd rather argue theologically that Romanism is not Biblical. As far I can discern, all religious entities are prone to moral failure, even my own.

Turretinfan said...

Regarding U.S. declassification, an example can be found here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/clinton/eo12937.html

That order appears to have declassified over 20 million pages of previously classified materials.

And, of course, the U.S. is actually a military power with a significant, on-going intelligence presence throughout the world.

Aside from Charlie Sheen, most people don't think of Vatican City in those terms any more.

-TurretinFan

Paul Hoffer said...

Dear Mr. Swan:

I have not had my patriotism challenged in awhile merely because I am Catholic, but given the Protestant pedigree of the KKK, Know-Nothings and other nativist organizations, I would suggest that your questioning my patriotism is to your shame not mine. But just to clarify, I am an American citizen. In fact, the first Hoffers were here since before United States became a country. Moreover, one of my grandfathers (a number of times removed) happened to also be the John and Samuel Adams' grandfather. I have Catholic ancestors that fought in every war since the Civil War to preserve and protect the freedoms you and I share. As a Catholic American, I happen to enjoy the same rights that Protestant citizens do, whether they wish to acknowledge the fact or not. One of those rights permit me to question the motivations of an influential Protestant apologist who chose to bring up a political issue appertaining a foreign country that has been used to challenge the patriotism of Catholic Americans in the past in a forum that I thought is devoted to the review and deliberation of theological issues. Now perhaps I am channeling a hermeneutics of suspicion in my comments but given how the topic that you raised with your article is one that is frequently used to denigrate the patriotism of American Catholics and given that you have now suggested that I am less than loyal to the United States of America by possessing “dual citizenship” merely because I questioned your motivations for raising the issue of the assistance that functionaries of Vatican City supposedly gave to alleged Nazi war criminals, I think that my query was a fair one.

You provided two reasons for posting this article:

1. Alleged criticism by Catholics of Luther’s vitriol against Jews which in my mind is sort of stupid since his view is probably reflective of Fr. Luther’s Catholic upbringing in the day. Was there something specific here written by any of your Catholic interlocutors on this blog or elsewhere that led you to this particular posting on this particular occasion?

2. Historical curiosity. Since I have not read Mr. Coren’s book and since the Amazon review you linked to does not contain even a whiff of defense of alleged Vatican ratlines, perhaps you can illumine us all with what Coren states on the subject.

You wrote: “As far I can discern, all religious entities are prone to moral failure, even my own.”

Me: I do not disagree with the premise you state here. I am not naive to the notion that just because someone is a cardinal or bishop does not make them immune from the potential corrupting influence of statecraft. For that matter, I do not doubt that Church officials may have been complicit in assisting Nazis, Italian fascists, Estonian and Croat collaborators escape potential prosecution, not to mention assisting the CIA help some of those folks escape to the United States. But, my issue with the article is grounded on theological relevance, not historical fact which your latest comments have addressed. Thank you!

Hi TF. Apparently the writer of the article which Mr. Swan links to apparently disagrees with your assessment in regards to the importance of the sovereign nation of Vatican City in the worldwide community since he thought the Vatican connection was important enough to raise in a critical article. But again, my objection was concerning the grounds for posting the article not to debate politics. But since you did raise the subject, perhaps you can direct us to where the US declassified documents concerning its involvement in the ratlines that were the subject of the British article that Mr. Swan linked to.

God bless!

Paul Hoffer said...
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Paul Hoffer said...
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louis said...

So the Vatican should be judged by the same standard as any other nation? That's a pretty clear admission that they are just another worldly institution.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello louis:

Sorry, it is not an admission at all. Vatican City is a country just as the United States is a country. The see of the Bishop of Rome happens to be located within the boundaries of the Vatican City.

However, I will admit that I do not know all of the nuances of the Vatican political system. It may very well be that the Holy See exercises control over foreign policy matters and conducts diplomatic efforts on behalf of Vatican City. Nevertheless, I do know that both entities are subject to the provisions of international law. Thus, if one thinks that the Holy See and/or Vatican City violated international law, I would imagine that a suit or a prosecution could be commenced against either entity.

Turretinfan said...

"The see of the Bishop of Rome happens to be located within the boundaries of the Vatican City. "

Happens? Really?