- A newly-uncovered Vatican 1942 letter means that then-Pope Pius XII seemingly knew about Nazi genocide.
- The letter describes crematoriums and the mass homicide of Jewish and Polish individuals.
- Pope Pius XII had already been scrutinized for his negotiations with Nazi Germany.
A letter printed at present by the Italian information outlet Corriere della Sera seems to substantiate that World War II Pope Pius XII might have identified particulars about the Nazi mass killings of Jewish and Polish populations as early as 1942.
While the relationship between Nazi prime ranks and the Pope had beforehand been revealed, the Vatican argued that Pius couldn’t have brazenly taken motion in opposition to the mass killings as a result of the Holy See could not confirm they have been going down, based on historian David Kertzer’s guide “The Pope at War,” as cited by The Guardian. But this new letter suggests in any other case.
This message is “the only remaining proof of a correspondence that likely took place over a long period of time,” Giovanni Coco, the Vatican archivist who discovered the letter, informed Corriere. The Vatican is believed to have acquired common updates from Germany about the loss of life camps.
The typewritten letter was authored by a German anti-Nazi Jesuit priest and despatched to 1 of the Pope’s prime aides, Pius’s secretary Robert Leiber.
Written in German, it opens with the line “Dear friend!” suggesting the two had an in depth relationship. It describes the use of crematoriums and mass homicide in the Polish city of Rava-Rus’ka, now in modern-day Ukraine, the place as much as 6,000 individuals have been killed. Thousands have been transported to the loss of life camp of Belzec in Nazi-occupied Poland. It additionally mentions the camps of Auschwitz and Dachau.
There’s no proof that the Pope noticed the letter — and the creator, German Reverend Lothar König, urges warning and care in opposition to leaks to stop the anti-Nazi community from being betrayed.
Pope Pius XII was afraid Hitler would win
The relationship between Pope Pius XII and Nazi management, particularly Adolf Hitler, has lengthy been uncovered and introduced Pius beneath scrutiny, suggesting the pontiff was in all probability conscious of Leiber’s correspondence with König.
For instance, throughout his annual Christmas speech in December 1942, Corriere notes Pius referred to “hundreds of thousands of people, who, without any fault, sometimes only because of their nationality or ancestry, are destined to die or to progressively be worn out.”
Historians have debated whether or not Pius saved his silence out of concern, of complicity, or in an try to guard the Church throughout troublesome occasions.
“Pius XII was afraid of, certainly in the first years of the war, that the Nazis were going to win. And so he felt he had to plan for a Europe that was going to be under Nazi control with their pal Mussolini helping out,” David Kertzer informed PBS final yr.
The beatification course of for Pius XII, which began in 1967, has been delayed as a result of of his controversial decisions throughout World War II.