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On behalf of the Jews of Slovakia, Pius XII intervened directly and — contrary to the allegations of his accusers — in unambiguous terms. A government ordinance, called simply the Jewish Code, was passed on September 9, 1941, parroting the anti-Semitic regulations of the Third Reich. A lengthy note was prepared by the Vatican Secretariat of State and transmitted on November 12 to the Slovak minister to the Holy See, Karl Sidor. It read in part:

...With the deepest sorrow the Holy See has learned that also in Slovakia, a country whose population almost totally honors the best Catholic tradition, a "Government Ordinance" was issued on September 9 establishing special "racial legislation" and containing various regulations in open contrast with Catholic principles.

"In fact the Church, universal by the will of her divine Founder, welcomes to her bosom people of all races, and views all mankind with a maternal solicitude for the purpose of creating and developing among all men feelings of brotherhood and love, in accordance with the explicit and categoric teaching of the Gospel ....18

Five weeks earlier, the Slovak bishops had sent a protest note to Jozef Tiso, the President of the puppet state:

...It does not escape the attention of the careful examiner that the philosophical conception on the basis of which the present ordinance has been drawn up is the racist ideology.... We do not intend to enumerate here all the dangerous errors that this doctrine conceals in itself. . . . We wish only to recall that the materialistic theory of racism is in direct contradiction with the teaching of the Catholic Church on the common origin of all men from a single Creator and Father, on the substantial equality of men before God stressed especially by the Apostle of the peoples, on the Common supernatural destiny of men in consequence of the universal redemption work of Christ. . . . The so-called Jewish Code violates natural law and the freedom of individual conscience.19

This was but one of many protests directly from Pius XII or from the bishops against the persecution and deportation of Slovakian Jews. These provoked Prime Minister Vojtech Tuka to write on Mar 3, 1943:

"It is incomprehensible to the government that ecclesiastic circles and especially the Catholic clergy should today adduce so many protests against the elimination of the Jews, who in the past were most responsible for the misery of the Slovak people . . . . The Slovak clergy save for a few honorable exceptions has rarely showed such zeal for the interests of its own people as it does now for the interests of the Jews, and in many cases even for those who are not baptized . . .20

Despite this and other verbal rejections of the protests from the Catholic hierarchy, Pius' pleas were finally heeded; although 70,000 Jews had been deported from the new pro-Nazi republic, the papal nuncio in Bratislava succeeded in obtaining a promise from the puppet government that further deportation plans would largely be discarded. But when the Germans occupied Slovakia in early fall of 1944, the semblance of independence which that country had maintained for five years vanished, and with it the hard-won reprieves for the remaining Jewish population. Under the urging of the Vatican, the Slovak government protested the Nazis' familiar brutality toward the Jews, but to no avail. All the Pope could now do was continue to express his concern. A telegram sent in October to Archbishop Roncalli in Istanbul read that the Holy See, "despite the increasing difficulties, including those of communications, is still following with great attention the fate of the Jews in Slovakia and Hungary, and will leave nothing undone to help them.21

The papal nuncio in Romania, Monsignor Andrea Cassulo, exercised his considerable diplomatic and spiritual authority in behalf of the Jews throughout the war; he made his first formal efforts as early as February 16, 1941. He worked untiringly to win the government's permission to send Jewish orphans to Palestine, and with some success. On October 20 he registered an official protest with Mihail Antonescu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, against the government's admitted plans to regulate the Jewish question, and came, through his repeated intercessions, to be known to the Jewish population of Romania as an ever-willing source of assistance.22

Because of his close contact with Romania's Chief Rabbi Safran throughout the war, Archbishop Cassulo kept himself and the Vatican informed about the condition of Romanian Jews, especially those interned in concentration camps beyond the Dnieper. In 1942 and 1943, prompted by Pope Pius XII, the nuncio visited numbers of camps, taking with him considerable sums of money sent by the Pope for distribution among the prisoners. Following the 1943 visit, the Archbishop presented a ten-point request to Rado Lecca, the government official in charge of Jewish affairs, to alleviate the misery in the camps; by June, 1943, Rabbi Safran was able to report to him that conditions had improved noticeably as a result.23

The Holy See's interest in the plight of the Romanian Jews is attested to by Archbishop Cassulo's own official messages and memoranda as well as the testimony of Rabbi Safran. On November 24, 1942, the apostolic nuncio sent Mihail Antonescu a note which read in part:

"Ever since the Romanian government has come to believe itself bound to examine the diverse aspects of the Jewish question in Romania and to solve it in accordance with the country's interests, the Holy See has been concerned, above all other considerations, with . . . the respect that must be assured to every innocent person who is abandoned and without support . . . .24

The note, written immediately after Archbishop Cassulo's return from a visit to Rome, came at a particularly dangerous time for Romania's Jews. The Third Reich was exerting heavy pressure for mass deportations of Jews eastward, to beyond the Bug River where German police were in command. In the opinion of many members of the diplomatic corps in Bucharest, the nuncio's applications were responsible for first the suspension of the deportation plans and then their postponement until the following year.25 The Jewish community in Romania asked Archbishop Cassulo on February 14, 1943, to write their gratitude to Pius XII for the help of the Vatican and its nunciature.26

A Dr. Frederic, a young German Foreign Office agent, was sent on a tour through various Nazi-occupied and satellite countries to feel out their reaction to the Germans. As Frederic wrote in his confidential report to the German Foreign Office datelined Berlin, September 19, 1943, his meeting in Lwow with the Ukrainian leaders and Metropolitan Sheptytsky was far from heartening; the Metropolitan remained adamant in saying that the killing of Jews was an inadmissible act, and Frederic comments, In this issue the Metropolitan made the same statements and even used the same phrasing as the French, Belgian, and Dutch bishops, as if all of them were receiving the same instructions from the Vatican.27

The action taken to help the Jews in Hungary was manifold. In the spring of 1944, the papal nuncio, Msgr. Angelo Rotta, warned that country on the first day of the deportation of Jews that the whole world knew what they really signified; on June 25, 1944, he delivered Miklos Horthy a letter which was a strong protest from the Pope.28 Prior to the onslaught on Hungarian Jews by the Fascists, Hungary responded to promptings from the Vatican and gave asylum to Jewish refugees from Poland and Slovakia. As the bloodbath swept Hungary, the Vatican notified its nuncios in Budapest and Bratislava to watch the situation and do all they could for the welfare of Jewish refugees.29 At about the same time, the Pope had the following message sent to the World Jewish Congress, with which he was in communication during the war:

"Whenever reports reached the Holy See that the situation of the Jews in Hungary was becoming worse, steps were immediately taken to assist these people and to alleviate their condition. The Holy See gives assurance that it will continue to act in behalf of these Jews. Following instructions from the Holy See, the Apostolic Nunciature in Budapest has repeatedly intervened with the Hungarian authorities so that violent and unjust measures would not be taken against the Jews in that country. The bishops of Hungary have engaged in an intense activity in favor of persecuted Jews. The action on the part of the Nunciature and the bishops will continue as long as necessary...The Holy Father...[sent] a personal open telegram to the Cardinal [Archbishop of Strigonium (Esztergom)], and in this communication His Holiness again manifested his heartfelt interest in promoting the welfare of all those exposed to violence and persecution because of their race or religion or on account of political motives. The Holy Father gives assurance that he will, in the future as in the past, do everything in favor of these people in Hungary or in any other European country.30

The Pope's words, discreet as they are, give little indication of how intense the clergy's activity was. The nuncio spoke out sharply, as did the Hungarian bishops, and simultaneously undertook as widespread rescue measures as possible. Helped by priests and nuns, he and the bishops sheltered several thousand Jews, distributed false papers, and provided information, clothing, and food; Laszlo Endre, the Undersecretary of the Interior in the Nazi government, said testily that as far as aid to the Jews is concerned, priests and clergy men . . . unfortunately are in the first rank. Protection and intervention have never been on such a large scale as today.31

The Catholic bishops of Holland published a pastoral letter read in all the Catholic churches throughout the country on April 19, 1942, condemning the unmerciful and unjust treatment meted out to Jews by those in power in our country.32 And in a telegram dated July 11, 1942, the bishops demanded the suspension of coercive measures against unchristened as well as christened Jews. But the deportations continued. On July 26, the bishops joined with representatives of almost all other religious communities to denounce the Nazis' lawless measures, but the response, as we have seen, was mass arrests of Catholics and Jews, among them Dr. Edith Stein, a convert to Catholicism and a nun, who was sent to Auschwitz.33

In France, as everywhere else that humans were being victimized by the Nazis, Pius XII's aim was to utilize the Vatican's spiritual and material resources as completely as possible to help the oppressed in their misery. His means were deliberately quiet; we know how strongly he felt that any direct attack by the Vatican on Axis policies would spell at least interference with and at worst complete contravention of the Church's activities. Yet his exhortations to Catholics to cleave to the humane principles of their religion, like his messages to his bishops to do all they could to help, within the limitations of local conditions, were quite clear in their implications. Late in June, 1943, the Vatican radio warned the French people, He who makes a distinction between Jews and other men is unfaithful to God and is in conflict with God's commands.34 Catholic bishops and priests had long since been following these promptings, as two 1942 pastoral letters attest. The first, from Archbishop (later Cardinal) Jules Gerard Saliege of Toulouse and read on August 23, strongly echoed the principles stressed over and over by Pius:

"There is a Christian morality . . . that confers rights and imposes duties. These duties and these rights come from God. One can violate them. But no mortal has the power to suppress them. Alas, it has been our destiny to witness the dreadful spectacle of children, women, and old men being treated like vile beasts; of families being torn apart and deported to unknown destinations. . . . In our diocese, frightful things are taking place in Noe and Recebedou [camps]. . . . The Jews are our brethren. They belong to mankind. No Christian dares forget that!35

A week later the priests of the diocese of Montauban read to their congregations a letter from their bishop, Pierre-Marie Theas:

"On behalf of my outraged Christian conscience, I raise my voice in protest [against the treatment of Jews], and I assert that all men, Aryans and non-Aryans, are brothers because they have been created by the same God; that all men, whatever their race or religion, have the right to be respected by individuals and states. The present anti-Semitic pressures flout human dignity and violate the most sacred rights of the human person and family. . . .36

That Pius' exhortations were effective, and that local officials charged with "the Jewish question" recognized this, there is no doubt. Witness a communication to SS Standard-Leader Dr. Knochen in early summer of 1943 concerning south-eastern France, then occupied by Italian forces:

"A treasonable propaganda is exploiting this difference between the conceptions of the German and the Italian governments in the matter of solving the Jewish question. Its theme is the following: in the first place, the worthiness of the measures applied; and in the second place, their Christian and Catholic conception, as it is inspired by the Vatican.37

How receptive the Vatican was to proposals for helping the Jews is illustrated by the story of the now legendary Father Marie-Benoit of Marseilles. Conditions in France had become acutely dangerous for Jews by late 1942; the Vichy government had promised to deliver 50,000 Jews of foreign origin to the Germans, and had begun a ruthless manhunt that summer, especially in the large cities on the Mediterranean coast. Vichy had been allowing Jews to slip into Southeastern France, a free zone, for several years, so that the normal Jewish population of some 15,000 had increased by many ten thousands when Italian forces entered the area on November 11, 1942. Father Marie-Benoit, a Capuchin priest, not only persuaded the Italian inspector-general of police in Nice, Guido Lospinoso, not to comply with the deportation orders, but proceeded — under the perhaps deliberately blind eye of the Italian occupation forces — to turn his monastery in Marseilles into a veritable rescue factory manufacturing passports, identification cards, certificates of baptism, and employers' recommendation letters for Jews, and to smuggle numbers of Jews into Spain and Switzerland. But the priest was not satisfied with these enterprises, and took advantage of a trip to Rome — he had been summoned by the Italian government to be censured for his suspected activities — to present a larger plan to Pius XII on July 16, 1943. In essence, the plan would include gathering information on the whereabouts of Jews deported from France eastward, particularly to Upper Silesia, the location of Auschwitz; obtaining more humane treatment of Jews in French concentration camps; working for the repatriation of Spanish Jews who were residing in France; and transferring some 50,000 French Jews to North Africa where, in view of Allied military successes, they would be safe. The Pope agreed heartily with Father Marie-Benoit's plan, and helped him obtain pledges of support from Britain and the United States as well as from Jewish organization sources in the Allied countries. But the project was destined to fail; with the surrender of the Badoglio government to the Allies, German troops swept into the Italian zone of France, and thousands of Jews fled in panic across the Alps into Italy and Switzerland.

Determined to salvage what he could of his plan, Father Marie-Benoit again approached the Vatican, which helped him prevail upon the Spanish government to authorize its consuls in France to issue entry permits to all Jews who could prove Spanish nationality. In case of doubt, the final decision rested in the hands of that impartial arbiter, Father Marie- Benoit.38

In Belgium, the Catholics of Liege observed February 28, 1943, as a day of prayer for the persecuted Jews throughout Europe. Said the Catholic newspaper Appel des Cloches, In communing and praying this Sunday for the persecuted Jewish people who were once Christ's chosen people, we shall be acting in accordance with the directives issued by His Eminence the Bishop.39

Pius XII's record in relation to the Jews of Germany, which the Pope knew well from his 12 years there as papal nuncio, is very significant, for from Germany has come the defamatory picture of the wartime pope as a criminal. Numbers of German Christians and Jews have published vehement denials of Hochhuth's charge. They support their position by citing Pius' actions to help the Jews through his representatives in Germany. Msgr. Walter Adolph, Vicar-General of the diocese of Berlin, has written a particularly cogent account. He says that Pius XII, in previously unpublished correspondence with Bishop (later Cardinal) von Preysing of Berlin, encouraged him and his clergy in their protests against every sort of inhumanity. Typical of Pius' letters is this one:

"We are grateful to you, dear Brother, for the clear and open words you have spoken on different occasions to your faithful community and thus to the public; We think hereby of your statement on June 28, 1942, among others, about the Christian conception of right and justice; of your speech on Totensonntag [Sunday of the Dead] last November about the fundamental human right to life and love; We think also especially of your Pastoral, issued on Advent, 1942, and which was also directed to the West German Church Provinces, on God's sovereign rights of the individual and the rights of the family.40

We know from Goebbel's diary that the many pastoral letters issued in Germany during the war aroused the Nazis' contempt and hatred.

One of the Pope's letters to Bishop von Preysing treats the central dilemma that faced Pius XII all during the war:

"We leave it to the [local] bishops to weigh the circumstances in deciding whether or not to exercise restraint, ad maiora mala vitanda [to avoid greater evil]. This would be advisable if the danger of retaliatory and coercive measures would be imminent in cases of public statements by the bishop. Here lies one of the reasons We Ourselves restrict Our public statements. The experience We had in 1942 with documents which We released for distribution to the faithful gives justification, as far as We can see, for Our attitude.41

The history of Vatican intervention in Nazi cruelties to the Jews dates back to April, 1933, when Pope Pius XI sent an urgent request to the then new Hitler government not to let itself be influenced by anti-Semitic aims. From 1939 onward, the public record shows countless Vatican intercessions on behalf of Jews, both prompted by pleas from Jewish and other sources and owing to the personal initiative of Pius XII. Many German Catholic prelates met their death as a result of their criticism of the Reich for its treatment of Jews. One, Msgr. Bernhard Lichtenberg, dean of St. Hedwig's Cathedral in Berlin, called on his congregation to pray for Jews and inmates of concentration camps after the pograms of November, 1938, and his many similar protests led to his arrest in October, 1942. We have been comforted to hear . . . that the Catholics, especially the Catholics in Berlin, have extended much love to the so-called non-Aryans, and in this connection We want to say a special word of fatherly appreciation and heartfelt sympathy for Father Lichtenberg, who is imprisoned.42 Father Lichtenberg voluntarily applied for transfer to the ghetto in Lodz, but was sent to Dachau instead; he died on the way to the camp in November, 1943.43

What were Pius XII's actions in Italy, his native land and the country surrounding his own Vatican City? What was his response to the evils being committed almost literally under his windows, since the Jewish ghetto in Rome was so near the Vatican?

Early in the German occupation of Italy, the SS began their persecution of the Jews. On September 27, 1943, one of the commanders demanded of the Jewish community in Rome payment of 100 pounds of gold in 36 hours, failing which 300 Jews would be taken prisoner. The Jewish Community Council worked desperately, but was able to gather together only 70 pounds of the precious metal. In his memoirs, the then Chief Rabbi Zolli of Rome writes that he was sent to the Vatican, where arrangements had already been made to receive him as an engineer called to survey a construction problem so that the Gestapo on watch at the Vatican would not bar his entry. He was met by the Vatican treasurer and secretary of state, who told him that the Holy Father himself had given orders for the deficit to be filled with gold vessels taken from the Treasury.44 There is some disagreement today among some of the principals involved — Zolli, other prominent Jews of Rome, and Father Robert Leiber — over the amount of gold demanded as ransom and whether the Community Council actually borrowed the gold; but there is no question that the Vatican did make the offer.

From the first days of the war, Pope Pius distributed untold sums to aid Jews all over Europe. The Vatican's own refugee agencies and the St. Raphael Verein gave financial and other material help in amounts we cannot begin to guess until the Vatican archives are opened, but the sums which passed through the hands of the Pallottine Fathers, who administered the St. Raphael Verein and who kindly gave me material from their own records, were very large. In addition, Pope Pius supervised the receipt and disposition of funds sent in his care by various sympathetic individuals and groups in Europe and the Americas, notably the Catholic Refugee Committee of the United States. American Jews put large sums into the hands of the Pope, who distributed them according to the wishes of the donors; Father Leiber estimates that Pius received some 2 billion lire from Jews in the United States by the end of 1945.45

Pius XII was as sensitive to the spiritual needs of the Jews during World War II as he was to their material wants. None of the many Vatican services for refugees worked harder at its tasks than the Uffizio Informazioni Vaticano, to which Pius XII assigned the difficult job of seeking news for Jews in Italy of relatives who had been interned or left in other countries. The German Division of the Office of Information received a total of 102,026 appeals for information concerning Jews still in Germany between 1941 and 1945, and was able to furnish 36,877 replies, despite the fact that as the war wore on it could use few standard channels of investigation because of the danger that direct inquiry would have involved for the subjects.

When the Nazis forbade ritual slaughter to the Jews, the Pope sent shohetim into Vatican City to perform the ritual slaughter and store food for the Jews sheltered there. Many Jewish citizens, expelled from government, scientific, and teaching positions, were invited to the Vatican; the president and two professors from the University of Rome and a famous geographer, all Jews ousted by the Fascists, received important positions in Vatican City. Bernard Berenson, who preferred to remain in Italy during the war, was given asylum in a villa near Florence, which belonged to the Holy See's minister to the Republic of San Marino, so that he could continue to work and live unmolested; he and his family stayed there, under the flag of the Vatican's diplomatic immunity, until British and American troops arrived in the late summer of 1944.

A Jewish organization, the Delegation for Assistance to Jewish Emigrants (DELASEM), established in Genoa in September, 1939, was forced underground when the Germans occupied the city. Its treasure of 5 million lire was entrusted to Father Giuseppe Repetto, secretary to the archbishop of Genoa; a fifth of this sum was put in the hands of one Padre Benedetto, newly appointed president of DELASEM, who took the money to Rome on April 20, 1944. DELASEM continued its operations from its new headquarters in Father Benedetto's residence, the International College of Capuchins in Rome, and through the indefatigable prelate kept in touch with the International Red Cross, the Pontifical Relief Commission, the Italian police and other civil authorities, and even the German occupation forces. The priest set his coreligionists and DELASEM to work manufacturing false documents and establishing contact with sympathetic Italian, Swiss, Hungarian, French, and Romanian officials.47 If these details seem familiar, it should come as no surprise; Father Benedetto was the French Father Marie-Benoit, who had gone to Italy when his grand plan to help the Jews in southeastern France collapsed under the German Occupation of the region.

Among the thousands of personal histories of Vatican assistance, moral and material, is that of Dr. Meier Mendes, who recently recalled in a Catholic newspaper the efforts made on behalf of his family in 1939. When Dr. Mendes' father lost his professorship at the University of Rome as a result of the Fascist anti-Semitic campaigns, the Vatican offered him an important post at a Catholic university in South America. Professor Mendes asked in return whether the Church could help him and his family reach Palestine; the British government, said Dr. Mendes, had restricted immigration severely. Acting on instructions from Pius XII, the then Msgr. Giovanni Battista Montini, pro-secretary of state, intervened vigorously with the British authorities and succeeded in obtaining an immigration certificate for the Mendes family outside the regular immigration quotas.48

In the realm of material help for refugees, Pius XII's program under the direction of Father Anton Weber was perhaps the broadest in scope of any of the Pope's special aid operations.

Father Weber, today procurator-general of the Order of the Pallotines in Rome, operated a rescue mission during the war for Nazi victims that was the direct outgrowth of the work Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, when Vatican secretary of state, had begun on behalf of Jews in 1936. That year the German bishops had requested Cardinal Pacelli to ask the Vatican to found an International Emigrant Organization; Pius XI had agreed, and the Cardinal himself had written to all the American bishops asking for their support.49

Prior to Italy's entry into the war, masses of Jews fled to Italy from Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and other Balkan states. St. Raphael Verein, an organization long active in helping emigrants leaving Europe for the New World, received instructions from Pope Pius to give the refugees care, without regard to their religion or nationality. Father Weber shortly had a well-run organization working for the protection and help of refugees in every imaginable direction. He first established contact with Jews scattered all over Italy to prepare for possible emigration, and then, with the uninterrupted assistance of the Vatican, tackled the mountain of practical problems facing his enterprise. Passports, visas, medical certificates — valid and otherwise — had to be procured; the papal Ministry of State made innumerable requests of foreign governments for exit and entry papers, with more than fair success. The government of Brazil, for instance, supplied 3000 entry visas at first intended for Jewish converts to Catholicism, but that they were used by practicing Jews is undisputed. Transit visas, many of them for Portuguese ports, were difficult to procure from that country because its government required each emigrant to present a paid steamer ticket first; Father Weber established a special office in Lisbon, which was supported by Vatican funds, to handle that process. The operating costs of the rescue group were enormous; the price for each emigrant — transportation, food, and shelter — could run upward of $800; and the first source for this money was the Vatican itself. By 1945 Father Weber's organization had given assistance to some 25,000 Jews, 4000 of whom were able to travel to safety overseas.50

I used the phrase valid and otherwise regarding the official papers Father Weber's organization procured for Jews. The cloak-and-dagger story of the false documents supplied to Jews by the Church all over Europe and the Near East is not yet fully known; nor, if it were, could it be told, for there are countless numbers of Jews whose peaceful enjoyment of their new citizenship today still depends on the apparent validity of these papers. The Vatican both initiated and lent its support to a remarkable variety of secret manufacturing enterprises — like that of Father Marie-Benoit in France and later in Italy — as well as exerted pressure on Allied and neutral governments to grant entry or at least transit to Jews in danger of their lives. Jewish refugees in France holding Paraguayan passports in 1943 and 1944 approached the Vatican for help, fearing that recognition of their papers would be withdrawn by that South American government; through the apostolic delegate in Paraguay, the Pope obtained assurances that the passports would continue to be valid. The Vatican interceded with the Germans to allow Jews in Bergen Belsen who held South American passports to receive packages of food and clothing. Endless other examples could be cited, but perhaps the most extraordinary part of this particular rescue mission is what Ira Hirschmann has called Operation Baptism.

Archbishop Cassulo's 1941 protest in Romania was in answer to a state ruling that a change of religious status by a Jew did not alter his legal status as a member of that persecuted "race". For the authorities had become suspicious, as did those in the Balkans, Hungary, and elsewhere later, of the number of Jewish "converts" to Catholicism. Until such a ruling was made in a Nazi-controlled country, however, a Jew who could prove himself a member of the Catholic Church could usually use the evidence of that membership-a baptismal certificate as a safe-conduct paper to leave the country. No records have been published regarding who conceived the idea or how it was implemented, but the existence of the false baptismal certificates, and they number in the thousands, is a fact. It is also a fact that the Vatican was well aware of the plan, and that members of resistance groups, apostolic nuncios, nuns, representatives of Jewish aid groups based in the Allied countries, and untold numbers of ordinary citizens risked their welfare if not their lives to promote the ingenious scheme. By mid-1944, when only the Jews of Budapest had been temporarily spared in blood-soaked Hungary, another beloved Catholic figure had thrown his weight to the wheel, increasing the distribution of the baptismal certificates many times over; this was Pius XII's close friend and successor, Archbishop Roncalli, the late Pope John XXIII.51

With the arrival of the Germans in Italy, the Jewish population was threatened by the same sword that had ruthlessly cut down so many of their coreligionists in other parts of Europe. The Pope spoke out strongly in their defense with the first mass arrests of Jews in 1943, and L'Osservatore Romano carried an article protesting the internment of Jews and the confiscation of their property. The Fascist press came to call the Vatican paper a mouthpiece of the Jews, echoing the April, 1941 denunciation of the publication by Roberto Farinacci, Italy's leading promoter of racist doctrines.52 In keeping with Pius' conviction that direct attack on Fascist policies would cause more harm than good, the Vatican paper had curbed its criticism of the regime after Italy's entry into the war, but it continued to carry statements like that made in March, 1943, that no social order could be based on racial privilege and force.53

The emigration operations in Italy necessarily came to a halt, with the last plane carrying Jewish refugees leaving Rome on September 8, 1943, and Father Weber's St. Raphael Verein turned to the dangerous task of assigning the Jews left behind to hiding places. The Pope sent out the order that religious buildings were to give refuge to Jews, even at the price of great personal sacrifice on the part of their occupants; he released monasteries and convents from the cloister rule forbidding entry into these religious houses to all but a few specified outsiders, so that they could be used as hiding places. Thousands of Jews — the figures run from 4000 to 7000 — were hidden, fed, clothed, and bedded in the 180 known places of refuge in Vatican City, churches and basilicas, Church administrative buildings, and parish houses. Unknown numbers of Jews were sheltered in Castel Gandolfo, the site of the Pope's summer residence, private homes, hospitals, and nursing institutions; and the Pope took personal responsibility for the care of the children of Jews deported from Italy.

During the whole period of mass hiding of Jews, the Germans made only two raids and captured only a handful of people. The Pope protested strongly, and no further raids occurred; further, though the sheltered groups included many non-Jewish refugees, there was not a single case of betrayal.54

One hiding place for Jews was a Jesuit church with a false ceiling. Each man given refuge in the church was assigned to a space over a side altar and referred to by the name of the saint which the altar carried. The priests of the church delighted in chatting about "Zavier" and "Robert Bellarmine" and "Gonzaga" in the presence of Nazi officers, who never caught on to the game.55

The mass media have filled us with the sickening count of the lives sacrificed by the Nazis to their theory of racial purity; what we do not know is how many lives were saved by the humane work of such men as Pius XII. Official figures, cold as they are, may give us an inkling. In 1939 there were some 50,000 Jews in Italy; in 1946, there 46,000, of whom 30,000 were Italians and 16,000 refugees from Germany, Poland, Hungary, Yugoslavia, France, and other countries. Approximately 8000 Jews in all were taken by the Gestapo56 — a horrifying cipher, like all such, but far smaller than those that follow the names of most Nazi- occupied or -controlled countries in the roll call of genocidal slaughter.

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