Pope Pius XII’s role before and during the Holocaust, both as Pius XI’s Secretary of State and as wartime pope, is the subject of ongoing controversy. The controversy began at war’s end when the existence of ratlines, a system of Vatican approved escape routes for Nazis and other fascists fleeing Europe to avoid prosecution for war crimes, came to light. It intensified in the early 1960s when German…..
During the Third Reich several Roman Catholic prelates were known as “Brown Bishops” (brown being the official color of the Nazi movement), because of their enthusiastic support of Nazism, including Konrad Gröber of Freiburg, Adolf Bertram of Breslau (photo above), Michael Buchberger of Regensburg, Antonius Hilfrich of Limburg and Military Bishop Franz Josef Rarkowski . Clearly, their conduct…..
Christopher Hitchens, an avowed atheist, in his book, “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” wrote that organized religion is “the main source of hatred in the world,” because it is “violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism, tribalism, and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children,” and accordingly it “ought…..
The Gestapo, founded by Hermann Göring in April, 1933, was placed under the administration of Heinrich Himmler. photo supra, as Chief of Nazi German Police in 1934. It specialized in extracting information by gruesome torture methods at its Berlin headquarters on Prinz Albrechtrasse (“Prince Albert Street”). Ironically, some of the Gestapo’s interrogation and surveillance techniques were pioneered…..
Hitler’s propaganda machine, under the leadership of Joseph Goebbels, relentlessly bombarded the German people with negative messages — in feature films, faked newsreels, phony documentaries, fabricated news stories, radio plays, even in children’s books — demonizing, dehumanizing and scapegoating Jews for just about every problem of German society. Public demonstrations were regularly choreographed and mass rallies staged to vilify…..
The situation for Jews in Italy took a dramatic turn for the worse in July, 1943, when the Allies invaded Sicily and bombed Rome. Italy’s fascist government fell, Mussolini was arrested and eventually executed by Italian partisans. Pietro Badoglio became Prime Minister of Italy and began to negotiate an immediate ceasefire with the Allies. Enraged, Hitler used force to bring Italy back into the Axis fold. Despite…..
Because of misinterpretation and/or misuse of biblical texts, anti-Jewish bias, aka anti-Judaism, permeated the writings and sermons of the earliest Christian theologians, the Church Fathers —Polycarp, Justin Martyr, St. Jerome, and Tertullian, to name a few. The Church’s doctrine of supercessionism, i.e. that Christianity fulfilled and replaced Judaism, rendering it insignificant in salvation history, for example, was originally espoused by Justin Martyr and Irenaeus of Lyon in…..
Pope Pius XII’s role before and during the Holocaust, both as Pius XI’s Secretary of State and as wartime pope, is the subject of ongoing controversy. The controversy started at war’s end when the existence of ratlines, i.e., a system of Vatican approved escape routes for Nazis and other fascists fleeing Europe to avoid prosecution for war crimes, came…..
My introduction to the Holocaust came in 1959 when, as an eighth grader at Benjamin Franklin High School in Rochester NY, I read “The Diary of Anne Frank.”
My next encounter with the Holocaust occurred,…..
In 1933, less than a month after he was elected chancellor, Hitler used the pretext of a fire in the Reichstag building to suspend constitutional law in Germany, aggregating unlimited judicial authority in his government to himself. After the fire, he proclaimed: “We have to provide certain temporary measures to stem this tide of terrorism.” And who were the terrorists? Communists and Jews, of course. The communists were scapegoated for starting the fire. Accordingly several laws were quickly passed —…..