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…..
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. …..
Like Yugoslavia and Hungary, Czechoslovakia was a political entity created at the end of World War I, a so-call Versailles state. It included the Czech provinces of Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia. Despite its multinational population and conflicted relations with neighboring countries, all of which coveted its territory, Czechoslovakia remained a functioning parliamentary democracy until 1938. On September 29,…..
In April 1941, after Germany invaded, occupied, and partitioned Yugoslavia, a Versailles Treaty-created state, the Nazis permitted the local fascist organization, the Ustasa, to create the “Independent” State of Croatia. Croatia was the province of Yugoslavia with the largest proportion of Roman Catholics. Orthodox Catholic Serbs and Muslims resided primarily in the provinces of Serbia, Bosnia, and Slovenia,…..
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…..
Most Catholics are aware of the countless saints, martyrs, popes, bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laity who, throughout church history, have lived ethical, even heroic lives — pursuing justice, feeding the poor, clothing the naked, educating the ignorant, liberating captives, as Jesus taught in his Gospel of Love. Clearly, this legion of righteous people has been a tremendous force for good in the world. …..
In 1516, Johann Tetzel, a Dominican monk and papal commissioner for indulgences, was dispatched to Germany by Pope Leo X (1513–21) to sell indulgences to raise money to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. (An indulgence was full or partial remission of temporal punishment in purgatory for sins already forgiven, granted after a sinner had confessed…..
St. Pope Pius X (1903–14), born Giuseppe Sarto, vigorously prosecuted Pius IX’s war against Modernism, which targeted, among other things, liberalism, rationalism, communism, socialism, democracy, religious tolerance, freedom of conscience, separation of church and state, freedom of religion, speech and press. Modernists argued that church…..
During the last third of the nineteenth century, there emerged among various thinkers a perception of Jews based on race, resulting, in part, from technological progress and scientific advances in the fields of biology, psychology, anthropology, genetics and evolution. This perception emerged within a broader racial worldview based on notions of inequality…..
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,…..