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…..
Historians term the Austro-Hungarian Empire from the end of the nineteenth century to the beginning of World War I, a “Golden Age” for Jews. Things began to change for the worse, however, when Austro-Hungary, allied with Germany, was likewise defeated by the Allies in WWI. Under terms of the…..
James Carroll, in “Constantine’s Sword, The Church and the Jews,” implicitly invoked the law of unintended consequences when he described the Church’s dilemma regarding the Holocaust. Carroll contends, for example, that the Church did not fail to rise to the challenge posed by Hitler out of cowardice, anxiety over Bolshevism, or preoccupation with its own power and prerogatives. He cites Pope…..
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…..
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, 1938,…..
In 1936 Franz Jägerstätter wrote to his godchild: “I can say from my own experience how painful life often is when one lives as a halfway Christian; it is more like vegetating than living…Since the death of Christ, almost every century has seen the persecution of Christians; there have always been heroes and martyrs who gave their lives — often in horrible ways — for Christ and their faith. If we hope to reach our goal some day, then we,…..
Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” Mt. 7:21
Time and time again, Jesus makes it crystal clear that to be his disciple requires more than lip service. It requires action, ethical behavior grounded in love of God and…..
In 2007, several weeks after retiring as a NYS Family Court judge, I was invited to participate with a number of others in planning, developing the curriculum for, and team-teaching an inter-disciplinary, multi-session adult education course eventually entitled The 2000 Year Road to the Holocaust — An Interfaith Project of the Greater Rochester Community. Looking for projects to keep me busy in retirement and wanting to study the Holocaust in depth, a topic that had intrigued and troubled me for…..