Catholic Nun Killed at Auschwitz for Trying to Help Jews

Catholic Nun Killed at Auschwitz for Trying to Help Jews

Roman Catholic apologists can’t erase Vatican connection to Hitler

By Greg Szymanski, JD

Dec 25, 2010

Since World War II, U.S. television networks and Hollywood producers have aired more than 6,000 documentaries about Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, Hitler’s life and the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

It seems every week since the 1950s a Nazi documentary appears, however, never will any of them ever tell the truth about the Vatican connection. Never once will any of these documentaries tell how Pope Pius XII was instrumental in putting Hitler into power.

And never will any of these documentaries ever trace how the Nazis, like Stalin and Russia, were funded by the U.S and Great Britain.

In fact, the scar of backing the Nazis has never quite been removed from the Vatican’s public image, but the Roman Catholic hierarchy has done a good job in marginalizing and covering up any bad publicity.

But two stories that never get much press, even among Vatican critics, is first the slaughter of 1,000 Jews taken from a neighborhood in Rome right at the doorstep of Pius XII, who turned a blind eye and did nothng to stop the killings.

And the second is a story about a little known letter written by a Catholic nun who tried to alert the Vatican about the inhuman treatment of Jews in Germany.

Not only did the Vatican hierarchy again turn a blind eye but they later had the nun carted away and murdered at Auschwitz.

Here is the letter:

In 1933, Sister Edith wrote to Pope Pius XI, warning about persecution and hatred levied against the Jews. Stein implored for intervention against this inhumanity. In her letter to the Pope she wrote:

““As a child of the Jewish people who, by the grace of God, for the past eleven years has also been a child of the Catholic Church, I dare to speak to the Father of Christianity about that which oppresses millions of Germans. For weeks we have seen deeds perpetrated in Germany which mock any sense of justice and humanity, not to mention love of neighbor.

“For years the leaders of National Socialism have been preaching hatred of the Jews. Now that they have seized the power of government and armed their followers . . . this seed of hatred has germinated. . . . But the responsibility must fall, after all, on those who brought them to this point and it also falls on those who keep silent in the face of such happenings.

“Everything that happened and continues to happen on a daily basis originates with a government that calls itself “Christian.” For weeks, not only Jews but also thousands of faithful Catholics in Germany, and, I believe, all over the world, have been waiting and hoping for the Church of Christ to raise its voice to put a stop to this abuse of Christ’s name. Isn’t the effort to destroy Jewish blood an abuse of the holiest humanity of our Savior, of the most blessed Virgin and the apostles? Is not all this diametrically opposed to the conduct of our Lord and Savior, who, even on the cross, still prayed for his persecutors…We all, who are faithful children of the Church and who see the conditions in Germany with open eyes, fear the worst for the prestige of the Church, if the silence continues any longer.

“At the feet of your Holiness, requesting your apostolic blessing,
–Dr. Edith Stein”

Stein’s letter received no answer. In 1942, she was arrested at a Netherlands convent. Later that year, she was murdered at Auschwitz. The Church did not release her letter publically until 2003.

Here are some annoying facts, taken from a website called Catholic Arrogance,  which apologists for the Pope XII and the Catholic hierarchy of Germany simply can’t erase from history :

1. Can any such apologist offer evidence that the pope and/or bishops of the Nazi countries ever excommunicated or even refused the sacraments to Adolf Hitler or any of the many other high-ranking Catholics in the Nazi leadership?
2. Can any such apologist explain why the Vatican was one of the very first independent political entities to recognize Hitler’s government, and why it was in such a rush to make its unwise “Reich Concordat” with Hitler, six months after he was in office, thereby giving it unwarranted moral legitimacy in the eyes of the rest of the world?
3. Can any such apologist offer evidence that Pope Pius XI or XII ever put the Nazi Bible “Mein Kampf” on the Index of Forbidden Books?  ( Instead, it was allowed to compete throughout the Hitler years with the Bible, as the best selling book in Germany.) Click here for more detail on excommunication and the Index.
4. Can any such apologist explain why the Church never repudiated that Concordat, once it became clear that it had “made a pact with the devil”?
5. Can any such apologist explain why the Church in Germany never recognized that the substantial subsidies that it received from the Nazi government in support its schools and even its churches, was a form of bribery which made it very difficult, if not impossible, for the church to “bite the hand that was feeding it”?
6. Can any such apologist explain why the Church, which proved that it had the ability and courage to speak out against the government when it’s own ox was being gored, so to speak, claimed helplessness when the Jews were the victims?  When the Church made a point of speaking out to save Jews who had converted to Christianity, rather than prove that the Catholic Church cared about Jews, was this not proof that it cared only about “its own”?
7. Can any such apologist point to any statements on behalf of the Jews or against the Nazis which are not couched in nebulous language designed to avoid offending the Nazis?  statements that used the words “Nazi” and “Jew” to make it impossible for anyone to miss the points that needed to be communicated loud and clear?  If the Church really understood that the most wicked and morally indefensible aspect of the Third Reich was its cold-blooded plan to deny every Jew they could get their hands on every civil right, every kind of freedom and justice, every personal possession, and finally even the right to life, then its pope and/or bishops should surely have made it clear to Catholics and Nazis alike that it condemned “Nazis” for perpetrating a “Holocaust” against the “Jews”.  Instead, the Church tried to “have it both ways”, by pretending to point an accusing finger, while actually letting the accused off the hook, by making vague diplomatic statements which satisfied those who are easily fooled, while not arousing the faithful and not antagonizing those in power.
8. Did the pope and / or bishops ever make it clear to the twenty million or so Catholics of Germany ( 33% of the population) that it was extremely immoral for any Catholic to support what Hitler’s government was all about, i.e. the mass-murder of millions of their brothers and sisters who happened to be, like Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and all of the apostles chosen by Jesus, i.e. Jews?
If, as many Catholic apologists claim, their church opposed Hitler’s immoral policies, why is it that the only records that can be found of German Catholics refusing to be a part of the Nazi military is of seven individuals?  And far from representing their Church’s opposition to Hitler, the records show that several of these “conscientious objectors”, including a priest, were refused the sacraments for being “bad Catholics” (for not going along with the directions of their church’s leaders to “be subject to your leaders”)?
9. Even if they are unable to empathize with the suffering of non-Catholic Jews, shouldn’t Catholics be concerned about the spiritual harm done to members of their own church, who had a right to expect moral guidance from their clergy and were instead told that they should do whatever their civil leaders told them to do?  The devout Catholic Scholar, Gordon Zahn, who went to Germany in the 1950’s in the hope of vindicating his beloved church, could only find documentation that led him to the conclusion:

“The German Catholic who looked to his religious superiors for spiritual guidance and direction regarding service in Hitler’s wars received virtually the same answers he would have received from the NAZI ruler himself.”  { German Catholics and Hitler’s Wars, p. 17 )
10. If there is any evidence to support the often repeated claim that Pope Pius XII was personally responsible for saving the lives of 860,000 or so Jews? And even if he deserves credit for saving those Jews, why were so many of those lives only saved after the tide had turned and the defeat of the Nazis was only a matter of time?  See Response 3, below:
11. Why, after the Nazis had been defeated, and the liberators of the Jews were attempting to round up the Nazi war criminals for persecution, did the Catholic Church allow the Vatican and other important church assets to become one of the most important avenues of escape of hundreds, if not thousands, of Nazi war criminals, including some of the worst?
12. While there is little evidence of the authorities of the Catholic Church in either Germany or the Vatican speaking clearly and loudly against the Nazis,  there is ample evidence of the Church insisting on being “neutral”, when it was urged to speak out against the Nazi’s.  And yet, when it regularly instructed German Catholics to obey their Nazi rulers, was that being “neutral”?
13. Some Catholic apologists pretend that the case against Pope Pius XII is somehow based on the 1963 German play “The Deputy” by Rolf Hochhuth, which was nothing but a work of art based on the hunches of a playwright, as though there has been no solid scholarship since then to substantiate some if not all of that artist’s hunches.  Setting up and attacking this “straw man” is what passes for scholarship in some Catholic circles.
14. While apologists for Pius XII can quote various Jewish agencies that spoke highly of this pope early on, and at his death, how can Jewish authorities have a high opinion of the best known “gentile” of the period and not include him among the 22,000 “Righteous Gentiles” who had been recognized by the end of 2007?

It’s also interesting to note the publisher’s description of Hitler’s Pope, (The Secret History of Pius XII) :

“In Hitler’s Pope, award-winning journalist John Cornwell shows that Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII, was instrumental in negotiating an accord that helped the Nazis’ rise to unhindered power — and sealed the fate of the Jews in Europe.
See Rabbi David Dalin’s book below.

As reported on the Catholic Arrogance website, drawing upon secret Vatican and Jesuit archives to which he had unprecedented access, Cornwell tells the full, tragic story of how narcissistic, long-standing personal antipathy for the Jews, and personal and spiritual ambition combined to make Pius XII the most dangerous churchman in history.   Not just a firm and final indictment of Pius XII’s papacy, Hitler’s Pope is also a searing exploration of its lingering consequences for the Catholic Church today.”
Some Catholic apologists dismiss John Cornwell out of hand.  But if he was as incompetent and/or dishonorable as these people claim, then why, in response to the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I in September of 1978, after a reign of only thirty-three days did the Vatican invite none other than John Cornwell to conduct a new, independent investigation into the true circumstances of the Pope’s death?  In the book which resulted from his investigation and for which the Vatican cooperated fully, Cornwell’s A Thief in the Night tells the story of his search, including a startling theory about John Paul I’s untimely demise — and a chilling and unsurpassed look inside one of the world’s oldest, most secretive institutions.
“On March 23 (1933) Hitler gave a policy statement in which he promised, among other things, to work for peaceful relations between Church and State; the Reichstag in turn approved the Enabling Act, which for a period of four years transferred the power of legislation from parliament to the cabinet. Five days later the German Catholic episcopate, organized in the Fulda Bishop’s Conference, withdrew their earlier prohibitions against membership in the Nazi party and admonished the faithful to be loyal and obedient to the new regime.” ( p. 3)
from The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany by Guenter Lewy

2 thoughts on “Catholic Nun Killed at Auschwitz for Trying to Help Jews

  1. Pingback: » Porta Nomentana Youngsan University

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