13 December 2008

Pius XII And The Jews: A Note


The Vichy regime would continue to be unmoved by foreign criticism. Marshal Petain appeared to believe that he was acting in the best interest of the French state. But he would be chastened by no less an authority than the Pope's representative. At a late July luncheon at a hotel in Vichy, Petain commented to the Apostolic Nuncio, Cardinal Valerio Valeri that he was consoled by the fact that the Pope understood and approved his policy on the Jews. Valeri had to correct Petain. According to a report by the Ecuadorian minister to Vichy that was intercepted by the British, the Nuncio told Petain that he was mistaken about the Pope. The "Holy Father does not approve of it". Valeri later asked for another meeting in which he delivered the Pope's plea to stop the persecutions. Even the personal protest of the Pope to Marshal Phillipe Petain, the Chief of State, stirred "Le Marechal" only to limit the ongoing deportations of foreign Jews living in the occupied zone of France.

From "Eavesdropping on Hell: Historical Guide to Western Communications Intelligence and the Holocaust 1939-1945". Archival references to NARA holdings available if required.


Anonymous said...

Which leads us back to the public/private debate. As a diplomat, Pope Pius XII believed private pressure would be most effective. Was he correct?

The beat goes on...and on...

Anthony Bidgood said...

The Holy Father was not a diplomat during WWII. What this intercept shows is that a Catholic head of state was unmoved by the Holy Father's request. Can anyone expect that the atheistic Nazi regime would have listened to the Holy Father?

In Christo,
Anthony B

Tribunus said...

Well Ttony!

Excellent stuff.


Anonymous said...

While I support the cause for Pius XII, I'm not sure it speaks too well of the success of his diplomacy that Petain thought "that the Pope understood and approved his policy on the Jews".