Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Myth of Hitler's Pope

David Frum posts a review of The Myth of Hitler's Pope, by David Dalin.
In keeping with the solemnity of the Yom Kippur holiday, though, I spent my time after services reading David Dalin's new book The Myth of Hitler's Pope. It's a short book but in just a very few pages succeeds (or so it seems to me) in proving that Pope Pius XII has been horribly traduced by his many critics.

There are spots where Rabbi Dalin's enthusiasm gets the better of him. I think it is hard to deny that the Vatican willingly cooperated with antidemocratic forces in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. And Dalin's own evidence makes clear that the pope's supreme priority was always the protection of the institutional interests of the church.

Within those limits, though, Dalin proves and more than proves:

1) that both Pius XII and his predecessor Pius XI abhorred and repeatedly condemned Nazi doctrine;

2) that Pius XII used his diplomatic power to protect Jewish communities in Catholic countries like Hungary and Slovakia - with a measurable impact on the survival rate of the Jews in those countries;

3) that Pius XII defied the very real risk of his own abduction and arrest by the Nazis to protect the Jewish communities of Rome and Italy, including sheltering some 3,000 Roman Jews in his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo during the German occupation of Rome in 1943;

4) that the many Roman Catholic clerics who risked their lives to rescue Jews during World War II testified again and again that they were acting on the orders of the pope - and that letters in Pius XII's own handwriting confirm the claim;

5) that even by the most conservative estimate of the effect of his actions, Pius XII's personal interventions saved the lives of more European Jews than any other person outside the governments and armed forces of the allied powers - more than Oskar Schindler, more than Raoul Wallenberg.
Sounds interesting. This is the sort of thing that I wish were more widely acknowledged.

No comments: