Monday, October 3, 2011

ADSS 8.305 Secretariat of State communication with the Slovak Legation

This is the next stage of the Slovak deportation documentation.  Once the reports from Berne, Bratislava and Budapest had been digested and discussed, the Secretariat of State called the Slovak minister, Karel Sidor, in order to register its "disbelief" that a state that prided itself on its Catholic principles could allow such a thing as the deportation of at least 80,000 of its citizens.

I must admit that the word "protest" does not seem appropriate here.  Maglione's margin comment that "talk" pointed to a figure of 135,000 (which was close to the pre-war population).  It is safe to presume the Vatican wanted the Slovak government to abandon all deportation plans because of what they knew was happening to Jews "sent East" as well as to Jews living in German-occupied Belarus and Ukraine. (Cf ADSS 8.263, 301)  The close collaboration between the Slovak government and German agencies responsible for the transporting of Jews to the east, suggests that at the least, the Slovaks had a reasonable idea of what awaited the Slovakian Jews. 

It raises the question of why such a "tame" response from the Holy See?  The only conclusion I can reach is the hope, however, faint, that Priest-President Jozef Tiso would be moved by the concern of the Pope and shelve deportation plans.  If this was the case, it was in vain.

ADSS 8.305
Reference: AES 2027/42, minute
Location and date: Vatican 14.03.1942
Summary statement: Steps taken for the Slovakian Jews threatened with deportation.
Language: Italian


On 12 November 1941, the Secretary of State of His Holiness sent Note No 8355/41 (1) to the Slovak Legation regarding the Law issued by the Slovak Government on grounds of race.

The Minister assured that he would immediately send the note to his government and that he would be quick to give a satisfactory response. (2)

According to news received by the Secretariat of State the hour is imminent for the expulsion from the territory of the Slovak Republic of all members of the Jewish race, without distinction of religion, age or sex.

These people (about 80,000) (4) will be deported to Galicia and in the region of Lublin and the deportation will be carried out separately for men, and for women with children.

The Secretary of State hopes that this news does not correspond to the truth, being unable to believe that a country that intends to be guided by Catholic principles, could adopt such severe and painful measures for so many families.

Office Note: Delivered to His Excellency, Minister Sidor from His Eminence, the Cardinal Secretary of State on 14 March 1942. (5)


(1) ADSS 8.199

(2) Ibid, note 3.

(3) ADSS 8.298, 300, 303

(4) Maglione noted in the margin: “there is also talk of 135,000”

(5) See also ADSS 8.383 (Slovak minister attempts to justify the race laws). A note of 13.03.1942 at 1230: “telephoned the Slovak Legation to the Holy See to invite Minister Sidor to meet with Cardinal Maglione tomorrow, Saturday.”

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