Saturday, October 29, 2011

ADSS 8.368 Notes from the Italian Embassy on Slovakia

As the deportation of the Slovak Jews continued to create unpleasant reactions for the government, Prime Minister, Alexander Mach, called a press conference in late March to explain the government's decision.  The secretary of the Italian embassy to the Holy See, Francesco Babuscio Rizzo recorded notes from the meeting and forwarded them to the Vatican Secretariat of State.  There was some confusion over the dating of the memo.  Babuscio Rizzo dated his notes "7 May 1942" which was the day he wrote the version that was sent to the Vatican.  Babuscio Rizzo had received news of the meeting some time around 16 April, and the press conference itself was convened on or around 27 March.  Whatever the correct day, the content of Mach's "justification" for the race laws is an exercise in self-delusion.  We know that the nunciatures in Switzerland and Hungary had reports that Slovakian Jews were suffering terrible privation and were expected to die shortly after their deportation from Slovakia.

The notes made by Domenico Tardini and, later, the editors of ADSS, show very clearly that Mach's words were not taken seriously and in no manner reflected the truth that was becoming clearer and supported by reports from other parts of German-occupied Europe and Russia.

ADSS 8.368


Reference: No number. (AES 3657/42 original)
Location and date: Rome 07.05.1942 (1)

Summary statement: Declaration of the Slovak government on the race laws.

Language: Italian

Text:

At 12 o’clock this morning (2) journalists of allied countries and members of the press were summoned to a meeting by Prime Minister Mach to be briefed on the Jewish question in Slovakia (3) particularly in relation to protests made among the people.

“The Jewish question in Slovakia – began the Minister – must be resolved in a total way and must lead to the exclusion of all the Jews from the life of Slovakia …” (4)

The final decision for the total resolution of the Jewish problem was taken in the Council of State, also I wish to say, against the wishes of some of the Council members who raised objections. I gave assurances that the Jews expelled from Slovakia and sent to preselected places, would be treated humanely. Families will be reunited. I strongly deny the rumours that Jewish women are being sent to “sexual” destinations, as well as inhuman processes that the Jews will be submitted to. They will find in the towns to which they are sent the means to work and live.

I repeat that the women with children left behind, will be reunited as soon as possible.

I have given assurances, to the objections made to me, that the Jews who leave Slovakia, and that will be all of them, will never return. An international agreement guarantees this. The constitutional law permits us to remove citizenship from Jews who will be deported. Those who attempt to escape the action underway, trying to hide, will be liable to arrest. We do not keep any account of all the baptisms performed by certain clerics in recent times. Baptised or not, all the Jews must go … (5)

References:

1. Babuscio Rizzo corrected the date at the time of recording his notes. It should read 16.04.1942. Tardini notes: “Babuscio Rizzo was correct in saying that the information was forwarded to the Italian government on 16 April.”


2. Tardini note: “Which day? 27.03?”


3. Cf ADSS 8.334, 343, 360.


4. The minister explained the reason for the racial legislation and gave false assurances: “… the Jews in Slovakia, up until 14 March, influenced the economic, cultural, political and social life of the country and radical action against them could not be taken without causing damage and serious imbalance …”


5. Frivolous accusations against the Slovak Jews omitted.

Note of Monsignor Tardini: 08.05.1942. From Francesco Babuscio.


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