Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pius XII: Poliakov versus Pave The Way

One of the claims made by organisations such as Pave The Way is that criticism of Pope Pius XII did not begin until well after his death in 1958.  In this short editorial from The Jewish Week Eric Fettmann makes the pertinent and historically accurate comment that criticism of Pius XII was made during the pope's lifetime.  The isolation of historians such as Poliakov speaks more of the general lack of interest in the study of the Holocaust in the 1950s as well as a reluctance in the English-speaking world to publically criticise the most vocal anti-communist on the planet.  This "old fashioned" historical research is what is sorely needed in the study of Pius XII.  I have added Gary Krupp's after Fettmann's editorial with the contentious paragraph highlighted in red.

Early Criticism Of Pius XII

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Eric Fettmann

It is simply not true, as Gary Krupp of Pave the Way Foundation asserts, that criticism of Pope Pius XII’s public behavior during the Holocaust was “artificially created” and unknown until Rolf Hochhuth’s play “The Deputy” (Letters, Nov. 11 - sic).

The noted Holocaust historian Leon Poliakov first raised concerns in his article, “The Vatican and the ‘Jewish Question’: The Record of the Hitler Period — and After,” which appeared in the November 1950 issue of Commentary. While dealing extensively with the “glorious record of the Catholic Church in its efforts to save [individual] Jewish lives from the Nazi murderers,” he also bemoaned the Pope’s failure to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, the stridently anti-Nazi Pius XI.

“What led the present Pope, Pius XII, to adopt a less forthright policy than Pius XI?” Poliakov asked. “The fact is that during Hitler’s lifetime, the present Pope never clearly condemned the criminal policy of the Third Reich, and that the diplomatic relations between Berlin and the Vatican, although cold and reserved, remained correct.”

Indeed, he wrote, “Nothing similar to certain statements of Pius XI (let us recall his famous words: ‘We are all Semites spiritually ...’) was said at Rome under the pontificate of Pius XII.”

Despite “resounding protests made at the local [church] level, the Pope did not consider it wise to add to these protests the authority of his own voice; or if he did make a public statements, it was with such caution that his words had no effect, or were misunderstood.”

True, Poliakov’s was a lonely voice during this period. But his essay, besides being the first, continues to be one of the most insightful on this painful and complicated subject.

Here is Gary Krupp's letter to the editor - 8 November 2011. My own opinions and evaluation of Pave The Way's methodology are well known and I have written about the organisation on my blog and mentioned it in my book.  I see no reason to reiterate them here.

Countering Cardinal Koch

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I believe Cardinal Koch, in his sincere attempt to quell the controversy, may have misspoken. Pave the Way Foundation does not support the canonization of anyone (“New Dialogue Leader Off To Bad Start,” Nov. 4). PTWF is a nonsectarian organization that impartially moves to identify and eliminate non-theological obstacles between religions. We never endorse specific religious processes such as canonization. Personally, speaking as a Jew, canonization is Catholic concept. Just as we would not favor Catholic intervention or commentary of our prayers and traditions, we should simply allow the Catholic Church to follow its canon law to determine who is or is not a saint.

Pave the Way is far from alone in its assessment of discovered documentation. There are literally dozens of true historians both Jews and non-Jews, who believe that our findings are quite real and legitimate. These include Hans Jansen of the Netherlands, Pierre Blet and Philippe Chenaux, Michael Feldkamp and Sister Margherita Marchione, among others. Jews who have defended the wartime pope include Albert Einstein, Rabbi David Dalin, Rabbi Chaim Herzog, Rabbi Toaf of Rome, Golda Meir, Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld and Sir Martin Gilbert, to mention a few.

To date we have posted on our website ( over 46,000 pages of original documents, news articles and video eyewitness testimonies, which clearly show that the current opinion of Pope Pius XII is wrong and was artificially created. We discovered that literally every Jewish leader and every Jewish organization of the day (including Rabbi Eric Greenberg’s Anti-Defamation League), showered affection, and praise upon Pius XII up until five years after his death. What happened to change this? Where are the documents that prove these new allegations? How did this happen?

The fictional play “The Deputy” was produced, translated into 20 languages, and strategically played worldwide by the Soviet disinformation department in an operation called “Seat Twelve.” This was specifically planned to isolate the Jewish people from the Catholics timed to discredit Vatican II and its new relationship with the non-Catholic world. It also was intended to discredit the Holy See and Pius XII personally.

Instantly the positive well-earned expressions of Jewish gratitude changed. The new accusations took hold, and a slew of new biased, historically incorrect books were written to feed into the controversy and to make a fortune for their authors. This effort was at the cost of legitimate Jewish gratitude. As Jews, we bought these allegations hook, line and sinker and the demonization moved forward.

Then we discovered the real “smoking gun.” Those who we have come to trust for historical accuracy have not attempted original firsthand research nor have they visited the open Vatican archives up to 1939.

Throughout our investigation and our effort to post the evidence online for public consumption, we have not been able to locate one document to support the calumnies leveled again Pius XII.

I reiterate that we do not support the canonization of Pope Pius XII, but we do emphatically support his recognition by Yad Vashem as “Righteous Among Nations.”

Founder and President Pave the Way Foundation

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