Saturday, May 5, 2012

ADSS 8.493 Notes of Montini, memo from Myron Taylor

As more news about the persecution of the Jews arrived in Rome from papal diplomatic sources, there was also an increase in the number of reports sent from other diplomatic sources.  Here Giovanni Montini refers to a memo sent from President Roosevelt's personal representative, Myron Taylor, which reported in graphic detail massacres of Jews from Lithuania, Poland and German-occupied Russia and Ukraine.  Some of the details were inaccurate, but the general tenor of the report was consistent with others of a similar nature.  

Cardinal Maglione's note is very interesting.  Atrocity propaganda was common during the 1914-1918 war and, I suspect, Maglione was wary of according approval to a memorandum that came from a source outside of the usual Vatican diplomatic channels, until it could be verified.  Montini noted that while the pope had "read and understood" the letter, Maglione was not so convinced. 

ADSS 8.493

Reference: AES 7247/42
Location and date: Vatican, 27.09.1942
Summary statement: News on massacres of Jews
Language: Italian


This letter of Mr Myron Taylor (1) to His Eminence Cardinal Maglione was taken this morning by the gentleman [Harold Tittman] in the absence of My Taylor, to His Eminence.

The Holy Father has read and understood the letter.

His Eminence the Cardinal Secretary of State is not so sure / convinced.

Note of Cardinal Maglione:

I do not believe we have the information which can confirm – in particular – this terrible news.  Is this not so?

Office note:

30.09.1942:  There are those of Malvezzi.

Cross references: 
(1) FRUS 1942 III, pp 775-776 (follows)
(2) Montini noted this on 18.09.1942 after a meeting with Count Pierro Malvezzi (1916-1987) of the Institute of Reconstruction of Industry.  It seems to point to another set of similar reports from Malvezzi during a visit to Poland in 1940-1941.

FRUS 1942 III, pp 775-776.

The President’s Personal Representative to Pope Pius XII (Myron Taylor) to the Cardinal Secretary of State (Luigi Maglione).

Vatican City, September 26,1942.

My dear Cardinal Maglione, I have the honour to bring to the attention of Your Eminence the following memorandum which has been received from my government:
“The following was received from the Geneva Office of the Jewish Agency for Palestine in a letter dated August 30th, 1942.  That office received the report from two reliable eye-witnesses (Aryans), one of whom came on August 14th from Poland.

“(1)  Liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto is taking place.  Without any distinction all Jews, irrespective of age or sex, are being removed from the Ghetto in groups and shot.  Their corpses are utilised for making fats and their bones for the manufacture of fertiliser.  Corpses are even being exhumed for these purposes.

“(2)  These mass executions take place, not in Warsaw, but in especially prepared camps for the purpose, one of which is stated to be Belzek (sic).  About 50,000 Jews have been executed in Lemberg itself on the spot during the past month.  According to another report 100,000 have been massacred in Warsaw.  There is not one Jew left in the entire east of Poland, including occupied Russia.  It is also reported, in this connection that the entire non-Jewish population of Sevastopol was murdered.  So as not to attract the attention of foreign countries, the butchering of the Jewish population in Poland was not done at one single time.

“(3)  Jews deported from Germany, Belgium, Holland, France and Slovakia are sent to be butchered, while Aryans deported to the East from Holland and France are genuinely used for work.

“(4)  Inasmuch as butcherings of this kind would attract great attention in the west, they must first of all deport them to the East, where less opportunity is afforded to outsiders of knowing what is going on.  During the last few weeks a large part of the Jewish population deported to Lithuania and Lublin has already been executed.  That is probably the reason why the deportees were not permitted to have correspondence with any one.  A great number of the German refugees were taken Theresienstadt.  This place, however, is only an interim station and the people there await the same fate.

“(5)  Arrangements are made for new deportations as soon as space is made by executions.  Caravans of such deportees being transported in cattle cars are often seen.  There are about forty people in each cattle car.  It is especially significant to note that Lithuanian non-Jews are entrusted with fetching the candidates from the death Ghetto in Warsaw.

“(6)  It is a tragedy that the Polish population is being incited by the Germans against the Jews and the relationship between the Poles and the Jews has been aggravated to the last degree.  In Lemberg this is particularly true.”

I should much appreciate it if Your Eminence could inform me whether the Vatican has any information that would tend to confirm the reports contained in this memorandum.  If so, I should like to know whether the Holy Father has any suggestions as to any practical manner in which the forces of civilised public opinion could be utilised in order to prevent a continuation of these barbarities.

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