Saturday, September 29, 2012

ADSS 9.176 Sec State to Slovak Legation on Anti-Jewish actions

In the previous post Cardinal Maglione wrote to the Apostolic Delegate in Turkey, Angelo Roncalli with news that Vatican protests were having some effect in Slovakia.  The following day, the Secretariat made a formal protest to the Slovakian Legation in Rome about ongoing anti-Jewish measures.  In many cases the Vatican's interventions were directed at breaches of Catholic teaching, especially in regard to "mixed" marriages and the status of converts to Catholicism.  Here the Secretariat makes the concerns of the Holy See for all Jews - converted or not - very clear.  It is also worth noting that the Vatican took a much stronger and more direct approach with Slovakia than with any other German-allied government.  I believe this was not because of the priest-president, Tiso, but because Rome sensed a significant part of the government, and more importantly, the bishops, were opposed to the deportations.

ADSS 9.176 
Secretariat of State to the Slovak Legation
Reference: AES 2731/43

Location and date:  Vatican, 05.05.1943
Summary statement: Protest of the Holy See against antisemitic measures of the Slovak government

Language: Italian

The Secretary of State of His Holiness believes it is their duty to submit for the consideration of the Legation of the Republic of Slovakia to the Holy See the following:

With reference to note 8355/41 of 12.11.1941 (1), the Secretary of State brought to the attention of the Slovak Legation the deep regret of the Holy See over the publication by the Slovak Government of an “Ordinance” (2) which established a special “racial” law which contains numerous provisions which are in sharp contrast to Catholic principles, and it expressed confidence that as long as the aforementioned Ordinance had not been withdrawn or appropriately altered, the cited rules would be interpreted and applied in such a way to make as little detrimental impact as possible on Catholic consciences.

The Holy See, then, nurtured hopes that the Slovak government would take into account the feeling of its people, who are almost entirely Catholic, and would not have proceeded to expel by force people belonging to the so-called “Jewish race”.

With great sorrow, the Holy See has learned that transfers of this kind have been made from the territory of the Republic.

This sorrow is increasing because, according to news received from various parts, it would seem that the Slovak government intends to proceed with the transfer of all Jews in Slovakia, not excluding women and children, or those who profess the Catholic religion. 

A confirmation of this could be seen in the speech that the Minister of the Interior made on 7 February 1943 in Ruzenberok, where he said that “having proceeded to eliminate 80% of the Jews, the remaining 20,000 Jews in Slovakia must be transferred”. (3)

This is a grave danger that the Secretary of State feels bound to draw to the attention of the Legation of Slovakia considering the matter shown in the previously mentioned note, in which, among other things, it is pointed out that the Catholic Church welcomes people of any race into her womb, such is her maternal solicitude to arouse and develop feelings of brotherhood and love, among all people, according to the teaching of the Gospel.

Therefore the Holy See would fail in its divine mandate if it did not deplore those provisions and measures that seriously affect the natural rights of men, simply because they belonged to a particular race.

Above all, the Catholic Church cannot remain indifferent to the plight of her children who are removed, often violently, from their homes, and placed in particular pitiable circumstances and sometimes even without necessary religious assistance, thus bring some people’s faith into grave danger.

The pain of the Holy See is more acute, when it considers that such measures are implemented in a nation so deeply Catholic in its traditions, and a government that claims to follow and safeguard these traditions. 

Nevertheless, the Holy See does not want to abandon hope that the Slovak government intends to properly review and appropriately amend the “racial” provisions, removing any inconsistencies with natural and divine law, and, in the meantime, suspending the above mentioned transfers. (4)

Note of Cardinal Maglione: (5)

Nota Bene: Last Saturday – 01.03.1943 – I explained verbally to the Slovak Minister (6) the ideas contained in this draft note, and adding that I had also written on the matter.  The Minister said he would discuss this with his government in the next few days, since he was returning home.  Meanwhile, I wanted to make sure that the measures threatened by the Minister of the Interior would not be translated into action. 03.05.1943.

Cross references: 
(1)  See ADSS 8.199
(2)  See ADSS 8.153
(3)  See ADSS 9.85
(4)  See ADSS 9.206
(5)  These notes were included in a separate file.
(6)  Karol Sidor, Slovak minister to the Holy See.

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