Sunday, October 7, 2012

ADSS 5.449 Casimir Papee to Maglione Polish request for a papal protest

Within a few weeks the pressure on the Vatican to make a vocal protest against German atrocities was making itself felt.  This document of Polish Ambassador, Casimir Papee was one of the most explicit documents presented to the Holy See.  Papee did not mince his words.  Poland he said was faced with "biological extermination" and the country did not understand why the Pope appeared to say nothing.

ADSS 5.449 

Casimir Papée, Polish Ambassador to Cardinal Maglione.

Reference: Nr 122/SA/192 (AES 6657/42)
Location and date: Vatican, 27.08.1942
Summary statement: The Polish government requests a declaration from the Pope condemning the Nazi crimes perpetrated against Poland
Language: French


By order of my Government I have the honor to present to Your Eminence a memorandum included and requests Your Eminence to agree to present it, according to the intentions of my Government, to the paternal attention of the Sovereign Pontiff.  My Government is obliged to enumerate the particular crimes committed by the Germans in Poland and known by the Holy See by the many preceding communications.(1) These characteristics and acts are well known and notorious and of which we cannot be ignorant. The voice of the Holy Father, raised in favour of Poland, could not worsen the situation of the Poles, but, on the contrary, it could slow down the fury of the Germans, or at least of certain Germans.


After the recent information, detailed and absolutely certain, obtained from Poland by the Polish Government, terrorism, exerted against the Polish population by the occupation forces, is enormously increased within the last months and it continues to grow. Mass arrests, tortures, imprisonment in forced labour and concentration camps, farms set on fire with the families of the farmers, who were prevented to leave the burning houses, the murder of those who run away, shooting the innocent population by tens and hundreds without sparing women or children, capital punishment applied for trivial reasons – these are the means by which the Germans occupy themselves, with ever-increasing measures, with the express aim to possibly exterminate the greatest number of Poles.

In this situation the Polish Government addresses the Holy Father to obtain His assistance and protection for Poland and so raise his voice in defense of the most sacred principles and fundamentals of Christian morals, constantly here in Poland. Such an intervention is essential.  In addition to the terrorism, there is a parallel of false propaganda growing in Poland: the Germans spread it with the perfidy and insistence.  The purpose of this propaganda is to convince the Poles that the Holy Father’s guarded silence indicates he is indifferent to their fate and the fate of the Polish Nation. Poles, under these tragic conditions and in spite of their great attachment to their faith, are not uninfluenced, in certain measure, by this enemy propaganda, especially when the voice of the Holy Father is not heard. The enemy with impunity has crushed all natural laws and morals; they destroyed, in very great part, the hierarchy of Church; they prevent that which remains in their attempts to perform their pastoral duties; they commit sacrileges. All that must produce, especially in the less-educated masses, an impression which facilitates an acceptance of this iniquitous propaganda; people could think that the enemy, who with material force, has perhaps, also a moral fibre, to which nothing can, or does not want, to oppose an explicit judgment to him. This lack of judgment clarifies, after the German thesis, and would be equivalent to approval. While educated and enthusiastic Catholics have more the same force to oppose German propaganda, because they do not know how to explain why the voice of the Supreme Moral authority in the world does not raise the voice of the Vatican in defense of the Polish Nation at the time, where the extermination of the Poles arrives at paroxysm. The Polish clergy does not find any more, in these circumstances, the means to react and dismiss with suitable arguments.

Biological extermination, which threatens a larger part that never of the Polish Nation, as well as the propaganda, which aims to remove with the Poles any hope of help and questions them truths feelings of the Head of the Church towards Poland, can cause if a judgment licenses is not to them opposite one spiritual crisis of the Nation which, now, always resisted with so much of courage to the enemies of the Church. If Poland conforms with its historical mission, of which it is proud, must remain the nation most faithful to the Church and to continue to be an outpost, it is not necessary that its population is materially exterminated, and it is necessary that its spirit is constant with respect to contrary temptations with the faith. The Polish Government, conscious of the responsibility which fall on him, and with full knowledge of the gravity of the historic moment for the Nation which needs the powerful moral means for to be saved from these dangers, asks the Holy Father by requesting he address, and raise, in his immense kindness, his voice for Poland. This voice will be heard by everyone; it would carry help to the tortured spirit of the Poles; it would destroy the impious propaganda useful to the Germans to sow doubt in the Polish People and, finally, it would be a brake to the enemies of Poland and the Church in the continuation of the senseless murders which destroy the Polish Nation.(2)

(1) Cf ADSS 5.414
(2) This sentiment echoes much of the letter of Karol Radonski (1881-1951) (Włocławek) to Cardinal Maglione in ADSS 3.2.410.

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