Sunday, October 7, 2012

ADSS 5.465 Joint request for a Papal Condemnation of Nazi crimes

By late summer 1942 the diplomats living inside the Vatican decided to approach their governments and ask for permission to lodge individual statements requesting a papal condemnation of German atrocities.  The governments agreed and on 12 September the Belgian and Polish ambassadors presented a petition on behalf of eight European governments.  Similar requests were to come from the United States and Brazil.  The statements would be a part of diplomatic life in the Vatican for the rest of the year.

ADSS 5.465 
Adrien Nieuwenhuys, Belgian Ambassador, Casimir Papee, Polish Ambassador to Cardinal Maglione

Reference: AES 6658/42

Location and date: Vatican, 12.09.1942

Summary statement: Belgian and Polish governments request a public papal declaration condemning Nazi excesses.

Language: French


The undersigned Ambassadors of Belgium and Poland (2) accredited to the Holy See, by order of the respective governments and authorised by the other signatories of the Allied Declaration of 13 January 1942 (3) have the honour to inform your reverend Eminence the following:

“The Belgian Government, the French National Committee, the Governments of Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia having jointly examined the situation, that is, the increasing violations of international law, including acts of oppression and terror in the territories occupied by their enemies.  These acts have recently taken effect and form an expansion among those who feat that the occupation regime is coating the still more inhuman character which may now range to the extermination of some populations.

Anxious to avoid as far as possible making life for the people of the invaded territories more terrible than those who have already been so hard hit, and to escape the relentless pressure exercised against them, the aforementioned governments have decided to appeal to His Holiness, whose voice can not fail to have a profound echo in our consciences.  For this purpose they are able to bring to the attention of His Holiness some details concerning recent facts which would render his making this compelling call.(4)

The aforementioned Governments dare to hope that His Holiness sensitive to so many present horrors and future threats would raise his voice to help save countless innocent victims. (5)

Cross references: 
(1) Adrien Nieuwenhuys
(2) Casimir PapĂ©e.  See ADSS 5.449 for the first step of the Polish government.
(3) Reference to the inter-allied declaration against war crimes signed in London at St James’ Palace on 13.01.1942.  See FRUS 1942.1, p 45.
(4) A booklet entitled “Situation in the Occupied Countries”.  The booklet gave summaries of information provided by the Governments of Belgium, France, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.  On the first page was the stamp showing the authority of the “Allied Commission for the Punishment of War Crimes” and the date – July 1942.  Tardini noted that it had been “VSP” – “seen by the Holy Father”.
(5) the document was presented to Domenico Tardini by the two ambassadors, who, after reading it, asked him to bring it to the attention of the Pope and Cardinal Maglione.  (Note of Tardini AES 6658/42)

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