Monday, July 8, 2013

ADSS 6 Hungary from May 1939 to December 1940

In the last set of post I set out Angelo Rotta's reports to Rome on the progress and passing of the May 1939 anti-Jewish legislation.  It is a valuable insight into not only what happened in Hungarian politics and the growing fear of an even more right-wing government taking power after the elections to be held in late-May, but to the hope that the laws would be the end of the process.  Of particular note are the actions of Cardinal Justinian Seredi, the Primate of Hungary, who fought for exemptions for converted Jews and for the application of Catholic teaching on what we would call 'human rights' today for all Hungarian Jews.  

What is not present is any argument that the laws themselves were fundamentally unjust and reduced over 850,000 Hungarian citizens to a second-class status with profound social and economic implications.  Seredi and many of the other Hungarian bishops appeared not to have seen a problem with the promulgation of anti-Jewish laws nor was their any evidence in the posted texts that Cardinal Seredi and Bishop Gyula Glattfelder disagreed with the underpinning belief that there was a "Jewish problem" in Hungary that needed "solving".  In this regard the Catholic bishops of Hungary were not particularly different from many other Catholic bishops in other places, such as Slovakia, as we have seen in earlier posts.

The historian must be careful to avoid hindsight.  Seredi, Glattfelder and their episcopal brothers were shaped by the Tridentine theology in general and traditional Judeophobia in particular.  

After ADSS 6.21 most of the documents relate to attempts to provide relief for refugees.  Documents related to Hungarian Jews appear after the announcement in October that a new anti-Jewish law was in preparation.  Some documents will be translated and posted.

ADSS 6.76: 26.09.1939: Cardinal Maglione wrote to nuncios Andrea Cassulo (1869-1952) (Romania 1936-1947), Angelo Rotta (1872-1965) (Hungary 1930-1945), Antonio Arata (1882-1948) (Latvia 1935-1948) and Louis Centoz (1883-1969) (Lithuania 1940-41) advising them of the establishment of the Vatican Information Service (VIS).  The VIS was commissioned by Pius XII to provide assistance to refugees, prisoners of war and others displaced by the war.  (See ADSS 6.73 - 22.09.1939)  This document was followed with instructions explaining the operation of the VIS (ADSS 6.78)

ADSS 6.84: 07.10.1939: Maglione to Rotta.  The nuncio was asked to get material to help the estimated 30,000 Polish refugees in Romania.  

ADSS 6.127: 04.01.1940: Bishop Karol Radoński (1883-1951), (Włocławek 1929-1951) exiled in Budapest to Pius XII: Information on the situation of Polish refugees in Hungary and their spiritual needs.

ADSS 6.171: Maglione to Rotta: Nuncio is to make contact with Count Adam Roniker (1881-1952) of the Polish Help Committee in Budapest. Roniker was President of the Polish National Welfare Council 1940-1943.  He left Poland in 1945 and went into exile in the USA.

ADSS 6.174: Valerio Valeri (1883-1963), nuncio to France (1936-1944) to Maglione: a request to help Czech refugees in Hungary.  Maglione passed on the request to Rotta - ADSS 6.188: 11.04.1940.  Rotta replied on 18.04.1940 advising Maglione to make a formal request from the Holy See on behalf of the Czech refugees. ADSS 6.194; see too ADSS 6.197, 207, 224, 228, 249.

ADSS 6.180: Rotta to Maglione: 02.04.1940: Information on help given to Polish refugees in Hungary.  See also ADSS 6.311.

ADSS 6.295: 30.08.1940: Rotta to Maglione: Steps take for Poles in Russia; news from Hungarian diplomats.

ADSS 6.318: 24.09.1940: Andrea Cassulo, nuncio to Romania to Maglione: Information on the persecution of Romanians in Transylvania now under Hungarian occupation.  Requests intervention by the Holy See.  (Pius XII had already raised the matter with Gabriel Apor (1889-1969), Hungarian minister to the Holy See (1939-1944) on 23.09.1940).  Maglione sent a reply to Cassulo on 04.10.1940.  See ADSS 6.325, 386.

ADSS 6.350: 23.10.1940: Maglione to Rotta: The Vatican asked the nuncio to intervene against the new race laws under preparation in Budapest.  Rotta responded on 02.11.1940 with news of the new antisemitic laws.  See ADSS 6.362.

ADSS 6.388: Maglione to Rotta: Information on Italian POWs in Greece relayed from Switzerland. See ADSS 6.382.

ADSS 6.398: Rotta to Maglione: News on antisemitism in Hungary.

ADSS 6.412: Maglione to Francesco Cherubini, counsellor at the Hungarian nunciature: $US 2000 has been sent to refugees in Hungary from the pope.

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