Thursday, October 3, 2013

ADSS 8.116 Angelo Rotta to Cardinal Maglione: Race Laws approved by Parliament

ADSS 8.116. Nuncio Angelo Rotta to Cardinal Luigi Maglione.

Reference: Report number 5763/41 (N Pr 391), AES 5898/41

Location and date: Budapest, 19.07.1941

Summary statement: Race Laws were approved by Hungarian parliament despite the opposition of the Catholic bishops and Protestant leaders.

Language: Italian

I refer to my report Number 5706/41, N. Pr 386 on 06.07.1941 (1) concerning the new racial laws.  As I expected the law was passed, although only with a slight majority (65 votes to 53).  The law was also approved by the Upper House with some mitigation on Article 9 (Annex 2) (2) concerning requirements that will come under the provisions of the law.  As Your Eminence can see from the articles from “Pester Lloyd” which I enclose, modifications of the law were passed against the wishes of the government expressed by President Bardosy himself, who insisted on the original text of the bill with the votes 50 in favour and 7 against.

His Eminence, Cardinal Seredi, both in the Committee (Annex 1) and in the plenary session of the Upper House (Annex 3) has nobly and accurately expressed the principle reasons for opposition to the acceptance of the project.

I will not go into particular details, because they can be found in the three annexes attached to this report, which includes an account of the developments of the extensive discussions, and in the simple statement of the Cardinal made in the committee and his long speech in the plenary session.

Even the so-called Protestant bishops, as your Eminence can easily see, took a stand against the motion.

The bishops and the clergy of the Upper House were well represented at the session, but there were absences, some justified, some not.  If there had been some work prior to the vote in order to organise opposition, perhaps the outcome could have been different.  Unfortunately people who pass as good Catholics, but who are linked more or less to the government, voted in favour of the law.

Now, any amendment to Article 9, approved by the Upper House, will have to go before the House of Deputies.  They will probably not find a conciliatory way, and then the decision will be up to both houses meeting together in order to vote.  In this case the Government will in all probability, according to its stated aim, reject the modification appeal, and will formulate a more strict interpretation of the original article, because the vast majority of the house favourable to the Government will have the upper hand over the weak majority of the Upper House.

Of course, the rejection of the law would have been a magnificent act, although perhaps not without dangerous repercussions, given the atmosphere in which we live.  On the other hand, the fact that the Government did not ask the opinion of the Cardinal Primate before the presentation of the proposal, and that, in spite of the protest of the bishops and the Protestant ecclesiastical authorities, the bill was passed, are ugly symptoms of the times.  Already there are rumours of a new law regarding institutions for the young, which would be nationalised, striking a major blow to religious organisations: in this atmosphere it would be no wonder if you are not able to arrive at a concrete solution in the field of education, creating difficulties for confessional schools.

In such a short time one can be a little perplexed about the future of Hungary, even if one continues to speak about a Christian state and a national and Christian legal base.  It is certainly not a good omen that the current [German] minister, Dr Erdmannsdorff (4) has been recalled to Berlin, and will be replaced by von Jagow, a party man and a leader of the SA; who, like the ministers in Bucharest and Sofia, have been replaced by members of the National Socialist party. (5)

We see that Berlin wants to exert pressure on these nations we might refer to as “vassals”.

Note of Tardini:

26.07.1941.  After audience with Cardinal Maglione. 
Repeat in writing comments made earlier against the proposal … (6)

(1) ADSS 8.111
(2) Cutting from Pester Lloyd 15.07.1941.
(3) Cutting from the same journal, 13.07 and 19.07.1941.
(4) Otto von Erdmannsdorf (1888-1978), German ambassador 1937-1941, was replaced by Dietrich von Jagow (1892-1945) on 31.07.1941. Von Jagow was ambassador July 1941 to September 1944.
(5) Herbert Freiherr von Richtofen (1879-1952), German ambassador (1939-1941) was replaced in Sofia by Adolf Beckerle (1902-1976) on 06.07.1941, and Wilhelm Fabricius (1882-1964) in Bucharest was replaced by Manfred von Killinger (1886-1944) on 13.12.1940.

(6) See ADSS 8.128.

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