Saturday, April 5, 2014

ADSS 9.433 Salvatore Asta notes on Padre Benedetto

ADSS 9.433 Fr Salvatore Asta (1) notes on Padre Benedetto.

Reference:  ASS Guerra Varia 43/10

Location and date:  Rome, 19.11.1943

Summary statement: Information on the activity of Fr Marie-Benoît for the Jews.

Language: Italian

Text:
 Dr Carlo Carapelle, Commissioner for Immigration – in Via Romagna – told me in confidence, that he had been instructed to denounce some people, including Padre Maria-Benedetto, Capuchin, because they have forged his [Carapelle’s] signature and the stamp of his institution, in order to obtain ration cards for approximately 300 foreigners. (2)

He wishes to save Padre Benedetto who is considered to be an appointee of the Vicariate or the Holy See. (3)

It seems that in the meantime, the said religious, has made an effort to help these poor unhappy people obtain ration cards, believing that the agency had granted the appropriate permissions.

It would be necessary to prevent the lodging of the denunciation, and also to prevent the people, almost all Jewish, who have received the ration cards, from being handed over to the German authorities.

Dr Carapelle promises his support and that to help them reach their goal it would be a good idea to have a word with Commissioner De Dominicis from the same office.

Dr Carapelle, the Commissioner for Migration and Colonisation, ensures that as long as the current situation with regard to the Jews exists, he will suspend the lodging of the denunciation against the people who have forged his signature and the High Commission’s stamp.

20.11.1943: Note of Angelo Dell’Acqua

I told Padre Benedetto repeatedly, (and the last time in a very clear manner), to use the utmost caution and prudence in the interests of the Jews …:  It seems, unfortunately, that he did want to listen to the humble advice offered to him … (4)

Note of Cardinal Maglione:

But is there anything that can be done now?  I do not think so.

Notes: 
(1) Salvatore Asta (1915-2004), worked in the Secretariat of State
(2) The organisation was Padre Benedetto’s Comitato Assistenza Profughi – Committee of Assistance for Refugees.  See ADSS 9.264, 267, 412, 415
(3) The “vicariate” refers to the administration of the Diocese of Rome.  The pope is the bishop of Rome, but the administration of the diocese is entrusted to the pope’s vicar, hence the term vicariate. Vatican City State is not included in the Vicariate of Rome.  Governorship of the Vatican City is overseen by the Governor of the Holy See, an office held at the time by Marchese Camillo Serafini (1864-1952) and the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State.
(4) The editing of this note could be open to suggestion that the editors decided to omit something less than positive in Dell’Acqua’s comments.


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