Friday, July 11, 2014
ADSS 10.117 Amleto Cicognani (USA) to Luigi Maglione
ADSS 10.117 Amleto Cicognani to Cardinal Maglione
Reference: Telegram number 1818 (AES 1754/44)
Location and date: Washington, DC, 25.03.1944
Summary statement: Request help for the Jews of Hungary and Romania
The head of the War Refugee Board has asked me, in the name of the Government, to intercede with the Holy See for urgent measures to be taken for the protection of nearly two million Jews in Hungary and Romania, who live under terror of persecution and extermination with the German invasion. (2) It calls for cooperation with the Apostolic Nuncio and the local bishops with different civilian authorities. The President of the United States has declared with … that their persecutors, executors and all officials involved, will be severely punished by the United Nations if they have been involved in extermination. (3)
Note of Tardini
We must, I believe, make a strong response. Unfortunately, I do not think you can communicate with the Nuncio. Is there any evidence? (4)
(1) President Roosevelt created The War Refugee Board on 22.01.1944. Its mission to help Jews and other persecuted people forced to flee Axis occupied territories. The director was John W Pehle (02.02.1909-24.03.1999) The Board often contact with the Apostolic Delegate in Washington, as seen throughout ADSS 10. Its representatives in neutral countries also had contact with the representatives of the Holy See, as seen with Ira Hirschmann (1901-1989) in Istanbul with Apostolic Delegate Angelo Roncalli. Pehle summarised the collaboration: “The Holy See and the Vatican hierarchy throughout Europe were solicited time and again for special assistance both as a channel of communication to the leaders and people of enemy territory and as a means of rendering direct aid to the suffering victims of Hitler. The Catholic clergy saved and protected many thousands and the Vatican rendered invaluable assistance to the Board and to the persecuted in Nazi hands”. (Final Summary Report of the Executive Director, War Refugee Board, Washington, 15.09.1945).
(2) German troops occupied Hungary on 19.03.1944.
(3) Declaration of President Roosevelt, 24.03.1944 (FRUS 1944, I, pp 1230-1231)
(4) Telegrams were sent to Angelo Rotta, Hungarian Nuncio (Telegram 217, AES 1756/44) and Andrea Cassulo, Romanian Nuncio (Telegram 218, AES 1757/44): Your Excellencies are asked to take further steps in this regard as deemed appropriate and possible”. The Apostolic Delegate in Washington was informed on 28.03.1944 recalling the steps mentioned above and promising that “new attention will be made in this regard although, unfortunately, we cannot nourish vain hopes”.