Saturday, July 12, 2014

ADSS 10.241 Harold Tittmann to Luigi Maglione - Hungarian Jews

Between 1940 and 1946 Harold Tittmann (1893-1981) was assistant to Myron Taylor, President Roosevelt's personal representative to the Holy See.  While Taylor was more often than not absent from Rome, Tittmann remained in the Vatican throughout the war years.  His account of that time, Inside the Vatican of Pius XII is a valuable insight into life "on the inside."  

Harold Tittmann and Pius XII

Reference: AES 3980/44

Location and date: Vatican, 24.06.1944

Summary statement: The War Refugee Board reports on the imminent massacre of the Jews of Hungary and requests papal intervention.

Language: English


I have been instructed by my Government in a telegram dated June 13,1944 to deliver the following message to Your Eminence form the War Refugee Board, Washington.

“We know His Holiness has been sorely grieved by the wave of hate which has engulfed Europe and the consequent mass enslavement, persecution and slaughter of helpless man [sic] women and children. His Holiness, we also know, has laboured unceasingly to reinculcate a decent regard for the dignity of man activated by great compassion for the sufferings of a large portion of mankind.  The tireless efforts of His Holiness to alleviate the lot of the persecuted, the hunted and the outcast are also know to us.  We are certain His Holiness is aware of the deep feeling of abhorrence around in the American people by the mass deportations, persecutions, enslavement and slaughter in the Balkans, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Norway, Poland and elsewhere.  We are confident that His Holiness is also aware of the deep concern of the Government of the United States relative to these reversions to usages of ancient barbarism and of the constant effort to prevent their recurrence which it has made.

We believe it is appropriate, because of the common concern of the Holy See and the government and people of the United States with such matters, to call to the Holy See’s attention the apparently authentic reports that the present authorities in Hungary have undertaken to persecute the 800,000 Jews in Hungary and are planning their mass slaughter both in Hungary and after deportation to Poland merely because they are Jews.  The authorities and people of Hungary have been warned by the government of the United States of the material consequences that the perpetration of such inhuman acts of barbarism will entail.  It is both timely and fitting we believe that the moral values involved and the spiritual consequences that must flow from indulgence in the persecutions and mass murder of helpless men, women and children be brought to the attention of the Hungarian authorities and people.  We earnestly hope, therefore, that His Holiness may find it appropriate to express Himself on this subject to the authorities and people of Hungary, great numbers of whom profess spiritual adherence to the holy See personally by radio through the Nuncio and clergy in Hungary as well as through a representative of the Holy See who might for that purpose be specially dispatched to Hungary”. (1)

Note of Domenico Tardini:
25.06.1944.  Seen by the Holy Father.

(1) See FRUS 1944, I, pp 1068-69.

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