Sunday, August 17, 2014

ADSS 10.313 Amleto Cicognani to Secretariat of State - Jew in Lithuania, Hungary and Poland

Reference: Telegram 2331 (AES 6521/44)

Location and date: Washington DC, 31.08.1944 @ 06.16 (received Rome 01.09.1944 @ 13.30)

Summary statement: Request intervention for the Jews of Lithuania, Hungary and Poland.

Language: Italian


The Special Committee for Assistance to the Jews appeals for the intervention of the Holy Father to save Jews from persecution and death (as well as provision of food and medicine):
1. Jews transferred from Lithuania to East Prussia (1);
2. Jews in Hungary transported to unknown destinations (2);
3. Jew in Poland are systematically murdered before the Germans abandon the city (3).

(1) The Jewish Telegraph Agency published on 08.08.1944: “with part of Lithuania now liberated by the Russian armies, a picture emerges showing Catholic priests in Lithuanian towns often actively though futilely intervening with the German occupation authorities for the life of Jews and often risking their own lives to hide Jews from Nazi extermination”.  (Article attached to report 1345/44 of 26.08.1944; AES 2769/44).  The Soviet advance into the Baltic States began in the early spring of 1944 and was largely complete by September-October.  Lithuania was occupied throughout July, and the capital, Vilnius, fell to the Red Army on 13.07.1944.
(2) See ADSS 10.321.
(3) On 04.09.1944 Rabbi Avraham Kalmanowitz (1891-1964) wrote to Cicognani thanking him for his appeal. (Archives Ap Del Washington).  On 03.09.1944 Domenico Tardini sent a telegram to Cesare Orsenigo in Berlin with the contents of Cicognani’s appeal.  In it he wrote “It is the earnest desire of the Holy Father that your Reverence take every measure to come to the aid of all who suffer in this regard”. (Telegram 849, AES 6522/44).  Of course by this stage of the war nearly all the Jews of Lithuania and Poland were dead; the Jews of Budapest - between eighty to ninety thousand - comprised the largest concentration of Jews left alive anywhere in western and central Europe.

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