Monday, December 15, 2014

ADSS 10.375 Amleto Cicognani, USA to Sec State - Slovak and Hungarian Jews

For ease of reading I have set out note 3 with more space.  It is a time line of action and reaction as the Vatican attempted to find out what had happened to Jews holding American (USA & Latin America) passports and citizenship.  For more details see the USHMM, Holocaust Research Project and Dachau KZ.

Reference: Telegram nr 2434 (AES 7047/44)

Location and date: Washington, 25.10.1944 @ 17.00, received Rome 26.10.1944 @ 13.00.

Summary statement: Request for information from USA War Refugee Board on the Jews of Slovakia and intervention for the Jews of Hungary.

Language: Italian


The Director of the official government agency for refugees (1) requests the Holy See to pass on any relevant information about 400 Jews holding Latin American citizenship or passports (Salvador, Paraguay), arrested in Bratislava interned in Mariathal who were transferred from that city to Germany around the 08.10.1944. (2) The Director would be grateful if the Holy See would make this information available to the representatives of the United States in Berne and Madrid. (3)

We continue to hear news of unceasing massacres of Non-Aryans in Hungary.  The Jewish Committees beg the Holy See to proclaim that churches in Hungary are shelters with the law of asylum and bishops and priests are to receive Jews to save them from death. (4)

(1) John William Pehle (1910-1990). A memorandum from Myron Taylor (1863-1959), personal representative of President Roosevelt to the Holy See, dated 28.10.1944, recounting the news was sent by the War Refugee Board, and passed to the Pope on the same day. (AES 7093/44)

(2) Giuseppe Burzio (1901-1966), Charge D’affaires, Bratislava (1941-1945) telegraphed the nunciature in Berne on 30.10.1944 (telegram nr 740/102; AES 7047/44).  Burzio said the Jews in question had been transferred to an unknown destination in Germany.

(3) This document has not been found. 

Taylor urged the Holy See to intervene. (Memorandum, 15.11.1944, nr 267; AES 7627/44; nr 396).

Domenico Tardini (1888-1961) asked for more information from Burzio (telegram nr 110, 16.11.1944; AES 7300/44).

On the 16.11.1944 Amleto Cicognani (1883-1973), Apostolic Delegate to the USA (1933-1959) asked for the intervention of the Holy See on behalf of the Red Cross to send parcels to 250 Non-Aryans holding South American passports and resident in Bergen Belsen (telegram nr 2466; AES 7694/44).

Tardini asked Cesare Orsenigo (1873-1946), nuncio to Germany (1933-1945), for help on 21.11.1944 (telegram nr 1019; AES 7694/44).

Tardini then informed Cicognani on 29.11.1944 that the Slovak government did not know the destination of the Jews deported to Germany (telegram nr 2013; AES 7700/44).

On 05.12.1944 Burzio telegraphed that a census of the deportees was underway and that only 13 had been recognised as United States citizens; they were possibly resident in Bergen Belsen, Hanover (telegram nr 122; AES 8087/44). 

At the same time Orsenigo replied to the Secretariat of State: “The Government notes that the Jews referred to in telegram 1019, and who hold passports of South American republics, are citizens of those republics and as such come under the care of the protecting power” (telegram nr 367, 05.12.1944; AES 8100/44). 

Burzio sent a list of the deported people in a letter shortly after (letter nr 2434, 16.12.1944, AES 934/45). He pointed out that for the most part American – USA and Latin America – citizenship or passports, had for the most part, not been taken into consideration.  He confirmed that the thirteen US citizens were in Bergen Belson camp, near Celle, Hanover.

(4) See ADSS 10.376.

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