Responding to Mr Krupp

My comments are given in RED

Mr Krupp’s email:

In your latest attempt to prove yourself right and everyone else wrong,
you are bringing up the Campagna Documents, which only prove,

1- Contrary to your claims of no wartime information (and those of the
other revisionists, there are indeed thousands of war-time documents
available from different dioceses around the world for anyone who is
willing to do some real “original research”.

I have no record of saying or writing any such thing because I never said or wrote it.  Please survey the bibliography of my book and blog – you will find ample evidence of references of archival material, both before and during the war.

2-Pius XII did in fact send money in support of the Jews being protected.

I have never disagreed with this historical fact.

Although you joyfully trivialize the Lire value at today’s value you conveniently neglect to mention the cost of living 65 years ago.

The 1940s value of the Lire was contrasted with the US Dollar at the same time.  The cost of living in war-time Italy increased as the war went on.  While it is true that the buying power of the Lire in 1940 was relatively strong, it decreased dramatically as the war progressed.  Memoirs from the war years attest to the ever increasing burden of buying food and the equally increased reliance on the Black Market. 

You also do not comment on the documents where he sent money for the support of the Jews from Vienna (e.g. ADSS 8.5, 245), Romania (e.g. ADSS 8.72), France (e.g. ADSS 8.271) and elsewhere in Europe (e.g. ADSS 8.572 to Germany). You don’t mention his use, of his own personal fortune to help Jews escape Europe.

This was not relevant to the study of the Campagna documents.  In any case, Pius did not have a “personal fortune”.  He relied heavily on donations sent to the Vatican by Catholics around the world, most significantly from the collections undertaken by the American bishops.  The various Jewish aid agencies in the USA also contributed substantial amounts.  United States Catholics and Jews raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Papal relief work throughout the war.  This can be found in ADSS (e.g. (ADSS 6.125, 126; 8.38, 136, 204, 237, 379).

You never seem to comment on the documents from the open archives to
1939, which are not in ADSS that Pave the Way digitized and made
available to you on line.  (BTW, we just digitized the Acts of the Holy
See 1909-1960 now available online as well).

I used documents from the pre-1939 ASV in my book and have continued to read my way through various documents.  Most of these are not on the PTW website.  I have, on more than one occasion and on this blog, publically acknowledged the generous work of PTW in making material available.  I have commented on several of the documents that appear on the PTW website.  For example I analysed the document related to the Polish government’s threat to outlaw ritual slaughter of meat.

We await your analysis of the individual document s from hundreds of
sources we located. Just a few of which are listed below.

1. Stahel- Hudal Letters which show Pius XII direct intervention to end
the arrest of the Jews of Rome.

There is nothing new here.  The correspondence must be seen within the larger context of the strategies employed by the German embassy under Ernst von Weizsäcker, Cardinal Maglione, who was acting under instructions from Pius, to avoid anything that would give the German government any cause to nullify Vatican neutrality.  I have looked at this in my book – pages 197-202.

2. The 1938-1939 Kristallnacht documents and responses from the request
for 200,000 visas for “200,000 Converted Italians.”

I have written about this before. See blog entries for 8 July 2010 and the associated articles.

3. The early 1917 and 1925 meetings with Nahum Sakolov.  Pacelli
promotes the establishment of the Jewish Homeland IN PALESTINE. You
never seem to mention his pro Palestine Catholic initiative of 1925. You
should comment on his speech to the Arabs in 1946 who he severely
disappointed when they appealed to him not to support a Jewish homeland.
You also don’t comment on the documents from the foreign ministry of
Israel supporting this information.

Sakolov’s warm reception from both Benedict XV and Pacelli must not be mistaken for support for the establishment of a sovereign political state in the area of Palestine.  Benedict was happy with the idea of Jews establishing farms, but not given political power.  The Vatican’s position on a Jewish homeland was always qualified that such a homeland not be a political entity.  The Jews would always be the governed, not the governors.  There must be no threat – real or imagined – to the Christian holy places.  Benedict made that clear in a statement made on 13 June 1921 and recorded in The Tablet (Brooklyn) on 25 June.  Nothing had changed by 1925, 1944 or 1946.  Change only came with John Paul II decades later.  The heart of the Vatican policy created under Benedict XV and followed by Pius XI and Pius XII was the preservation of Catholic governorship of the Holy Places and the fear that Catholic rights and privileges associated with those places would be threatened of lost if a Jewish / Zionist state was created.

I have not seen documentation from the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

4. The action of Pacelli to protect the Jews of Palestine in 1917
against the Ottoman Turks. All born from Pacelli’s early childhood with
Orthodox Jew Guido Mendes were, according to Mendes son Meir, Pacelli
would come to the Mendes home for Shabbat dinners, borrow the books of
the great rabbis and learned to speak some Hebrew.

Pacelli’s actions for the Jews of Palestine – I have commented on this on my blog.  See the entry for 17 March 2012.  Pacelli’s relations with the Mendes family point to his positive relationship with individual Jews and a sensitivity, unusual for the time, towards Judaism.  However, this did not mean in any way that Pacelli considered Judaism a valid religious tradition.

5. The passionate attempt of Pacelli to gain the release of the Palm
Fronds for Jewish festival of Succoth in Germany in 1917.

I am not sure what the relevance of this is.  My understanding of the events is that Pacelli was approached by the Jewish communal leadership in Munich with a request for his help to get Italian palms for Sukkot into Germany.  Pacelli replied that he was unable to help.  Questions of whether of not this show Pacelli to be Antisemitic are irrelevant; he was not.

6. The intervention of Pacelli to Bruno Walter’s request to save a
Jewish member of his orchestra from being executed for anti-Semitic
reasons. You never mention Pacelli’s attempt to save Jewish minister
Walter Rathenau from an assassination plot for the same reasons. By the
way anti-Semites (classical or otherwise) simply do not act on the needs
of Jews…ever.

Again, I am not sure of the relevance of these events.  Of course Pacelli would have helped where he could, whether the people were Jewish or not.  He was not a racist!  The story of Bruno Walter and Ossip Gabrilowitsch is worthy of mention, but is not crucial to the overall narrative to Pacelli’s life.  Certainly this story does nothing to change the direction of my research; it is consistent with what I and others already know.  The same applies to Walter Rathenau, although it must be kept in mind that the political implications of assistance provided to Rathenau was something Pacelli would have been acutely aware of and sensitive to.

7. 1941 Palestine Post article of "Be proud to be a Jew” as reported in
1944 in the Palestine Post. Bill Doino researched this entire meeting
and has the names and actions of the Pope to the save 480 Jews on the
Island of Rhodes three weeks after that meeting with Heinz Winsla.

I have dealt with Doino’s article on my blog.  See entries for 6 & 7 February 2012.

8. 1938 Pacelli actions to overturn an anti-Kosher Slaughtering law in

I have written on this on my blog.  See entry for 19 January 2012.

9- The March 1939 American Diplomatic secret correspondence revealing
the true hatred Pacelli had for Hitler and National Socialism. The
diplomat reveals in 1939 that Pacelli supported the German Bishops
excommunication of members of “Hitler Party” “even at the risk of losing
young Catholics.”

This is something of a distortion.  I recommend reading the account recorded by Charles Gallagher in America 189.5, pp 8-10, and my comments on page 171 of my book.

10- The 1924 letters of disgust of the heresy of National Socialism. The
1938 notes to Pius XI of his disgust with Italy importing German
anti-Semitism with the enactment of the racial laws.

All of which are well known.  See my book pp 105-108, 132-137.

11. The invasion plans Hitler ordered General Wolff to kidnap and kill
the pope and kill the Curia along with all of the supporting

If this is a reference to Dan Kurzman’s sensational “boy’s own” story, A Special Mission (2007) I suggest reading the Billy Boyle novel “Death’s Door” by James Benn (2012).  It is a far more accurate tale of life in and around the Vatican during the war!  Kurzman’s book relies heavily on uncorroborated testimony and unverified documentation.  Robert Graham, one of the editors of ADSS, considered stories of a plot to kidnap the pope to be without serious merit.

12- The 1930 excommunication orders of the German Bishops and the
continuing of the anti National Socialistic teaching after the Holy See
was forced by canon law to lift the ban in 1932 with the legitimate
election of Hitler.

I don’t understand the point.

13- The Pacepa report of the KGB “Operation Seat 12” which promoted the
Deputy internationally.

This has been successfully “debunked” by Thomas Brechenmacher. See entries on my blog for 5 November 2011 and 19 August 2012.


I have deleted the last paragraphs out of respect for Mr Krupp.  I believe they were written “in the heat of the moment” and are out of character with his customary civility and good manners. 

There was an invitation to public debate on the points he raises above.  I have answered the questions raised; other historians better than me have answered the questions raised.  There have been conferences on these and related topics over the last few years, notably the conference held at Brown University (see blog entry for 13 November 2010) and there will be another similar conference at Yad Vashem in December 2012 where I will present a paper on Pius XII in 1942.

For these reasons I will decline the invitation to debate with Mr Krupp and his associates.  If they wish to join the mainstream conversation, then by all means, but it must be on the proviso that they agree to participate according to the norms of conventional historiography.  I am honoured to be considered a participant in the discussions and debates over Pius XII by historians, men and women I admire and respect, and will continue to add my “take” on the material.

This blog entry marks the end of any further public conversation with Mr Krupp and Pave The Way until such time as PTW indicates a serious and academic resolve to join the historical debate.

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