The Holocaust did not come out of nowhere.
It was not a random choice that the Jews were selected as the targets.
The Holocaust was the climax of a thousand years of killing and
by the Christians.
The belief of the German people in national socialism is surely a warning against belief systems in general,
and a reminder of the value of scepticism.
I fear, unfortunately, that this is not a very widely drawn lesson.
In the mid-20th century
the Roman Catholic church
had a fundamental dislike of democracy and
and was searching for an alternative.
It did not see anything fundamentally better about democracy.
All through the war,
the church in its speeches drew a moral equivalence
between the democracies and the totalitarian regimes.
Mussolini came to power in 1922.
Pope Pius XI
that he was "the man sent by Providence."
The whole idea that a "Jewish question"
or a "Jewish problem" even existed
is of course the basic anti-semitic lie.
There was no Jewish "problem",
and it is incredible that in the 1930s
the Nazis managed to get
apparently reasonable people across Europe
what the "solution" to this non-existent problem should be.
The only "problem" in Germany in the 1930s
was that there was a brutal non-democratic regime in place.
Yet instead of discussing the solution
- how to remove this awful regime
- Europe discussed the imaginary Jewish "problem".
All through the 1930s,
the Vatican never once explicitly protested the
Nazi persecution and killing of the Jews.
It saw its job as defending Catholic interests only.
even protested the persecution of Jewish converts to Catholicism,
and argued they should not be persecuted along with the Jews,
but it did not protest the persecution of the Jews themselves.
convert to Catholicism
pleaded with the Pope to condemn anti-semitism in Germany in 1933,
to no avail.
She died in
Auschwitz in 1942.
The Vatican now claims her as a saint.
Mit Brennender Sorge
is clearly about Germany somehow,
but its complaints are vague.
does not mention the Nazis by name.
It has vague complaints about
"substitutes or arbitrary alternatives such as certain leaders
pretend to draw from the so-called myth of race and blood",
which could mean anything,
but it does not mention the Jews by name
contains no explicit condemnation of anti-semitism.
This vague, slippery language continued through the war.
When the Holocaust began,
the church was informed in detail of the genocide throughout,
there was never, in all of World War Two,
a single explicit Vatican condemnation
of the killing of the Jews.
German anti-Nazi hero
tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler on 8 Nov 1939.
sent a telegram instructing that a Te Deum be sung in the cathedral of Munich,
"to thank Divine Providence in the name of the archdiocese for the Fuhrer's fortunate escape."
Pope Pius XII also sent his special personal congratulations.
The Roman Catholic Cardinal
August Hlond of Poland was another disturbing figure:
"We didn't know",
say all the creepy apologists for wartime neutrality
This is lies.
The Nazis could not hide such a large-scale crime,
and indeed it was not hidden.
The Holocaust was known to Rome by March 1942
and it was blared across the world's media
as early as June 1942:
"More than 700,000 Polish Jews have been slaughtered by the Germans
in the greatest massacres in the world's history",
The Daily Telegraph, 25 June 1942.
"Mass Murders of Jews in Poland pass 700,000 mark",
The Boston Globe, 26 June 1942.
"More than 1,000,000 Jews killed in Europe",
The Daily Telegraph, 30 June 1942.
This article claimed that it was the aim of the Nazis
"to wipe the race from the European continent".
These stories were carried in The New York Times, 30 June 1942
and 2 July 1942.
By summer 1942 it was known by the world that Hitler had killed at least
1 million Jews, and planned to kill all the Jews of Europe.
And the murderous totalitarian nature of Germany had been clear for years,
persecution and killing of Jews well reported
throughout the 1930s.
In reality, the people who say "We didn't know"
either supported the Germans
or didn't care,
and are trying to pretend differently now.
Cornwell lists many uncomfortable facts:
After months of pleas to say something about the extermination
of Europe's Jews,
Pius finally spoke in Dec 1942.
He made a vague, pathetic reference to
"those hundreds of thousands
who, without any fault of their own, sometimes only by reason of their
nationality and race, are marked for death or gradual extinction".
These diplomatic words could mean anything,
and were chosen not to antagonise the Germans
or break his neutrality.
He did not mention the Jews.
He did not mention the Nazis.
He never would, until after the war.
is perhaps the defining example of the Catholic church's silence during the war.
Some vague, weak complaints about euthanasia,
which don't mention the Nazis by name,
and don't even mention what country is meant to be
Not a word about the ferocious extermination of the Jews
burning across Europe,
which the Vatican was by this time well aware of.
never used the word "Jew" in any of his wartime
Nor did he ever use the
While Pius was Pope,
in October 1943,
the Jews of Rome,
just outside his door -
men, women and little children - were rounded up
and taken away to be killed, to die in agony,
watching their loved ones being killed in front of them.
This is the defining moment in the
history of the Catholic church.
There will never again be such a test.
Never again will it face such satanic evil
in the holy city.
This was the moment that two thousand years of history had led up to,
the moment when the church could have shown that it was on the side of good
and against evil.
But it did not, because it is not.
Pius made no public protest
over the deportation and killing of these men, women, children and babies.
Not even this would make him break his public neutrality.
Even after this, Pius
never mentioned the word "Jews" in any of his
vague, diplomatic wartime speeches condemning "violence".
After a train journey from hell, all of the little children and babies
were murdered by the Germans at
along with 99 percent of the adults.
Hitler wanted to move against the Vatican
and the Pope,
and ordered plans to be drawn up,
but he cancelled them because
he was afraid
of the backlash that might occur
across Catholic Europe,
including among Catholic Germans.
He was afraid
that even he did not have the power to face down all of Catholic Europe.
The church had the power to stop Hitler.
How different things could have been
had a moral man been Pope.
Had the Vatican taken a strong moral stand from the start (by 1933)
in defence of human rights.
There would have been no Holocaust.
It is also disgusting that the capture of the Pope
could have inflamed Catholic Europe (including Ireland)
and yet genocide could not.
When heroic partisans bombed a group of German soldiers in Rome
in March 1944, the Vatican condemned this explicitly
as an act of "terrorism".
The Germans then murdered hundreds of utterly
innocent people in reprisal.
The Vatican expressed sorrow, but no explicit condemnation.
The Vatican's morality at this point in history can only be
described as sick.
Pius XII as Scapegoat,
by Michael Novak,
does not deny the vagueness of the Pope's abstract condemnations,
but argues that these were "cleverly" designed
to be read as condemning the Nazis without
Maybe so, but it begs the question as to why the church
in the first place.
I guess that for an idealist, this was the moment the church
should have chosen all-out war,
even if it meant martyrdom.
I am not a follower of Jesus,
but I cannot believe that
Jesus would have acted as Pius did.
He would have railed against Hitlerism to his last breath
and announced to the world again and again
that whosoever attacks these innocent Jews
attacks God himself.
none of these defenders of the church
address the most serious charge of all
- the church's collaboration with Croatia.
The Croatian Catholic Nazi state
was a genocidal totalitarian state
that received full backing from the Vatican.
This seems to be the kind of thing the church meant
as the "alternative" to democracy that it was searching for.
Father Jozef Tiso,
head of the wartime fascist regime of
which deported the country's Jews to the
was a Catholic priest.
Clergy bless the formation of a Division of the Waffen SS
in the Ukraine, 1943.
After Rome was liberated by the Allies in June 1944,
Pius suddenly "rediscovered" his moral courage
and made a late appeal to stop the extermination of the Jews
He made a vague appeal to "stop the suffering and torments
which countless people are undergoing simply because of their nationality
or their race".
Again, mass killing is trivialised as "suffering and torments".
Again, he refuses to mention the Nazis or the Jews
Anyway, his appeal was very late in the day.
The majority of the 750,000 Jews
of Hungary had already been deported to the death camps.
In fact, no Catholic
involved in executing the Holocaust
was ever excommunicated.
Tens of thousands of individual believing Catholics
and tens of thousands of individual believing Protestants
were involved in executing the Holocaust.
Many of these monsters are alive today.
List of people excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church
is pretty much random.
Clearly the church is not driven by any strong ideas about morality or human rights.
The list includes
harmless liberals, and people in minor disciplinary disputes
and long-forgotten minor political disputes.
On the plus side, it includes Fidel Castro and
"all Catholic supporters of Communism".
But all other Catholic genocidal killers and tyrants (not just the Nazis)
Giving offence to the church will get you excommunicated.
Herding women and children into ovens won't.
Hitler's Willing Executioners
by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen (1996)
is the only book I have ever seen that gives a credible portrait of the
lives and motivations of the
tens of thousands of genocidal killers.
the German Christian churches,
both Catholic and Protestant,
did not merely fail to condemn,
and fail to excommunicate, they supported the genocide.
The German churches
welcomed the Nazi rise to power,
preached vicious anti-semitism from the pulpit,
encouraged the burning of synagogues
and the stripping of Jews of their human rights,
cheered on the genocide once it began with enthusiasm,
and called for even more expulsion and killing,
by, for example,
making church records available to the state
so that people of Jewish blood could be selected
The Vatican knew about
and did not protest this use of church records.
How even the "anti-Nazi" churchmen
Martin Niemoller (*)
and agreed with
the basic analysis
that a Jewish "problem" existed.
could have stopped the Holocaust
if they had tried.
They opposed many aspects of Nazi policy,
and the Nazis backed down rather than fight them.
But they did not try to stop the killing of the Jews,
because, because they approved of it.
Some bishops in German-occupied Europe
spoke out in defence of the Jews,
but never once did
any German bishop, Catholic or Protestant, speak out
in defence of the Jews.
They did not speak out because, well, essentially
because they approved.
Martin Niemoller had that great quote
about the Nazis coming for people,
but he is a rather flawed figure
(as indicated obviously by his soft anti-semitism,
and his initial enthusiasm for Hitler).
After the war, he was then prominent in left-wing, anti-west,
anti-American, anti-Israeli groups like the
World Council of Churches.
He also headed the "anti-war" group
demanding disarmament in the face of the Soviet Union in the 1980s,
and marching against Ronald Reagan.
Later it turned out that
KFAZ was being funded by the tyranny of East Germany
Not just German industry
but German Christian churches
used slave labour during the war.
Their Christian buildings to worship "God" (who doesn't exist)
were built with the blood and death of innocents.
Thousands of Catholic and Protestant chaplains
ministered to the
German army in WW2
as it went about its butchery on the Eastern Front.
were with the army as it was killing little Jewish children.
They did not protest.
They did not protest
BECAUSE THEY SUPPORTED IT.
THEY SUPPORTED IT.
When Hitler died in 1945,
even now, after the cold-blooded killing of millions,
the Catholic Cardinal
ordered a solemn requiem mass
to be said in all churches
for his soul, that Hitler be admitted to paradise.
See Goldhagen, 1996, p.454.
If the Catholic Church could not stand up unambiguously against Nazism,
WHAT IN THE NAME OF GOD DOES IT STAND FOR?
The Catholic church, had it taken a strong moral position early
and held it, could have stopped the Holocaust.
The Nazis would have backed down.
They would have contented themselves with just discrimination against the Jews,
not mass killing.
But the church did not.
Because the churches do not just
stand for good and against evil.
That would be "naive" and
"It seems beyond any doubt that if the churches had opposed
the killing and the persecution of the Jews,
as they opposed the killing of the congenitally insane
and the sick, there would have been no Final Solution."
- The historian J.P. Stern, quoted in Cornwell.
"Pius XII Protests the Holocaust", Robert Katz,
in What If? 2: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been, 2001,
imagines what would have happened if the Pope had led the entire worldwide
Catholic church on a campaign against the Holocaust
as soon as he found out about it in 1942.
Katz speculates that
90 percent of the Holocaust would not have happened
if the Pope had spoken out in 1942.
was friendly with the Nazis,
and socialised at the Nazi embassy during the war.
also conveyed his condolences to the German Ambassador when Hitler died.
Maybe he was just following orders from de Valera,
but if so he should have resigned on principle.
Shame on him.
was Ireland's only Jewish TD.
Despite being a member of the ruling Fianna Fail party
and a personal friend of the Taoiseach De Valera,
even Briscoe was unable, though he made repeated efforts,
to secure an entry visa for his aunt Hedwig, who lived in Berlin.
was eventually deported to Auschwitz and murdered.
In the end, more than 150 members of Briscoe's extended family were murdered in the Holocaust.
Dr. Kevin McCarthy.
That really sums it up.
De Valera let Nazi and Croat war criminals
find refuge in Ireland after the war:
The "chickenhawk" argument
was actually used against those few lonely voices in Ireland
that supported the Allies against the Nazis in WW2:
Dail, 13 November, 1946:
of Fine Gael
- one of Ireland's true heroes,
almost the only major voice in Ireland saying we should join the Allies
against Nazi Germany -
urges the government not to let
head of the Irish Nazi Party,
and wartime Nazi propagandist,
return to his
pre-war post as director of the National Museum of Ireland:
"I remember at one time there was a "wangle" to restore to public employment in this country
a gentleman who was at one time leader of the Hitler Youth in this country
and a colleague of the head of the Gestapo in this city.
Will the Minister give us a guarantee that Dr. Mahr who is at present holding office,
on leave of absence without pay, as Director of our Museum,
is not coming back under this scheme? Is he or any of his ilk
going to come here under this scheme?"
Frank Aiken of Fianna Fáil
defends the Nazi,
and sneers at Dillon for his support for the Allies:
"I take it that if the gentleman who was in charge of the National Museum
were to come back to Ireland to work, it would be in the Museum, and not in the academy,
that he would work. I have no brief for him.
I do not know whether he will ever come back to this country or not.
Deputy Dillon wants to take advantage of this Dáil to abuse everybody,
right left and centre, to kick people who are down, but I say this for that gentleman,
that he went towards the fighting, unlike Deputy Dillon."
In this little sneer, and the moral emptiness at the heart of it,
I think Frank Aiken
sums up the world of de Valera's Fianna Fail during WW2.
I agree with
on Ireland's treachery.
Ireland was a democracy, one of the only democracies in a world full of genocidal
communist and fascist
And it should have stood with the other democracies in World War Two.
(who lived in Ireland as a child)
"The sense of envelopment, which might at any moment turn to strangulation, lay heavy upon us. We had only the northwestern approach between Ulster and Scotland through which to bring in the means of life and to send out the forces of war.
Owing to the action of Mr. de Valera, so much at variance with the temper and instinct of thousands of southern Irishmen, who hastened to the battlefront to prove their ancient valor,
the approaches which the southern Irish ports and airfields could so easily have guarded were closed by the hostile aircraft and U-boats.
This was indeed a deadly moment in our life, and
if it had not been for the loyalty and friendship of Northern Ireland we should have been forced to come to close quarters with Mr. de Valera or perish forever from the earth.
However, with a restraint and poise to which, I say, history will find few parallels, we never laid a violent hand upon them, which at times would have been quite easy and quite natural, and left the de Valera Government to frolic with the German and later with the Japanese representatives to their heart's content.
When I think of these days I think also of other episodes and personalities. I do not forget
Lieutenant-Commander Esmonde, V.C., D.S.O.,
Lance-Corporal Keneally, V.C., Captain Fegen, V.C., and other Irish heroes that
I could easily recite, and all bitterness by Britain for the Irish race dies in my heart.
I can only pray that in years which I shall not see,
the shame will be forgotten and the glories will endure, and that the peoples of the British Isles and of the British Commonwealth of Nations will walk together in mutual comprehension and forgiveness."
Britain would certainly have been entitled to invade my country, Ireland,
if the alternative was losing the war.
It was Ireland's most shameful moment in all of its history.
If Irish Catholicism could not stand unambiguously against Nazism,
WHAT IN THE NAME OF GOD DID IT STAND FOR?
A disgusting editorial in the
May 5, 1945,
on the deaths of Roosevelt, Mussolini and Hitler,
sums up the amoral world of Irish neutrality.
"There is one thing that Germany did, and that was to rout the Jews out of their country. Until we rout the Jews out of this country it does not matter a hair's breadth what orders you make. Where the bees are there is the honey, and where the Jews are there is the money."
- Catholic fundamentalist
Oliver J. Flanagan
in the Dail,
9 July 1943,
as Jewish families are being murdered on an industrial scale
across Europe by the Germans.
"May God welcome in His mercy the soul of the illustrious deceased".
- The Vatican
on the death of Arafat in 2004.
When Hitler died in 1945, the Catholic church ordered a requiem mass to be said in all churches for his soul, that Hitler be admitted to paradise.
Having learnt nothing from WW2,
in 2004 the Vatican
prays that the great Jew-killer of the modern age, Yasser Arafat, be admitted to paradise.