Les Papes, Hitler et la Shoah, 1932-1945

By Sanchez, Jose M. | The Catholic Historical Review, October 2002 | Go to article overview

Les Papes, Hitler et la Shoah, 1932-1945


Sanchez, Jose M., The Catholic Historical Review


Les Papes, Hitler, et la Shoah, 1932-1945. By Marc-Andre Chargueraud. (Paris: Labor et Fides. 2002. Pp. 167. Paperback.)

In the increasingly contentious debate over Pius XII and the Holocaust, the chief issue has come to be where to place the emphasis on the reasons why the Pope did not speak out forcefully against the German destruction of the European Jews.

French author Chargueraud places most of his emphasis on the now traditional argument that Pius feared that a protest would cause more harm than good. It might have caused a schism within the German Church if he had excommunicated Hitler. Likewise a schism might have occurred in Croatia had he protested Pavelic's ruthless killing of Serbs and Jews. In both these cases, the author argues, a protest would have had no effect, for both regimes would have ignored the Pope. No protest, he says, would have stopped Hitler, and as for the argument that it would have at the very least informed Jews of the fate in store for them, he says that the Jews themselves did not believe the reports of the death camps. In the most controversial event of all, the roundup of the Roman Jews in October, 1943, Chargueraud argues that Pius feared that a protest would provoke a German invasion of the convents and monasteries that were hiding Jews.

These are all arguments that have been made before, and Chargueraud cites the most recent studies, all secondary, to prove his points, but he uses them selectively, taking some of the statements of two of the most recent critics, Michael Phayer and Susan Zuccotti, out of the context of the overall arguments of their books. …

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