Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Catholic Bishops of Europe and the Nazi Persecutions of Catholics and Jews

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Catholic Bishops of Europe and the Nazi Persecutions of Catholics and Jews

Article excerpt

The Catholic Bishops of Europe and the Nazi Persecutions of Catholics and Jews. By Vincent A. Lapomarda, S.J. (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press. 2012. Pp. x, 310. $149.95. ISBN 978-0-7734-2932-1.)

In The Catholic Bishops of Europe and the Nazi Persecutions of Catholics and Jews, Vincent A. Lapomarda, associate professor of history at the College of the Holy Cross, seeks to understand the various responses of European Catholic bishops to National Socialism and particularly the latter's systematic persecution and murder of Jews. His goal is to be comprehensive in scope by covering the episcopacy in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Turkey, and Yugoslavia. Such a task is daunting indeed, perhaps even requiring multi-volumes, and would, in theory, surpass in scope previous serious studies by John Morley ( Vatican Diplomacy and the Jews during the Holocaust 1939-1943 [New York, 1980]) and Michael Phayer (The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965 [Bloomington, IN, 2000]). By contrast, Lapomarda's work in this regard is exceedingly superficial and, at best, serves as a conduit of basic information on clergy who, at times, chose to resist Nazism. In reality, the work reads like Catholic apologetic literature of old.

In his foreword to the book, Ronald J. Rychlak, professor of law at the University of Mississippi, describes Lapomarda's previous research as "precise and demanding" and insists, "There are no shortcuts in Fr. Lapomarda's work" (p. i). Unfortunately, such praise cannot be given to the current study. Repeated historical inaccuracies and analysis mire the book. For example, in his chapter on Germany, Lapomarda falsely and, it could be argued, misleadingly portrays Conrad Gröber, archbishop of Freiburg, as critical of the April 1,1933, national boycott of Jewish-owned businesses. He incorrectly reports that in 1937 state officials arrested 141 priests of the Würzburg diocese for "allegedly supporting Jews" (p. 88). Later, in his "Retrospect" concluding chapter, Lapomarda perpetuates the myth that Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber, archbishop of Munich and Freising, defended Jews in his 1933 Advent sermons. Through his secretary, Faulhaber personally rejected such an interpretation of his sermons. Likewise, in his chapter on Austria, Lapomarda acclaims Father Georg Bichlmair's assistance to Jews, but completely ignores the Jesuit's repeated antisemitic utterances that John Connelly uncovered so clearly in his recent study, From Enemy to Brother (Cambridge, MA, 2012). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.