Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Pius XII Und Deutschland

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Pius XII Und Deutschland

Article excerpt

Pius XII and Deutschland. By Michael E Feldkamp. [Kleine Reihe V & R 4026.] (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 2000. Pp. 236. DM 29,80 paperback).

Michael Feldkamp is the author of scholarly works about relations between Germany and the Holy See from World War I onwards, and editor of post-World War II documents of the German Foreign Office and Bundestag. This brief work, an attempt at objective scholarship rather than advocacy, draws on primary sources and secondary literature in German, Italian, French, and English.

Feldkamp devotes a chapter to each of the four periods of Pacelli's relations with Germany: his work as nuncio in Munich and Berlin (1917-1929); as papal Secretary of State (1930-1939); as wartime pope; and his postwar efforts to restore Germany to a place in the family of nations.

"The pope's alleged wartime 'silence' [sic]," Feldkamp writes, "was due neither to concern for his personal safety, nor the desire to maintain strict neutrality in order to preserve his chance of being a future peacemaker. The pope's policy reflected his judgment that a public protest would not only fail to deter the Nazis, but would provoke even greater atrocities.... The pope's decision to remain 'silent' cost him dearly." By limiting himself to private protests, while initiating rescue efforts behind the scenes, Pius XII "saved thousands of lives." Moreover, Feldkamp writes, one must ask how free the pope was, dependent as he was on Mussolini for food, water, and electricity-and with the constant threat of kidnaping. Hitler actually ordered this on September 12,1943, but was frustrated by subordinates.

Feldkamp's narration of the roundup of Roman Jews on October 16,1943, refutes the account given by Susan Zuccotti in Under His Very Windows. Vigorous papal protests, unpublicized because the German ambassador to the Holy See, von Weiszacker, warned that this was the only way to help the victims, resulted in "the deportation to Auschwitz of somewhat more than 1,000 Jews rather than the 8,000 ordered [by Hitler]. …

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