Adolf Jacob Hitler was one of the most infamous – and evil – men in history. The leader of the Nazi Party, he took power as Chancellor (Prime Minister) of Germany in 1933, and as head of state or “Führer” the next year. He ruled until 1945, when his mistress-turned-wife and himself apparently committed suicide. He ruled Germany with an iron fist, and notoriously carried out the Holocaust, the mass, inhumane slaughter of the Jewish people. His concentration camps killed some 6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews. He started World War II through his invasion of Poland. Most of the nations of the world – led by the United Kingdom, France and the United States – rose up and went to war with him. The war he started killed some additional 50-85 million innocent people. He has rightly become the universal analogy for pure evil.
But what was the real story behind the man? Who were his bosses, what was his real motivation, and how authentic was the leaders’ of the Western World’s opposition to him?
Adolf Hitler is always presented as an anti-Church New Ager. And he really was into the occult. But, according to now-dead former Jesuit priest Alberto Rivera (who was murdered for what he revealed), he was a Roman Catholic and served the Vatican!
This is not mere conspiracy theory. It is a FACT that Hitler was raised a Catholic, and wanted to become a priest as a boy. Hitler came into power on the Catholic vote, as did Italy’s Mussolini. In fact, after the 1933 hung parliament, it was the Catholic Church’s Centre Party which gave the Nazis the necessary support to pass the Enabling Act, which abolished all other political parties, and gave Hitler unprecedented political power.
Pope Pius XI signed a concordat with Nazi Germany in 1933 – after the Enabling Act had been passed – effectively legitimising Hitler’s dictatorship and mandating German bishops take an oath of allegiance to the Governor or President of the German Reich (which office Hitler took in 1934). Movies such as The Scarlet and the Black try to sugarcoat this fact, but it was nothing less than a deliberate endorsement of tyranny.
Representing Pope Pius XI at that meeting was Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, who would become Pope Pius XII in 1939. David Kertzer’s excellent book The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe not only reveals how Pope Pius XI helped bring Mussolini to power and start Fascism, but how Cardinal Pacelli – Pope Pius XII – was very pro-Nazi. He deliberately refused to condemn Nazism, and was himself anti-Semitic. As was Pius XI.
John Cornwall was raised a Roman Catholic. After a dinner conversation – which blew into an argument between two of his students over Pius XII’s alleged Nazism – Cornwall prepared to write a book defending Pius, and refuting the idea he sympathised with the Nazis. He was given access to the Vatican archives to write the book. He pored over thousands of pages of documents for weeks – and was shocked to the core by what he discovered.
Instead of exonerating the Pope, the documents proved he was at heart a Nazi – that he had helped silence any Catholic political opposition to the Nazis, and even denied and trivialised the Holocaust despite having information from accurate sources about the atrocities being committed against the Jews. (Similar to Jean-Marie Le Pen claiming that the Holocaust was merely a detail of World War II.) He was openly anti-Semitic and had helped Hitler to power.
Instead of writing a book defending Pius, he wrote Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII, based on his astonishing findings. The documents proved that Pius lied after the war when he claimed to have spoken out against the Nazi persecution of the Jews – he mainly stayed silent.
Pacelli/Pius was anti-Semitic. In a 1917 letter from Germany, he made derogatory reference to the “Jewish cult”. In travelling (as a diplomat or “nuncio”) to Germany, Cardinal Pacelli extravagantly brought some 60 cases of foodstuffs for himself. Yet when approached by a Jewish rabbi about importing palm fronds from Germany for Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), Pacelli responded that it would be too difficult – they could easily transport 60 cases of food, but not a few palm fronds. In the above-mentioned letter, racist hypocrite Pacelli stated that the Vatican should not assist the Jews in observing their “cult”. Pietro Gasparri, the Cardinal Secretary of State for the Vatican, replied that he agreed with Pacelli, and praised his “shrewdness”. Pacelli responded that the rabbi “was perfectly convinced of the reasons I had given him and thanked me warmly for all that I had done on his behalf.” Of course, he hadn’t done anything – or even tried to do anything – on the rabbi’s behalf. He had simply quashed his request. This incident alone undermines Pius’ later claims that he loved the Jewish religion, “and was always motivated by its best interests.”
This anti-Semitism would rear its head again just after World War I, when Pacelli mimicked Hitler in equating Jews with Bolsheviks/Communists. His observation was made during an attempted socialist revolution in Germany after the war. Writing from Munich, he wrote:
The scene that presented itself at the palace was indescribable. The confusion totally chaotic, the filth completely nauseating; soldiers and armed workers coming and going; the building, once the home of a king, resounding with screams, vile language, profanities. Absolute hell. An army of employees were dashing to and fro, giving out orders, waving bits of paper, and in the midst of all this, a gang of young women, of dubious appearance, Jews like all the rest of them, hanging around in all the offices with provocative demeanor and suggestive smiles. The boss of this female gang was Levien’s mistress, a young Russian woman, a Jew and a divorcée, who was in charge. And it was to her that the nunciature was obliged to pay homage in order to proceed.
This Levien is a young man, about 30 or 35, also Russian and a Jew. Pale, dirty, with vacant eyes, hoarse voice, vulgar, repulsive, with a face that is both intelligent and sly.
Pius/Pacelli revealed his racism again. As John Cornwall notes:
Not long after this, Pacelli campaigned to have black French troops removed from the Rhineland, convinced that they were raping women and abusing children—even though an independent inquiry sponsored by the U.S. Congress, of which Pacelli was aware, proved this allegation false. Twenty-three years later, when the Allies were about to enter Rome, he asked the British envoy to the Vatican to request of the British Foreign Office that no Allied colored troops would be among the small number that might be garrisoned in Rome after the occupation.
What a bigot!
Pacelli firmly believed in Papal authoritarianism, as did the head of the Catholic Centre Party, Ludwig Kaas, who was close friends with Pius. In fact, Kaas’ belief in papal totalitarianism drew him to support the Fascist style of government. It was also a factor in the Vatican’s endorsement of Italy’s fascist government – which they helped to power (during the reign of Pius XI).
Heinrich Brüning was a Catholic politician from the Centre Party who served as Chancellor of Germany from 1930 until 1932. In 1931, he visited the Vatican. He quarreled with Pacelli as Pacelli was lecturing him on why he needed to form government with the Nazis in order to reach a concordat satisfactory to the Vatican! Brüning told him not to interfere with German politics – so Pacelli threw a tantrum. Brüning then observed that “the Vatican would fare much better at the hands of Hitler [as German leader]… than with himself, a devout Catholic.” How chillingly prophetic!
As Cornwall further observed:
After Hitler came to power in January 1933, he made the concordat negotiations with Pacelli a priority. The negotiations proceeded over six months with constant shuttle diplomacy between the Vatican and Berlin. Hitler spent more time on this treaty than on any other item of foreign diplomacy during his dictatorship.
The Reich Concordat granted Pacelli the right to impose the new Code of Canon Law on Catholics in Germany and promised a number of measures favorable to Catholic education, including new schools. In exchange, Pacelli collaborated in the withdrawal of Catholics from political and social activity. The negotiations were conducted in secret by Pacelli, Kaas, and Hitler’s deputy chancellor, Franz von Papen, over the heads of German bishops and the faithful. The Catholic Church in Germany had no say in setting the conditions. In the end, Hitler insisted that his signature on the concordat would depend on the Center Party’s voting for the Enabling Act, the legislation that was to give him dictatorial powers. It was Kaas, chairman of the party but completely in thrall to Pacelli, who bullied the delegates into acceptance. Next, Hitler insisted on the “voluntary” disbanding of the Center Party, the last truly parliamentary force in Germany. Again, Pacelli was the prime mover in this tragic Catholic surrender. The fact that the party voluntarily disbanded itself, rather than go down fighting, had a profound psychological effect, depriving Germany of the last democratic focus of potential noncompliance and resistance. In the political vacuum created by its surrender, Catholics in the millions joined the Nazi Party, believing that it had the support of the Pope [which it did]. The German bishops capitulated to Pacelli’s policy of centralization, and German Catholic democrats found themselves politically leaderless.
After the signing of the concordat, Hitler observed in a Cabinet meeting that the concordat was “especially significant in the urgent struggle against international Jewry”. And, under the terms of the concordat, any opposition by German Catholics to the Nazis could be labelled “foreign interference”. Oh, yes: and any complaints Catholics had about the Nazis must be channeled through Cardinal Pacelli.
The German Catholic Church – a minority in the country – were drawn into collaboration with the Nazis, and Catholic priests assisted the Nazis in weeding out those with Jewish ancestry. Pacelli had immense centralised power over these priests per the concordat. Yet he did nothing to discourage such activities. It was this that led to the singling out of many Jews for the death camps.
When Hitler began persecuting Jews who had converted to Catholicism, Pacelli said it was a matter of German internal policy and refused to do anything. When 3 cardinals and 2 bishops from Germany came to the Vatican in 1937 and begged the Pope to do something about the persecution of Catholics, Pius XI capitulated and issued an encyclical titled With Deep Anxiety, in which he condemned Nazi persecution of the church. But he did not condemn Nazi persecution of the Jews – even Catholic Jews.
Pacelli worked to soften the blow of the encyclical – assuring the German ambassador that friendly relations with Germany would be shortly restored.
In the summer of 1938, as Pius XI lay dying, he became belatedly anxious about anti-Semitism throughout Europe. He commissioned another encyclical, to be written exclusively on the Jewish question. The text, which never saw the light of day, has only recently been discovered. It was written by three Jesuit scholars, but Pacelli presumably had charge of the project. It was to be called Humani Generis Unitas (The Unity of the Human Race). For all its good intentions and its repudiation of violent anti-Semitism, the document is replete with the anti-Jewishness that Pacelli had displayed in his early period in Germany. The Jews, the text claims, were responsible for their own fate. God had chosen them to make way for Christ’s redemption, but they denied and killed him. And now, “blinded by their dream of worldly gain and material success,” they deserved the “worldly and spiritual ruin” that they had brought down upon themselves.
The document warns that to defend the Jews as “Christian principles and humanity” demand could involve the unacceptable risk of being ensnared by secular politics—not least an association with Bolshevism. The encyclical was delivered in the fall of 1938 to the Jesuits in Rome, who sat on it. To this day we do not know why it was not completed and handed to Pius XI. For all its drawbacks, it was a clear protest against Nazi attacks on Jews and so might have done some good. But it appears likely that the Jesuits, and Pacelli, whose influence as secretary of state of the Vatican was paramount since the Pope was moribund, were reluctant to inflame the Nazis by its publication. Pacelli, when he became Pope, would bury the document deep in the secret archives.
David Kertzer establishes that the head of the Jesuits (whom Alberto Rivera revealed was the REAL ruler of the Vatican and the Church) was very anti-Semitic, and presumable pro-Hitler.
On Pacelli’s orders – not long after he became Pope Pius XII – the Berlin nuncio hosted a gala reception for Hitler’s 50th birthday. It became a yearly tradition until the end of World War II for Germany’s Catholic bishops to send birthday greetings to the Fuhrer.
In 1939, months after he became pope, Pius XII tried to get the Poles to concede to Hitler’s territorial demands. And then, when Hitler invaded Poland on September 1st, Pius simply declined to condemn the act.
Pacelli’s first wartime act of reticence in failing to speak out against Fascist brutality occurred in the summer of 1941, following Hitler’s invasion of Yugoslavia and the formation of the Catholic and Fascist state of Croatia. In a wave of appalling ethnic cleansing, the Croat Fascist separatists, known as the Ustashe, under the leadership of Ante Pavelić, the Croat Führer, embarked on a campaign of enforced conversions, deportations, and mass extermination targeting a population of 2.2 million Serb Orthodox Christians and a smaller number of Jews and Gypsies. According to the Italian writer Carlo Falconi, as early as April, in a typical act of atrocity, a band of Ustashe had rounded up 331 Serbs in a place called Otočac. The victims were forced to dig their own graves before being hacked to death with axes. The local priest was forced to recite the prayers for the dying while his son was chopped to pieces before his eyes. Then the priest was tortured. His hair and beard were torn off, his eyes were gouged out. Finally he was skinned alive. The very next month Pacelli greeted Pavelić at the Vatican.
Throughout the war, the Croat atrocities continued. By the most recent scholarly reckoning, 487,000 Orthodox Serbs and 27,000 Gypsies were massacred; in addition, approximately 30,000 out of a population of 45,000 Jews were killed. Despite a close relationship between the Ustashe regime and the Catholic bishops, and a constant flow of information about the massacres, Pacelli said and did nothing. In fact, he continued to extend warm wishes to the Ustashe leadership. The only feasible explanation for Pacelli’s silence was his perception of Croatia as a Catholic bridgehead into the East. The Vatican and the local bishops approved of mass conversion in Croatia (even though it was the result of fear rather than conviction), because they believed that this could spell the beginning of a return of the Orthodox Christians there to papal allegiance. Pacelli was not a man to condone mass murder [really?], but he evidently chose to turn a blind eye on Ustashe atrocities rather than hinder a unique opportunity to extend the power of the papacy.
In December 1941, the Nazis began deporting Jews to the death camps in what was known as the final solution. The next month – January 1942 – Pope Pius was informed of what was happening. In March, Jewish groups sent a memorandum to the Vatican documenting the anti-Semitic atrocities – in both Germany and her conquered territories – and begging Pope Pius XII to intervene, as in the occupied territories his voice might still have an effect. While Pius intervened in Slovakia – only because the president, Josef Tiso, was a Catholic priest – he simply ignored both the request and the atrocities committed by the Nazis. He received reliable information from various representatives of different countries throughout 1942 and beyond of the atrocities. He received information in the months following the Jews’ initial request of the fates of some 90,000 Jews. Yet when a representative of America’s Roosevelt administration – one of many that begged him to act or at least speak – begged him to do something, he replied that he was above the belligerents. When the knowledge of the atrocities became public and protests and gatherings against the Nazis began in America, Pope Pius still refused to say anything.
In December 1942, Pius finally gave in to pressure to say something in his Christmas speech. But he merely gave a watered down condemnation of persecution and racism in general – not once did he mention the Jews or the Nazis. And he reduced the MILLION being murdered down to “hundreds of thousands”. In fact, Hitler himself could not have come up with a better NEUTRAL statement to appease all sides.
Cornwall provides a summary of what the documents show:
- He had nourished a striking antipathy toward the Jews as early as 1917 in Germany, which contradicts later claims that his omissions were performed in good faith and that he “loved” the Jews and respected their religion.
- From the end of the First World War to the lost encyclical of 1938, Pacelli betrayed a fear and contempt of Judaism based on his belief that the Jews were behind the Bolshevik plot to destroy Christendom.
- Pacelli acknowledged to representatives of the Third Reich that the regime’s anti-Semitic policies were a matter of Germany’s internal politics. The Reich Concordat between Hitler and the Vatican, as Hitler was quick to grasp, created an ideal climate for Jewish persecution.
- Pacelli failed to sanction protest by German Catholic bishops against anti-Semitism, and he did not attempt to intervene in the process by which Catholic clergy collaborated in racial certification to identify Jews.
- After Pius XI’s Mit Brennender Sorge, denouncing the Nazi regime (although not by name), Pacelli attempted to mitigate the effect of the encyclical by giving private diplomatic reassurances to Berlin despite his awareness of widespread Nazi persecution of Jews.
- Pacelli was convinced that the Jews had brought misfortune on their own heads: intervention on their behalf could only draw the church into alliances with forces inimical to Catholicism.
And during the Nazi occupation of Rome, the Pope refused to condemn the rounding up of city’s Jews for deportation to Auschwitz – because “communist” partisans might take advantage of it. Really? He simply wanted to keep the Nazi status quo in the city until the Allies could take it – no matter how many innocent lives it unnecessarily cost.
Some final words from Cornwall:
But there was a more profound failure than Pacelli’s unwillingness to help the Jews of Rome rounded up on October 16. Pacelli’s reticence was not just a diplomatic silence in response to the political pressures of the moment, not just a failure to be morally outraged. It was a stunning religious and ritualistic silence. To my knowledge, there is no record of a single public papal prayer, lit votive candle, psalm, lamentation, or Mass celebrated in solidarity with the Jews of Rome either during their terrible ordeal or after their deaths. This spiritual silence in the face of an atrocity committed at the heart of Christendom, in the shadow of the shrine of the first apostle, persists to this day and implicates all Catholics. This silence proclaims that Pacelli had no genuine spiritual sympathy even for the Jews of Rome, who were members of the community of his birth. And yet, on learning of the death of Adolf Hitler, Archbishop Adolf Bertram of Berlin ordered all the priests of his archdiocese “to hold a solemn Requiem in memory of the Führer. ”
There were nevertheless Jews who gave Pacelli the benefit of the doubt. On Thursday, November 29, 1945, Pacelli met some 80 representatives of Jewish refugees who expressed their thanks “for his generosity toward those persecuted during the Nazi-Fascist period.” One must respect a tribute made by people who had suffered and survived, and we cannot belittle Pacelli’s efforts on the level of charitable relief, notably his directive that enclosed religious houses in Rome should take in Jews hiding from the SS.
By the same token, we must respect the voice of Settimia Spizzichino, the sole Roman Jewish woman survivor from the death camps. Speaking in a BBC interview in 1995 she said, “I came back from Auschwitz on my own. I lost my mother, two sisters, a niece, and one brother. Pius XII could have warned us about what was going to happen. We might have escaped from Rome and joined the partisans. He played right into the Germans’ hands. It all happened right under his nose. But he was an anti-Semitic Pope, a pro-German Pope. He didn’t take a single risk. And when they say the Pope is like Jesus Christ, it is not true. He did not save a single child. Nothing.” …
And yet there was still something worse. After the liberation of Rome, when every perception of restraint on his freedom was lifted, he claimed retrospective moral superiority for having spoken and acted on behalf of the Jews. Addressing a Palestinian group on August 3, 1946, he said, “We disapprove of all recourse to force . . . just as we condemned on various occasions in the past the persecutions that a fanatical anti-Semitism inflicted on the Hebrew People.” His grandiloquent self-exculpation a year after the war had ended showed him to be not only an ideal Pope for the Nazis’ Final Solution but also a hypocrite.
With the above FACTS and EVIDENCE, can anyone seriously deny Alberto Rivera’s insider claim that Hitler worked for the Pope? I think not.