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ALEXANDER KIMEL - HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR
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The Verdict
   

PIUS XII ENIGMA

by Alexander Kimel


R. L. replying to my post wrote:
Pius XII remains an enigmatic figure within the Church. Popularly, Pius has been stigmatized as being silent or callously condoning the extermination of the Jews--among non-Christians. ... The historical record, however reveals a more complex picture. His Christmas Messages, throughout the war, appealed for peace, and an end to the atrocities being committed under the rubric of war and racial hatred. The New York Times, in 1941 and 1942 in fact, applauded Pius's condemnations of National Socialism. He was neither silent, nor was he vicariously guilty of the annihilation of European Jewry.

Reading the above , I realized that Pius XII is not such an enigma, as it appears to him. With a little bit of common sense, it can be resolved. My reasoning is as follows:

1. Pious XII made many contradictory moves: He issued the toothless enciclica " With Brennen Sorgen" but later is accepted the anti Jewish measures adopted by the Vichy government. The Vatican helped the Italian Jewry meet the steep contribution required by the German envoy, but at the same time he never warned or protested the impending resettlements to Auschwitz. Pius tried to influence the Slovakian government, headed by Catholic priest, to stop the deportations but in 1944, after the liberation of Rome, he refused publicly to protest the deportation of the Hungarian Jews.

2. The key of understanding of the Pontiff is to separate Pius XII as a private person from Pius XII the leader of a powerful religious institution.

PIUSII- THE PERSON
Pius was a decent man, who despite his anti Jewish ballast, did everything he could to save the Jews, as a private person. Never, never in public. He acted like a parish priest. For Pius, the person I do feel sympathy. He was a man who found himself accidentally as the Head of Catholic Church, in a critical historical time, a position for which he was not emotionally fit.

PIUS XII THE LEADER
PIUS XII failed as leader. He never condemned Hitler, never protested the slaughter for three basic reasons:

A. Pius was afraid that with condemning Hiler he will help Stalin.

B. He was afraid that Hitler will split the Catholic Church by establishing a German National Church.

C. He was a head of a charismatic institution, who shaped the th beliefs of their flock and in turn had to act in accordance with their flocks expectations. Saving Jews was not popular.

The greatest failure of his Pontificate, is the fact that by not speaking out against Hitler and his atrocities, he helped Stalin in imposing an ruthless, Byzantine, atheistic regime on Eastern Europe.
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kimel@systec.com