In an interview in The Bulletin (Philadelphia, Sept. 27, 2008), the author of Hitler's Pope stated that since the publication of his book, his views have changed, noting:
_______ "While I believe with many commentators that the pope might have done more to help the plight of the Jews, I now feel, 10 years after the publication of my book, that his scope for action was severely limited and I am prepared to state this," he said. "Nevertheless, due to his ineffectual and diplomatic language in respect of the Nazis and the Jews, I still believe that it was incumbent on him to explain his failure to speak out after the war. This he never did." _________
Others would argue that the author's insistence that Pope Pius XII should have taken a more public stance against Nazism has never made much sense. The Pope lived in Vatican City, a militarily indefensible neighborhood in Fascist Rome. Any time he wanted, Hitler could have sent German troops already in Italy to silence the Pope. In spite of that, the Vatican's open opposition to Nazism compares favorably to that of Switzerland, protected by its mountains and an army that included virtually all adult Swiss males, and Sweden, protected from invasion by icy cold waters and Hitler's need to ensure that nothing happened to his supply of Swedish iron ore.
Instead of making a public statement that would have been sneered at by Hitler and flashed across the front pages of newspapers in the US and UK for a single day and then faded into oblivion, Pope Pius XII did far more good in secret, issuing orders and encouraging others to protect European Jews. Scholars, obsessed themselves with mere words on paper, attach too much value to them. Deeds are better.Read more ›
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304 of 347 people found the following review helpful
Documented Refutation of Slanders Against Pius XIIJuly 22 2005
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Rabbi Dalin is a credible source both because of his Jewish identity and because of his academic credentials which include a doctorate from Brandeis University. He refutes in page after page of documented facts the great and repeated lie that Pope Pius XII was sympathetic to the Nazis. The truth that emerges again and again from each documented fact is that Pius XII spoke out against Nazi racism both before and after he became pope, that Pius XII instructed papal diplomats to aid persecuted Jews in the occupied nations of Europe, that he contributed money to aid desperate Jews, that he opened Catholic facilities in the Vatican and in other parts of Rome and Italy to shelter thousands of Jews from the Nazis, and that he gave direct face-to-face orders to protect Jews from the Nazis. This book is so well documented that Pius's detractors have to either put up or shut up. In fact, the detractors should apologize and formally retract their slanders. Of the many outrageous slanders against Pius XII, one in particular stands out to show the level of distortion used by the haters of this Pope. Rabbi Dalin recounts how Pius hater John Cornwell even uses a misleading cover for his book Hitler's Pope that makes it seem to the uninformed reader that Pius, who was then the papal nuncio (ambassador) to Germany, is just exiting from a meeting with the Nazis when in fact the picture is from 1927, well before Hitler took power, and in fact shows the future Pius XII, in the course of his formal diplomatic duties, emerging from a diplomatic reception for the elected President of Germany in 1927 during the democratic and pre-Nazi Weimar Republic (pp. 62-63). The book reads quickly, gets to the point, and has copious footnotes and a convenient index. Rabbi Dalin has performed a righteous deed. For a more detailed review, see my website link above.
202 of 243 people found the following review helpful
Facts to refute the misinformation about Pius XII and moreJuly 19 2005
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Rabbi David Dalin has given us a book that makes at least three important contributions. First, it provides information that refutes the popular notion of the past several years that Pope Pius XII was an anti-Semite and complicit with the Nazi Regime. He demonstrates it to be not only false, but a deliberate misrepresentation of the truth. A simple example is the famous photograph on the jacket of both the English and American editions of the Pope leaving what looks like a Nazi meeting. In fact, it was a diplomatic meeting with Hindenburg in 1927! Both before the Nazis were in power and before Pacelli had been elected Pope.
This book provides evidence upon evidence of how Pope Pius XII walked a swaying tightrope to save thousands of Jews while avoiding provoking the Nazis into attacks upon Catholics. He wrote encyclicals, gave Jews asylum even to the point of decloistering a nunnery so it could shelter Jewish boys. The author also points out the use by these authors of bad translations of texts and then carefully trimming these to twist the meaning to their purposes. Rabbi Dalin also demonstrates the good relations that Pope Pius and the Church had with Jewish leaders and how those leaders even asked the Pope to not be more provocative in his public statements and actions.
Second, the author demonstrates how these authors have as part of their agenda an attack on the Catholic Church and are using political means to try and foist their liberal agenda on the Church in all sorts of ways: changes in doctrine, changes in Church governance, changes in policy and all to the purpose of bending others to their views. We see their double standards in purporting anti-Semitism onto Pope Pius XII while ignoring the very real and very great anti-Semitism in the Muslim world from WWII to the present. Some of these authors have even supported the political motives of Yassir Arafat and denied his self-proclaimed anti-Semitism and acts of violence against Jews.
The third benefit flows from the first two. We get a better sense of where some of the battle lines are drawn in our present culture wars, the tactics being used, and in the service of what strategy. It is fascinating to see the inversion of values in our modern culture where what was called good is now called false and deviant and what never was good or an ideal is now held up as a virtue worth fighting for. Rabbi Dalin does us all a service by telling the truth in this concise and informative book.
62 of 72 people found the following review helpful
A sobering defense of of Pius XIIJan. 22 2006
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When John Paul II sought forgiveness and understanding from Jews he asked for nothing in return - whenever the Church or its representatives were at fault,he said, I am sorry. In our age of spin doctoring, most of the press reports were sceptical of the sincerity of JP2 and the Church (I guess actions speak louder than words). This book represents a carefully detailed and well referenced defence of Pius XII and his dealings with Nazism and Jewish persecution before and during WW2. That it comes from a Rabbi may help support the view that for JP2, the actions of the Church during the Shoah did speak for themselves. More humbling for me, the actions of Rabbi Dalin in researching and providing this defence will also do much to continue the brotherly dialogue between Jews and Christians. Dalin has set a standard for scholarly integrity that he challenges others interested in this field to meet. Dalin also compares and contrasts the words and deeds of Pius XII with Hajj Amin al-Husseini, and concludes that Husseini and his legacy are representative of (if not responsible for) anti-semitism today. The challenge for Jews, Christians and Muslims today will be to create a track record of words and deeds between these faiths of the Book so that a Jew or Christian may one day write a defense of mainstream Islam when describing 21st century history. I hope that all who read Dalin's book accept his challenge to look past the sensationalist reporting of our media, and recognise goodness when it does exist.
79 of 94 people found the following review helpful
The truth shall make you freeAug. 8 2006
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I normally am not a fan of hardbacks, but after reading reviews of this book, I couldn't wait for the paperback. And I'm glad I didn't. I stayed up all night reading this absolutely gripping book which shows truth is stranger than fiction.
Rabbi Dalin drops one bombshell after another, exceeding, for sheer intrigue, any conspiracy theory, and debunking along the way a legion of myths that are everywhere parrotted and nearly universally believed.
The pogroms that for 800 years have been directed against the Jews largely resulted from a weird superstition called blood libel, in which it was held that the Passover feast involved murder and cannibalism, the same charge levelled against the early Christians' communion in the Roman empire. Kings and emperors allowed and encouraged mob violence against the Jews, and it was often the popes who protected them, even excommunicating any Christian who took part in the riots.
After World War II, many Jewish leaders openly thanked Pope Pius XII for helping save Jews, among them Albert Einstein. How then did he ever get tarred as "Hitler's Pope"? The charge that Pope Pius XII was complicit with the Nazis was first levelled in a play in the '60s by a former Hitler Youth, but amazingly that charge was revived in a recent film called "Amen".
The myth caught press in a book tellingly titled "Hitler's Pope", although the author, in light of new evidence to the contrary, has since withdrawn the thesis. To the contrary, argues Dalin, Pius XII was the driving force behind the rescue efforts and deserves to be called a "rightous gentile".
The next bombshell concerns a forged anti-Jewish conspiracy theory from Czarist Russia called "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," which was widely circulated in Europe since Victorian times and is still reprinted, along with Hitler's biography, Mein Kampf, in Arab countries. The modern-day terrorism, Dalin contends, is an extension of the Nazi ideology and an attempt to carry out their "final solution" against the Jews. The myth of "blood libel" is still taught by these terrorists as a warrant for their jihad (holy war) against Israel.
Somehow Dalin gets all this across in 200 pages, including copious notes in an easy read so engrossing you forget it's not fiction. This is the definitive book that Garry Wills and the other self-proclaimed enemies of JPII and Pius XII need to answer, if they can, and if not, wake up. Thanks to Rabbi Dalin, the Day of Disinformation is over, and the truth shall make you free.
43 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Direct debunking of unwarranted slander of Pius XIIJan. 16 2006
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For those that have had questions about the role of Pius XII in the plight of Jews under the scourge of Hitler, Rabbi Dalin writes a clear, well documented examination of the facts, the people, and the events that make it clear that Pius XII was perhaps heroic and certainly not cowardly in his efforts to aid the Jews.
Dalin shows clearly that critics of Pius XII not only lack evidence to show any evil on th part of Pius XII, the critics clearly ignore the facts, the words, and the acts that establish Pius's positive role during these troubled times. Rather than valid criticism, the critics have unveiled contempt, not only for Pius XII, but also for John Paul II and, for that matter, the Catholic Church in general. Liberals and perhaps worst of all, liberal Catholics, just can't find a nice word to say. So they speculate and invent anti-semitic scenarios emanating from the Vatican. Dalin shows just how wrong-headed this speculation is.
Even more clear is not only that several popes have echoed the "we are all Semites" sentiment to establish a strong, benign link between Catholics and Jews, Dalin also shows that the real anti-Semitic scourge comes from Muslim fanatics and, in Hilter's time, the grand mufti of Jerusalem himself, perhaps the author of the "final solution" concept. Muslims, not Catholics, were the nominally Catholic Hitler's greatest friends and the worst enemies of the Jews.
This book is short (168 pages), readable, engaging, well-researched, personal, and definitive.