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The Myth of Hitler's Pope: Pope Pius XII And His Secret War Against Nazi Germany Hardcover – Jun 24 2005
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About the Author
David G. Dalin, Ph.D., an ordained rabbi, is a professor of history and political science at Ave Maria University.
Top Customer Reviews
"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 ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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