Saved By A Priest

Joe Schick writes:

Later, in 1943, the surviving members of my mother’s family were forced to flee France for Italy. By then, my mother’s mother was pregnant with her first child, and a Catholic priest arranged for refuge for the family in villages around Cuneo, Italy. The men were with the partisans fighting the Nazis and fascists, with the women and children hidden elsewhere.

So the matriarch of one of the most important families in the American Orthodox world was saved by a Catholic priest. Yet, see this post, where I noted:

Two years ago, I was speaking with a Yeshiva University rosh yeshiva about a halakhic matter. Suddenly, while commenting on the Catholic Church’s view of an issue, the rosh yeshiva blurted out, “The Pope, yemach shemo, ….” [“The Pope, may his name be blotted out,” a traditional curse reserved for the greatest enemies of the Jewish people, like Hitler and Haman, now directed at Pope John Paul 2, the Pope who had done the most to restore relations with the Jewish people.] Can one imagine Rabbi Joseph Ber Soleveitchik speaking about the Pope this way?

I wonder how many anti-Nazi gentiles the Va’ad Hatzalah saved? How many retarded? How many Gypsies? Actually, I know the answer: zero. You would think the Va’ad along with Lubavitch and the other Orthodox groups would have saved a few of the non-Jews who were also targeted by Hitler. But they did not. Why?


For more background on the issue of the Church and the Holocaust, read David Dalin’s book, The Myth of Hitler’s Pope.



Filed under Blogs, History, Religion, The Church and the Holocaust

15 responses to “Saved By A Priest

  1. Anonymous

    You seem determined to falsify the history of WWII and the Holocaust.

    It is true that individual priests were responsible for saving some Jews during the Holocaust. However, it is also true that church institutions housing Jewish children took this as an opportunity to indoctrinate Jewish children in the Catholic religion and to praech to them hatred of Jews and Judaism. See and read “A Hidden Childhood,”
    Frida Scheps Weinstein, where she describes how the mothers in the monastery she was hidden in cursed Jews as other Catholics and Christians were calmly consigning their relatives to the paece of the gas chamber.

    See also Shailos and Tshouvos MMEAKIM, by Rav Oshri, ZA”TZL, who states that he rescued many Jewish children from monasteries after the War. Who on this earth knows how many children were taken and not rescued, but converted to Christianity while their parents lie in their graves prepared for them by good Christians.

    The comment on the Vaad Hatzalah not rescuing non-Jews is ludicrous. The rabbis of the Vaad Hatzalah and the Jewish people were not responsible for the plight that any individual non-Jews were in.

    In sharp contrast, it was good Catholics, the Pope’s own subjects, who were cruelly torturing and killing our relatives in Europe. The Pope, as their spiritual mentor, was obligated to call upon them to stop their killing immediately and to threaten them with excommunication upon threat of loss of their immortal souls.

    Moreover, the Catholic Church was directly responsible for the Holocaust. See and read, “The Popes Against The Jews: The Vatican’s Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism, David I. Kertzer among many other scholars and books making the same point.

    It is simply amazing that a person who loudly and unfairly criticized Marvin Schick for not speaking out about the vandalizing of a police car in Boro Park, could exonerate Pope Pius XII (hope I got the name correct) for being silent while his people and spiritual subjects, good Christians all, murdered six million Jews in Europe over a period of six years.

    I suggest you read Hitler’s Ordinary, Golde Executioners and B. Netanyahu’s magnus opum on the Jews of Spain, and Malcom Hayes, Europe and The Jews. I will gladly read the Myth of Hitler’s Pope. The truth however, is that it is not a myth. Or do you think that the the Popes bore no responsibility for the Inquisition, the cruel expulsion of the Jews of Spain, and the Crusades, either?

  2. Your understanding of history is child-like. The Pope personally saved thousands of Rome’s Jews, and the Church saved many more. In Rome, Church hiding places had KOSHER FOOD, davening, and learning. The only issue was was what to do with orphans who were raised by the Church. The Church wanted to keep them. We obviously disagreed. But to assert the Church was in any way hostile to us during the Holocaust is wrong. Futhermore, the Church saved more Jews than the Va’ad Hatzolah.

    Look at it this way: Let’s say Orthodox Jews saved 50,000 Tibetian Buddhists, many of them children, by housing them and teaching them to pass as Jews. After the crisis, would we willingly return children who liked being Jewish, hated idol worship and saw their future as Jewish? No, we would not.

    Yet we criticize the Church – which saved tens of thousands of Jews.

    Now go learn.

  3. As for the Inquisition, check a little more carefully. The Papacy did not support most of it, and actively fought much of it. Ever wonder why the Inquisition took place primarily in Spain and Portugal and then later in Brazil, Mexico, etc., but ***NOT*** in Rome.

  4. Anonymous

    Hey Fatso, why dont you quote your sources instead of telling everyone they should learn something. Most of the time you are stealing articles from other sites so its no wonder you mouth of about things you dont know about its easier then doing the research and finding the news yourself.

    All this because you couldnt get a shidduch?

  5. I gave you a very good source – Dalin’s book.

    Now go and learn – in this case, Fair Usage law.

  6. Anonymous

    The fact that there is no quote from the Pope regarding stopping Hitlers murderous rampage against Jews or Gypsys is evidence enough.

    You diss Religous Jews for not saying anything about Darfour. You show us a public quote where he talks about stopping the deportations and I do mean public not just amongst the bishops and cardinals

    Also this Rabbi is an a Catholic ass kisser who has his agenda.

  7. Personally saved thousands of Italian Jews. Ordered his priests and cardinals to save more. Public objection, especially when the nazis hated him, would not have done much. He saved a lot of Jews – far more than the entire Vaad Hatzolah and all of Orthodoxy did.

    Meanwhile, you’ve got the Freirdiker Lubavitcher Rebbe who worked AGAINST the Vaad Hatzaloh, worked AGAINST both the formation of Israel and of Zionist rescue, and used much of the money he personally raised for “pidyon shvuim” (marketed as Holocaust rescue) to open his yeshiva in Crown Heights.

    Worse than that, he was promoted by Chabad as the “leader of all the Protestant Jews (i.e. Orthodox), in the world and was in personal contact with President Roosevelt in that guise. Yet the “holy” Rebbe Rayyatz NEVER ASKED ROOSEVELT TO SAVE JEWS, TO BOMB THE RAIL LINES TO AUSCHWITZ, or anything else regarding rescue.

    And you’re mad at the Pope?

  8. Anonymous

    I wrote the first comment. I have an earned doctorate from NYU. What are your academic credentials?

    The Vatican has refused to release its document covering the war period. When a person refuses to hand over evidence in its posession the jury should be instructed that it may assume that the evidence is incriminating. Wigmore on Evidence.

    So, the Vatican is right in refusing to hand over the Jewish Children entrusted to them uder duress of their being murdered? Sorry, I do not see both sides to this question. It must be my childlike mind that does not let me see the other side.

    Joseph Tiso was the head of the Slovakia when thousands of its Jews were deported. Joseph Tiso was a Roman Catholic Priest. Do you know the date of his defrocking and excommunication? I have been unable to find out the e3xact date this occurred, which I assume must have happened, given the benevolent attitude of the Church.

    Yes, the Church made some protests to Tiso. But it never ordered him to cease and desist on the penalty of harm to his immortal soul. Nor, as far as I can discern, was any born or converted Catholic excommunicated for participation in the Holocaust, or denied any Church privilege. I guess that killing six million Jews does not rise to the level of getting remarried after divorce. (Once again, there goes my child-like mind).

    Pius XII apologists insist that he thought protest would make Hitler mad at the Jews, and cause more problems (as silly as this sounds, after all, watch out of Hitler gets really mad at the Jews, now they are in trouble). However, Pius himself never made this claim, or surely his apologists would have cited where he did. Which brings us to the point, why are they so sure of his motives?

    In the absence of persuasive reason to the contrary, it is always safe to apply Akon’s Razor. Pius XII did not protest because he held the Church’s centuries long held view that the Jews were damned to punishment for rejecting Christ, and even if good Catholics should refrain from actively participating in massacres, if the massacres happened it was just what the Jews deserved.

    It is indeed childlike to assume (as you do) that history happens in a vaccumn. It was centuries of Church teaching that Jews were damned and that they engaged in such acts as ritual slaughter that culminated in the Holocaust. No apologetic, even from a self-professed Orthodox rabbi (where is his smichah from anyway?)can change the facts.

  9. Anonymous

    Hitler’s Pope,
    The Secret History of Pius XII,
    by John Cornwell


    The Myth of Hitler’s Pope,
    by Rabbi Dalin

    Hitlers Pope The publisher’s description of
    John Cornwell’s book Hitler’s Pope,
    The Secret History of Pius XII, by :
    “In Hitler’s Pope, award-winning journalist John Cornwell shows that Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII, was instrumental in negotiating an accord that helped the Nazis’ rise to unhindered power — and sealed the fate of the Jews in Europe.
    Drawing upon secret Vatican and Jesuit archives to which he had unprecedented access, Cornwell tells the full, tragic story of how narcissistic, long-standing personal antipathy for the Jews, and personal and spiritual ambition combined to make Pius XII the most dangerous churchman in history. Not just a firm and final indictment of Pius XII’s papacy, Hitler’s Pope is also a searing exploration of its lingering consequences for the Catholic Church today.”
    Some Catholic apologists dismiss John Cornwell out of hand. But if he was as incompetent and/or dishonorable as these people claim, then why, in response to the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I in September of 1978, after a reign of only thirty-three days did the Vatican invite none other than John Cornwell to conduct a new, independent investigation into the true circumstances of the Pope’s death? In the book which resulted from his investigation and for which the Vatican cooperated fully, Cornwell’s A Thief in the Night tells the story of his search, including a startling theory about John Paul I’s untimely demise — and a chilling and unsurpassed look inside one of the world’s oldest, most secretive institutions.

    “On March 23 (1933) Hitler gave a policy statement in which he promised, among other things, to work for peaceful relations between Church and State; the Reichstag in turn approved the Enabling Act, which for a period of four years transferred the power of legislation from parliament to the cabinet. Five days later the German Catholic episcopate, organized in the Fulda Bishop’s Conference, withdrew their earlier prohibitions against membership in the Nazi party and admonished the faithful to be loyal and obedient to the new regime.” (p.3)
    from The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany by Guenter Lewy
    For a web site that uses some of the best material of this book,
    and which lists many other books and sites on this matter, see LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/RCscandal

  10. So saving thousands of Jews counts for nothing? Perhaps the Church could have done more. Certainly, so could American Jews, and so could haredim – who, for the most part objected to rescue attempts until their own butts were on the line.

    Why should we hold the Church to a higher standard than we hold ourselves?

    As for Tiso, note that attempts to stop him were carried out by non-Slovakian Catholics. You want a piece of paper with the Pope’s name on it saying “Stop Tiso.” Why don’t actions on the ground count for at least that much?

  11. Anonymous

    Response to Rabbi David Dalin’s book:
    “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope”

    At several points on this web site, we contrast what Dalin claims vs. what we argue is the truth. These can be found by using the [search box] and entering Dalin. The following are more general comments on this latest attempt to rescue the reputation of Pope Pius XII and/or the Roman Catholic Church regarding the Jewish Holocaust.
    Although Rabbi Dalin, who teaches at the very conservative Catholic Ave Maria University, has supposedly written this book to refute Pius XII’s critics, he writes: “Very few of the many recent books about Pius XII and the Holocaust are actually about Pius XII and the Holocaust.” (p. 2) Dalin views the Shoah as a kind of Trojan horse for “the liberationist agenda”: “Goldhagen has become one of many staples for secular leftists whose hatred of Catholicism derives from the Church’s opposition to abortion, gary rights the ordination of women, and the rest of the liberationist agenda.” (p.5) That is why Dalin actually devotes fewer than 100 pages of his book to the issue of Pius XII and the Holocaust.
    After characterizing John Cornwell’s words as “accusations against the pope (which) seem self-evidently histerical”, Dalin offers as proof a quote from one of his allies who totally mischaracterises Cornwell’s views as follows :

    “Pacelli is not only solely responsible for the rise and triumph of Hitler in the 1930’s, but is also responsible for the outbreak of World War I as well ! . . .
    Nazi Germany is let off the hook and virtually all of the woes of the twentienth century are laid at the feat of a lone Italian Catholic.” ( page 6) Does Rabbi Dalin have any idea what the word “histerical” means?

    After spending a great deal of time reading the carefully nuanced scholarship of authors like Cornwell, Carroll, Goldhaggen and Lewy, it was a shock to my system to read what passes for professional scholarship in Rabbi Dalin’s circles. This is the way he refers to those with whom he disagrees:
    “Goldhagen’s explanation for the Holocaust (in his earlier book, “Hitler’s Willing Executioners”) was remarkably simple and simplistic. . . In his new book (“A Moral Reckoning”), Goldhagen’s historical understanding is, once again, remarkably simple and simplistic. It is irresponsibly dishonest and misleading as well.” (p. 3)
    “Goldhagen doesn’t limit his anti-Catholic diatribe to Pius alone. Goldhagen’s irresponsible screed climaxes with an attack on Pope John Paul II.”
    “Goldhagen’s book – despite its near utter lack of disinterested scholarship – has carved a permanent niche for itself in the list of anti-Catholic literature.” (p. 4)
    “Much like “Hitler’s Willing Executioners”,Goldhagen’s new book (“A Moral Reckoning”) is full of factual errors, histerical misrepresentations, . . . Thus, for example, several of the dates he provides for the establishment of European ghettos are wrong.” (p.4) (How serious are these “errors”, you ask? According to Dalin, who offers no hint of a source for his corrections, 1555 s/b 1556; 1516 s/b1517; 1460 s/b 1462, etc. )
    and of course there’s what Dalin calls “Cornwell’s sloppy scholarship” (p.6 ?)

    On page 93, Rabbi Dalin argues that during the holocaust the Jews fared best in the Roman Catholic Countries. This flies in the face of the facts. See http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/Catholic/SaviorsofJews.html, where we show that the Jews fared best in Bulgaria and Japan, two Axis allies of Hitler where the non-Catholic authorities refused to participate in the persecution of its Jews.

    One of the main thrusts of Dalin’s book is an attempt to shift blame for the Nazi Holocaust, from the Catholic Pope in Rome to the Muslim Mufti in Palestine.
    Though the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini, may well have been a more willing collaborator of Hitler’s than was the Pope, how many Muslim followers was the Mufti able to persuade to do Hitler’s bidding? And how many Germans were moved by Muslim faith to embrace the Nazi agenda?

  12. He’s anti-Catholic in the traditional sense of what Catholic is. Further, what he wrote has been reouted by reputible scholars.

  13. Most nazis were NOT Catholic. Even many Ukranian collaborators belonged to breakaway factions not supported by Rome.

    Again, the Church saved tens of thousand of Jews.

    As for the Mufti, he started an SS legion of Muslims and had Hitler use them to kill Jews. The Pope did nothing of the kind, and personally saved Jews as well.

  14. Neo-Conservaguy

    “I wrote the first comment. I have an earned doctorate from NYU.”

    Cool. Was it in this specific area of study?

  15. Anonymous

    No. It was not.

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