to Arrest Pius XII and
Destroy the Vatican
ZENIT - The International News
Hitler Ordered Destruction of Vatican and Kidnapping of Pius XII In Revenge for Papal Assistance to Jews, Says Book
RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 27, 2001 (Zenit.org).-
Adolf Hitler once ordered his SS troops to level the Vatican with "blood
and fire" and kidnap Pope Pius XII, a new book says.
In "Pius XII, Pope of the Jews," Italian historian Andrea Tornielli
reveals that Hitler ordered the destruction of the Vatican and the
deportation of Pius XII to Liechtenstein in 1943, in reprisal for the
Pontiff´s reported assistance to Jews and for the Church´s opposition to
the Nazi regime.
In his work, which has just gone on sale in Italy, Tornielli explains that
the "Führer" was livid after the signing of the armistice between the
Badoglio government and the Allies on Sept. 8, 1943, and ordered the SS to
destroy the Holy See with "blood and fire."
Hitler´s plan did not materialize, however, thanks to General Karl Wolff,
then SS commander in Italy, who succeeded in dissuading the Nazi dictator
from this course of action.
Former Italian Minister Giulio Andreotti defended the validity of
Tornielli´s thesis last week when he addressed the meeting of the Catholic
movement Communion and Liberation. The meeting ended Saturday in this
northern coastal city.
Andreotti supported Pius XII and rejected the criticisms leveled against
the Pontiff at the end of World War II, accusing him of passivity in face
of the Holocaust.
"The hostility against Pope Pacelli was not due to his weakness against
Nazism, but to his rejection of Communism," Andreotti said.
Tornielli´s arguments had already been noted in recent years by historians
and scholars, who quoted testimonies and documents from the time of the
Nazi occupation of Rome.
Among Pius XII´s defenders is Antonio Gaspari, author of "The Jews, Pius
XII, and the Black Legend," which offers testimonies of Jews in Rome who
were saved from the Nazi-Fascist persecution thanks to the help of men and
women of the Church, as requested by Pius XII himself.
Pius XII´s process of beatification is under way, though it is opposed by
some Jews and leaders of the right in the Israeli government.
Eugenio Pacelli, Pius XII, died Oct. 9, 1958, in the papal summer
residence of Castel Gandolfo, after a 19-year pontificate.
Pius XII´s actions helped save 800,000 Jewish lives, either directly or
indirectly, according to Jewish researcher Pinchas Lapide.
Far from affinity with Hitler, as claimed by Rolf Hochhuth in his play
"The Vicar," Pius XII was actively involved in the German resistance´s
plans to remove the tyrant, as revealed in the British Foreign Office
documents on the so-called Schwarze Kapelle, which involved Admiral
Canaris, Count Von Stauffenberg and other German personalities opposed to
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Testimony of Gen. Karl Otto Wolff, SS chief in
Italy toward the end of the war
Hitler: Now, Wolff, I have a special mission for you, with significance
for the whole world, and it is a personal matter between you and me. You
are never to speak of it with anyone without my permission, with the
exception of the Supreme Commandant of the S.S. [Himmler], who is aware of
everything. Do you understand?
Wolff: Understood, Führer!
Hitler: I want you and your troops, while there is still a strong reaction
in Germany to the Badoglio treachery, to occupy as soon as possible the
Vatican and Vatican City, secure the archives and the art treasures, which
have a unique value, and transfer the Pope, together with the Curia, for
their protection, so that they cannot fall into the hands of the Allies
and exert a political influence. According to military and political
developments it will be determined whether to bring him to Germany or
place him in neutral Liechtenstein. How quickly could you prepare this
Wolff said that it would take four to six weeks in order to come up with a
plan. Hitler replied: “That’s far too long. It’s crucial that you let me
know every two weeks how you are getting on. I should prefer to take the
Early in December 1943, Wolff informed the Führer that he had
completed his preparations for the plan against the Vatican.
(Testimony of Karl Otto Wolff, March 14, 1972, before the Ecclesiastical
Tribunal of Munich, on the beatification of Pope Pius XII. p.832.
Cited in Rychlak, Hitler, the War, and the Pope, p. 265. It
should not come as a surprise that the dictator who desired to burn Paris
should have wished to destroy the Vatican.)