Page 9, 28th February 2003

28th February 2003
Page 9
Page 9, 28th February 2003 — Pius XII, John Paul II and the holocaust

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Locations: Dublin


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Pius XII, John Paul II and the holocaust

From Fr Michael O'Carroll, CSSp

Sir, I write as itri admirer of John Paul II and as a wartime close associate of Dublin Jews, I have reproduced in your columns Chief Rabbi Herzog's opinion of Pius XII. and the Pope's cornment. May I comment on the opinion expressed (Report, Feb 21) by Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Wiesenthai centre: "I believe that if John Paul II had been pope during the Holocaust, the events never would have occurred," One who could not agree with this sentiment is John Paul 11: he lived through the Nazi tyranny in his country. He would have known the reaction of his Archbishop Sapieha to letters sent to him by the Pope — he was acting head of the Church in Poland, as Cardinal Hlond was in exile: "We much deplore that we cannot communicate Your Holiness' letters to the faithful, but that would provide a pretext for fresh persecution and we already have those who are victims because they are suspected of being in secret communication with the Apostolic See." Sapieha asked the Pope's envoy to tear up his own statement of wrongs suffered, for fear the enemy would come on them.

Why do commentators not ask the question: why did Hitler decree the Holocaust? The evidence is plenary. It was merely because he was anti-semitic. He makes it clear in his memoir Mein Kampf: Germany's downfall in the First World War was caused "by lack of insight into the racial problem, especially the failure to recognise the Jewish danger".

Hitler drew the logical conclusion. In a speech to the Reichstag on 26 January 1939, he stated: "If international. finance Jewry in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the peoples of Europe into another world war, then the result will not be the bolshevization of the world and a victory for world Jewry, but the annihilation (Vernichtung) of the Jewish race in Europe."

Hitler made the policy entirely official. The Wannsee Conference on 20 January 1942 brought together the heads of government departments, "the meeting of secretaries", to plan the death of II million European Jews, including the 4,000 in Ireland.

Hitler later pointed to his success in the policy. When asked to spare Jews his comment was: "Having sent the flower of German youth to their death, could 1 be expected to spare those whom 1 consider vermin?"

Would a Christian voice have influenced him? "The heaviest blow to humanity", he once said, "was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity's illegitimate child. Both are inventions of Jews." The references to these quotations are in my book on the Pope.

Yours faithfully, MICHAEL O'CARROLL Blackrock College Co. Dublin

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