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January 27, 1967 - Image 32

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1967-01-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Dramatic Book 'Death in Rome' Puts Blame Upon Pope Pius XII

try. Failing that, he could have spoken
out not as the Pope but as the Bishop
of Rome—as he had when American
bombers threatened the security of the
Vatican. There was-no need to sacrifice
or compromise his principle of silence.
Further, this was not a 'Jewish ques-
tion." about which he had decided long
before not to raise his voice in protest.
This was a question of the extermina-
tion of his own Catholic children in
his own Catholic diocese—the diocese
of Saint Peter. Surely a word from
the Bishop of Rome—other than calling
on the Romans to control their "violent
urges"—was in order.
"Given the existence of the first
three of the four preconditions stated
above, and given the absence of any
intervention by the Pope, one can hardly ,
escape the conclusion that Pius XII
lacked the will to attempt to save' the
men destined to die in the Ardeatine
"In other words, it must now be said,
.Pope Pius XII chose to do nothing in
full awareness that action by him
"Four preconditions were necessary might prevent the reprisal."
before a papal intervention would have
Vatican sources have alreadY
been possible and advisable. These were: branded Katz's charge as "a vicious
a) knowledge that the reprisal was
going to take place; b) a channel of lie" and the . Vatican organ L'Os-
communications between the Pope and servatore Romano is expected to
the massacrers; c) some chance of suc-
ceeding; and d) a will to act in behalf reply to the book now it is off
of the doomed men.
"Pius knew reasonably in advance of the press. -
Katz has issued a statement
the Ardeatine crime of the German
intention to commit a reprisal in Rome. challenging the Vatican and he
"As for the second precondition, at
least two means of communications be- has also questioned the position
tween the Pope and , the murderers were
open on March 23-24. 1944: through of the present Pope (Paul VI)
Padre Pancrazio and through the Ger- who was Pius' secretary. Katz's
man diplomatic mission to the Holy statement declares:
See. The third precondition—a possibil-
ity that intervention by the Pope might
"On March 24, 1944, the Germans
be effective—existed in the form of massacred 335 men and boys in the
many precedents.
Ardeatine caves in the city of Rome,
"Surely Pius, working quietly through which was then under Nazi occupa-
German channels, without having to tion. While this incident is widely
break his well-known silence on other known. at least to students of World
questions, could have won at the mini- War II, actions of Pope Pius XII
mum a twenty-four-hour stay of the in_ the -hours that led up to the mass-
mass executions. Surely such a possi- acre and in the period during and
bility existed and was worth at least a. immediately following it have for nearly

(Continued from Page 1)
Katz's charge emphasizes that
those who were chosen to die in
the Nazi massacre included many
of Pius XII's "own Catholic chil-
dren, in his own diocese." The
author of "Death in Rome" con-
tends that the late Pope Pius XII
"feared a popular insurrection, the
establishment of radically left-wing
anti-Fascist power in Rome, and
— with an incredulousness explain-
able only if Pius believed himself
already too compromised with
Fascism—the possible destruction
of the Vatican City State."
In his analysis of the Vatican
position Katz makes these charges:

Austrian Envoy Rejects Pro-Nazi
Charges; Repudiated by Dr. Prinz

NEW YORK (JTA)—Dr. Ernest
Lemberger, Austria ambassador
to the United States, rejected a
charge by the American Jewish
Congress that Austria willingly
embraced Hitlerism and that Nazi
sentiment remains strong in his
country. Dr. Lemberger called
the charges "one-sided and dis-
torted" and cited, in his reply, a
statement by Chancellor Josef
Klaus, criticizing "generalizing in-
sinuations" and asking that Aus-
tria be judged by the behavior of
all 7,000,000 Austrians "and not by
the behavior of a few."

The Austrian envoy made his re-
buttal in response to a study of
anti-Semitic and rightist tendencies
in- Austria made last fall by the
American Jewish Congress. The
study accused Austria's_ political
parties and national leaders of
failure to admit Austria's Nazi
past, to atone for anti-Semitic ex
cesses, and to create a new nation-
al mood invulnerable to Nazi teach-
ings. The study charged, 21 years
after the end of World War II,
"Austrians have yet to demonstrate
they understand their country's
true role as a partner of Hitler-
is m ."

Dr. Lemberger retorted that the

Austrian share of responsibility for
"the horrible crimes" against hu-
manity in the Nazi era "has to be
confined to those individual Aus-
trians who _unfortunately partici-
pated in these atrocities, and it
should not be overlooked that such
criminals collaborating- - with the
Nazis existed in practically every
European country under German
occupation." He replied to a charge
that Austria's restitution program
was "lagging" with an assertion
that "there cannot be any basis
for legal claims against the Re-
public of Austria for damages and
crimes committed by individual
Austrians under Nazi rule."
Dr. Joachim Prinz, chairman of
the AJC commission on interna-
tional affairs, said that Dr. Lem-
berger had continued "to minimize
and isolate each criminal act" and
to attribute such acts to "aberrent
and atypical individuals." Dr. Prinz
said this tended to confirm what
the AJC report called "the conven-
tional Austrian response to the
question of anti-Semitisim and neo-
Nazism." He added that Dr. Lem-
berger's position appeared to be Hebrew_ Corner
that "the present Austrian nation
as a whole has no special connec-
tion with or responsibility for
these acts."

Union of Kvutzot
and Kibutzim

U.S. Communist Leaders Reported
Ducking Debate on Jews in USSR

NEW YORK (JTA)—Leaders of
the Communist Party in the United
States are seeking to avoid a
specific party condemnation of
Soviet policy toward Russian Jews,
it was disclosed Sunday.
A draff resolution calling for
a national party conference "on
work among the Jewish people and
the fight against anti-Semitism,
and conceding Soviet "shortcom-
ings" in the treatment of Soviet
Jewry, was made public last Aug-
ust in Political Affairs, the party's
theoretical journal. The draft was
prepared by the party's national
Jewish commission. --
Some party members now re-
portedly fear that the conference
will never be held.
An indication of the change in
American Communist leadership
views was contained in a party
"discussion bulletin" by Daniel


Rubin, a "member of the leading
bodies" of the party. He asserted
that "Jewish masses in the Soviet
Union and other Socialist coun-
tries are the best off in the
He said Communists should ask
themselves whether, "if it is true
that Jewish culture in the USSR
will be dead in 10 years, is this
in itself bad?"

Jewish members of the party
were reported to be worried that
the proposed conference had been
canceled, but a party spokesman
said it had only been posfponed
to allow "more discussion." He
admitted no new date had been
The current issue of Political
Affairs declared that "this section
of the resolution needs to be re-
drafted in the direction of un-
equivocally rejecting any idea of
`Soviet anti-Semitism' in whatever
UNICEF aid takes the form of guiSe it may appear and any cam-
supplies and equipment for under- paign of public criticism, however
developed countries.

32—Friday, January 27„ 1967

2.3 years remained obscure, unrevealed
by the very few who knew.
"In the past three years I have made
an effort to trace Pius's movements and
have uncovered evidence which clearly
indicates that the Pope knew of the
impending bloodbath as much as 19
hours before the first of the victims
was shot—at about 3:30 p.m. that day—
and did nothing other than look on in
grotesque silence. This bizarre moral
paralysis by the Vicar of Christ took
place despite the fact that at least two
channels of communication were con-
stantly open between the Pope and the
massacrers and that previous precedents
had proved the possibility existed that
an intervention by Pius XII would have
forestalled the German slaughter.
"I am now publishing this evidence
and detailed information about its
sources (documentary material and eye-
witness testimony) in the context of a
full reconstruction of the two-day period
that began with an attack against the
Germans by the Roman Resistance and
ended in the Ardeatine massacre.
"On the basis on what is now known,
and in the absence of any word from
the Vatican, one can only conclude that
Pope Pius XII was an accomplice to
the Ardeatine crime—guilty by complic-
ity. What extenuating circumstances, if
any, accompanied this complicity, or
what evidence exists, if any, that dis-
proves it, now only the Vatican can say.
ssue Should not be confused
with the recent controversy regarding
Pius's silence before the Nazi attempt
to destroy European Jewry. The Ardea-
tine caves massacre was not a "Jewish
question." It was a question of the ex-
termination of innocent Catholics in the
Pope's own diocese, the diocese of the
Bishop of Rome; the extermination—in
the -language of the Church—of the
Pope's own children.
"If, as the present Pope has stated.
there were well-reasoned considerations
behind Pius's silence on the 'Jewish
question,' in the "Ardeatine question"
we can see only an example of what
Cardinal Tisserant has termed the Holy
See's wartime `policy of selfish con-
venience.' Here there was no need for
Pius to lift his voice in universal con-
demnation of Nazi bestiality; he had
only -to lift the telephone.
"As I--have described in my book, all
attempts by me to learn from the
Vatican itself what the Pope's position
was regarding the events of March 23-24,
1944, were unsuccessful, although in
talks with high officials at Vatican City
I was assured that my questions, which
at ,their request had been submitted
in written form, would be answered.
(The principal question—of a total of
three—asked if it had been possible for
the Pope to take any action in behalf
of the Ardeatine victims on March 23
and 24, and, if so, how was this initia-
tive received on the part of the Ger-
mans. The other questions concerned
the Pope's reaction to the partisan
attack on the 23rd, and to representa-
tions said to have been made by the
Vatican, but not necessarily on the day
of the Ardeatine crime, in behalf of
a priest who was among those shot in
the caves on the 24th.)
"Since the most recent attempt to
elicit a response from the Vatican (June,
1965) a number of unusual events have
taken place in the Church which both
heightens the need for answers from
the Vatican and would appear to facili-
tate such a reply. For example, on the
one hand Pope Paul VI has initiated the
process that is to lead to sainthood for
Pius XII—.a step that at this time would,
seem irreconciliable with the wartime
Pope's role in the Ardeatine affair. On
the other hand. Paul VI has authorized
publication of. World War II documents
in the Vatican archives, breaking a tra-
dition that no Vatican paper be pub-
lished before it is 50 years old.
"Against this background, and - in the
spirit of the new Church liberalism that
is sweeping toward Rome, I - again ap-
peal to the Vatican to speak, to answer
the questions now being raised about
the Ardeatine caves massacre—one of
which asks: What were the actions of
the present Pope, then Undersecretary
Monsignor Montini, who, it is known,
was in the Vatican on the day of the


The Secretariat of the "Union of the
Kvutzot and Kibutzim" (collectives) in
Israel deals with eighty-one seftletnents
with a population of 30,000 souls.
The settlements cultivated about 500.-
000 dunams of land and grew every
type of crop found in the country. : They
also had more than 20,000 head of
cattle, as well as over 1.5 million fowls.
flocks of sheep, beehives, etc. The value
of their produce reached 190 million
pounds; 71% of this came from agricul-
ture and the remainder from industry,
workshops, and outside work.
The secretariat conducts and guides
activities through committees which
function in the fields of husbandry and
finance, social and cultural activities,
education and youth work, and the like.
The union is characterized by its di-
verse set-up, which has no counterpart
in the Kibutz Movement: (a) in the age
of its settlements, beginning with the
mother Kvutzot (Degania and Kinner-
et) which have already passed their
first Jubilee (50th_annIversary) and end-
ing with the newest holdings; (b) in the
social and political affiliation of its
members to three bodies: the major
body—MAPAL the second ,,body—RAFT,
and the third—the Independent Lib-
erals; (c) in the fact that its institutions
look after the two Kibutzim founded by
the "Poalei Agudat Yisrael."
Replacements for its young and new
settlements are furnished by the pioneer
youth movements in the country and
the Diaspora. In these movements, hun-
dreds of leaders (Madrihim) and emis-
saries (Shelihim) are active. The Ul-
panim for immigrants (language schools
for adult immigrants), which combine
the study of the Hebrew language with
work on the farms, conducted in about
thirty Kibutzim, also provide a source
of new immigrants to be absorbed.
The movement has many official pub-
lications which deal with its problems
and define its politics.
Published by the Brit Ivrit Olamit

with the assistance of the Memorial
Foundation for Jewish Culture.
Material in vowelized, easy Hebrew
can be obtained by writing direct to
Brit Ivrit Olamit, P.O. Box 7111, Jerusa-
lem, Israel. .

In his hour-by-hour account of
the events that led to the Ardea-
tine massacre, Katz shows that
there were some Germans wild
sought to soften the blows, to pre-
vent the mass murder; that there
were some Germans who refused
to participate in the order that
came from Hitler himself, who
at first asked for 40-to-50 Italians
to be killed in reprisal for every
German who was murdered. The
description of the massacre as le
Fosse Ardeatine came from a
phrase in the diary of the Roman
journalist, Carlo Trabucco.
The executioners were provided
for an entire week with cognac
to keep them drunk since even
the Nazis who followed orders to
perform the mass murder were
nauseated by what had occurred.
The manner in which the bodies
were found, the identification of
the victims of the massacre, the
eulogies to them, the trials after
the war of the guilty generals and
administrators—these are part of
the descriptive account of the
atrocious event that had not been
publicized hitherto. Even the his-
tory of Nazi Germany by William
L. Shirer, "The Rise and Fall of
the Third Reich," does not carry
reference to the Ardeatine horror.
The action of the resistance
group on Via Rasella • still is
being debated in Italy. Law suits
have been started against those
who blew up the TNT barrel
killing 32 Nazis who were in the
soldiers' march. The courts have
upheld the resistance leaders,
but they have been and still are
being abused. But Katz upholds
theni throughout. He declares:
"The 'error' of the Via Rasella
was that in the context of the
long-range objectiveS of the re-
sistance in Rome it did not suc-
ceed. In any case, it is absurd to
single out one attack from a
genuine resistance movement,
which is guided by strategies and
developed through various forms
of tactics, and declare in dis-
parging terms that this was the
battle that should not have been
fought, This is the equivalent of
a rejection of armed resistance

to armed aggression, since any
one of •a hundred partisan ac-
tions in Rome might have
brought on the Ardeatine crime.
It rejects as meaningless and
dishonors as cowardly those who
fought and died for freedom
from Nazism in the resistance
movements of France, Belgium,
the Netherlands, • Norway, Den-
mark, Poland, Russia, Czecho-
slovakia, Romania, G r e e c e,
Yugoslavia and Italy. To dis-
honor them is to disarm the
freedom fighters of tomorrow."
Katz has appended to his book
a complete list of the men know
to have -died in the Ardeatine
caves, listing their ages and occu-
In his story he tells how, to
overcome the difficulty of lining
up enough men to be sent to face
the Nazi firing squads, Jews were
taken indiscriminately. In the
group of the 335 martyrs there
were 253 Catholics and '70 Jews.
Not all were Italians. •
"Inside the tomb, the two mounds
of bodies were covered with a
blanket of powdery volcanic dust,"
Katz reports on the scene of the
horror. "The blast had shaken the
sandy substance loose from the
tunnel ceilings. Bound at the
wrists, :their knees still flexed in
eternal supplication, they lay upon
each other, bearing witness to the
Gerinan crinie. Their lives, which
had been evaluated as being worth
one-tenth of a German's, had in_
truth been devalued even-further.
The executioners had murdered
not 330 men but—as Hauotstur-
fuehrer Pribke would soon report
to Obersturmbannfuehrer Kappler
—335. To Kappler's question as to
how this could have happened, one
of his men would reply, 'It was
an error, but since they were al-
ready there "
Such is the extent of the Ger-
man crime in Rome in March of
1964. _ Now the Ardeatine cases.
have been declared nation al
shrines. Tourists visit it. Members" ,
of the resistance have been lion-
ored—and also abused. A horrible
crime is unfolded in a very im
portant book. —P. , S.

z •


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