The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/w/wilensky.gabriel/using_tactical_lies.txt

File/Archive: people/w/wilensky.gabriel/using_tactical_lies.txt
Last-Modified:  2010 July 2

SAN DIEGO, July 2, 2010 ( - A recent 
article on Zenit, written by Gary Krupp from Pave the Way 
Foundation, describes how Pope Pius XII’s supposed strategy of 
“silence” saved thousands of Roman Jews who would have otherwise 
perished at Auschwitz. There are a number of problems with this 

First of all, the article states that the Pope intentionally 
avoided a public denunciation of the deportation, and it was 
precisely this lack of public action that saved the Jews. Well, 
this is problematic because, as the author correctly states 
later in the article, the Pope threatened the German authorities 
with making a public denunciation if they didn’t stop the ongoing 
arrests. This means the Pope could not have had a strategy to 
keep quiet. Second, irrespective of what the Pope’s plans were, 
it is misleading to claim that these plans were what “saved 
their lives and enabled their rescue”. It is misleading because 
on the one hand, the Jews of Rome were alerted of the imminent 
deportations ahead of time, which enabled the greatest majority 
of them to find shelter in the homes of their friends and 
neighbors, as well as in Church properties. Most of them were 
given refuge out of Christian charity, and not under orders from 
the Pope. On the other hand, over a thousand Jews were indeed 
deported and murdered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, so at 
least those Jews were not among those the Pope supposedly “saved 
their lives and enabled their rescue” as the article suggests.

Then Mr. Krupp tells us that General Wolff correctly deduced 
that a German invasion of the Vatican and any attempt to 
kidnap or kill the Pope would have led to a massive worldwide 
revolt. This is true, and Hitler knew it. If he had even 
touched the Pope, the Germans would have found themselves 
with hundreds of millions of Catholics worldwide, and possibly 
many millions of Protestants, against them. This would have 
included the millions of Catholic German soldiers fighting 
Hitler’s war. No amount of SS and/or Gestapo intimidation 
would have been able to stop that tidal wave. Hitler was 
very evil but not stupid. He knew this without needing convincing 
by General Wolff or anyone else. Given this, the claim that 
Major General Stahel and Ambassador Weiszäcker both lied to their 
superiors in an attempt to make them suspend the plan to invade 
the Vatican makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. These men were 
very smart, and there was no need to feed their superiors with 
any sort of lies, tactical or otherwise. Besides, there was no 
possible military justification not to invade: the Germans had 
the means and know-how to do that. No, the Germans only feared 
a public condemnation from the Pope, a condemnation that never came.

The article also makes the grandiose claim that the Pope “ordered 
all ecclesiastical institutions to hide the Jews wherever they 
could” using his network of trusted priests and confidants. 
All? He ordered all of them to do that? Why didn’t all do it, 
then? But the Pope had access to a system of encryption that 
would have allowed him to safely send written instructions to 
all priests, nuns, monks and members of the clergy to do that, 
but the record does not show these orders. It is possible however 
that this documentation is hidden in the Vatican Secret Archives, 
but the public record so far does not show the Pope instructing 
even most ecclesiastical institutions to give shelter to Jews, let 
alone all. I am definitely among those who don’t believe the Pope 
orchestrated the rescue of 7,000 of Rome’s Jews, but I do acknowledge 
that it was done with his knowledge and approval, and I also 
acknowledge that in the future I may be proven wrong when and if 
documents not yet uncovered show this to have been the case. But I 
also criticize him for not saving the over one thousand that were 
deported and then murdered at Auschwitz. At the very least, the 
Pope could have stood in front of the train deporting these Jews 
as, even if the Germans had forcibly removed him from the tracks, 
the very gesture would have electrified the faithful, restored the 
respect the Pope had lost among the Allies, and cemented the 
Church’s moral standing.

Gabriel Wilensky

NOTE: You are welcome to forward this commentary provided you retain 
the attribution. If you don’t want to receive further news commentary 
by Gabriel Wilensky please write to

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.