“In 1933, the future Pope Pius XII, then-Eugenio Pacelli was negotiating the Reich Concordat between the Vatican and Hitler. As Cardinal Secretary of State, Pacelli, formulated a treaty with Hitler, which left German Catholics without a democratic party. German’s Catholic populace, the largest in Europe, saw the concordat engineered by Pacelli as the Vatican’s endorsement of the Nazi Party. It is a moral outrage to consider this man for sainthood,” said Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn). Pope Benedict XVI has recently created a committee in the Secretariat of State to investigate Pope Pius’ actions during the Holocaust. “Until Pius’ role during the Holocaust is fully revealed, there should be no further consideration of sainthood.”
Hikind has launched a petition drive to collect thousands of signatures of Holocaust survivors opposing the beatification of Pius, to be presented to Pope Benedict XVI on his historic visit to New York in April 2008. The petition states: “We, the undersigned, survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, call upon you, Pope Benedict XVI to indefinitely suspend the beatification process for Pope Pius XII until secret World War II Vatican archives are declassified and fully examined. We assert that if Pius XII is truly saint-worthy, the full record of his actions during the Holocaust should finally be made known. The Vatican should have nothing to hide regarding the inaction of Pius XII.”
Hikind is reaching out to communities throughout the U.S. to collect the signatures. Hikind urges, “If you would like to join this historic project please contact my office at 718-853-9616.”
“The historical consensus is that Pius XII abided by and enabled the murder of millions of Jews at the hands of the Nazi machine. After the concordat was signed with Hitler on July 14, 1933, the Nazi Cabinet minutes of the meeting verify that Hitler said the agreement advanced an atmosphere of confidence which would be ‘especially significant in the struggle against international Jewry.’ Hitler could not have hoped for a more unequivocal endorsement and blessing for the Final Solution,” Hikind asserts.
When Pacelli was made Pope in 1939, the Vatican protocol ignoring the Nazi policy against Jews throughout Europe continued. In June 1941, when the French Vichy government enacted laws modeled after the anti-Jewish Nuremberg Laws, the Pope ignored appeals by French bishops to denounce the laws, stating that they were not in contravention of Catholic dogma. Pacelli knew about death camps from the outset of their creation in 1941 and yet refused to condemn the mass killings of Jews. If Pius had denounced the Nazis, that could have emboldened Europe’s Catholics to resist and rise against Hitler’s tide. ln December 1942, Pius XII refused to sign on the Allied declaration condemning the Final Solution.
“The Jewish community has resisted inserting themselves in Vatican affairs, however this is a matter of historical significance. My parents survived the Holocaust. My mother survived Auschwitz, while her mother and sister perished in the gas chambers. Survivors know firsthand the perfidious reality of what the Vatican did not do during the Holocaust. How different history could have been if Pope Pius had risen to the moral imperative. The Pope could have stopped Hitler in his tracks at one of a dozen junctures. He chose not to.”