The Catholic Church and the Holocaust

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The relationship between the Catholic Church and the Holocaust (and more generally the relationship between the Catholic Church and National Socialist Germany) has been a controversial topic, involving aspects such as what the Catholic Church knew and did.

The Holocaust revisionist Arthur Butz stated in The Hoax of the Twentieth Century that "It is not possible for an extermination program of the type claimed to have transpired without the Vatican learning of it. The slaughters are supposed to have taken place mainly in Catholic Poland, where the Church had its agents, Catholic priests, in every village, situated in such a way (hearing gossip, confessionals, etc.) that no such thing as the exterminations could possibly have happened without the entire Polish Catholic clergy knowing about then. It is true that the Germans imposed a censorship on communications to or from Poland, so that the Polish clergy and the Vatican could not communicate with customary freedom, as explained in the Introduction to volume three of Acteset documents, but as also there explained, there were many ways of circumventing the censorship, notably through Italians, who had business of various sorts in Poland and points east, and through messages carried by private persons from Poland to the office of the Papal Nuncio in Berlin, who communicated with the Vatican through privileged diplomatic channels."[1]

Despite this, Pope Pius XII did not condemn the alleged exterminations or support the Allied allegations, not even in confidential diplomatic communications and not even in 1945 after National Socialist Germany had been defeated, and this despite official condemnations of National Socialist Germany on several other topics. Butz also criticized various claims that the Vatican during the war received information on the alleged exterminations that was not revealed publicly.[1]

Recently released documents are argued to show that Pope Pius XII was an active opponent of Hitler during the war.[2] This arguably strengthens the view that the Pope would have condemned the Holocaust, if he had known of its existence.

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In books


  1. 1.0 1.1 Arthur R. Butz. The Hoax of the Twentieth Century—The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry. 4th, corrected and expanded edition. Holocaust Handbooks.
  2. Pave the Way Foundation Reveals Evidence of Pope Pius XII's Active Opposition to Hitler