The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965

The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965

Michael Phayer
Distribution: World
Publication date: 05/22/2001
Format: Paperback 17 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-21471-3
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Phayer offers exactly what was needed.... A fair and even-tempered account of a volatile subject." —Kirkus Reviews

An important addition to the literature of the Holocaust." —Publishers Weekly

Very valuable... a fine and judicious book." —István Deák, The New York Review of Books

Phayer has written a singularly important book on the role of the Catholic Church in both the Holocaust and its aftermath, up to and including Vatican II. Diligently researched and documented, judicious in its conclusions, comprehensive in its scope, compassionate and humane in its outlook, this book is an indispensable resource." —Richard L. Rubenstein

Phayer’s study of [the Catholic Church] as an actor in the tumultuous history of the [20th century] will serve as a model for other historians." —Donald J. Dietrich, Boston College

Phayer’s book, particularly strong on German source material, is at pains to list Pius’s strong points his piety, his loathing of Hitler, the instances of personal warmth, the occasions when he criticized Nazism. Phayer examines not only Pius’s actions but those of other leading Catholics, and his study extends beyond the end of World War II to follow the evolution of official Catholic thinking during the rebuilding of Germany, the cold war, and the gradual theological reforms that led to Vatican II. This enables Phayer to show how the church completely reversed its position relative to the Jews, but it also gives him a more thorough reading of Pius XII’s overall record. It is a damning and convincing verdict that emerges." —Commonweal

Author Bio

Michael Phayer is Professor of History at Marquette University. His two most recent books, Protestant Catholic Women in Nazi Germany and (with Eva Fleischner) Cries in the Night: Women Who Challenged the Holocaust, deal
extensively with Catholic-Jewish relations before and during the Shoah.


“All the more powerfully because of its measured tone and deliberate reasoning, this book demonstrates how Pius XII's anticommunism warped his moral judgment during the 1940s. As a result, he behaved more like Metternich or the CEO of a self—interested corporation than the Vicar of Christ on earth. In wel”
 — researched, fearless, and devastating fashion, Michael Phayer has illuminated a long, sad record of delusion and

“Peter HayesTheodore Z. Weiss Professor of Holocaust StudiesNorthwestern University”

“After a thorough examination of recently-released archival materialMichael Phayer presents much new information and many carefully-considered original interpretations. His book constitutes essential reading for Holocaust specialists and students alike.”
 — Susan Zuccotti, Author, Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy

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Table of Contents


1. Catholic Attitudes Toward Jews Before the Holocaust
2. Genocide before the Holocaust: Poland, 1939
3. Genocide before the Holocaust: Croatia, 1941
4. The Holocaust and the Priorities of Pope Pius XII
5. In the Eye of the Storm: German Bishops and the Holocaust
6. European Bishops and the Holocaust
7. Catholic Rescue Efforts during the Holocaust
8. Answering for the Holocaust: The United States Confronts Germany
9. The Holocaust and the Priorities of Pope Pius XII during the Cold War
10. Catholics and Jews after the Holocaust
11. The Holocaust Recalled, Antisemitism Renounced: The Second Vatican Council
12. Epilogue