Pius XII, the Holocaust, and the Cold War

Pius XII, the Holocaust, and the Cold War

Phayer, Michael
Distribution: World
Publication date: 12/12/2007
Format: Hardback 14 b&w photos, 2 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-34930-9
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Using newly available material from the U.S. National Archives, Michael Phayer sheds new light on the actions of the Vatican and of the man whom some have mistakenly called "Hitler's Pope." As a new world war loomed, the Vatican believed it had to make a choice between communism and Nazism. Reluctantly, both Pius XII and his predecessor chose the Nazis as the lesser of two evils. In the balance rested the genocide of European Jews. As difficult as his wartime behavior is to accept, perhaps nothing demonstrates Pius's fear of communism more than his misguided and unethical attempt to thwart its growth in South America by abetting the escape of Nazis and Ustaši war criminals. The story of these Vatican "ratlines" adds another facet to the complex picture of Pius XII and the Holocaust.

Author Bio

Michael Phayer, a recognized authority on the Catholic Church and the Holocaust, is Emeritus Professor of History at Marquette University and the Ida E. King Distinguished Visiting Scholar of Holocaust Studies at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. He is author of The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965 (IUP, 2000). He lives in Columbia, Maryland.


Diligently researched and documented, judicious in its conclusions . . . compassionate and humane in its outlook.

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Table of Contents


1. Eugenio Pacelli: 1900 to 1942
2. The Genocides of Polish Catholics and Polish Jews
3. Pius XII's 1942 Christmas Message: Genocide Decried
4. 1943: Pius XII Reverses Course
5. Papal Capitalism during World War II
6. The First Cold War Warrior
7. The Origin of the Vatican Ratlines
8. Bishop Hudal's Ratline
9. Looted Gold and the Vatican
10. Ante Pavelic: War Criminal, Murderer, and Defender of the Faith
11. The Biggest Ratline
12. An Obsession with Communism