The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965

The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965

“Very valuable . . . a fine and judicious book . . . ” –Istvn Dek, New York Review of Books

“A well-reasoned but damning overview of the Vatican’s response to Nazi atrocities during and after WWII. . . . A fair and even-tempered account of a volatile subject.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Phayer makes an important addition to the literature of Holocaust studies: he provides evidence that Pope Pius XII . . . knew in early 1942 what was happening to Europe’s Jews . . . yet he remained silent. . . . ” –Publishers Weekly

Throwing the spotlight relentlessly on Pius XII (“Hitler’s Pope”) has skewed the question surrounding Catholicism and the Holocaust, depriving us of a record of what the entire church did or did not do. Such a record is provided for the first time in the Michael Phayer’s compelling book. Phayer shows that without effective church leadership under Pius XII, Catholics acted ambiguously during the Holocaust–some saving Jews, others helping Hitler murder them, the majority simply standing by. After the Holocaust, with Pope John XXIII at the healm, the church moved swiftly to rid itself of centuries-long antisemitic tradition.

Rating: (out of 8 reviews)

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