Via Media

An article, originally from the NYTimes, about Allied awareness of hints of the Holocaust

The report is haunted by what-ifs, tantalizing hints, desperate pleas, heroic rescues and by what, in retrospect, can seem like bureaucratic indifference.

It also offers a revealing exchange involving Pope Pius XII, who some historians say did not use his influence to halt the killing of Jews. The conversation, relayed by an Ecuadorian envoy, was between the Vatican ambassador and Marshal Henri-Philippe Pétain, the French collaborationist leader. In July 1942, Pétain said he was consoled that the pope approved his policy of deporting Jews. The ambassador corrected him, saying, "The Holy Father does not approve."

In a subsequent meeting, the ambassador delivered the pope’s personal appeal to stop the persecutions, but, the report said, Pétain agreed "only to limit the ongoing deportations to foreign Jews living in the occupied zone of France."

Could the intelligence, properly interpreted, have saved lives?

"There’s a narrow window in which intelligence would have played any kind of role," Hanyok said, "but we didn’t see what was happening."

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus