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Pius XII

An article published earlier this month in Italian media quoting Vatican archivist Giovanni Coco has documented a letter proving irrefutably that World War II-era Pope Pius XII was indeed aware of the genocide being perpetrated against the Jews — and Poles — by the Nazis.


The letter, dated December 14, 1942, was written to the pontiff’s secretary, Robert Leiber – a German — by German Jesuit priest Rev. Lothar Koenig, a member of the German Catholic Church. It confirmed that Pope Pius XII was aware of the crimes committed by the Nazis in the extermination camps.

Quoting an informed church source from the Catholic anti-Hitler resistance movement, Koenig reported that the Nazis were transporting up to 6,000 Jews and Poles each day from the Polish town of Rava Rus’ka to the Belzec death camp in German-occupied Poland, where they were gassed to death in SS crematorium.

“The novelty and importance of this document comes from this fact: that on the Holocaust, there is now the certainty that Pius XII was receiving from the German Catholic Church exact and detailed news about crimes being perpetrated against Jews,” the Vatican archivist and researcher Giovanni Coco told the Italian Corriere Della Sera news outlet.

“This is . . . fundamental evidence regarding the existence of a flow of news on Nazi crimes that reached the Holy See at the same time as the implementation of the genocide,” Coco told the interviewer, Masimo Franco.

“In the letter we read that in the ‘blast furnace’ near Rava Rus’ka, i.e. in Belzec, ‘up to 6,000 men die every day, especially Poles and Jews.’ The death machine is described in all its unspeakable horror,” Coco said.

“We therefore find ourselves in the heart of darkness of the final solution desired by Adolf Hitler to completely annihilate European Jewry,” the article laments.

In the past, the Vatican has claimed it was impossible for the Holy See to denounce the Nazi atrocities as it had no way to verify the reports. Some historians claimed that Pius used “quiet diplomacy” to save Jewish lives. Others maintained the pontiff remained silent in the face of the bloodbath.

The truth is now out there for everyone to know.

Coco’s research, included in the volume ‘The Papers of Pius XII, Beyond the Myth’ is to be released on September 18 by the Vatican Apostolic Archives.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.