Guzik 1“Pope Pius XII: Condemning a Hero?”Sarah GuzikHistory 1403E Dr. David J. NortonJanuary 29, 2014
2Every bully has an accomplice. That person could be a passive bystander that does nothing to stop the wrongful act or an active participant in the act itself, but either way they assist the bully. According to the Paperback Oxford Canadian Dictionarya bully is defined as “a person who uses strength or power to coerce others by fear.”During World War II, Adolf Hitler was an oppressive leader and a bully in Germany. He led the Nazi party to kill approximately 6 million Jewish people because of their faith. Hitler had thousands of German people helping him, but he had assistance from outside of Germany as well. A number of government workers from various Europeancountries helped Hitler in hisendeavors. It has been proposed that Pope Pius XII1was one of the people who helped Hitler by turning a blind eye from what Hitler was doing. Some even go as far as to say he condoned what Hitler did to the Jews. This theory would put Pope Pius XII in the role of Hitler’s accomplice. However, other authors tend to disagree and defend Pope Pius XII. These authors state that he actually did his best to help the Jewish people during the Holocaust and saved many lives.This essay will provide an overview of five authors who have strong opinions on the topic of Pope Pius XII’s effects on Nazism.Author Michael Phayer was born in 1935 and grew up during World War II. He become a historyscholar and later a professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin specializing in 20thcentury European history. He has had many books and articles published throughout his lifetime; majority of these works are based on his expansive knowledge of Nazi Germany, the Catholic Church, and the Holocaust.In Phayer’s article titled The Silent Pope Pius XIIhe discusses his opinion about Pope Pius XII’s efforts in regards to the Nazi regime.He begins by stating that the Vatican has started the process of canonizing Pope Pius XII and he does not agree with that decision because The Pope did not put forth enough of an effort to help the persecuted Jews. He accuses “the Vatican of still keeping some relevant 1He was an Italian born man that went by the name of Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli before becoming the pope and taking the name of Pope Pius XII. He was the residing pope during the World War II era from March1939-October 1958.
Guzik 3documents secret”2even after allegedly releasing all wartime documents in their archive3. Phayer believes the documents are being kept hidden so that the memory and reputation of The Pope is not tainted. Phayer references to a letter that was written to the Pope by Edith Stein4in which she pleads withhim to publicly denounce Hitler. She never received a reply nor was any action taken on her behalf. Thisletter in particular was not released until 2003. Because this letter was kept hidden it prompted Phayer to