The Terror of October 1943: the darkest day in the history of Roman Jewry

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Front Page Mag: On the 16th of October, the day that Cecil Roth calls the “blackest day in the long history of Roman Jewry,” a monster raid was unleashed on the Jewish homes in the former Ghetto neighborhood and on the pricier residences outside.

More than a thousand victims were loaded onto trucks and thence onto a train. The train passed through Orte, Chiusi, Florence, Bologna and the German frontier. As Roth puts it, “we will perhaps never know at what death-camp in Eastern Europe these unhappy victims of man’s inhumanity to man met their end.”

The Nazi extermination of the Italian Jews went on apace, with Rome as a model. City by city was stripped of its Jews: a hundred in Florence on November 6; thereafter Venice, Ferrara and Genoa. The Nazi occupation forces announced that Italian Jews would be treated as non-citizens; they were to be summarily arrested, and their property was seized. more …

Opinion: There are as many arguments on both sides of the debate regarding Pope Pius XII and his role, or lack of, in Germany’s extermination of Rome’s Jews.

Some say the pontiff played a big role in hiding the Jews inside the Vatican even in the pope’s summer residence.  However, Susan Zuccotti, an American historian specializing in studies of the Holocaust researched the matter in detail, and discovered that although the pope was aware of the Holocaust, he did not issue a rescue order. Zuccotti states that there is, in fact, “considerable evidence of papal disapproval of the hiding of Jews and other fugitives in Vatican properties.

Jewish Historian of the Holocaust Martin Gilbert  wrote: The Nazi regime disapproved of Pacelli’s election as Pope. So outspoken were Pacelli’s criticisms that Hitler’s regime lobbied against him, trying to prevent his becoming the successor to Pius XI. When he did become Pope, as Pius XII, in March 1939, Nazi Germany was the only government not to send a representative to his coronation.”

Anti-Semitism in the early church:

Catholic/Jewish relations dating back to 450 AD when the Archbishop of Constantinople, John Chrysostom, followed by Augustine himself, branded the Jews “killers of Christ” and the Synagogue a place of ill-repute. Both men were canonized saints and are revered in many Protestant denominations.

(Saint) Augustine “Judaism, since Christ, is a corruption; indeed, Judas is the image of the Jewish people: their understanding of Scripture is carnal; they bear the guilt for the death of the Savior, for through their fathers they have killed Christ.”

(Saint) John Chrysostom held Jews responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus and deicide (killing God) and added the synagogue is a place worse than a brothel and a drinking shop; it was a den of scoundrels, the repair of wild beasts, a temple of demons, the refuge of brigands and debauchees, and the cavern of devils, a criminal assembly of the assassins of Christ.

That same hatred was found in Martin Luther’s work “The Jews & their Lies”:

I had made up my mind to write no more either about the Jews or against them. But since I learned that these miserable and accursed people do not cease to lure to themselves even us, that is, the Christians, I have published this little book, so that I might be found among those who opposed such poisonous activities of the Jews who warned the Christians to be on their guard against them. I would not have believed that a Christian could be duped by the Jews into taking their exile and wretchedness upon himself. However, the devil is the god of the world, and wherever God’s word is absent he has an easy task, not only with the weak but also with the strong. May God help us. Amen.

In March 2020, Pope Francis, who has considered canonizing Pius, has authorized the opening of the WWII records of Pope Pius XII, saying “The church is not afraid of history”, maybe then the controversy will be settled.

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