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It has been estimated that during the Holocaust approximately nine million Jews occupied Europe but almost two thirds lost their lives through Holocaust. Pope Pius XII was the catholic Pope during the time of the Holocaust1. Various controversies surrounded the position of the Pope in advocating against the Holocaust. The Pope took a more neutral position; he only made statements that condemned the injustices done against humanity, without coming boldly to condemn the Nazis for the massacre. The Pope failed in his authority and demonstrated that the Catholic Church had no firm position on the Holocaust.
The Catholic Church’s main representative to the modern age is the Pope, During the Holocaust; Pope Pius XII was besieged to help the Jews to no avail. The Jews were constantly killed throughout every collaborating country in Europe. The Pope has continued to hold a supreme authority and was seen to influence political situations. Around 1941, the Cardinal of Vienna, Cardinal Theodor Innitzer took time to speak with the Pope on the issue of Jews that were deported from Spain to Germany where they were killed. In addition, there was pressure from a delegation from the United States to have the Pope condemn the killings2. However, the Pope took a very undefined position and was not bold and vocal in condemning the attacks. The argument by the Pope was that condemnation of the atrocities would have negative implications on the catholic faithfuls in Germany. This reason made the Pope to take a more neutral position. When a Ukrainian citizen, Andrej Septyckyj wrote to the Pope pointing out to the ruthless nature of the German government, surprisingly the Pope replied with a verse from the Bible asking Andrej to bear adversity with patience3.
There were opportunities for the voice of the church leaders to be heard but the neutrality aspect made the Pope and his cardinals to remain mum. Around 1940,
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After attaining the power the Nazi leaders issued an anti- Jewish legislation and massive street violence to eradicate the Jews from Europe. Massacre of Jews was the main aim of Hitler. Hitler adopted ruthless methods to drive out the Jews from Germany by depriving them from every opportunity and economy required for their survival and completely separating them from the German society.
The Holocaust in History by Michael R Marrus is a well researched historiographical survey that has been well appraised and well regarded by the contemporary students of and the experts in history. Marrus’ approach towards the Jewish history is more broad based and holistic that tends to perceive the Holocaust as not merely a Jewish tragedy, but rather a tragedy for the whole world.
The Holocaust does not begin with the first shots fired in 1939, or a charismatic leader whose speeches entranced the nation; it begins with a boy named Adolph Hitler. Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in Vienna Austria to Alois Hitler and his third wife, Klara.
"Who killed Christ" has always been the justification of the Church over the issue of the persecution of the Jews. As well as every other massacre of Jews in Christendom, it was also heard at the time of Hitler's Holocaust. The fact that the Catholic Church has a history of anti-Semitism and it is a prevalent belief in Christendom that the Jews, as the murderers of Christ, deserve all possible sufferings is the reason that Hitler's massacre of the Jews was met with silent acceptance from the vast majority of his subjects.
The name "Catholic Church" was given in 107 AD by Ignatius of Antioch to describe Jesus' church. The precise term "Roman Catholic" was created in the nineteenth century in Britain to distinguish Roman Catholics from other churches that are also Catholic. The Roman Catholic Church is headed by the Pope, currently Pope Benedict XVI.
The Nazis appropriated it and molded it into fascism and the Soviet leadership incorporated it into a form of class struggle.
Nazism can be seen as a much-intensified form of nationalism. The rise of Nazi ideology can be traced to early German nationalism, Bismarckian expansionism and the German nationalism of the First World War (Blaut, p.36).
By contrast, the just-war theory justified violence under certain circumstances. These two perspectives on war and peace have a long and exceptionally complex history that covers the period from the Sermon on the Mount to the recent statements of Popes and bishops on the matters of war and peace.
Despite all difficulties, this work will be an attempt to answer one more question related to the topic of Holocaust - why was there such a great variation in the proportion of Jews, murdered in various countries of Europe during that period
Hungary was the ally of Nazi Germany, but despite this fact, the lives of numerous Jewish populations (almost one million people) until 1944 had not been threatened by anything.