Expert Answer Forum

Pope Pius XII QUESTION from M. Sponer April 8, 2000 Dear Mrs Fortin, I would like to study more about Pope Pius XII and the Jews in the time Hitler was in power. Can you recommend some good books that cover these subjects? Would like to study a catholic source and Jewish sources. Thank You.
ANSWER by Mrs. Suzanne Fortin, B.A. on April 11, 2000 Dear Mr. Sponer,
The book I would most recommend for the study of Pius XII and the Jews is Anthony Rhodes’ The Vatican in the Age of Dictators. I don’t know whether Rhodes is a Catholic or not, but he is very sympathetic to the Catholic point of view. I’ve also heard good things about Sister Margherita Marchione’s Pius XII: Architect for Peace and Pierre Blet’s Pius XII and the Second World War : According to the Archives of the Vatican.
As for Jewish sources, I can’t say that I’ve read any. However, I do know that Pinchas E. Lapide’s book, (I think it’s called Three Popes and the Jews) is very supportive of the Catholic viewpoint. He concludes that over 800 000 Jews were saved due to the pope’s effort. As for a book which criticizes the pope, I’ve heard that Saul Freilander’s Pius XII and the Third Reich does not have good things to say. I base that on footnotes and citations in other books I’ve read.
One good place to look for books on any topic is Readers can post reviews of books they’ve read. If a book is popular enough, it usually gets a fair number of reviews, and you can tell, from the tone of the reviews whether the book is supportive of the Catholic vision or not. These reviews don’t necessarily reflect the quality of the research or the writing, which may be deficient in spite of good intentions. Nevertheless, it’s a good pointer.
Thanks for your question.
God Bless, Suzanne
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