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The Catholic Church and the Nazis
Peter Bartley

“Written with concision and in chronological order, this book offers a comprehensive account of the response to Nazi tyranny by Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII, their envoys and various representatives of the Catholic Church in every country influenced or controlled by Nazism before and during the Second World War.

“Peter Bartley makes extensive use of primary sources – letters, diaries, memoirs, and official German and British government reports. He quotes from the wartime correspondence between Pius XII and President Roosevelt and from the works of prominent Nazis, churchmen, diplomats, members of the Resistance, and ordinary people who left eyewitness accounts of life under Nazi rule.

“This book reveals how resistance to Hitler and resistance work engaged many Catholic churchmen and laypeople at all levels, and how it was often undertaken in collaboration with Protestants and Jews. Catholics paid a high price in many countries for their resistance, with hundreds of their churches closed, their bishops exiled or martyred, and many of their priests shot or sent to Nazi death camps.

“Bartley also explores the supposed inaction of the German bishops over Hitler’s oppression of the Jews, showing that the Reich Concordat did not deter the hierarchy and the clergy from protesting the regime’s iniquities or from rescuing its victims. While giving clear evidence for Papal condemnation of the Jewish persecution, he also explains why Pius XII could not set aside the language of diplomacy and be more openly vocal in his rebuke of the Nazis.” [From the cover]

“Vicious allegations against Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church in Germany get mindlessly repeated. The best way to answer them is with a calm and detailed account of the facts. Bartley’s well-documents volume shows the tireless work of Catholics to oppose the Nazi regime, to defend those being attacked, and to preserve the liberty of the Church.”

Joseph Koterski, SJ, Professor of Philosophy, Fordham University [From the cover]


Introduction: Hitler’s Rise to Power – 1919-1933

  1. Race and Religion in Hitler’s Germany
  2. Pius XI, Mussolini and the Italian Race Laws
  3. The New Pope’s Peace Initiatives and the Outbreak of War
  4. The Well-Loved Country of Poland
  5. Christian Witness in Occupied Western Europe
  6. Efforts to Rescue the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe
  7. Rome under the German Occupation
  8. Varieties of German Opposition to Hitler
  9. Problems of Vatican Diplomacy

Summary and Conclusion

Ignatius Press, ©2016, Soft  cover, 296 pages