Saturday, May 5, 2012

ADSS 8.496 Montini's notes on Myron Taylor's meeting with Maglione


Throughout 1942 Giuseppe Burzio in Bratislava, Giuseppe Marcone in Zagreb, Andrea Cassulo in Bucharest and even Cesare Orsenigo in Berlin reported increasing persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe.  What makes this document interesting is the date - October 1942.  President Roosevelt's personal representative to the Holy See, Myron Taylor, had delivered a detailed memorandum (See ADSS 8.493) on the persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe.  And while much of the details were inaccurate, the broad sweep of the document was consistent with most of the reports available to the Vatican.

Maglione's instruction to Montini is significant.  While Rome had received accurate accounts of the persecution from its own diplomats, and had instructed them to do whatever they could to help the Jews, it is curious that the response to the American appeal was strikingly conservative and muted.  Wariness of atrocity propaganda may have also been a reason for such a cautious response.

ADSS 8.496

Reference: AES 7274/42 original
Location and date: Vatican, 01.10.1942

Summary statement: Information on the massacre of the Jews
Language: Italian

Text:

Mr Tittmann came to the Secretary of State asking for any response to the Memorial left by Myron Taylor on the subject of the killing of the Jews. (1)

The contents of the memorial had been telegraphed to him by his government and he was ordered to discuss it with the Holy Father; but it arrived two hours after the third audience [26.09.1942] so there was no chance for him to report on it orally to His Holiness.

Office note:

After audience with His Eminence (Maglione) 06.10.1942

Prepare a short note (3) which says, in essence, that the Holy See has had reports of the harsh treatment of the Jews. It has not yet been able to verify the accuracy of all information received. (4) The Holy See, on the other hand, has not failed to intervene on behalf of the Jews whenever it was able to.

Cross references: 
(1) See ADSS8.493, note 1.
(2) See ADSS 5.488ff
(3) ADSS 8.507
(4) Pirro Scavizzi (see ADSS 8.206n1) wrote on 07.10.1942 a report on the situation in Poland.  “The Jews: the elimination of the Jews through mass murder is almost total without regard even to children, even infants.  Besides this, they are all marked with a white arm band and civilian life is impossible.  The can not go into a market, walk into a store, or get into trams or wheelchairs, see a show, go to a non-Jewish home.  Before being deported or killed, they are condemned to forced labour, even if they are the educated class.  The few remaining Jews are serene, almost proud.  It is said that more than two million Jews were killed … It allows the Poles to seek refuge in the houses of the ghetto, which are depopulated on a daily basis with the systematic massacres of the Jews”.

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