Edition: 2022
Pages: 384
Series: CSL
ISBN: 9788858149621

The War of Silence. Pius XII, Nazism, the Jews

Andrea Riccardi

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Editions du Cerf (French)

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A crucial issue in the history of the 20th century. A work destined to remain among the classics of historiography.

Pius XII - whose pontificate covered all the years of the Second World War - is definitely a controversial figure. A protagonist of actions in defence of the victims of Nazi-Fascism, particularly during the dramatic months of the occupation of Rome and, nevertheless, a figure accused of too many ‘silences’ in the face of the news reaching the Vatican from the territories occupied by Hitler as early as 1939. The choice not to shout loudly, in order to avoid greater trouble, is the crux, and it does not only concern the very serious issue of the extermination of the Jews, but also of other populations that suffered in the conflict. This extraordinary book - which has used a wealth of docu­mentation that can be consulted for the first time - recounts the history and the reasons for those silences. And it does so by placing Pius XII in his own time, in an extremely com­plex context that was very different from the post-conciliar one (for example the anti-Judaism that permeated many Catholic and Vatican circles should not be forgotten). What emerges is a pope who was aware but in difficulty, worried about his own ‘silences’. And, if in the light of the facts it is difficult to accuse or absolve Pius XII’s choices so clearly, what is certain is that not opening the Vatican archi­ves for so many years did not help the image of the Church at all. A new and definitive historical investigation by one of the most accredited scholars of Church History.