Hitler's Plan to Arrest Pius XII and
Destroy the Vatican
ZENIT - The International News Agency
Hitler Ordered Destruction of Vatican and Kidnapping of Pius XII In Revenge
for Papal Assistance to Jews, Says Book
RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 27, 2001 (Zenit.org).-
Adolf Hitler once ordered his SS troops to level the Vatican with "blood
and fire" and kidnap Pope Pius XII, a new book says.
In "Pius XII, Pope of the Jews," Italian historian Andrea Tornielli
reveals that Hitler ordered the destruction of the Vatican and the deportation
of Pius XII to Liechtenstein in 1943, in reprisal for the Pontiff´s reported
assistance to Jews and for the Church´s opposition to the Nazi regime.
In his work, which has just gone on sale in Italy, Tornielli explains that the
"Führer" was livid after the signing of the armistice between the
Badoglio government and the Allies on Sept. 8, 1943, and ordered the SS to
destroy the Holy See with "blood and fire."
Hitler´s plan did not materialize, however, thanks to General Karl Wolff, then
SS commander in Italy, who succeeded in dissuading the Nazi dictator from this
course of action.
Former Italian Minister Giulio Andreotti defended the validity of Tornielli´s
thesis last week when he addressed the meeting of the Catholic movement
Communion and Liberation. The meeting ended Saturday in this northern coastal
Andreotti supported Pius XII and rejected the criticisms leveled against the
Pontiff at the end of World War II, accusing him of passivity in face of the
"The hostility against Pope Pacelli was not due to his weakness against
Nazism, but to his rejection of Communism," Andreotti said.
Tornielli´s arguments had already been noted in recent years by historians and
scholars, who quoted testimonies and documents from the time of the Nazi
occupation of Rome.
Among Pius XII´s defenders is Antonio Gaspari, author of "The Jews, Pius
XII, and the Black Legend," which offers testimonies of Jews in Rome who
were saved from the Nazi-Fascist persecution thanks to the help of men and women
of the Church, as requested by Pius XII himself.
Pius XII´s process of beatification is under way, though it is opposed by some
Jews and leaders of the right in the Israeli government.
Eugenio Pacelli, Pius XII, died Oct. 9, 1958, in the papal summer residence of
Castel Gandolfo, after a 19-year pontificate.
Pius XII´s actions helped save 800,000 Jewish lives, either directly or
indirectly, according to Jewish researcher Pinchas Lapide.
Far from affinity with Hitler, as claimed by Rolf Hochhuth in his play "The
Vicar," Pius XII was actively involved in the German resistance´s plans to
remove the tyrant, as revealed in the British Foreign Office documents on the
so-called Schwarze Kapelle, which involved Admiral Canaris, Count Von
Stauffenberg and other German personalities opposed to the Führer.
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Testimony of Gen. Karl Otto Wolff, SS chief in Italy
toward the end of the war
Hitler: Now, Wolff, I have a special mission for you, with significance for the
whole world, and it is a personal matter between you and me. You are never
to speak of it with anyone without my permission, with the exception of the
Supreme Commandant of the S.S. [Himmler], who is aware of everything. Do
Wolff: Understood, Führer!
Hitler: I want you and your troops, while there is still a strong reaction in
Germany to the Badoglio treachery, to occupy as soon as possible the Vatican and
Vatican City, secure the archives and the art treasures, which have a unique
value, and transfer the Pope, together with the Curia, for their protection, so
that they cannot fall into the hands of the Allies and exert a political
influence. According to military and political developments it will be
determined whether to bring him to Germany or place him in neutral
Liechtenstein. How quickly could you prepare this operation?
Wolff said that it would take four to six weeks in order to come up with a plan.
Hitler replied: “That’s far too long. It’s crucial that you let me
know every two weeks how you are getting on. I should prefer to take the
Early in December 1943, Wolff
informed the Führer that he had completed his preparations for the plan against
(Testimony of Karl Otto Wolff, March 14, 1972, before the Ecclesiastical
Tribunal of Munich, on the beatification of Pope Pius XII. p.832. Cited in
Rychlak, Hitler, the War, and the Pope, p. 265. It should not come
as a surprise that the dictator who desired to burn Paris should have wished to
destroy the Vatican.)
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