How The Church Responded To The Holocaust

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“We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God.” – (Pope Benedict XVI April 2005) this quote expresses the Catholic church's beliefs of people’s lives and clearly shows an example of where the Catholic Church stood during the Holocaust. Hitler's way of “purifying Germany” was seen as a horrific and tragic period of time in this worlds history it was also referred to as an “Hour of darkness”, and though not obvious to the public eye the Catholic church did all they could to help the Jews from behind the scenes. Many people assume the church did nothing to help the Jews but due to Hitler the church had to help from behind the scenes to avoid being executed. The catholic church helped the Jews during this horrible time. Fake documentation was created by the Catholic Church to allow the Jews to flee Germany as well as provide hiding for the Jews inside of their churches.

“For those hundreds of thousands who, without any fault of their own, sometimes only by reason of their nationality or race, are marked down for death or progressive extinction,” – (Pope Pius XII Christmas message of December 24, 1942). The Nazi party saw the Pope's speech as a way of him abandoning any relation of neutrality, because of this the catholic churches were forced to secretly help the Jews as Hitler and the Nazi party would consider nearly everything said as a threat towards them. The church was only able to provide little help, but they still managed to save many Jewish lives. The help provided by the Catholic Church lead on to save nearly half a million Jews' lives to which they are all forever grateful for the kindness the Church showed them when it felt like the whole world was against them.

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The Church issued many false documents in hope of helping Jews to flee Germany. The documents provided were Vatican passports these were used to help relocate the Jews from Germany to South America where they would live without the fear of being sent to a concentration camp to be killed. The documents issued managed to help save thousands of Jewish lives. The Catholic Church helped to relocate many Jews all over Poland and Germany. Pope John II later claimed that the incidents during the Holocaust were “sinful” and “opposed to the very spirit of Christianity” (Pope John II, 2000) the pope's very words express how the holocaust was a time of hardship in the world and that the help provided by the Catholic church at the time was a way that the Catholics could live by what they believe in.

The Catholic Church helped thousands of Jews from being captured by the Nazi party and thrown into concentration camps, they did by hiding Jews inside many of the Catholic churches one of the Churches that provided hiding was a church located in Rotterdam, Mirjam Geismar was an 11-year-old girl that lived through WWII while hiding she lost her parents but later on found out that they were hiding in a church in Rotterdam. The church was the only place that would take her parents as even the father’s sister wouldn’t risk-taking in her own brother, Mirjam’s parents stayed in that church hiding on the roof until the war had ended, and only after then were Mirjam and her parents able to reunite. The Churches provided hiding for many Jews and helped save their lives so that today people could still hear the story of this “hour of darkness” and how the church was able to help them through the thoughts times of their lives.

“Exterminate, so that you yourself will not be exterminated! ' (Hitler, April 1944,) this quote represents how Hitler was as a leader. Fear was how Hitler controlled the Nazi party; the one thing people feared most is dying so Hitler used this to his advantage in making an army to take out the “unworthy people” of Germany. Though the Pope’s response to Hitler's way of “purifying Germany” was that of many others around the world, he thought that Hitler's ways were wrong and unjust. But due to Hitler's threats of execution, the Pope was unable to express his opinion publicly, through multiple incidents it is clear to see that the Catholic Church did all they could to ensure the safety of the Jews during this horrible time, thus by providing hiding places, and fake documentation to help the Jews flee Germany.

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How The Church Responded To The Holocaust. (2022, February 26). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from
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