During the time of Pope Pius XII (1939-1958), there was little criticism of him for his supposed failures to speak out more to save the Jews from the Holocaust. Instead Pius XII and the Catholic Church received praise for what he and the Church did do for the Jews and others during World War II. Several prominent Jews praised Pius XII, including Albert Einstein, Golda Meir, a prime minister of Israel, Moshe Sharrett, the first foreign minister of Israel, and Rabbi Isaac Herzog, the second chief rabbi of Israel. Pius XII is accredited with helping from 700,000 to 800,000 Jews, and for this he has been honored by some Jews as a “Righteous Gentile.”
The Pius War is a rebuttal to those who claim that Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church did not do enough during the Holocaust. The editors, Joseph Bottum and David G. Dalin, a rabbi, have collected some critical reviews on the recent books that accuse Pius XII of doing too little and of being anti-Semitic. They also provide an extensive annotated bibliography of many books, articles and other items pertaining to Pius XII and the Holocaust.
The accusations against Pius XII and the Church began in the public media with the German play “The Deputy” in 1963 by Rolf Hochhuth. That controversy quieted down, but in recent times nine books have come out about Pius XII and the Holocaust. Five of them are attacks on him and the Church: Hitler’s Pope (2000), Papal Sin (2000), The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965 (2001), Under His Very Window (2002), and Constantine’s Sword (2001). Four are defenses of Pius XII: Pius XII and the Second World War (1999), Pope Pius XII (2000), Hitler, the War, and the Pope (2000), and The Defamation of Pius XII (2001). The five anti-Pius books are not only against him, but are also anti-Catholic. Some of the authors are disgruntled Catholics, and others are just masking their attacks on the Church by their accusations against Pope Pius.
The introduction to this book clarifies things and shows that the anti-Pius books are wrong and some of their material is simply not historically based, or based on fiction or plain anti-Catholic propaganda. Bottum and Dalin compiled this book to refute such falsities. The Catholic League, a Catholic organization that defends the Church against defamation, has seen that Bottum and Dalin have done such a great job refuting the anti-Pius authors that they sent to every Catholic college and university a copy of this book to make sure the truth is heard.
The contributors to this book are, John S. Conway, Rainer Decker, William Doino, Jr., Kevin M. Doyle, Russell Hittinger, John Jay Hughes, Justus George Lawler, Michael Novak, Ronald J. Rychlak, Robert Louis Wilken, and the editors. Joseph Bottum is the Books and Arts editor of the Weekly Standard and David Dalin, besides being a rabbi, is a professor of history and political science at Ave Maria University. He is the author of the new book The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis (2005), and co-author of The President of the United States and the Jews (2000).
This book is recommended to those interested in Church history during World War II and any Catholic defense against defamation. Academic and public libraries will want to have this book in their collection because it refutes the false criticism of Pius XII and the Church and because of its extensive annotated bibliography on the subject.