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When Hitler wanted to kidnap Pius XII

2016-01-08

In Rome, in 1944, shortly before the war ended, SS General Otto Wolff met secretly with Pope Pius XII to reveal that Hitler planned to kidnap him. 

FR. PETER GUMPEL
Relator, Pope Pius XII's Cause for canonization
"Hitler did not want Otto Wolff to talk to anyone because he knew there were other high-ranking Nazis against the plan. They feared that a global response would be unleashed which would negate any potential benefits from kidnapping the Pope.”

This is one of the stories told in the new documentary by Italian public broadcaster, RAI. It features new images of the Pope who reigned during the Second World War and explains Pope Pius XII' strategy in preventing the deportation of thousands of Jews.

GRAZIA DI VEROLI
Nephew of Deported Jews
"Many were saved because religious houses and monasteries opened their doors. Surely they did that because they knew someone was watching out for them”.

LETIZIA LANZETTA
Nephew of Jews
"My mom, my grandmother and my aunt were Jewish and taken in by the Sisters of the Holy Child Mary. My grandfather and my uncle were welcomed by the Augustinians who lived next door.”

MATTEO LUIGI NAPOLITANO
Professor of History and International Relations 
"The opening of Rome's religious houses is well documented. It will take a little longer to document what was done in other parts of Italy.”

The cause for beatification of Pius XII was launched by Paul VI and, according to the postulator, there is only one step left for it to become a reality.

FR. MARC LINDEIJER
Postulator, Pope Pius XII's Cause for canonization
"The only obstacle for his beatification is that we still need a miracle. I have no reason to believe that the Pope Francis would be contrary to the beatification of Pius XII. In fact, I think he favors it”.

The difficult years of war tested the diplomatic skills the Pope learned during his many years working in the Vatican Secretariat of State. 

Some say, he was not clear enough against Hitler's persecution against jews, while others say, on the contrary, he acted prudently and thereby managed to save thousands of lives by acting quietly. Two different views which show the immense complexity and difficulty of the historical moment he faced.


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