Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hitler's Plot to Kidnap the Pope

Ronald J. Rychlak has written a review of Dan Kurzman's book A Special Mission: Hitler's Secret Plot to Seize the Vatican and Kidnap Pope Pius XII. I did buy this a few months ago, but like most of the books I buy I haven't had a chance to read this one yet. Reading this overview of the book though has rekindled my interest. This in particular sent my brain into motion...

According to sworn testimony that Wolff gave in 1972, Hitler summoned him shortly after the troops moved into Rome. Hitler said:

Now, Wolff, I have a special mission for you, with significance for the whole world. . . . I want you and your troops . . . 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.

Hitler wanted to "destroy the Vatican's power, capture the pope, and say that we are protecting him."

The kidnapping never took place, but Wolff drew up the plan. It called for German soldiers disguised in Italian uniforms to invade the Vatican, kill all members of the curia, and take the pope prisoner. Other soldiers would then storm the Vatican to "rescue" the pontiff. They would kill the disguised troops, and if the pope tried to escape he would also be shot. Hitler felt it could be explained because tragic things happen during wars. Besides, the world would consider the Italians culpable.

The review goes on to criticize some other aspects of the book, but I am not particularly interested in reading more about this plot. I can't imagine what the Church would look like today if the plan had succeeded.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Holy cow! Now I am going to have to check that book out. I did get a hold of the book Spies in the Vatican: Espionage & Intrigue from Napoleon to the Holocaust but I was unable to read it at the time. It's an interesting historical reference, but rather long and dry. Maybe when I have a big block of time. Doesn't look like that will be anytime soon though.

But this book you posted about seems very interesting. Are you going to be reading it at all?

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Catholic and politically conservative, I graduated with a BA in History (concentration in American) and Political Science. I'm between two parishes; one in Wisconsin that is fairly traditional, and one in Illinois that is fairly liberal. I teach CCD. I work in the food service industry, which basically means I'm working in fast food until I find a better job. I'd like to work for the church somehow. Right now I'm working on getting my teaching certification, although I'm unsure thats the correct path for me. This blog is as random as I am. I hope you enjoy.