Cardinal Maglione Criticizes Ribbentrop for Nazi Treatment of Catholic Priests Hot

Cardinal Maglione Criticizes Ribbentrop for Nazi Treatment of Catholic Priests

Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs Joachim von Ribbentrop
Source: Deutsches Bundesarchiv

Cardinal Luigi Maglione, the Vatican's Secretary of State, writes to Joachim von Ribbentrop, Foreign Minister of Nazi Germany, about the treatment of Catholic priests and bishops in Occupied Poland. No similar complaints are made about the far, far worse treatment of the Jews in Germany, Poland, or anywhere else.

Maglione writes to Ribbentrop:

The place where, above all, the religious situation, by its unusual gravity, calls for special consideration is the territory called the 'Reichsgau Wartheland.'

Six bishops resided in that region in August 1939; now there is left only one. In fact, the Bishop of Lodz and his auxiliary were, in the course of the year 1941, confined first in a small district of the diocese and then expelled and exiled in the 'Generalgouvernement.' Another bishop, Monseigneur Michael Kozal, Auxiliary and Vicar General of Wloclawek, was arrested in the autumn of 1939, detained for some time in a prison in the city and later in a religious house in Lad, and finally was transferred to the concentration camp at Dachau. ...

If the lot of their Excellencies the Bishops has been a source of anxiety for the Holy See, the condition of an immense number of priests and members of religious orders has caused it, and still causes it, no less grief. In the territory now called 'Warthegau' more than 2,000 priests exercised their ministry before the war; they are now reduced to a very small number.

According to accounts received from various quarters by the Holy See, in the first months of the military occupation not a few members of the secular clergy were shot or otherwise put to death, while others-some hundreds-were imprisoned or treated in an unseemly manner, being forced into employments unbecoming their state and exposed to scorn and derision.

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Ribbentrop Testimony at Nuremberg

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