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1937 March 14, POPE PIUS XI
Criticized the Nazis for interfering with Catholic education in the Third Reich. Although he denounced Nazi racism and totalitarianism, he also mentioned that the Jews were guilty of deicide. This was one of the few times the Vatican came out publicly against the Nazi regime. The next pope, Pius XII, did even less.
1938 July 25, FATHER CHARLES COUGHLIN (USA)
A Roman Catholic priest in Detroit, Coughlin began his weekly anti-Semitic broadcasts over national radio. He also formed the American Christian Front in New York City which carried out anti-Semitic street meetings and boycotted Jewish businesses.
1939 March 3, CARDINAL PACELLI
A long time semi-supporter of the German government, became Pope Pius XII. In October 1941 Harold Tittman, a U.S. delegate to the Vatican, asked the pope to condemn the atrocities against Jews; Pius replied that the Vatican wished to remain "neutral." In September 1942 the Popes Secretary of State,Luigi Maglione in a reply to a query stated "that the rumors about genocide could not be verified" that same year he commented that that the Vatican was "unable to denounce publicly particular atrocities". This policy of refusal to publicly condemn Nazi atrocities continued throughout the war. Albeit, after the war Pius called for forgiveness for all, including war criminals.
1939 May 14, GERMAN LINER ST. LOUIS (Germany-Cuba-USA)
Set sail from Hamburg with 930 Jewish refugees with American quota permits and special permission to stay temporarily in Cuba. Cuban President Frederico Bru declared all but 30 of the permits worthless due to new regulations. Despite exhaustive efforts by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the depositing of half a million dollars in a Havana account, President Bru refused to budge. The U.S. also refused to take in any refugees and sent Coast Guard boats to prevent passengers from jumping overboard. After all efforts failed, The St. Louis was forced to return to Europe. The German Press gloated: "We say we don't want Jews while the democracies claim they are willing to receive them." A Gallup poll reported that 83 percent of Americans opposed the admission of a larger number of Jewish refugees.
And so on. It is important to understand the big picture. But it is important never forget the small pictures too. And never forget the brave men and women fighting the Nazis where ever they show up.
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