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Catholic-Jewish Relations Are Crucial

Tuesday, 02 August 2005 12:00 AM

This is the latest smoking gun which refutes the claim of apologists for President Roosevelt, that the Allies did not know of the death camps or the systematic extermination of the Jews until the end of the war and, therefore, bombing the train tracks to the Auschwitz death camp or the camp itself was not an option. The latest revelations show the Allies did know, and they knew early on.

According to The Times, the very first indication that the Nazis had embarked on wholesale killing of the Jews was "July 1941: The first intercept: a report of a massacre of Jews by German police in the western Soviet Union." A later intercept, in October 1942, stated: "A report is intercepted detailing the slave labor population at Auschwitz." Then came the Jan. 11, 1943 intercept giving the horrifying number of 1,274,166 Jews killed by the Nazis, who kept meticulous statistics recording the deaths.

The Hanyok analysis states, "Both President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill were often hampered in their limited efforts to alleviate some of the suffering by the general anti-Semitic sentiment in both nations." The National Security Agency's records contained a British memorandum providing an insight into the official British mindset on the killing of the Jews:

"He [Hanyok] also quotes a memorandum from a British cryptologic official, dated Sept. 11, 1941, that takes account of German massacres in the Soviet Union and concludes: "The fact that the police are killing all Jews that fall into their hands should now be sufficiently well appreciated. It is not therefore proposed to continue reporting these butcheries unless so requested." Out of sight, out of mind. And all the while, the British continued to close off Palestine to Jewish refugees.

Jan Karski, a Polish Christian affiliated with the Polish underground, had been spirited into the Warsaw ghetto and later to a camp forty miles from the extermination camp of Belzec, where he saw, according to an article in The New York Times dated July 14, 2000:

"Ranks of uniformed men pressed the crowd onto waiting box cars that had been coated with quicklime. Those who fell or fainted or who could not move were thrown into the cars. When no more bodies could fit inside, the doors were shut. Mr. Karski was told that the trains were heading for a camp not far away where their human cargo would be led into gas chambers. But he was also told that sometimes the trains were just left on sidings until those inside starved or suffocated."

In the Warsaw ghetto, he saw "many naked dead bodies lying in the streets and describe[d] emaciated and starving people, listless infants and older children with expressionless eyes. He remembered watching from an apartment while two pudgy teen-aged boys in the uniforms of the Hitler Youth hunted Jews for sport, cheering and laughing when one of their rifle shots struck its target and brought screams of agony."

When Karski went to England he met with "Anthony Eden … [who] said that Great Britain had already done enough by accepting 100,000 refugees."

When he saw FDR at the White House on July 28, 1943, "he told Roosevelt about Auschwitz and said that 1.8 million Jews had already been killed in Poland. He said that commanders of the underground Home Army were estimating that if there were no Allied intervention in the next year and a half, the Jews of Poland would ‘cease to exist.'"

Roosevelt responded by assuring him that the Allies would win the war. The president said nothing about rescuing the Jews. Rescue was not on his agenda. After the war, Karski summed up his feelings concerning the destruction of the Jews as follows: "This sin will haunt humanity to the end of time. It does haunt me. And I want it to be so."

One could easily conclude that if Hitler had simply imposed quisling governments in each of the European countries he had invaded and then withdrawn his armies, simply insisting as part of the withdrawal each country agree to exterminate its own Jewish population, he would have met little or no resistance.

We know that in many occupied countries, the local population voluntarily assisted in the roundup of Jews. In unoccupied Vichy France, the French police rounded up Jews before they were requested to do so by the Nazis and handed them over for transport to Auschwitz.

In the 1930s and into the 1940s, the world was rife with anti-Semitism that had not been seen since the days of the Spanish Inquisition in the Middle Ages, when almost every European country had expelled its Jews unless they converted to Christianity.

In 1990, Pope John Paul II spoke for the first time of "the heavy burden of guilt for the murder of the Jewish people" that for Christians "must be an enduring call to repentance." On March 12, 2000, the pope issued a statement apologizing to the Jews for the Inquisition conducted throughout Europe by the Roman Catholic Church, the most well-known being that conducted in Spain in 1492.

The Sam Roberts article includes a positive reference in the Hanyok report to Pope Pius XII's statements and actions vis-a-vis the Jews during the Nazi period. Roberts writes:

"It also offers a revealing exchange involving Pope Pius XII, who some historians say did not use his influence to halt the killing of Jews. The conversation, relayed by an Ecuadorian envoy, was between the Vatican ambassador and Marshal Henri-Phillippe Petain, the French collaborationist leader. Over lunch at a Vichy hotel in July 1942, Marshal Petain said he was consoled that the pope approved his policy of deporting Jews. The ambassador corrected him, saying, ‘The Holy Father does not approve.' If the Vatican had announced that it would excommunicate any Catholic who took part or assisted in the slaughter of the Jews, one can only wonder what the impact would have been."

Since the end of World War II, the Vatican has made significant strides in improving Catholic-Jewish relations. Pope John XXIII is responsible for the Vatican II reforms that, among other things, removed offensive language from the liturgy and ended the charge of deicide against the Jews that had cost tens of thousands of Jewish lives. Pope John Paul II made every effort to convey his friendship to Jews and established diplomatic relations with Israel.

When Pope Benedict XVI was elected, many Jews applauded, because it was widely believed that Cardinal Ratzinger, before his ascension to the papacy, had been John Paul II's closest confidant and had supported the latter's efforts toward rapprochement with the Jews.

Two of my closest Catholic friends were John Cardinal O'Connor, now deceased, who regularly stated in sermons that anti-Semitism was a sin, and my law partner, James Gill, from whom I learn every day the positive impact of the Catholic religion.

To the consternation of the Jewish community in Israel and worldwide, Pope Benedict XVI in a recent prayer condemning terrorism against innocent civilians alluded to a number of countries in which terrorists' actions had occurred, but omitted Israel. In his statement, he prayed for God to stop the "murderous hand" of terrorists and referred to the recent "abhorrent terrorist attacks" in Egypt, Britain, Turkey and Iraq, but did not mention attacks in Israel.

Jews worldwide and the government of Israel were shocked by the omission. Since 9/11, according to The Times of London, worldwide "suicide attacks have killed more than 4,400 people." In Israel since September 2000, 1,071 Israelis have been killed in terror attacks. Israel's population is 6,276,883. If a comparable percentage were applied to the U.S. population of 295,734,134, the number of deaths would be 50,275.

The pope's statement was particularly offensive to Jews, because on July 12, 2005, five Israelis were killed at a shopping mall in a terrorist attack in Natanya, Israel. Furthermore, the omission of Jewish victims comes against a backdrop of rising anti-Semitism in Europe, often masquerading as attacks on Israel.

The Vatican was distressed with the statement of the Israeli Foreign Minister: "We expected that the new pope, who on taking office emphasized the importance he places on relations between the Church and the Jewish people, would behave differently."

The Vatican issued its response: "It's not always possible to immediately follow every attack against Israel with a public statement of condemnation, and for various reasons, among them the fact that the attacks against Israel sometimes were followed by immediate Israeli reactions not always compatible with the rules of international law."

The Vatican's final statement, "Just as the Israeli government understandably doesn't allow itself to be told by others what it should say, neither can the Holy See accept teachings and directives by some other authority regarding the leaning and content of its own statements," is the most wounding. Are we to be prohibited from protesting when we believe our suffering is being ignored? We believe that Jewish dead and Jewish casualties are as important as other victims of the war against Western civilization being waged by Islamic terrorists.

These harsh words on both sides are destructive of heretofore good relations. Efforts to repair the damage should be undertaken immediately.

All of us have to remember who it is that wants to kill the Jew and the Crusader (Christian). It is the fanatics of Wahhabism and their allies in the hundreds of millions who seek to re-establish the caliphate and exterminate the infidel – those who do not recognize the supremacy of Islam: Christians, Jews, Hindus et al.

As usual, Tony Blair said it best: "We cannot give these people any shred of justification for what they do."

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This is the latest smoking gun which refutes the claim of apologists for President Roosevelt, that the Allies did not know of the death camps or the systematic extermination of the Jews until the end of the war and, therefore, bombing the train tracks to the Auschwitz death...
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Tuesday, 02 August 2005 12:00 AM
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