What did the Catholic Church, led by Pope Pius XII during World War II, know about the activities of Mussolini and Hitler, and what decisions were made by the church as Italy was enveloped in the war and the Holocaust unfolded throughout Europe? When faced with decisions of moral leadership, power, and more, how did the Church respond, and what were the consequences? Using newly opened Vatican archives as well as archives in Italy, Germany, France, the UK, and the US, Professor David Kertzer uncovers the conduct of the Church prior to and during World War II and examines the failure of the Pope to take a clear stand against fascism, Hitler's onslaught, and Nazi genocide. He will be joined by Abe Foxman, National Director Emeritus of the ADL. Together with Rabbi Cosgrove they will discuss these questions and more to gain a greater understanding of the Holocaust.
David Kertzer is an American anthropologist, historian, and academic, specializing in the political, demographic and religious history of Italy and is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on the history of the Vatican’s relations with Jews. His book, The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the rise of Fascism in Europe won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. His new book, The Pope at War: The Secret History of Pope Pius XII, Mussolini and Hitler, was published in June by Random House. Professor Kertzer is the Paul Dupee, Jr. University Professor of Social Science, Professor of Anthropology, and Professor of Italian Studies at Brown University.
Abe Foxman is National Director Emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League, where he served for 50 years with the organization, including as National Director from 1987-2015. Born in 1940 in Belarus, when Foxman’s parents were sent to a ghetto in 1941, they left him with his Polish nanny who baptized and raised him Catholic for four years. When his parents survived, the nanny refused to relinquish Abe, leading to a legal battle over his custody. Foxman is world-renowned as a leader in the fight against antisemitism, bigotry and discrimination.
This program is in partnership with TOLI: The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights.