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2009 | 5 | 19-69

Article title

POLISH CHURCH HIERARCHY AND THE HOLOCAUST - A CRITICAL ESSAY (Polska hierarchia koscielna wobec eksterminacji Zydów -(Title in Polish - 'Papiez Pius XII i Zydzi. Dlaczego powinien zostac beatyfikowany?'). próba krytycznego ujecia)

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The text deals with the attitudes of the Polish Catholic hierarchy towards the Holocaust. It describes the activities undertaken for the benefit of converts during 1940-1941, how higher clergy perceived anti-Jewish incidents in Warsaw (spring 1940) and murders of the Jews in the Lomza region (summer 1941), and finally the immediate reactions of the bishops to the Holocaust on Polish territory. Particularly important is the explanation of the reasons why the extermination of the Jews was not mentioned in correspondence with the Vatican (Pope Pius XII and the Secretariat of State) during 1942-1943. Due to Adam Sapieha's position in the Church structure during the occupation, the figure of the Archbishop of Cracow is the focus. The text also analyzes statements concerning the Jews and the Holocaust by the hierarchs outside Poland (Primate August Hlond and Bishop Karol Radonski). The text also discusses the attitude of the Church hierarchy's representatives towards organized and individual actions to help the Jews. The author's aim is to summarize existing knowledge based on Church sources (Polish and Vatican) available to researchers and documents of Polish underground, and to identify controversies present in the hitherto interpretations, as well as the directions and limitations of further investigation into the matter.


  • Dariusz Libionka, Instytut Filozofii i Socjologii PAN, ul. Nowy Swiat 72, 00-330 Warszawa, Poland


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Publication order reference


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