Tesi di laurea di Emanuela Dolcini - 1938: L'opinione pubblica britannica e l'antisemitismo fascista




Imperial and Foreign



With the death of Pope Pius XI, Jews throughout the world mourn thc loss of one of the stoutest defenders of racial tolerance in modern limes, and of one who, in recent years and months, grew ever more outspoken in his condemnation of the anti-Semites in Germany, Italy, and elsewhere. The malevolence with which Nazi and Fascist Jew-baitcrs attacked him is ample proof of the telling force of his denunciations.

It suffices to recall some of his recent utterances on the racial question to establish his claim to be one of the greatest modern exponents of the principles of Christian tolerance. Right from the advent of the Nazi regime, his hostility to Jew-baiting was made clear, and on numerous occasions he openly denounced the persecutions of Jews and Christians. The Encyclical Divini Redempionis, which he promulgated in May, 1937, challengingly proclaimed the equality and brotherhood of man and defended man’s liberty and the rights of the human person. It was followed by a further letter, addressed primarily to the German Episcopate, which was read in the Catholic churches throughout the Reich, in which the excesses of National-Socialism and its invasions of spiritual liberty were strongly condemned, both on general ethical grounds and as offences against the Concordat that had been concluded in 1933.

When Hitler visited Rome a year ago, and swastika flags were flaunted in the city streets, the Pope declared: "It is sad that on the Feast Day of the Cross of Christ the banners of another cross, which certainly is not that of Christ, should have been hoisted in Rome. This is out of place and out of time."

But it was when the Italian Fascists last year took over the entire Nazi Jew-baiting programme, lock, stock, and barrel, that the Pope's billerncss began to overflow. "We have to ask ourselves," the Pope said, "why Italy should have to go and copy Germany with such unhappy imitativeness. We want to separate nothing in the great human race. People forget that the human species is one great human race, in which there is no room for special races."

Addressing four hundred teachers of the Catholic Action in Italy last. November, the Pope declared: "It has been said that Italian racialism does not wish to make polemics in the field of religion and philosophy. Nor does the Pope wish to polemise but, like the Apostles, only to tell the truth; but no one with knowledge of the Catholic doctrine can look with indifference on words of this kind. How, in fact, can the relations between race and race not be a subject of concern to religion and'philosophy?"

In a message to Belgian Catholic leaders, the Pope declared: "Anti-Semitism cannot be reconciled with the thought of the sublime reality of the Biblical text. It is a foul movement, a movement in which we Christians must not take part.

" Christians should have nothing to do with anti-Semitism. We give everybody the right to defend himself and to take all the necessary steps to protect his threatened interests, but anti-Semilism cannot be tolernted, for spiritually we are pro-Semitic."

The Pope's Christmas Eve message—his last—roundly condemned the attacks on the Church by the Italian authorities, and denounced the new "Aryan" restrictive measures on marriage as a breach of the Concordat.

One of his most pointed actions was to proscribe difesa della razza, the Italian anti-Jewish publication, from all Catholic religious and educational institutions. Announcing this proscription, the osservatore romano condemned the publication for its "immoral articles denouncing the Hebrew race."

Jewry Pays its Tribute

Tributes to the .Pope from Jews all over the world bear witness to the veneration in which the Pope was held.

The Chief Rabbi, Dr. J. H. Hertz, says in a message of condolence to Cardinal, Hinslcy: "Jews throughout the world will revere the Pope’s noble memory as a feared champion of righteousness against the powers of irreligion, racialism, and inhumanity."

Cardinal Hinsley has also been sent a message of sympathy by Mr. Neville Laski, President of the Board of Deputies and the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation of London. In replies to the Chief Rabbi and Mr. Laski, the Cardinal expresses thanks in his own name and that of his fellow-Catholics in England for the expressions of sympathy. "It is a great consolation to us lo know that the Pope’s efforts for peace and fraternal charity were appreciated by those outside the Catholic Church," he declares.

Chief Rabbi Dr. Herzog of Palestine, who is attending the Palestine Conferences in London, has sent a telegram to Cardinal Pacelli expressing the sympathy of Jewry on the death of the Pope and referring to the great loss sustained by the Catholic Church and humanity in general."

A message from the Alliance Israélite Universelle reads: "The Alliance will never forget wilh what courage and mercy Pope Pius XI took up the cause of all persecuted, without distinction of race or faith, in the name of the eternal principle whose prominent custodian he was."

Rabbi Dr. Stephen Wise, President of the Executive Committee of the World Jewish Congress, says, in a message to Cardinal Pacelli, "The Jewish world will never forget his courageous attitude in favour of liberty and human dignity, and the protection he assured to innumerable victims of racial persecutions."

Many similar tributes were paid in Synagogues in Britain last Sabbath.

A MEMORABLE INTERVIEW Condemning the Blood Libel

Dr. Cecil Rolh writes: I had the honour of being with the late Pope for a very few minutes; but I regard it as one of the great experiences and privileges of my life. I had passed through all the pomp. and circumstance of the Vatican, with the magnificently-uniformed Swiss Guard, or the Noble Guard, or the Papal gendarmerie on duty at every door and saluting with impressive precision and clangour. The Sala de Tronetto, where I was received, was an art-lover's dream, with gorgeous inlays on the floor and priceless hangings on the walls and superb frescos above. At length, into all this magnificence there came towards me a tired old man. He had got up that morning, I was told, as every morning; at six o'clock. He had nothing but a cup of black coffee to sustain him until his luncheon. When I saw him, it was already well past noon. It was towards the end of a long and tiring morning, but he still had other interviews and other audiences to give before he was able to have his refreshment and to claim a little rest. Yet in the midst of that busy morning he found time to spare for a Jew, and to receive from his hands a copy of the new edition of that noble condemnation of the Ritual Murder Libel drawn up two centuries earlier by his illustrious predecessor, Pope Clement XIV (before his accession to the Papacy).

It was not, of course, a mere matter of presentation; by receiving in this formal fashion the new edition of this document, the Pope, in effect, associated himself with the repudiation of the foul libel, which had not long before been repeated in particularly loathsome form in Germany. And he insisted, during the few moments of conversation, how the protection of the Jews had not been confined to a single Pope but had been the invariable policy of the Papacy.

Certainly, during the intervening years; that courageous voice raised unfalteringly- and unwearyingly in the Vatican, protesting against oppression, condemning racial madness, and reminding the world of the ultimate spirilual values above States and statecraft, showed that this was an aspect which he appreciated to the full, and earned his memory an undying claim to the gratitude of the Jewish people. At the end, when he extended his benediction "to all my enterprises," I felt profoundly moved and profoundly privileged. The old man then proceeded wearily to his next audience. I had even then a sense of what has become so apparent to the world at large in recent months— of a sense of duty overcoming physical considerations which in another man would have been imperative, of a tired body borne onwards by an indomitable soul. May he rest in peace, with all the other righteous ones of the nations of the world !

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© Morashà 2001 - Emanuela Dolcini 2001.

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