The Popes against the Jews: the Vatican's role in the rise of modern anti-semitism

by David I. Kertzer

Paper Book, 2001




New York, NY : Alfred A. Knopf, 2001.


"A historical study based on documents previously locked in the Vatican's secret archives: The Popes Against the Jews graphically shows how the Catholic Church helped make the Holocaust possible." "It traces the Vatican's role in the development of modern anti-Semitism from the nineteenth century up to the outbreak of the Second World War. Kertzer shows why all the recent attention given to Pope Pius XII's failure to publicly protest the slaughter of Europe's Jews in the war misses a far more important point. What made the Holocaust possible was groundwork laid over a period of decades. In this campaign of demonization of the Jews - identifying them as traitors to their countries, enemies of all that was good, relentlessly pursuing world domination - the Vatican itself played a key role, as is shown here for the first time." "Despite its focus, this is not an anti-Catholic book. It seeks a balanced judgment and an understanding of the historical forces that led the Church along the path it took."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member DavidWineberg
I have never before read a book where every page beyond the preface is a new scandal. Every page is stunning. There is so much new, revolting evidence here, you cannot possibly summarize the highlights to anyone. They have to read it for themselves. The Church is damned by its own extensive documentation, aided, abetted, and completely footnoted by the author. The final chapter - the Holocaust era (The Church will not give access to anything more recent)essentially positions the Church as COMPETING with the Nazis for antisemitism. They didn't want upstart, secular discriminators horning in on their traditional turf!

I cannot recommend a book more.
… (more)
LibraryThing member ElTomaso
A view of the anti-semitic history of the Catholic Church.
LibraryThing member bke
In this book, Brown University Professor David Kertzer's book refutes the Church's contention that the Holocaust was due to "an anti-Judaism that was essentially more sociological and political than religious." Rather, he shows, using long-sealed Church archives which were only recently opened, that European antisemitism was "in no small part due to the efforts of the Roman Catholic Church itself." I have a lot of histories about Germany and WWII, but I have to admit that I was surprised to learn that the racial laws of fascist Italy and the Nuremberg Laws of 1930s Germany, for example, were directly modeled on the RC Church's own rules governing treatment of Jews: right up until the dissolution of the Papal States in the late 19th century. Jews living in these territories were forced to wear yellow badges and live in ghettos. Why do the history books let the church off so lightly?… (more)


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