Historian claims Hitler planned to punish Pius XII for assistance to Jews
Adolf Hitler once ordered his SS troops to level the Vatican with "blood and fire" and kidnap Pope Pius XII, a new book says.
In Pius XII, Pope of the Jews, Italian historian Andrea Tornielli reveals that Hitler ordered the destruction of the Vatican and the deportation of Pius XII to Liechtenstein in 1943, in reprisal for the Pontiff's reported assistance to Jews and for the Church's opposition to the Nazi regime.
In his work, which has just gone on sale in Italy, Tornielli explains that the Führer was livid after the signing of the armistice between the Badoglio government and the Allies on Sept. 8, 1943, and ordered the SS to destroy the Holy See with "blood and fire."
Hitler's plan did not materialise, however, as SS commander in Italy General Karl Wolff succeeded in dissuading the Nazi dictator from this course of action.
Former Italian Minister Giulio Andreotti defended the validity of Tornielli's thesis last week when he addressed the meeting of the Catholic movement Communion and Liberation. The meeting ended Saturday in this northern coastal city.
Andreotti supported Pius XII and rejected the criticisms leveled against the Pontiff at the end of World War II, accusing him of passivity in face of the Holocaust.
"The hostility against Pope Pacelli was not due to his weakness against Nazism, but to his rejection of Communism," Andreotti said.
Pio XII: Il Papa degli ebrei