L'associazione Utopia Rossa lavora e lotta per l'unità dei movimenti rivoluzionari di tutto il mondo in una nuova internazionale: la Quinta. Al suo interno convivono felicemente - con un progetto internazionalista e princìpi di etica politica - persone di provenienza marxista e libertaria, anarcocomunista, situazionista, femminista, trotskista, guevarista, leninista, credente e atea, oltre a liberi pensatori. Non succedeva dai tempi della Prima internazionale.

martedì 2 febbraio 2016

JOZEF TISO: PRESIDENT, PRIEST AND NAZI COLLABORATOR, by Peter Gorenflos

HITLER’S CATHOLIC MARIONETTE IN SLOVAKIA, THE SIX-WEEK SUSPENSION OF THE DEPORTATIONS OR PACELLI’S LAME EXCUSE

IN CINQUE LINGUE (Inglese, Italiano, Tedesco, Ceco, Russo)
IN FIVE LANGUAGES (English, Italian, German, Czech, Russian)

Introduction

In his thesis on the Slovakian holocaust, the Israeli historian Yeshayahu Andrej Jelinek describes how there had already been regular pogroms in the piece of land that was to become Slovakia before the beginning of Slovakian nationalism in the 19th century. But these were not the usual kinds of pogrom. It was not only the Jews who were plundered in order to obtain riches: it was also the nobility, the clergy and the slowly developing bourgeoisie. The word “pogrom” had not even existed in the Slovakian language at that time. These raids, called “rabovačka”, had more of an anarchistic character and were characterised by social bitterness and the desire for fair distribution of means rather than religious hatred. Since the 19th century, the Slovakian social elite was predominantly Lutheran; only towards the end of the century did the Catholic Slovakian People’s Party [“Ľudáks”] form, based on the Hungarian model, which had been named after its leader, a Papal chamberlain, since the 1920s – the Hlinka Party. Its policies were predominantly anti-Czech but parts of it also increasingly took on anti-Semitic traits, especially after Hitler has seized power. The slogan issued by the new government of the federal Slovakian partial republic in 1938, “Enrich yourselves!”, was then also taken up by the people, who primarily took advantage of the property of defenceless Jews.

Background

Eugenio Pacelli was elected Pope on 2 March 1939 as Pius XII and enthroned ten days later. He was more Nazi-friendly than his predecessor Pius XI, who regularly became enraged: not because of any rule of terror or warmongering on the part of Hitler, but because of violations of the concordat, violations of Catholic interests. Hitler was simply the lesser of two evils with whose aid the greater evil, the seizure of power by the German Communist Party according to the Soviet model, was to be prevented. Apart from that, National Socialism – for all the common elements that were constantly being emphasised by both sides – was above all an ideological competitor: Heart-of-Jesus cult versus blood-and-soil cult. Himmler’s paper, “Das Schwarze Korps” [“The Black Corps”], had in any case no longer attacked the Catholic church since Pacelli had become Pope.
On 15 March 1939, the “rump of Czechia” was occupied by the Wehrmacht, in breach of the Treaty of Munich, and the Reich protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was set up. Not even the most urgent attempts were able to move the new Pope to join the protests of democratic states against this action. Pius XII rejected this suggestion very decisively and even declared how much he appreciated Germany and expressed the desire to do a lot for Germany. Just a few weeks later, he sent Hitler a handwritten message for his birthday which was very well received in Berlin. And on 25 April, six weeks after the annexation, he said at an audience:
“We have always loved Germany and now we love it even more. We are delighted at the greatness, increasing prosperity and wealth of Germany and it would be wrong to claim we do not want a flourishing, great and powerful Germany”.
The Vatican had already been working on the destruction of the “Hussite Republic”, in which more than a million Catholics had left the church between 1918 and 1930, before Hitler, by supporting the Slovakian Catholics’ separatist movement, especially the Slovakian People’s Party. One year after Hlinka’s death, the priest and former theology professor Jozef Tiso became its chairman. He made Slovakia, in alliance with Hitler and the Vatican, an “independent” vassal state of the Reich in March 1939. He was initially Prime Minister, and then became State President in October. The Holy See was one of the first to recognise the new state.
Within the Slovakian People’s Party, there was competition between the clerical wing, led by Tiso, and the radical wing led by Vojtech Tuka and Alexander Mach. At a meeting with the Nazi leadership in Salzburg, the “Salzburg summit” at the end of July 1940, cleric Tiso asserted himself against the radicals but had to make Mach interior minister and Tuka prime minister on Hitler’s instructions. Tuka was a fanatical admirer of Hitler but did not have enough support in the party or amongst the people to be made Number One. The former second man in the Hlinka Party, Ferdinand Ďurčanský, had fallen out of favour with the Germans. He had insisted on more independence for the country and had not agreed with the Slovakian annexations of Javorina and Orava that Tiso had secured by taking part in the Polish campaign.
An amateurishly planned attempted putsch by Tuka was prevented by Berlin the following year. After this internal power struggle, Tiso also introduced the “Fuehrer principle” in Slovakia and later called himself the Slovakian “Vodca” (=Fuehrer). The German ambassador Wolfgang von Killinger, who had supported the attempted putsch, was replaced by Hanns Ludin. Ludin, who had been a Nazi Party member before 1933, was, along with Hitler, of the opinion that the formal independence of Slovakia under Tiso’s leadership was so important for Nazi Germany that he could have remained in power even if he had not agreed to the “resettlements”. Tiso was now undisputed as a president. He was commander-in-chief of the army, could install and dismiss ministers, could annul laws and could only be prevented from doing so with an 80% majority in parliament – a quarter of the members were clerics – and was chairman of the only permitted party.
And naturally Catholic Slovakia – its foundation was a precedent for Croatia two years later – also involved itself in the invasion of the Soviet Union and made two divisions available for the eastern front. Shortly after, the 270-article Jewish Codex was decreed in Slovakia, with the aim of importing the Nuremberg race laws. Now the social quarantine of the Jewish population was enforced. They lost their civil rights, their property, their jobs; they had to wear the Star of David and were taken to Slovakian camps. It was the start of the deportations to Poland.

The Slovakian holocaust

And in the autumn of 1941, Tiso met Hitler in his Ukraine headquarters together with Mach and Tuka. The emphasis here was on the Jewish Question. The Nazis knew that the government and large parts of the population, including parts of the Catholic hierarchy, wanted to get rid of the Jews and offered to have them “resettled” to Poland, a proposal the Slovakian delegation accepted enthusiastically. The Nazis had to put no pressure on Slovakia to achieve agreement. On the contrary: the competing camps - clerics and radicals – used the Jewish Question to ingratiate themselves with the Nazis, in order to curry favour with the state leadership. The details of the so-called resettlement were negotiated later between the SS officer and Nazi adviser on the Slovakian final solution, Dieter Wisliceny, and Department 14 of the Slovakian Interior Ministry. Prime Minister Tuka regularly met with German guests here in order to discuss further procedure against the Jewish population.
On 3 March 1942 he announced the deportation of the Jews to the Ministerial Council; the State Council – Slovakia’s leading Bishop, Ján Vojtaššák, was a member – confirmed this action shortly after. The deportations were to begin at the end of March. Several sources speak of an intended “quota” of 60,000. It ended then – provisionally – on October, after a total of 58,500 Jews had been deported and did not start again until two years later, after the German occupation. There was also a resolution that Slovakia would pay 500 Reichsmarks to Nazi Germany for each deported Jew. Their Slovakian citizenship was rescinded in order to prevent any later investigations into their fate.
And of course Tiso already knew as far back as 1941, from Slovakian soldiers on the eastern front, the fate that awaited any Jew that fell into the hands of the Germans. In Zhitomir, Ukraine, there was a pogrom by the SS and Wehrmacht units in August 1941 in which more than 400 Jews were shot. Two months later this city became a Slovakian headquarters that was also visited by Tiso. As far back as 14 March 1942, two weeks before the deportations had started, papal nuncio Giuseppe Burzio had handed the Slovakian government a note of protest from the Vatican, with the observation that the Jews were not being taken to labour camps but exterminated. In June of the same year, he received eyewitness reports from a Jewish underground organisation of the death camps in the naïve hope that “his horrible heart would crack”.

Six-weeks of Suspension

Jelinek’s thesis occupies itself above all with the suspension of the deportations between the beginning of August and the middle of September 1942. It reports of an underground work group of Jewish activists who were pushing for the salvation of their fellow believers. They negotiated with Dieter Wisliceny among others. This was a matter of bribery amounting to a certain sum for each deportation that did not take place. In addition to the German Wisliceny, it was above all the Slovaks that the work group were in contact with, because it was they who were organising the deportation, not the Germans. Transport minister Július Stano was part of the “moderate” Tiso faction and provided the trains for Eichmann, who had not had enough at his disposal. There is proof that there were several discussions between leading members of the work group, such as Rabbi Armin Frieder, and Tiso himself; there are even eyewitness reports that Tiso himself decided on the departure of each individual deportation train. They may have tried to bribe him with large amounts of money at this juncture.
The contacts between the work group and the Czechoslovakian government in exile in London, documented several times, are much more revealing. It received documents that had previously been stolen from the German authorities in Bratislava, including reports on the death camps in Poland by Jews that were able to escape and revealed the true nature of the “resettlements”. On 6 July 1942, the Czechoslovakian government in exile in London handed over a memorandum to the Catholic Bishop of London, Edward Myers, about the terrible fate of deported Slovakian Jews with the request to forward it to the British Cardinal Arthur Hinsley, who had taken part in the papal election in March 1939. A similar memorandum from 1944 – resumption of the deportations after a pause of almost 2 years was debated – confirms that the Vatican intervention had borne fruit at the time, that the persecution of the Jewish population was restricted and the deportations were stopped temporarily, which can be read in a source from 1944 in the archives of the Czech Foreign Ministry. There is also a letter from the Foreign Minister of the government in exile in London, Jan Masaryk, to the Czechoslovakian General Consul in Jerusalem, dated 8 July 1942, that confirms the intervention of the Vatican, and also a letter from minister in exile Hubert Ripka to Bishop Myers, dated 4 February 1944, which indicates that the efforts that had been undertaken by the Holy See in this matter at the time had turned out to be extremely helpful.
Jelinek makes it clear that these documents prove the activities of the government in exile that led to the Vatican intervening under pressure from the government in exile in summer 1942 and that there was consequently a six-week moratorium on deportations from the beginning of August to the middle of September. This intervention was presumably the crucial reason for the suspension. There is no clear, documented proof that negotiations with the SS officer Wisliceny or bribes led to this interruption of the transports, although this may well, of course, have played a part. In contrast, the documents concerning the Vatican appear to be sufficiently reliable and persuasive. So the Catholic Church could have successfully intervened if only it had wanted to. It had proved this a year before: in July 1941, Bishop von Galen lodged a complaint because of “Aktion Gnadentod” [“Mercy Death”] to which 70,000 mentally ill people had fallen victim, and in this way achieved the end of the Nazis’ euthanasia programme. Even though he was the same bishop who authorised the Oath to the Flag to Hitler at the time of the Kristallnacht and passionately promoted the war right to the end.

The responsibility of the Vatican

The Holy See had let the fascist genie out of the bottle with Mussolini. Without the Curia he would never have survived the murder of socialist member of parliament Matteotti in 1924, because Pius XI prevented an alliance of socialists with the Partito Popolare by dismissing all the priests from the Catholic People’s Party and using the Catholic newspapers to give Mussolini support against a majority in parliament and amongst the people who were demanding that he be sacked as prime minister and arrested. The Osservatore Romano, the Civiltà Cattolica and many others blamed Matteotti’s murder on the Freemasons. In return, Mussolini answered the “Roman Question” five years later in favour of the Catholic Church. The statehood and sovereignty of the Vatican State were restored via the Lateran Pacts. A state settlement of nearly 2 billion lire, the basis of the later Vatican Bank, was guaranteed, and there was more kowtowing too: Italy’s entire legislation was to be coordinated with canon law.
Pius XI was involved in Hitler’s seizure of power in the style of the Italian model. The chairman of the Catholic Centre Party, Prelate Kaas, had already been moving his party to the right under Pacelli’s nunciature; all decisions were made in close coordination with him: the Pope influenced the politics of the Weimar Republic via the Centre Party. It was a papal chamberlain, Franz von Papen, formerly of the Centre Party, later of the Nazi Party, who had recommended that Reich President Hindenburg meet Hitler in November 1932 and - despite his considerable resistance - appoint him Chancellor at the end of January 1933. Prelate Kaas urged the Centre Party to accept the Enabling Act on 23 March and to dissolve itself three months later. He moved to Rome in April, became secretary of the College of Cardinals and Canon of St. Peter’s Cathedral.
Vice-chancellor von Papen, Prelate Kaas and Pacelli, who was now Cardinal Secretary of State and thus foreign minister of the Holy See, then mutually assured the Reich Concordat of 20 July 1933. It was the reward for political Catholicism in Germany for its approval of the dictatorship. It was also a political triumph for Hitler, whose position was still precarious until August 1934 and was stabilised above all by mass loyalty from the Church. The Fulda Bishops’ Conference ditched any reservations it had had about the new government as far back as March, and steered the German Catholics into the arms of the band of brown criminals.
Later on, it would be Hitler and Mussolini who helped Franco in Spain and Pavelić in Croatia to victory, each time with support from the Vatican, which called for the anti-Bolshevik crusade alongside them. In 1940, in the German flush of victory, when the whole world thought Hitler would win the war, there were even plans to move the Fulda Bishops’ Conference to Berlin. Hitler’s campaign against the “godless Soviet Union”, which was enthusiastically supported by Pacelli, who was now Pope Pius XII, in a radio address at the end of June 1941, also fitted in to this concept. Parts of the American episcopate, such as Bishop John Duffy from Buffalo, even threatened to call upon American soldiers to refuse orders if the USA formed an alliance with the Soviet Union; a clear violation of state sovereignty. Pius XII also relied on American Catholicism as a fifth column from 1942 onwards – after a German defeat had become foreseeable – to move the American government to strike a separate peace with Germany and call for a mutual campaign against the Red Army. This remained his priority in terms of foreign policy until the end of the war.
Why did the Vatican intervene against the deportations in Slovakia?
The Axis powers’ luck in war turned during 1942. The Red Army had already briefly appeared to be the final victors after the failed winter campaign of Nazi Germany in the East in 1941. The situation for the Third Reich had become hopeless at the latest when the United States joined the war. After Pearl Harbor, Hitler declared war on America in December 1941. Directly after this, Tiso and Slovakia also signed up to this declaration of war. The balance of power slowly but surely turned against the Axis powers and after the defeat of Hitler’s army at Stalingrad in the winter of 1942/43, the outcome of the war in favour of the Allies was decided.
The situation in Slovakia was unique because a prelate, Tiso, was also State President and as such was responsible for policy. Cardinal Undersecretary of State Domenico Tardini summarised the problem thus: “Everyone knows the Holy See cannot stop Hitler. But who understands that it is not in the position to rein in a priest?” The Catholic, Croatian fascist leader Pavelić had already been threatened with excommunication because he did not want to pay salaries to two bishops because they had been appointed by Rome without his personal approval.
So why did the Holy See ensure a suspension of the deportations of Slovakian Jews to Auschwitz in the summer of 1942?
Because it had been put under pressure by the Czechoslovakian government in exile. Because knowledge of the horrors of the death camps, already known in the Vatican, was slowly but surely seeping out into the general population. There was a short article in the Times at the beginning of August 1942 about a million Jews being brutally murdered by the Nazis in Eastern Europe. Because the impending defeat of the Axis powers was becoming obvious. Because the Vatican’s attempt to reach a separate peace to set up a mutual Allied front with Germany against the Red Army was rejected by the US. The personal envoy to President Roosevelt at the Vatican, Myron Tayler, made it finally clear to Pacelli at an audience that took place in the late summer at the latest that the Allies would fight for the unconditional surrender of Germany alongside the Soviet Union. Because it had made itself directly co-responsible for the Slovakian holocaust with its permissive attitude to Tiso.
Why had Pius XII not already intervened in March 1942 when the deportations had started? After all, he could very probably have saved the lives of the 54,000 Jews that had been murdered up to August. Tiso’s position towards Nazi Germany was stable enough for him to have been kept on even without his agreement to the Final Solution. A threat with excommunication would probably have been enough to prevent the catastrophe.
He did not intervene because he had still been hoping at that time that Hitler could achieve a military turnaround because he stuck to his wishful thinking. The extent to which Hitler’s military fortune turned in 1942 caused Pacelli to panic increasingly and he tried to give himself an alibi with the moratorium on deportations, which was admittedly dubious because it was proof in itself of what he would have been capable of achieving if only he had wanted to.
The Vatican knows why it is still keeping his archives from 1939 onwards under lock and key to this day. They were not only prepared to accept the Shoa as collateral damage for Hitler’s war against Bolshevism. Jewry, Bolshevism, Freemasonry and liberalism had already been synonyms for the Catholic Church for decades. Pogroms against the Jewish population had been a Catholic tradition since the Middle Ages. The clergy incited the mob with legends of ritual murders and after the deeds had been done the Popes had patronizingly and self-righteously supported the remaining “obstinate” Jews on which they were dependent for theological reasons. They were the “Christ-killers” who were needed as scapegoats, whose conversion played an important role in the mythological return of the divine master. This is the only reason they had not already fallen victim to a previous, purely Catholic “Final Solution” in the manner of the Albigensian Crusades. Pius XII and Tiso continued this tradition in a certain way. Pacelli’s problem was not the direct involvement of a priest in the Slovakian holocaust, but only the impending defeat of Hitler in the war and the potential moral bankruptcy of the Curia in the eyes of the world that would go with it.

Epilogue

The deportations were not recommenced until the autumn of 1944, after Slovakia had been occupied by the Wehrmacht. The Nazis had the support of Tiso and parts of the Catholic hierarchy when the Slovakian people’s resistance was put down. Tiso and Tuka were sentenced to death and hanged in the post-war trials in reunited Czechoslovakia. The collaborating, leading Catholic bishop Ján Vojtaššák was sentenced to 24 years imprisonment.
After the defeat of the Soviet Union in the Cold War in 1990, Slovakia became a separate state again, as did Croatia. The beatification process is ongoing in the case of Ján Vojtaššák. Tiso is honoured as a martyr among a great many Catholics in Slovakia; the Slovakian National party and a part of the Catholic clergy are striving for him to be beatified and canonised. Pius XII is also to be beatified.
The wheels of history are being turned backwards. The Catholic Church can truly not be accused of inconsistency. And it is certain to stay true to its line in future.

Berlin, 26 January 2016

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Yeshayahu Andrej Jelinek: “The Jews of Slowakia were not for Sale: The Holy See and the Holocaust of Slovakian Jewry in Summer of 1942” (“Idvalujem balvan, pocta historickemu remeslu Jozefa Jablonickeho” available on request from the author)
Tatjana Tönsmeyer: “Das Dritte Reich und die Slowakei, 1939-1945” [“The Third Reich and Slovakia”], Schöningh, 2003
Karlheinz Deschner: “Mit Gott und den Faschisten” [“God and the Fascists”, Prometheus Books, USA], Ahriman-Verlag, 2013
James Mace Ward: “Priest, Politician, Collaborator”, Cornell University Press, 2013
David Kertzer: “The Popes against the Jews”, Knopf, 2001, “The Pope and Mussolini”, Random House, 2014
Harold Tittman: “Inside the Vatican of Pius XII”, Doubleday, 2004
Hyam Maccoby: “The Sacred Executioner”, Thames & Hudson, 1983
Documentation: “Der Prozess gegen die drei slowakischen Bischöfe” [“Trial of the three Slovakian Bishops”], Prague Orbis, 1951
Foreign Office Archives

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RED UTOPIA ROJA - Principles / Principios / Princìpi / Principes / Princípios

a) The end does not justify the means, but the means which we use must reflect the essence of the end.

b) Support for the struggle of all peoples against imperialism and/or for their self determination, independently of their political leaderships.

c) For the autonomy and total independence from the political projects of capitalism.

d) The unity of the workers of the world - intellectual and physical workers, without ideological discrimination of any kind (apart from the basics of anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism and of socialism).

e) Fight against political bureaucracies, for direct and councils democracy.

f) Save all life on the Planet, save humanity.

(January 2010)

* * *

a) El fin no justifica los medios, y en los medios que empleamos debe estar reflejada la esencia del fin.

b) Apoyo a las luchas de todos los pueblos contra el imperialismo y/o por su autodeterminación, independientemente de sus direcciones políticas.

c) Por la autonomía y la independencia total respecto a los proyectos políticos del capitalismo.

d) Unidad del mundo del trabajo intelectual y físico, sin discriminaciones ideológicas de ningún tipo, fuera de la identidad “anticapitalista, antiimperialista y por el socialismo”.

e) Lucha contra las burocracias políticas, por la democracia directa y consejista.

f) Salvar la vida sobre la Tierra, salvar a la humanidad

(Enero de 2010)

* * *

a) Il fine non giustifica i mezzi, ma nei mezzi che impieghiamo dev’essere riflessa l’essenza del fine.

b) Sostegno alle lotte di tutti i popoli contro l’imperialismo e/o per la loro autodeterminazione, indipendentemente dalle loro direzioni politiche.

c) Per l’autonomia e l’indipendenza totale dai progetti politici del capitalismo.

d) Unità del mondo del lavoro mentale e materiale, senza discriminazioni ideologiche di alcun tipo (a parte le «basi anticapitaliste, antimperialiste e per il socialismo.

e) Lotta contro le burocrazie politiche, per la democrazia diretta e consigliare.

f) Salvare la vita sulla Terra, salvare l’umanità.

(Gennaio 2010)

* * *

a) La fin ne justifie pas les moyens, et dans les moyens que nous utilisons doit apparaître l'essence de la fin projetée.

b) Appui aux luttes de tous les peuples menées contre l'impérialisme et/ou pour leur autodétermination, indépendamment de leurs directions politiques.

c) Pour l'autonomie et la totale indépendance par rapport aux projets politiques du capitalisme.

d) Unité du monde du travail intellectuel et manuel, sans discriminations idéologiques d'aucun type, en dehors de l'identité "anticapitaliste, anti-impérialiste et pour le socialisme".

e) Lutte contre les bureaucraties politiques, et pour la démocratie directe et conseilliste.

f) Sauver la vie sur Terre, sauver l'Humanité.

(Janvier 2010)

* * *

a) O fim não justifica os médios, e os médios utilizados devem reflectir a essência do fim.

b) Apoio às lutas de todos os povos contra o imperialismo e/ou pela auto-determinação, independentemente das direcções políticas deles.

c) Pela autonomia e a independência respeito total para com os projectos políticos do capitalismo.

d) Unidade do mundo do trabalho intelectual e físico, sem discriminações ideológicas de nenhum tipo, fora da identidade “anti-capitalista, anti-imperialista e pelo socialismo”.

e) Luta contra as burocracias políticas, pela democracia directa e dos conselhos.

f) Salvar a vida na Terra, salvar a humanidade.

(Janeiro de 2010)