ROME (Jun. 7)
The official organ of the Vatican again criticized Rolf Hochhuth’s play about Pope Pius XII and European Jewry and defended the late Pontiff’s conduct during the Nazi slaughter of 6,000,000 European Jews. The play, “The Deputy,” contends that the Pontiff failed to speak out against the Nazi mass murders.
The critical article in L’Osservatore Romano, written by an Italian Jesuit historian, Rev. Angelo Martini, was the longest to appear in the Vatican press on the controversy.
Charging the West German playwright with bias, the historian wrote that “with the honor of an historian aiming at seeking truth, I do not believe that Rolf Hochhuth’s representation of Pope Pius XII is true.” The Jesuit called the play’s representation “on the Pope’s silence on the massacre of the Jewish people contrary to official documents and the truth.”
The historian questioned whether Hochhuth had enough time to study enough documents, and accused him of a biased point of view. Rev. Martini asserted that a protest by the Pontiff against the Nazi mass annihilation of Jews would have been considered a political move which would have reduced the Pope’s effectiveness.