Hitler Ordered Pope's Kidnapping

Roundup: Talking About History

Unsigned, Courier Mail (Queensland, Australia), 1/17/05

Adolf Hitler ordered one of his generals to kidnap Pope Pius XII but the officer did not obey, Italy's leading Roman Catholic newspaper reported yesterday.

Avvenire, which is owned by the Italian Conference of Roman Catholic bishops, said new details of the plot had emerged in documents presented to the Vatican in favour of putting the controversial wartime pontiff on the road to sainthood.

Avvenire said the German dictator feared the pope would be an obstacle to his plans for global domination and because the dictator wanted to eventually abolish Christianity.

It said that in 1944, shortly before the Germans retreated from Rome, SS General Karl Friedrich Otto Wolff had been directly ordered by Hitler to kidnap the pope. The newspaper said Wolff returned to Rome from his meeting with Hitler in Germany and arranged for a secret meeting with the pope.

The newspaper said Wolff had assured the pope he had no intention of carrying out Hitler's orders, but warned the pontiff to be careful"because the situation (in Rome) was confused and full of risks".

Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini had already fallen and a German-backed puppet regime was set up in northern Italy.

Avvenire said the details of the plot were in testimony Wolff gave before he died in Germany to church officials accumulating evidence to back efforts to have Pius eventually made a saint.

Other historians and authors have depicted Pius as being pro-German and have accused him of turning a blind eye to the Holocaust.

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