Alois Hudal

Alois Hudal (also known as Luigi Hudal; 31 May, 1885 in Graz, Austro-Hungarian Empire13 May, 1963 in Rome, Italy) was a Rome-based bishop of Austrian descent. He was for thirty years head of the small Austrian-German congregation of Santa Maria dell'Anima in Rome and until 1937, an influential representative of the Austrian Church. In his 1937 book "The Foundations of National Socialism" Hudal praised Hitler and some of his policies and indirectly attacked the policies of the Vatican. After World War II, Hudal became infamous for the "ratline" he helped to establish, allowing prominent Nazi war criminals to escape trial.


A career in Rome

Bishop Alois Hudal was born on 31 May 1885, the son of a shoemaker in the Austrian city of Graz, where he studied theology (1904-1908) and was ordained to the priesthood in July 1908. Though the professorate promised to him at Vienna's university was never given, Hudal became a noted specialist on the liturgy, doctrine and spirituality of the Slavic-speaking Eastern Orthodox Churches. He ministered as a parish chaplain in Kindberg, before leaving to study in Rome. In 1911 he became a Doctor in Theolgy in Graz. After completing his doctorate studies, he entered the Teutonic College of Santa Maria dell'Anima in Rome where he was a chaplain (1911-1913), attending courses in Old Testament at the Biblical Institute. There he took his second doctoral degree, on "Die religioesen und sittlichen Ideen des Spruchbuches" ("The religious and moral ideas of the Book of Proverbs"). This dissertation was published in 1914. He took residency in the faculty for Old Testament Studies at the University of Graz in 1914. He was an assistant military chaplain during a period of service in the First World War. In 1917 he published his sermons to the soldiers, "Soldatenpredigten" (see below his selected works), in which he expressed the idea that "loyalty to the flag is loyalty to God", though also warning against "national chauvinism" at that time [Peter Godman, "Hitler and the Vatican", New York, 2004, p. 44] . In 1923 he was nominated rector of the Collegio Teutonico di Santa Maria dell'Anima (or simply "Anima") in Rome, a theological seminary for German and Austrian priests where he had lodged as a doctorate student [See "Collegio Teutonico di Santa Maria dell’Anima" (in German) [] .] . In 1930 he was appointed a consultant to the Holy Office by Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val, whom Hudal in his memoirs considered a "grand seigneur" of the Church" [A. Hudal, "Römische Tagebücher", p. 41, cited by Philippe Chenaux, "Pacelli, Hudal et la question du nazisme", "RSCI", January 2003.] . In June 1933 Hudal was ordained Titular Bishop of Aela by Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, who succeeded Merry del Val as the cardinal protector of the German national church at Rome [See "Hudal, Alois C." in BBKL [] and Peter Godman, op. cit.] .

Austria or Germany?

The Austrian ambassador Ludwig von Pastor, highly regarded as a papal historian and enjoying unparalleled access to the Vatican, introduced Hudal to Pius XI and the Vatican. On April 9, 1922, he first mentioned Hudal by recommending a scholarly Hudal publication on the "Serbo-Croatian National Church" to the interested Pontiff. [Pastor 744] On February 5, 1923, he recommended Hudal for the position in the Anima, mainly because he was Austrian. Ambassador von Pastor was concerned that Austria, which had just lost World War One and with it much influence, would lose the Anima for ages to come to a German, Dutch or Belgian candidate. [Pastor 764] The Pope enjoyed the power game smilingly, and agreed to nominate Hudal (in a private audience for Pastor on February 24, 1923). [Pastor 766 ] Hudal at once became "the Austrian front line" for Austria, the Austrian bishops' conference, and Austrian prestige in the Vatican, as German groups continued to attempt to retake the Anima. [Pastor 805] Pope Pius XI continued to support Hudal, simultaneously rejecting total Austrian hegemony over the Germans. He rejected an Austrian request to subordinate German pastoral care to the Austrian Hudal. [Pastor 806] In 1924, Hudal, in a rare Vatican ceremony in presence of Pope Pius XI, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri and numerous cardinals, delivered a laudation of Pastor. The Vatican commemorated the 40th anniversary of the first volume of Pastor’s papal history. [Pastor 787] Thus Hudal was established within the Vatican as the informal but leading Austrian Church representative, a position which he fully enjoyed and employed until the publication of his contoversal book on National Socialism.

Winds of nationalism and anti-Semitism

From 1933 on, Hudal embraced publicly the pan-Germanic nationalism he had previously condemned, proclaiming on July of that year that he always wished to be a "servant and herald" of "the total German cause" [Peter Godman, op. cit., p. 45, citing Hudal's "Ecclesiae et nationi...", 1934, see below his works.] . His invectives against the Jews also became more frequent, linking the so-called "Semitic race" - which allegedly "sought to set itself apart and dominate" - with the nefarious movements of democracy and cosmopolitanism and even denouncing an alleged Jewish conspiracy to become "the financial masters of the Eternal City" [Ibid., p. 45, quoting Hudal's "Vom deutschen Schaffen in Rom...", 1933, see below his works.] . His opportunism and duplicity are patent in several moves he made at the time. For example, he was capable of writing a preface to an Italian biography of Engelbert Dollfuss in 1935 without mentioning that the Austrian politician with whom he sympathized had been murdered by Austrian Nazis in the previous year. [Ibid., p. 46.]

Bolshevism and Liberalism as enemies

Hudal was a committed anti-Communist, but he also vehemently opposed Liberalism. Before Nazism, he was already highly critical of Parliamentary Democracy. His ideas were most similar to the political and economic ideas of his fellow Austrians Engelbert Dollfuss and Kurt Schuschnigg, as well as Franz von Papen in Germany, Salazar in Portugal and, in a less clear way, of Benito Mussolini in Italy. According to an author, "Hudal squarely fitted into a formula current at the time, the category of Clero-Fascism." [Greg Whitlock, "Alois Hudal: Clero-Fascist Nietzsche critic", "Nietzsche-Studien", volume 32, 2003.] Don Luigi Sturzo, the exiled Italian Catholic priest and Christian Democrat leader coined the term 'Clerical-Fascism' in the mid-20s to refer specifically to the faction of the Catholic party Italian People's Party (Partito Popolare Italiano-PPI) who chose to support Mussolini. It was used afterwards to describe various authoritarian situations and regimes supported by members of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, including Dollfuss's politics (see also Clerical Fascism and Austrofascism).

Hudal was most concerned about the class conflict tearing apart European society, in particular the rise of the international Communist movement and worker parties in Austria. Fear of "Bolshevism", as he called it, was his starting point, but this feeling turned into an aggressive political doctrine towards Russia: "Essential to understanding Hudal's politics is his fear that Bolshevist military forces would invade Italy through Eastern Europe or the Balkans and would be unstoppable until they destroyed the Church. Like many within the Church, he embraced the bulwark theory, which placed hope in a strong German-Austrian military shield to protect Rome. This protection involved a pre-emptive attack on godless Communism, Hudal believed, and so he felt an urgent need for a Christian army from Central Europe to invade Russia and eliminate the Bolshevist threat to Rome" [Ibid.] .

However, Communism was not his sole (and surely not his oldest) concern about Russia, since he was aiming at Eastern Christianity as well. In fact, Hudal's long-term goals were also "the reunification of Rome with the Eastern Orthodox Church and the conversion of the Balkans from the Serbian Orthodox Church to Catholicism" [Ibid.] . He expected that the invasion of the Soviet Union would also serve these fundamental aims. Especially since Pope Benedict XV and the Russian Revolution of 1917, which crushed the Russian Orthodox Church and was regarded by Catholics as a historical opportunity, Rome was anxious about ending the thousand-year East-West Schism that separated Christianity [Hansjakob Stehle, "Eastern Politics of the Vatican 1917-1979". Athens, Ohio University Press, 1981] .

"Good" and "bad" National Socialism

Hudal is said to have received a Golden Nazi Party membership badge [Karlheinz Deschner, "Ein Jahrhundert Heilsgeschichte", vol. II, Leck, 1983, pp. 135, 139.] , but the fact is disputed. In 1937, in Vienna, Hudal published a book entitled "The Foundations of National Socialism", with an imprimatur from Archbishop Innitzer, which was an enthusiastic endorsement of Hitler. Hudal sent Hitler a copy with a handwritten dedicacy praising him as "the new Siegfried of Germany's greatness" [Ernst Klee, "Persilscheine und falsche Pässe", Frankfurt, 1991 (see below the Bibliography)] . Nevertheless, the book was not allowed to circulate freely in Germany by the Nazis — who generally detested the Roman Catholic Church and did not wish its leading members to "clericalize" their ranks — though it was not banned. During the Nuremberg trials, Franz von Papen declared that, at first, Hudal's book had "very much impressed" Hitler, whose "anti-Christian advisers" were allegedly to blame for not allowing a free German edition. "All I could obtain was permission to print 2,000 copies, which Hitler wanted to distribute among leading Party members for a study of the problem", Von Papen said. ["Nuremberg Trials Proceedings", vol. 16, p. 285 [] .]

Hudal was highly critical of the works of several Nazi ideologues, like Alfred Rosenberg or Ernst Bergmann, who despised Christianity and considered it "alien to Germanic genius" [E. Bergmann, "Die deutsche Nationalkirche" (The German National Church), Breslau, 1933, cited by Peter Godman, op. cit., p. 51.] . The condemnation in 1934 by the Holy Office of Reich secretary Alfred Rosenberg's "The Myth of the Twentieth Century" and, shortly thereafter, of Ernst Bergmann's "The German National Church" had in fact been based on Hudal's secret assessment of both works [Peter Godman, op. cit.] In his own 1937 book, Alois Hudal proposed a reconciliation and a compromise between Nazism and Christianity, leaving the education of the youth to the Churches, while the latter would leave politics entirely to National Socialism. This had been the line followed by prominent German Catholic politician and former Reich Chancellor Franz von Papen too. In the autumn of 1934, Hudal had already explained this strategy to Pius XI, who received him in audience: the "good" ought to be separated from the "bad" in Nazism. The bad - that is Rosenberg, Bergmann and others - according to Hudal represented the "left wing" of the Nazi party. The "conservatives" - headed, he believed, by Hitler - should be redirected toward Rome, Christianized and used against the Communists and the Eastern danger [A. Hudal, "Römische Tagebücher", cited by Peter Godman, op. cit., p. 53.] . This may help explain why Hitler's hate-filled book, "Mein Kampf" was never put on the Index by Rome, as censors continually postponed and eventually terminated its examination, balking at taking on the "legal" chancellor of Germany [Tom Heneghan, "Secrets Behind The Forbidden Books", "America", February 7, 2005 [] ] . Hudal saw the danger in Hitler's entourage, not in his person. More than Hitler, he feared Baldur von Schirach's influence over the German youth.

The reaction of Rosenberg to Hudal's ideas was violent, and eventually the circulation of the "Foundations of National Socialism" was restricted in Germany. "We do not allow the fundaments of the Movement to be analyzed and criticized by a Roman Bishop" - said Rosenberg [Cited by Mark Aarons and John Loftus, "Unholy Trinity", New York, 1991, p. 31.] . In 1935, even before he wrote the "Foundations of National Socialism" Hudal had said about Rosenberg: "If National Socialism wants to replace Christianity by the notions of race and blood, we will have to face the greatest heresy of the twentieth century. It must be rejected by the Church as decisively as, if not more severely than [...] the Action Française, with which it shares some errors. But Rosenberg's doctrine is more imbued with negation and creates, above all in the youth, a hatred against Christianity greater than that of Nietzsche" [A. Hudal, "Das deutsche Volk und christliches Abenland", p. 24, cited by Greg Whitlock, op. cit] .

Despite the restrictions imposed on his book, and despite many harsh National Socialist restrictions against German monasteries and parishes, and effective attempts by the Nazi government to forbid Catholic education at schools, going as far as banning the crucifix in schools and other public areas (see the Oldenburg crucifix struggle of November 1936), even despite the Nazi dissolution and confiscation of Austrian monasteries and the official banning of Catholic newspapers and associations in annexed Austria ("Ostmark"), Bishop Hudal remained close to some of the Nazi regime's officials, as he was convinced that the Nazi new order would nevertheless prevail. Hudal was particularly close to Franz von Papen, who as the Reich's ambassador in Vienna prepared the German-Austrian agreement of 11 July 1936, which paved the way for the Anschluss. This agreement was enthusiastically backed by Hudal in the Austrian press, against the position of several Austrian Bishops. [Philippe Chenaux, "Pacelli, Hudal et la question du nazisme (1933-1938)", see below the Bibliography.] The former Centre politician Von Papen, who was considered dangerous and disliked by the Nazis for his Catholicism, was later on sent to the German Embassy in Ankara.

Vatican Reaction

Hudal had received his 1923 appointment , thanks to the very active intervention of the Papal historian and fellow Austrian Ludwig von Pastor, who died in 1928 and with him an extradorinary Austrian influence in the Vatican. When, in 1937, Hudal published his booklet on the basic foundations of National Socialism [Die Grundlagen des Nationalsozialismus.] Church authorities are upset, because of his deviations from Church policy and teachings. Hudal in 1937, without mentioning names, had openly questioned the Vatican policy of Pope Pius XI and Eugenio Pacelli towards National Socialism, which culminated in the same year in the encyclical Mit brennender Sorge, in which the Vatican openly attacks National socialism. The 1937 Hudal book freezes his steady rise in Rome and results in his abdication and removal from the eternal city after the war. His publication like his two previous, less obvious books "Rom, Christentum und deutsches Volk (1935) und Deutsches Volk und christliches Abendland (1935)" did not have any Imprimatur or ecclasiastical approval, which was another reason for the cooling off of relations with the Vatican of Pius XI. Hudal had proposed a anti-Semitic Faustian bargain between Church and Nazis, a truly Christian National Socialism: Education and Church affairs remain in the hands of the Church, which in turn recognizes the complete separation of politics to be exclusively National Socialist. [Grundlagen, 250] Together they would fight against Communism [(Römische Tagebücher, 17)] Hudal sees a direct link between Jews and Marxism. [(Grundlagen 86, 92)] and laments their alleged dominance in academic occupations [ (Grundlagen, 87)] Hudal supports discriminatory legislation against Jews in order to protect a people against foreign influences [(Grundlagen, 88)]

Break with the Vatican

But all this was too much for Pope Pius XI and Eugenio Pacelli. Both attempted first to change Hudal, but after several unsuccessful meetings, broke off all contacts . Hudal, in previous years a popular and influential guest in the Vatican, lived from 1938 on in de facto isolation in the Anima College (which position he was forced to abdicate in 1952.) Hudal's 1933 promotion to Bishop has been cited as evidence that he had close ties to members of the Roman Curia, particularly Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val (an ex-Secretary of State who died in 1930), and Cardinal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pius XII who had previously been Papal Nuncio in Germany. His very close relation to these prelates and to Pope Pius XI stopped after the publication of his book in 1937.

Hudal during World War Two

His exile within Rome continued during the years of World War Two. Bishop Hudal continued as pastoral head of the Anima Church and College but had not position in the Vatican State Department and no access to Pope Pius XII, and his senior staff. The French Jesuit historian, Fr. Pierre Blet, a co-editor of the "Acts and Documents", mentioned Hudal only once stating, that the pope's nephew Carlo Pacelli saw Hudal and after this meeting, Hudal wrote to the military governor of Rome, General Stahel, and urged him to supend all actions against the Jews. The Germans suspended the actions "out of the consideration for the special character of Rome [Pierre Blet, Pius XII snd the Second world War, 1999 p.216 ,] According to another author, however, the idea of Hudal's intervention came from the German ambassador himself, who asked the rector of the Anima to sign a letter to the military commander of Rome, General Reiner Stahel, requesting that the arrests be halted, otherwise the pope would take a position in public as being against the razzias. [Dan Kurzman, "A Special Mission", Da Capo Press, 2007, pp. 183-185.] Ambassador Weizsäcker argued that he opted for this ruse because Hitler might have reacted against the Vatican and the pope if it had been the German embassy to convey the warning, instead of the Nazi friendly bishop. [Dan Kurzman, Id.]

According to several sources, Hudal may at the same time have been a Vatican-based informer of German intelligence under the Nazi regime. Vatican historian Fr. Robert Graham SJ held that view more categorically in his book "Nothing Sacred". [Robert Graham and David Alvarez, "Nothing Sacred: Nazi Espionage against the Vatican, 1939-1945", London, 1998.] [On Hudal as a German spy, see also Klaus Voigt, "Zuflucht auf Widerruf. Exil in Italien 1933-1945" (Precarious refuge. Exile in Italy 1933-1945), vol. I, Stuttgart, Klett-Cotta, 1989.] Several other authors mention his contacts in Rome with SS intelligence chief Walter Rauff, the developer of the mobile extermination with gas vans ["The Development of the Gas-Van in the Murdering of the Jews", in Jewish Virtual Library [] .] . In September 1943, Rauff was sent to Milan, where he took charge of all Gestapo and SD operations throughout northwest Italy ["5 September 2005 releases: German intelligence officers", in Security Service, MI5, [] .] . Hudal is said to have met Rauff then and to have begun some cooperation with him that was useful afterwards in the setting up of an escape network for Nazis, including for Rauff himself. After the war Rauff escaped from a prisoner camp in Rimini and "hid in a number of Italian convents, apparently under the protection of Bishop Alois Hudal" ["Opening of CIA Records under Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act", in The National Archives, Press Release, May 8, 2002 [] ] , eventually finding safe haven in Syria and later in Chile.

Ratline organizer

After 1945, Hudal continued to be isolated in the Vatican. In his native Austria his pro-Nazi publication was now openly discussed and critiqued. In 1945, Austria forced Hudal to give up his Graz Professorship, however Hudal appealed on technicalities and regained the title two years later. [ Rom.Tagebücher 44]

Yet, after 1945, Hudal regained additional notoriety by working in the Rat-line, helping former Nazis to find safe haven in overseas countries. He viewed it as "a charity to people in for persons without any guilt who are to be made scapegoats for the failures of an evil system". [(Römische Tagebücher, 22)] He used the services from the Austrian Office [„Österreichischen Bureau"] in Rome, which has the necessary cards ("Carta di riconoscimento"), for migration mainly to Arab and South American countries. [(Römische Tagebücher, 34)] It is not clear, whether he was an official appointee of the Papal refugee organization or, whether he acted as de facto head of the Catholic Austrian community in Rome. He is credited with helping, networking and organising the escape of war criminals such as Franz Stangl, commanding officer of Treblinka. Stangl himself told Gitta Sereny [Gitta Sereny, "Into that Darkness", London, 1974.] that he went looking for Hudal in Rome, because he had heard that the bishop was helping the Germans. Hudal arranged quarters in Rome for him till his "Carta di riconoscimento" came through, then gave him money and a visa to Syria. Stangl then left for Damascus, where the bishop had found him a job in a textile factory [Ibid., p. 289.] . Other highly prominent Nazi war criminals helped by the Hudal network were SS captain Edward Roschmann, known as the "Butcher of Riga", doctor Josef Mengele, known as the "Angel of Death" at Auschwitz, Gustav Wagner, commanding officer of Sobibor, Alois Brunner, organizer of deportations from France and Slovakia to German concentration camps, and above all Adolf Eichmann, the man who had been put in charge of implementing the murder of European Jewry [See Michael Phayer, "Pius XII, the Holocaust and the Cold War", Bloomington and Indianapolis, 2007, pp. 195ff, and Uki Goñi, op. cit.] . In 1994 Erich Priebke, a former SS captain, told Italian journalist Emanuela Audisio, "La Repubblica", that Bishop Hudal helped him reach Buenos Aires, which was later admitted by Vatican historian Robert Graham SJ [Graham statements to ANSA news agency, 10 May 1994, cited by Uki Goñi, op. cit., p. 261 and note 453.] .

In 1945 Hudal gave refuge in Rome to Otto Wächter, who had played a leading role in the July Putsch of 1934 in Austria, which led to the assassination of Dollfuss. In 1938-1939, he headed the "Wächter-Kommission", the government body named after him that was responsible for the dismissal and/or compulsory retirement of all Jewish officials in Austria. ["1938: NS-Herrschaft in Österreich" (1938: The Nazi Rule in Austria) [] ] . From 1939 on, as governor of the Cracow district, Wächter organized the persecution of the Jews and ordered the establishment of the Cracow Ghetto in 1941. Wächter is mentioned as one of the leading advocates in the General Government who were in favor of the Jewish extermination by gassing and as a member of the SS team who under Himmler's supervision and Odilo Globocnik's direction planned Operation Reinhard, the first phase of the Final Solution, leading to the death of more than 2,000,000 Polish Jews [Robin O'Neil, "Belzec: Prototype for the Final Solution", chapters 5 and 10 [] .] . After the war Wächter lived in a Roman monastery "as a monk" ["Axis Biographical Research", page "Generalgouvernment" [] ] , under the protection of Bishop Hudal. He died on July 14, 1949, in the Roman hospital of Santo Spirito "in the arms" of Bishop Hudal [Ernst Klee, "Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich. Wer war was vor und nach 1945", S.Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2003, and Alois Hudal, "Römische Tagebücher", pp. 162-163.] .

Whether he worked as "Austrian Church Representative" or was one of twenty appointees in the POA is not documented. Such a possible appointment should however be viewed not as elevation but as a humiliation, since Bishop Hudal would have been subjected to taking orders from the regular priests and lower level Monsignors , who headed the POA after 1945. The Vatican, which was involved in helping over twelfth million refugees in post war Europe, was at that point less concerned with the political views of each individual who was participating in the gigantic effort to save millions of people from certain starvation and death. The ratline was possible in the enormity of the task and the resulting general confusion at several levels. Some historians take the view that Hudal was only a small player whose Ratline activities did not reflect any official policy at all. In particular, Catholic historians like Robert A. Graham (1913-1997) - an American Jesuit and a longtime Vatican operative who was co-editor of the 11-volume "Acts and Documents of the Holy See relative to the Second World War" [Vatican City, 1965-1981] - estimated Hudal as "small fish" and as someone who was acting on his own behalf.

While his official status was a minor one, Hudal clearly played a role in the rat line. In 1999, Italian researcher Matteo Sanfilippo revealed a letter drafted on 31 August 1948 by Bishop Hudal to Argentinian President Juan Perón, requesting 5,000 visas, 3,000 for German and 2,000 for Austrian «soldiers» [Matteo Sanfilippo, op. cit. Argentinian author Uki Goñi also mentions the fact in "The Real Odessa", op. cit., p. 229] . In the letter Hudal explained that these were not (Nazi) refugees, but anti-Communist fighters whose wartime «sacrifice» had saved Europe from Soviet domination. [Ibid.] According to Argentine researcher Uki Goñi, the documents he uncovered in 2003 show the Roman Catholic Church was also deeply involved in the secret network. "The Perón government authorized the arrival of the first Nazi collaborators [in Argentina] , as a result of a meeting in March 1946 between Antonio Caggiano, a [newly elevated] Argentine cardinal, and Eugène Tisserant, a French cardinal attached to the Vatican". [Larry Rohter,"Argentina, a Haven for Nazis, Balks at Opening Its Files", "New York Times", March 7, 2003 [] .]

After the war Hudal was in fact one of the main Catholic organizers of the Ratline nets, along with Monsignor Karlo Petranovic, an Ustasha war criminal who fled to Austria and then to Italy after 1945 [Uki Goñi, "The Real Odessa", op. cit., p. 235-236. According to this author, Monsignor Petranovic "was himself a war criminal and Ustasha captain who had been deputy to the local Ustasha leader at Ogulin, a district that saw the extermination of some 2,000 Serbs during the war." He adds: "The Monsignor organized and instigated many of these murders, personally directing the arrest and execution of 70 prominent Serbs." A request for his extradition by Yugoslavia "was ignored by the British authorities in 1947" (ibid., p. 235).] , Father Edoardo Dömöter, the Franciscan of Hungarian origin who forged the identity of Eichmann's passport, issued by the Red Cross in the name of Riccardo Klement ["Un frate francescano firmò la fuga di Genova di Eichmann", "Il Secolo XIX", August 14, 2003, p. 4. [] ] , and Father Krunoslav Draganović, a Croatian professor of Theology [Uki Goñi, "The Real Odessa", chapter "A Roman 'Sanctuary'", pp. 229-251.] . Draganović, a smuggler of fascist (ustasha) war criminals who had also been involved in pro-Fascist espionage, was recycled by the U.S. during the Cold War - his name appears in the Pentagon payrolls in the late 1950s and early 1960s - and was eventually granted immunity in Tito's Yugoslavia, where he died in 1983 at 79. Monsignor Karl Bayer, the Rome Director of Caritas International after the war, also cooperated with this ring. Interviewed in the 70s by Gitta Sereny, Monsignor Bayer recalled how he and Hudal had helped Nazis to Southern America with the Vatican's support: "The Pope [Pius XII] did provide money for this; in driblets sometimes, but it did come" [Gitta Sereny, op. cit., p. 289.] Hudal's Ratline was also supposedly financed by his friend Walter Rauff, with some funds allegedly coming from Giuseppe Siri, the recently appointed Auxiliary Bishop (1944) and Archbishop (1946) of Genoa [Mark Aarons and John Loftus, "Unholy Trinity", p. 39-40.] . Siri however was "a hero of the Resistance movement in Italy" during the German occupation of northern Italy. ["24 Hats", "Time Magazine" [December 8, 1952,9171,817551-2,00.html] ] Siri's involvement remains unproven.

According to Uki Goñi, "some of the financing for Hudal's escape network came from the United States", precising that the Italian delegate of the American National Catholic Welfare Conference provided Hudal "with substantial funds for his 'humanitarian' aid". [Uki Goñi, op. cit., p. 230.]

Furthermore, since the works of Graham and Blet were published, historian Michael Phayer, a professor at Marquette University (a Catholic, Jesuit University), has alleged the close collaboration between the Vatican (Pope Pius XII and Giovanni Battista Montini, then "Substitute" of the Secretariat of State, and later Paul VI), on the one side and Draganović and Hudal on the other, and has sustained that Pius XII himself was directly engaged in ratline activity. Against these allegations of the direct involvement of Pope Pius XII and his staff there are some opposing testimonies and the denial by Vatican officials of any involvement of Pius XII himself. But according to Michael Phayer, the American Bishop Aloisius Muench, Pius XII's own envoy to occupied western Germany after the war, "wrote to the Vatican warning the pope to desist from his efforts to have convicted war criminals excused". The letter, written in Italian, "is available in the archives of the Catholic University of America", according to Michael Phayer [M. Phayer, "The Author replies", "Commonweal", June 6, 2003 [] ] .

In his posthumously published memoirs, Hudal instead recalls with bitterness the lack of support he found the Holy See to give to Nazi Germany's battle against "godless Bolshevism" at the Eastern Front. Hudal several times in this work claims to have received criticism of the Nazi system rather than support for it from the Vatican diplomats under Pius XII. He assumed that the Holy See's policy during and after the war was entirely controlled by the western AlliesFact|date=September 2007. Until his death Hudal was convinced he had done the right thing, and said that he considered saving German and other fascist officers and politicians from the hands of Allied prosecution, a "just thing" and "what should have been expected of a true Christian", adding: "We do not believe in the eye for an eye of the Jew". [A. Hudal, "Römische Tagebücher", pp. 21.] He said that the justice of the Allies and the Soviets had resulted in show trials and lynchings, including the major trials at Nuremberg. [Ibid., pp. 220-254.] In his memoirs he also developed a curious theory about the economic causes of World War II, which allowed him to plainly justify for himself his acts in favour of Nazi and Fascist war criminals: «The Allies' War against Germany was not a crusade, but the rivalry of economic complexes for whose victory they had been fighting. This so-called business ... used catchwords like democracy, race, religious liberty and Christianity as a bait for the masses. All these experiences were the reason why I felt duty bound after 1945 to devote my whole charitable work mainly to former National Socialists and Fascists, especially to so-called 'war criminals'». [Ibid., p. 21.]

During the war Hudal had sheltered victims of the national-socialist system in the buildings of Santa Maria dell'Anima, which were used as safe-houses by the resistance. Hardly anything has been made public about this escape line; the late brigadier John Burns, a New-Zealander, has given a fairly detailed description of it when recalling his escape of an Italian POW-camp in 1944 [John Burns [] , "Life is a Twisted Path", Rome, 2002.]

Resignation and death

Hudal's activities caused a press scandal in 1947, after he was accused of leading a Nazi smuggling ring by the "Passauer Neue Presse", a Catholic newspaper, but, as in 1923, playing the Austrian versus the Vatican and German cards, he only resigned as rector of Santa Maria dell'Anima in 1952, under joint pressure from the German and Austrian bishops and the Holy See. In January 1952, the Bishop of Salzburg told Hudal that the Holy See wanted to dismiss him. In June Hudal announced to the cardinal protector of Santa Maria dell'Anima that he had decided to leave the College, though disapproving of the Church allegedly being governed by the Allies. [Matteo Sanfilippo, "Los papeles de Hudal como fuente para la historia de la migración de alemanes y nazis después de la segunda guerra mundial", "Estudios Migratorios Latinoamericanos", 43, 1999, p. 185-209).] He resided afterwards in Grottaferrata, near the city of Rome, where in 1962 he wrote his embittered memoirs called "Römische Tagebücher. Lebensbeichte eines alten Bischofs" (Diaries of Rome. The Confession of Life of an Old Bishop), published posthumously in 1976. Until his death in 1963, he never gave up in trying to obtain an amnesty to Nazis. [In 1959-1960, for example, Hudal's correspondence shows his efforts to obtain an amnesty in Greece and West Germany (Matteo Sanfilippo, op. cit.)] Despite his protests against anti-Semitism in the 1930s, in his memoirs, with full knowledge of the Holocaust as of 1962, the "Brown Bishop" [In 1949, Hudal was labeled in German "church circles" as the "brauner Bischof", according to the German newspapers "Nord Press" (December 6, 1949, p. 4) and the above cited "Passauer Neue Press" (December 13, 1949, p. 3).] said of his actions in favour of war criminals and genocide perpetrators and participants: "I thank God that He opened my eyes and allowed me to visit and comfort many victims in their prisons and concentration camps and [to help] them escape with false identity papers" — where these so-called "victims" were in fact Axis prisoners of war and their "concentration camps" Allied detention camps. [A. Hudal, "Römische Tagebücher", English translation quoted in Greg Whitlock, op. cit.]

Alois Hudal was not a poor person. After he is banned from Rome by the Vatican of Pope Pius, he withdraws to his sumptuous residence in Grottaferrata near Rome, very bitter against Pope Pius XII. According to some accounts, he invited a young German playwright Hochhuth for conversations on the Pope. However, not only the Vatican, the Austrian public is upset with Hudal especially at his last trip to Austria in 1961. [(Römische Tagebücher)] He died in 1963. His diaries are published in Austria thirteen years after his death and describe perceived Vatican injustices he experienced under Pope Pius XI and Pius XII after the publication of his book. He maintains the opinion, that a Faustian bargain between socialism, nationalism and Christianity is the way of the future. [ (Römische Tagebücher 14)]


elected works of Alois Hudal

*"Soldatenpredigten" (Graz, 1917) - Sermons to the Soldiers.
*"Die serbisch-orthodoxe Nationalkirche" (Graz, 1922) - The Serbian Orthodox National Church.
*"Vom deutschen Schaffen in Rom. Predigten, Ansprachen und Vorträge", (Innsbruck, Vienna and München, 1933) - On the German Work in Rome. Sermons, Speeches and Lectures.
*"Die deutsche Kulturarbeit in Italien" (Münster, 1934) - The German Cultural Activity in Italy.
*"Ecclesiae et nationi. Katholische Gedanken in einer Zeitenwende" (Rome, 1934) - The Church and the Nations. Catholic Thoughts in the Turn of an Era.
*"Rom, Christentum und deutsches Volk" (Rome, 1935) - Rome, the Christendom and the German People.
*"Deutsches Volk und christliches Abendland" (Innsbruck, 1935) - The German People and the Christian Occident.
*"Der Vatikan und die modernen Staaten" (Innsbruck, 1935) - The Vatican and the Modern States.
*"Das Rassenproblem" (Lobnig, 1935) - The Race Problem.
*"Die Grundlagen des Nationalsozialismus" (Leipzig and Vienna, 1936-37 and facsimile edition Bremen, 1982) - The Foundations of National Socialism.
*"Nietzsche und die moderne Welt" (Rome, 1937) - Nietzsche and the Modern World.
*"Europas religiöse Zukunft" (Rome, 1943) - The Religious Future of Europe.
*"Römische Tagebücher. Lebensbeichte eines alten Bischofs" (Graz, 1976) - Diaries of Rome. The Confession of Life of an Old Bishop.


* Ludwig von Pastor, "Tagebücher, Briefe Erinnerungen," Heidelberg, 1950
*Robert Graham and David Alvarez, "Nothing Sacred: Nazi Espionage against the Vatican, 1939-1945", London: Frank Cass, 1998.
*Michael Phayer, "The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965", Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2000.
*Michael Phayer, "Canonizing Pius XII. Why did the pope help Nazis escape?", "Commonweal", May 9, 2003 / Vol. CXXX (9) [] .
*Michael Phayer, "Pius XII, the Holocaust, and the Cold War", Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana University Press, 2007. Hudal is mentioned throughout the book, and especially in chapter 8, "Bishop Hudal's Ratline", pp. 195-207.
*Pierre Blet, "Pius XII and the Second World War: According to the Archives of the Vatican", New York, Paulist Press, 1997.
* Greg Whitlock, "Alois Hudal: Clero-Fascist Nietzsche critic", "Nietzsche-Studien", volume 32, 2003.
* Gitta Sereny, "Into that Darkness", London, Deutsch, 1974.
* Ernst Klee, "Persilscheine und falsche Pässe. Wie die Kirchen den Nazis halfen" (Whitewash Certificates and False Passports. How the Churches Helped the Nazis), Frankfurt, Fischer Geschichte, 1991.
* Ernst Klee, "Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich. Wer war was vor und nach 1945", S.Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2003.
* Robert Katz, "Dossier Priebke. Anatomia di un processo", Milano, Rizzoli, 1996.
* Uki Goñi, "The Real Odessa. How Perón Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina", London, Granta, 2002 (with many valuable references to Hudal and the "Ratlines", including new details on Hudal's role in Eichmann's escape to Argentina).
* Peter Godman, "Hitler and the Vatican", New York, Free Press, 2004 (one of the most reliable and up-to-date sources on Hudal).
* Marcus Langer, "Alois Hudal, Bischof zwischen Kreuz und Hakenkreuz. Versuch eine Biographie" (Bishop Alois Hudal : Between Cross and Swastika. Attempt at a biography), PhD thesis, Vienna, 1995.
* Dan Kurzman, "A Special Mission : Hitler's Secret Plot to Seize the Vatican and Kidnap Pope Pius XII", Cambridge, Da Capo Press, 2007.
* Matteo Sanfilippo, "Los papeles de Hudal como fuente para la historia de la migración de alemanes y nazis después de la segunda guerra mundial" (Hudal's papers as a source for the history of the migration of Germans and Nazis after World War II), "Estudios Migratorios Latinoamericanos", 43, 1999, p. 185-209.
* Philippe Chenaux, "Pacelli, Hudal et la question du nazisme 1933-1938", "Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia", January/July 2003, p.133-154.
*Mark Aarons and John Loftus "Ratlines: How the Vatican's Nazi Networks Betrayed Western Intelligence to the Soviets", London, Heinemann, 1991 (republished in the U.S. as "Unholy Trinity", New York, St. Martin's Press, 1991).
* Johan Ickx, "The Roman 'non possumus' and the Attitude of Bishop Alois Hudal towards the National Socialist Ideological Aberrations", in: Gevers L., Bank J (ed.), "Religion under Siege. The Roman Catholic Church in Occupied Europe (1939-1950)", I ("Annua Nuntia Lovaniensia", 56.1), Löwen, 2008, 315 ff.

External links

* "Krunoslav Draganovic", in "The Pavelic Papers" []
* Erika Weinzierl, "Kirche und Nationalsozialismus" [] , with photos of Hudal, Archbishop Innitzer and fac-simile of several documents concerning the Anschluss, namely a welcome letter by the Austrian Bishops collectively (The "Solemn Declaration" of March 18, 1938) and a letter to the "Gauleiter" by Archbishop Innitzer individually, with the famous final handwritten phrase: "und Heil Hitler!".
* "Luigi Hudal, bishop of Aela" [] (Hudal's position in the Catholic hierarchy).
* "Hudal, Alois C." [] , "Biographisch Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon" (BBKL).
* Dominik Burkard, "Alois Hudal – ein Anti-Pacelli? Zur Diskussion um die Haltung des Vatikans gegenüber dem Nationalsozialismus", "Zeitschrift für Religions und Geistesgeschichte", Volume 59 (1), January 2007 [] .
* Vatican Radio, "Symposium on Bishop Hudal and", 2006. ( [ Link] )

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