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The Popes against the Jews: The Vatican's Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitismby David I. Kertzer
Synopses & Reviews
A groundbreaking historical study based on documents previously locked in the Vatican’s secret archives: The Popes Against the Jews graphically shows how the Catholic Church helped make the Holocaust possible.
Pope John Paul II, as part of his effort to improve Catholic-Jewish relations, has himself called for a clear-eyed historical investigation into any possible link be-tween the Church and the Holocaust. An important sign of his commitment was the recent decision to allow the distinguished historian David I. Kertzer, a specialist in Italian history, to be one of the first scholars given access to long-sealed Vatican archives.
The result is a book filled with shocking revelations. It traces the Vatican’s role in the development of modern anti-Semitism from the nineteenth century up to the outbreak of the Second World War. Kertzer shows why all the recent attention given to Pope Pius XII’s failure to publicly protest the slaughter of Europe’s Jews in the war misses a far more important point. What made the Holocaust possible was groundwork laid over a period of decades. In this campaign of demonization of the Jews—identifying them as traitors to their countries, enemies of all that was good, relentlessly pursuing world domination—the Vatican itself played a key role, as is shown here for the first time.
Despite its focus, this is not an anti-Catholic book. It seeks a balanced judgment and an understanding of the historical forces that led the Church along the path it took.
Inevitably controversial, written with devastating clarity and dispassionate authority, The Popes Against
the Jews is a book of the greatest importance.
From the Hardcover edition.
David I. Kertzer was born in 1948 in New York City. He is Paul Dupee, Jr. University Professor of Social Science and a professor of anthropology and Italian studies at Brown University. He is the
Drawing on previously hidden Vatican sources and archival materials, a provovative historical study traces the evolution of anti-Semitism in the Catholic Church from the French Revolution to World War II and assesses the Church's role in promoting and disseminating a centuries-long demonization of the Jews throughout Europe that led to the Holocaust. Reprint. 40,000 first printing.
In this meticulously researched, unflinching, and reasoned study, National Book Award finalist David I. Kertzer presents shocking revelations about the role played by the Vatican in the development of modern anti-Semitism. Working in long-sealed Vatican archives, Kertzer unearths startling evidence to undermine the Church’s argument that it played no direct role in the spread of modern anti-Semitism. In doing so, he challenges the Vatican’s recent official statement on the subject, We Remember. Kertzer tells an unsettling story that has stirred up controversy around the world and sheds a much-needed light on the past.
About the Author
\David I. Kertzer was born in 1948 in New York City. He is Paul Dupee, Jr. University Professor of Social Science and a professor of anthropology and Italian studies at Brown University. He is the author of The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. The Popes Against the Jews was a finalist for the Mark Lynton History Prize and he has twice been awarded, in 1985 and 1990, the Marraro Prize from the Society for Italian Historical Studies for the best wrok on Italian history. He and his wife, Susan, live in Providence.
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History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Racism and Ethnic Conflict