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The Catholic Church and the Jews

Argentina, 1933-1945

Graciela Ben-Dror

Publication Year: 2009

The impact of events in Nazi Germany and Europe during World War II was keenly felt in neutral Argentina among its predominantly Catholic population and its significant Jewish minority.

The Catholic Church and the Jews, Argentina, 1933-1945 considers the images of Jews presented in standard Catholic teaching of that era, the attitudes of the lower clergy and faithful toward the country’s Jewish citizens, and the response of the politically influential Church hierarchy to the national debate on accepting Jewish refugees from Europe. The issue was complicated by such factors as the position taken by the Vatican, Argentina’s unstable political situation, and the sizeable number of citizens of German origin who were Nazi sympathizers eager to promote German interests.
Argentina’s self-perception was as a “Catholic” country. Though there were few overtly anti-Jewish acts, traditional stereotypes and prejudice were widespread and only a few voices in the Catholic community confronted the established attitudes.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

The twelve and a half years of the Nazi era in Europe (January 1933-1945) were also a turbulent period in Argentina's history: the "infamous decade" (1933-1943) of a lame democracy, followed by two and a half years...

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pp. x-xii

The idea of writing this book developed in one of the beautiful coffee bars of Buenos Aires after the end of the military dictatorship in the mid-1980s. From a conversation with Prof. Haim Avni arose the idea of writing about the...

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pp. 1-18

Historical research regards the Holocaust of European Jewry as a unique event of special significance, not for the Jewish people alone, even though they were the primary victims of the Holocaust and were condemned to...

Part I: The Catholic Church in Argentina and Antisemitism

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1. The Consolidation of the Catholic Church in Argentina

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pp. 21-40

Two main themes emerge when examining the consolidation of the Catholic Church in Argentina and its influence on its environment. The first concerns relations between the Church and the state from the Spanish colonial period...

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2. The Consolidation of Antisemitism

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pp. 41-63

During the 1930s and 1940s a number of extremely antisemitic Catholic churchmen were conspicuous in Argentina, including the priests Julio Meinvielle, Leonardo Castellani, and Virgilio Filippo. Popular writers, such...

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3. The Stance of the Catholic Hierarchy toward the Jews

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pp. 64-89

Scholars of antisemitism agree that the religious factor is paramount in the development of antisemitism, but they differ over its degree of importance. For some, Christianity was the decisive factor in the past, whereas modern...

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4. The Turning Point:The Military Coup and “Catholic Argentina” 1943–1945

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pp. 90-110

A turning point in the historical process occurred on June 4, 1943, when the military junta known as GOU, led by General Arturo Rawson, put an end to the conservative regime of Dr. Ramón Castillo. The junta consisted of a..

Part 2: The Catholic Church in Argentinaand Its Attitude to Nazism and the Holocaust

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5. The Position of the Catholic Hierarchy in Argentina on the Nazi Regime

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pp. 113-131

Hitler’s assumption of power in Germany on January 30, 1933 was a turning point whose outcome could not be foreseen in the history of Europe in general, and of the Jews of Europe in particular. The consolidation of the...

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6. The Attitude of the Clergy to Nazism and the Jewish Refugees

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pp. 132-150

The parish clergy and members of the religious orders were highly active in Argentina. The Salesian and Jesuit orders in particular devoted considerable space in their journals to secular and political issues...

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7. The World War and Its Implications for the Argentinean Church

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pp. 151-177

The German invasion of Poland at the beginning of September 1939 confronted the Western powers with the full impact of German deceit and the failure of the policy of appeasement. The treaty obligations of Britain and...

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8. The Argentinean Church and the Plight of European Jewry, 1938–1942

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pp. 178-210

The anti-Jewish pogroms that took place in Germany, culminating in the destruction of Kristallnacht on November 9—10, 1938 shocked public opinion in the Western world. The changes in Germany that resulted from...

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9. The Reaction of Argentine Catholics to the Mass Murder of European Jews, 1942–1943

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pp. 211-234

The reports on the mass systematic murder of European Jews—widely publicized in Britain and the United States from the summer of 1942 onward, with peak coverage in November and December of that year—also reached...

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10. The End of the War:Turning Point or Continuation?

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pp. 235-247

Following the revolution of June 1943, a military junta—the GOU—ruled Argentina. The Catholic Church supported the coup, which in return upheld the interests of the Church and granted its activists important posts in the new...

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pp. 248-256

The Argentinean Catholic Church is an integral part of the Catholic world with a rich spiritual and theological tradition accumulated over centuries. This tradition includes patterns of thought and an approach to Jews and to...


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pp. 257-266

E-ISBN-13: 9780803220447
E-ISBN-10: 0803220448

Page Count: 278
Publication Year: 2009