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Transforming Anti-Semitism: The Civiltà Cattolica after the Shoah, 1945–65

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Chapter Summary

This chapter identifies the mechanisms through which the long tradition of Catholic anti-Semitism survived in the period between the end of the Second World War and the inauguration of the Second Vatican Council. In Western Europe and America, the Shoah only became a public, shared memory in the 1960s. La Civiltà Cattolica dedicated a long review to the drama, highlighting, in defense of the Holy See, its decisive role in helping, protecting, and hiding many persecuted Jews. As evidence of this, laudatory statements were marshaled from a number of Jews. The same interpretation of the persecution was used by Jesuits in the review dedicated to the book by Saul Friedländer on Pius XII and the Third Reich. Additionally, the promulgation of Nostra Aetate represented a turning point of unequivocal importance in the history of Catholicism in its relations with non-Christian religions and therefore Judaism.

Keywords: Catholic anti-Semitism; Jews; Judaism; La Civiltà Cattolica; Nostra Aetate; Pius XII; Second Vatican Council; Shoah



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