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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Are They Joking?

       When Estase was a teenager he listened to a crappy Irish band called U2.  They had a song on their album "Rattle and Hum" called "Bullet the Blue Sky."  After listening to this dreck a couple of hundred times, Estase realized "Bullet the Blue Sky" was an indictment of the United States as a militaristic, nasty, money-obsessed country.  In other words, U2 was Obama before Obama was Obama.  At that point, Boner and all his little drunkie friends became anethema to Estase.  At that point, I became extremely suspicious of rock musicians and their wisdom in general.  So when Estase learned Adam Levine, the tatooed sex-obsessed frontman of Maroon 5 said "I hate this country" on The Voice, he  did not surprise anyone.  Popular culture helped elect Oh Blah Blah because the actors and musicians despise our military, our traditions, and the capitalist system that made them rich.  Scarlett Johannson seems much uglier when you consider that she is a pro-abort who backs Oh Blah Blah.  Was Levine joking?  Was Johannson joking? Was Bono joking?

The New Church

       Dr. Janet Smith has come up with an argument about how the Archdiocese of New York did nothing wrong by covering abortion and contraception in its contract with health workers.  Estase won't bother with reading it.  Why?  Because Dr. Smith is engaging in a high level casuistry to justify cooperation with evil.  And the bizarre thing is that it is the same kind of cooperation with evil that the Catholic bishops have been protesting against in terms of the HHS mandate of Obamacare for a year!  Cardinal Dolan (Oh Blah Blah's good friend, who likes to hang out with the President and have dinner with him, and who refuses to endorse refusing communion to pro-abortion politicians, as does Cardinal Wuerl of Washington) has vitiated the argument that the Church cannot fund abortion and contraception, because he already has funded abortion and contraception.  So what has all this huffing and puffing about not complying with the HHS mandate been about?  The Catholic church can pay for abortion and contraception in some cases, but not others? 

       When Jesus made the analogy of giving to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, the meaning was (in my view) that money can be given to the government, but that's all government can expect from us.  The government doesn't own us.  The government doesn't control our will, our intellect, our soul.    This is why the Catholic Church once thought it should be in the health care business in the first place.  Once, the Catholic Church saw fostering human life as a part of its ministry.  The behavior of Catholic bishops today is quite different.  Now, handing out free stuff to the poor is the only criterion.  This is why Sister Carol Keegan sees nothing wrong with fostering Obamacare even as it will run her Scranton hospitals out of business.  All that's important is that people get free health care.  It matters not a bit if formerly Catholic hospitals now provide abortions.  It matters not a bit if Catholic hospitals offer contraception and abortion to their employees in New York.  What does the revelations about New York demonstrate?  One, Catholic health care is dead.  Nowhere in America does a Catholic hospital actually act according to Catholic morality, or if it does, Estase hasn't heard where.  Second, the bishops have been complaining that they can't do something that the Archbishop of New York has already agreed to.  And the leading Catholic ethicist has come up with a moral justification!  So does the government have the right to expect more than money from us?  If the Church is in the process of ceding its role in health care to the government, is the government the new Church? 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Crimes Against History

       "It was the sound of boots running toward the palazzo front door which had first warned Princess Pallavicini.  She was alone:  having sent her cook and maid south to her country home, together with her chauffeur and gardener.  She knew that if she was discovered forging documents they would be imprisoned--or even executed as collaborators.
       Already her friend, Princess Virginia Agnelli, the widow of Edoardo Agnelli, the Turin Fiat heir, was imprisoned in the San Gregorio Convent;  in spite of the Lateran Treaty, the building had been turned by the Fascists into a prison for the ladies of the Black Nobility.  Virginia had smuggled out a message to Nina that she was 'reasonably comfortable and I can use the chapel.' 
       The kicking of boots against the front door and shouts in German sent Nina racing to the back of the palace to jump out of a ground floor window.  Knowing the penalty of death faced her when her illegal wireless was discovered she ran through the streets to the only person and place she knew would provide sanctuary--Monsignor O'Flaherty in the German college.
        That night O'Flaherty found her a bedroom in the nun's quarters.  Hours later Radio Rome broadcast that she was to be arrested on sight for using an illegal radio and working for the enemy.  A substantial reward was announced for her capture.  O'Flaherty told Nina he had obtained permission for her to stay in the college for the forseeable future where she would continue to produce her documents until the Allies arrived.  Nina worked from a basement room and the special paper and equipment she had left behind in the palazzo was replaced by an old friend of O'Flaherty's, Count Guisseppe Dalla Torre, the editor of L'Osservatore Romano. 

       From her office window in the synagogue Rosina {Sorani} watched the approaching freight cars.  She knew why they were there and did not know what to do.  Apart from the caretaker she was the only person in the building.
        Rosina had hardly slept in the small apartment Settimio had found them.  They discussed late into the night what Father Weber had told her brother after she helped to burn the documents Settimio had brought from his office.
        The priest had assured him he would take care of the remaining refugees in Delasem's care, mostly women and children.  Settimio had given him a list of their names and addresses.  He had begun to worry about the Germans finding it.  She had tried to reassure him, though she herself had become increasingly uneasy:  First Almansi and now Foa and Rabbi Zolli had disappeared.  There had still been no reply as she had continued to call the numbers of the president and the chief rabbi into the early hours.  She knew there was no point in calling Almansi.  He had said he would never answer the phone in his hiding place, instead he would call the synagogue and leave a message where he could be found at a different place every evening in the city 'in order to deal with matters relavant to carrying out my duties.'
        The freight cars were now parked outside the synagogue and she recognized the three officers from the ERR who had descended from the car and were leading the overalled men into the synagogue.
         The younger of the officers, who had spoken to her in Hebrew the first time he came into the synagogue, politely asked her to lead them to the library.  Rosina had said it was locked.  The officer who had threatened her ordered her to open it.  Rosina said she did not have the key.  He motioned to one of the soldiers to follow him and moments later there was the sound of the library door being forced open.  The looting of the library was about to start.
       A crowd had begun to form in the street below.  Among them was Umberto di Veroli, who had come out from his shop opposite the synagogue to see what was happening.  The soldiers had formed a line to hold back people.
       As the removal men emerged with books the ERR men supervised their storage in the freight cars.  Sheets of corrugated paper were placed between the books to protect them.  Slowly and carefully the piles of irreplaceable literature filled each car to its roof.  A total of 26,568 volumes were ready for their long train journey to Germany.  It was early evening when the work was finished.
        The Hebrew-speaking officer thanked Rosina for her 'patience and understanding.'  She told him it was not appropriate to thank her for what had been done.  He gave her a Heil Hitler salute and joined the others in the car.  As the freight cars trundled back up the road Umberto di Veroli handed her a sheet of paper on which he had written the stenciled numbers on the freight cars;  saying he hoped that one day they could help to trace the stolen library.  Close to tears he called it a crime against history.
        Four years would pass until in October 1947 an officer in the monuments, fine arts, and archives section of the Allied military government in West Germany was assigned to discover the fate of the books.  Major Seymour J. Pomerenze, a former archivist at the National Archives in Washington, found they had been shipped to the ERR Institute der NSDP fuer Erforschung der Judenfrage in the small village of Hungen.  From there Pomeranze traced them to the Rothschild Library in Frankfurt and they were shipped back to Rome.  Like so many books they had survived being sacrificed as a burnt offering to racial hatred in Nazi Germany.
       On that Wednesday evening when the freight cars had departed, Foa arrived at the synagogue with its caretaker.  Rosina was waiting for them and together they went to the Treasury, the repository of the gold articles used in religious sermons.  They carried them down to the synagogue's mikvah, the ritual bath.  While Rosina stood guard at the entrance the men began to place the precious pieces in the tank of holy water which supplied the bath.  That night back in his hiding place, Foa wrote, 'With the help of God they are saved and kept intact.'  But the fate of many of those who used them was drawing closer.
       Sister Pascalina had taken upon herself the task of keeping track of the number of Jews who had been rescued by the Vatican since October 1942, when Italy's leading Fascist newspaper, Regime Fascista, had reminded its readers that 'we should not forget that in the long run the pope is a greater enemy of National Socialism than Churchill or Roosevelt.  It is incomprehensible that the Catholic clergy should today support so many protests against the elimination of the Jews.'
        Pascalina's own record keeping would include details of a secret letter the pope wrote to the Catholic bishops of Europe in 1942 after the Wannsee Conference.  Headed Opere et caritate (by work and charity), it asked them to 'save the Jews and other victims of persecution.'  Pius requested his letter remain secret 'for the same reason the International Red Cross and the World Council of Churches had avoided making any public statement which would increase the suffering of Jews.'
        Pascalina's records also showed that in the late summer of 1943 over two thousand Jews in Hungary were given documents by the Vatican which identified them as baptized Catholics.  The cardinal of Genoa had been told to have his priests issue baptism certificates to eight hundred Jews hidden in the city.  In every city, town, and village where Jews were hidden, Pius had sanctioned priests to provide the certificates and, in some cases, make Jews citizens of the Vatican.  All told, there were over four thousand Jews hidden in convents and monasteries across Italy.
       In Rome the number of Jewish families being sheltered had increased since Father Weber had brought those on the Delasem list to convents.  Many arrived in the ambulance driven by Monsignor Patrick Carroll-Abbing.  The vehicle now bore Vatican license plates to protect it from being stopped by German police.
        Nevertheless, a different problem had arisen one October morning when Father Patrick arrived at the convent of Our Lady of Sion and found a group of Jewish families he had earlier brought to the convent in an uproar.  The mother superior had told them their menfolk could not stay in the convent because the order's rule forbid it.  Father Patrick asked the nun to keep the men until he returned.  He had driven to the Vatican and explained the situation to Father Leiber.  He had immediately telephoned the mother superior to say she was absolved from the order's rule as the Holy Father had decreed that 'given the grave situation, nuns are allowed to give hospitality in their convent to Jewish men as well as their families.'  By the end of the day over a hundred and fifty mother superiors had been contacted and given the same ruling.
        By the second week of October O'Flaherty's organization had found secure hiding places for close to five hundred Allied soldiers.  The number would have been greater but for the number of escapees caught on the streets by the Koch or Black Panther gangs who were incarcerated in an old palace near the Pantheon.
        Derry told O'Flaherty it was time the escapees in hiding were reminded they 'are under British military discipline and not to damn well go wandering through the streets like tourists.  They need to understand that feeding, clothing, and finding them hiding places is a dangerous game.'
       O'Flaherty suggested that Derry should visit the safe houses.
       His ID card in his suit pocket and escorted by Father Owen Sneddon--the New Zealand priest who had chosen 'Horace' as his code name--Derry's tour of the safe houses gave him an insight into the courage of Romans risking their lives to help escapees.  Before he left each safe house Derry firmly impressed on the soldiers they were in a position of great responsibility to ensure their helpers were not caught.
       After once more installing his family in the apartment his wife's gynecologist had loaned them, Zolli had gone to see Father Borsarelli, the abbot of the Sacred Heart monastery in Rome.  The priest had become a confidant of the chief rabbi after Zolli visited the monastery to see its small but important collection of religious paintings.  After several visits Zolli had eventually told Borsarelli of his spiritual journey through prayer and meditation which had brought him from devout Judaism to wishing to convert to Catholicism.
        Now, the abbot had asked hism to wait while he went to make a telephone call.  When he returned he told Zolli they would go and collect his wife and children and take them to the Vatican where they could stay with the full blessing of the pope.  The abbot told Zolli that among the pope's favorite saints was Saint Neri, 'who had always prayed for the Hebrews and so intense was his desire to see the Jews united to Christ that at the sight of one of them still outside the fold, he would weep.'
      It was dusk when the monastery's old car drove into the Vatican.  Inside its walls the chief rabbi and his family would become the latest of three hundred Jews who had so far been given sanctuary.  The Pope's Jews, by Gordon Thomas pgs.185-86, and 195-199.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Roundup, Part Two

       "Realizing that the broadcast had provided an opportunity to abandon the plot.  Wolff had flown to see Hitler and told him that the whole of Catholic Italy would defend the Vatican to protect the pope.
       Warming to his argument, Wolff went on to tell Hitler that to deal with mass civil unrest would require German troops to be withdrawn from the southern front where they were engaged trying to hold back the advancing Allies.
       The atmosphere in Hitler's office was captured in Wolff's account preserved in the Jesuit Curia library at the Borgo Santo Spirito in Rome:'Hitler, his hand trembling, stood at his office window staring out at the fir trees, the look on his face one when he received bad news.'  Wolff told him he had asked Bishop Alois Hudal to 'persuade' Pius to leave the Vatican voluntarily.  It emerged that Hudal actually went through the motions of exploring the idea with fellow Nazi sympathizers in the Vatican.  But no doubt awed by the responsibility stemming from their mere knowledge of the proposal, they refused to take it any further.  Only then had Hudal abandoned the idea.
       Wolff recalled how Hitler had finally turned from his office window and cancelled the plot, 'the madness in his eyes all too evident.'

       Hauptsturmfuhrer Theodor Dannecker arrived in Rome by train on the evening of October 8, 1943.  He was thirty years old, a slim, lantern-jawed bachelor and his height, six feet three inches tall, did nothing to compensate for his poorly coordinated body movements, which included a tic that continually flicked his head to one side.
       Early that year he had carried out deportations from Bulgaria, Greece, and Yugoslavia of over eleven thousand Jews to Aushwitz and Treblenka.  Previously he had performed similar operations in France, Poland, Belgium, and Holland.  In all, Dannecker had sent several hundred thousand Jews to their deaths.  Ironically his first girlfriend, Lisbeth Stern, had been Jewish.
       As usual Eichmann's office had arranged for him to travel alone in a reserved compartment to give him time to think how he would plan his latest mission.  On the train he had read the dispatches Kappler had sent:  his call for more troops to conduct the roundup and his concern about the Rome Resistance.  Dannecker understood why Eichmann had decided Kappler was not capable of conducting a successful Judenaktion.  Perhaps living in Rome had made him soft.  Dannecker had seen that happen before when a local police chief in Belgrade had refused to carry out executions.  Danneker, then a member of the SS Verfuegungstruppe, a specialist combat support force, had shot him.  After Eichmann selected him to head the Judenreferat, the Jewish department, Dannecker summed up his work in the words of his hobby.  'Over the years I have learnt which hook to use for which fish.'
       In his finely tailored SS uniform and polished boots he embodied someone to be feared and hated;  a brutal, mean, crude man.
        Following his usual custom of remaining unobtrusive on a mission Dannecker stayed in a small hotel on Via Po.  The accomodation had been arranged for him by one of the Judennaktion officers who had arrived in Rome earlier;  he had worked with Dannecker for a year and knew his habits.
       Dannecker had changed out of his uniform into a suit and eaten alone at a nearby restaurant;  the quality of the food was indifferent but it was still better than that offered in Berlin.  Afterward he had walked around Rome, studying the solid marble statues and the sarcophagi.  The city, he decided, was even more impressive than Paris.  Rome had its priests in black, white and purple robes and the Latin Mass which came from a church he passed.  And, of course, there were the Romans:  children sitting on the marble edges of fountains;  the young women, their hair often the color of flame;  old men and women sitting at their tables in pavement cafes.  How many of those he had seen were Jews?  How many would die under his orders?

       Pope Pius continued to receive reports from the network.
       In the monastery founded by Saint Francis of Assisi a synagogue had been opened in the basement where close to a hundred Jews in hiding could worship while the monks prayed above in the chapel.  The Vatican information office, where Sister Luke worked, had opened a special unit to deal with overseas Jews seeking news of their relatives.  By October 1943, the unit had answered twenty thousand inquiries in a month.  The pope had appointed his own liason with Delasem, the Capucine Father Bourg D're.  He had been given a 'start-up' sum of five million lire to provide food, clothing, and medicine for Jewish refugees arriving in Rome.
       The pope's response to every report contained the reminder that as well as saving Jews, every effort must be made to save the contents of synagogues and cultural centers, especially the libraries.  'For Jewish people their history is as important to be protected as ours,' Pius wrote.
       On that October morning Rosina Sorani sat at her desk sorting through Foa's mail when she heard footsteps coming up the stairs from the ground floor.  The tread was too heavy for Foa and he usually called up to have his coffee ready.  A stocky, barrel-chested, middle-aged man stood in the doorway.  He gave her a snaggletoothed smile and introduced himself as a photographer from the ERR who had come to inspect numerous texts in the library.  He handed her a typed sheet.
       Rosina looked at the paper and saw it listed the rarest works in the library:  books from the famous Soncino publishing house dating from the fifteenth century;  original texts from sixteenth-century Constantinople and Salonika;  manuscripts which were histories of the literary and intellectual life of Rome;  a record of how the kabala came to replace already existing philosophy;  a thirteenth-century mathematics text and an extremely rare Hebrew-Italian-Arabic vocabulary published in Naples in 1488.  Finally there were twenty-one Talmudic tracts.
       Rosina hesistated.  The precious texts were kept in a locked area at the back of the library and though she had a key to open it she wondered if she needed Foa's permission to admit a stranger.  The officer said she should accompany him to the library and reassure herself that he'd handle the manuscripts and books with proper care.  Foa had not arrived and she decided he would probably have no objection;  besides, in the past she had allowed Rabbi Zolli and one or two of the senior students at the rabinnical college to look at some of the books to research papers they were writing.  She led the way to the library, gave the officer a pair of white cotton gloves, and unlocked the door to the room where the books were kept.
       She saw he was an expert, in the way he opened a book, softly touching the paper and leafing through the pages, the way she had seen Rabbi Zolli do.  The man had the same attention to touch, running a gloved hand down a page, stopping at a special point of interest to him before moving on to another page.  At times he would smile at Rosina as she handed him a document, identifying it as a codex or a palimpsest.  He would stand there, sometimes moving a hand above the page as if he was giving it some sort of benediction.
       Much of what he asked to see was written in obscure alphabets.  She had asked him about one and he told her it was Armenian, a branch of the old Christian church.  But mostly he remained silent, his eyes fixed on a page, his eyes widening and brightening.  Occasionally he would breathe in, the way Rabbi Zolli did when he seemed to know where to look for a particular text.
       Finally he finished.  Rosina locked the door behind them and walked him back to her desk;  he turned to her and delivered a terrifying sentence.  'You will please inform your president that the library is under sequester and if any books are missing you will have to pay with your life.'
       He turned and walked down the stairs.
When Foa arrived later that morning she told him about the latest visit of the ERR official.
       He dictated four letters for her to type.  The first was to General Stahel;  the others were to the neo-Fascist city administration:  the minister of interior, the minister of education, and the director general of public safety.  Each had the same text:  an account of the ERR visits;  the sequestering of the library;  its unique value.  It concluded by asking that immediate and appropriate action be taken to protect the library.  After signing the letters Foa told Rosina to hand deliver them to the various addresses.  He would never receive a reply.

       Dannecker's hope that his mission would remain secret failed through a regulation General Stahel had introduced.  Like every hotel guest in Rome, Dannecker had to register.  As a serving officer he was only required to provide his name, rank, and unit on the form which was routinely collected and brought to the Stadtkommandant's headquarters at the Hotel Flora.  There it was checked against a list of names of expected military officers arriving in the city;  they were usually on leave or on their way to another posting.
       But Dannecker's name was not listed.  Its absence might had been ignored in some other headquarters, but Stahel from the outset of his appointment as Stadtkommandant had ordered that any oversight was to be tracked down and rectified.  One of his staff officers was ordered to call Berlin and was told Dannecker was in Rome on the order of Obersturmbannfuhrer Eichmann and his presence was to remain secret, a classification approved by Reichfuhrer Himmler.
       Stahel was furious.  For him no one could come to Rome on even a secret mission without him being told its purpose.  It had been infuriating to learn over the radio and newspapers of a plot to kidnap the pope of which he had known nothing beforehand and which had caused such an outcry.  But now to find that Eichmann--a man Stahel strongly disliked--had somehow enlisted Himmler's backing for some secret mission was too much;  Stahel's instinct told him it could only bring trouble for him.  He had called Kesselring at his headquarters in Frascati.  The commander-in-chief had been firm:  Dannecker's mission must remain Geheime Reichssache--a secret affair of the Reich."  The Pope's Jews by Gordon Thomas pgs162-165, 167-168,173-175, and175-176

Friday, May 17, 2013

Cooper's Hill

With a tip of the petasus to the University of Toronto (

Sure we have poets that did never dream
Upon Parnassus, nor did taste the stream
Of Helicon, and therefore I suppose
Those made not poets, but the poets those.
And as Courts make not Kings, but Kings the Court,
So where the Muses and their troops resort,
Parnassus stands, if I can be to thee
A poet, thou Parnassus art to me.
Nor wonder, if (advantag'd in my flight
By taking wing from thy auspicious height)
Through untrac'd ways and airy paths I fly,
More boundless in my fancy than my eye.
Exalted to this height, I first look down
On Paul's, as men from thence upon the town
Paul's, the late theme of such a muse whose flight
Has bravely reach'd and soar'd above thy height:
Now shalt thou stand, through time, or sword, or fire,
Or zeal (more fierce than they) thy fall conspire,
Secure, whilst thee the best of poets sings,
Preserv'd from ruin by the best of kings.
As those who rais'd in body, or in thought
Above the earth, or in the air's middle vault,
Behold how winds, and storms and meteors grow,
How clouds condense to rain, congeal to snow,
And see the thunder form'd, before it tear
The air, secure from danger and from fear,
So rais'd above the tumult and the crowd
I see the city, in a thicker cloud
Of business, than of smoke, where men like ants
Toil to prevent imaginary wants;
Yet all in vain, increasing with their store,
Their vast desires, but make their wants the more.
As food to unsound bodies, though it please
The appetite, feeds only the disease.
Where, with like haste, though several ways they run,
Some to undo, and some to be undone;
While luxury, and wealth, like war and peace,
Are each the other's ruin, and increase;
As rivers lost in seas, some secret vein
Thence reconveys, there to be lost again.
Some study plots, and some those plots t' undo,
Others to make 'em, and undo 'em too,
False to their hopes, afraid to be secure,
Those mischiefs only which they make, endure,
Blinded with light, and sick of being well,
In tumults seek their peace, their Heaven in Hell.
Oh happiness of sweet retir'd content!
To be at once secure, and innocent.
Windsor the next (where Mars with Venus dwells,
Beauty with strength) above the valley swells
Into my eye, as the late married dame
(Who proud, yet seems to make that pride her shame)
When nature quickens in her pregnant womb
Her wishes past, and now her hopes to come;
With such an easy, and unforc'd ascent,
Windsor her gentle bosom doth present;
Where no stupendious cliff, no threat'ning heights
Access deny, no horrid steep affrights,
But such a rise, as doth at once invite
A pleasure, and a reverence from the sight.
Thy master's emblem, in whose face I saw
A friend-like sweetness, and a king-like awe,
Where majesty, and love so mix'd appear,
Both gently kind, both royally severe.
So Windsor, humble in itself, seems proud,
To be the base of that majestic load,
Than which no hill a nobler burden bears,
But Atlas only, that supports the spheres.
Nature this mount so fitly did advance,
We might conclude, that nothing is by chance
So plac'd, as if she did on purpose raise
The hill, to rob the builder of his praise.
For none commends his judgment, that doth choose
That which a blind man only could refuse;
Such are the towers which th' hoary temples grac'd
Of Cybele, when all her heavenly race
Do homage to her, yet she cannot boast
Amongst that numerous, and celestial host
More heroes than can Windsor, nor doth fame's
Immortal book record more noble names.
Nor to look back so far, to whom this isle
Must owe the glory of so brave a pile,
Whether to Caesar, Albanact, or Brute,
The British Arthur, or the Danish Knute,
(Though this of old no less contest did move,
Than when for Homer's birth seven cities strove)
(Like him in birth, thou shoulds't be like in fame,
As thine his fate, if mine had been his flame)
But whosoever it was, nature design'd
First a brave place, and then as brave a mind.
No to recount those several kings, to whom
It gave a cradle, or to whom a tomb,
But thee (great Edward) and thy greater son,
He that the lillies wore, and he that won,
And thy Bellons who deserves her share
In all thy glories, of that royal pair
Which waited on thy triumph, she brought one.
Thy son the other brought, and she that son
Nor of less hopes could her great off-spring prove;
A royal eagle cannot breed a dove.
Then didst thou found that order, whether love
Or victory thy royal thoughts did move,
Each was a noble cause, nor was it less
I' th' institution, than the great success
Whilst every part conspires to give it grace,
The King, the cause, the patron, and the place,
Which foreign kings, and emperors esteem
The second honour to their diadem.
Had thy great destiny but giv'n thee skill,
To know as well, as power to act her will,
That from those kings, who then thy captives were,
In after-times should spring a royal pair
Who should possess all that thy mighty power,
Or thy desires more mighty, did devour;
To whom their better fate reserves whate'er
The victor hopes for, or the vanquish'd fear;
That blood, which thou and thy great grandsire shed,
And all that since these sister nations bled,
Had been unspilt, had happy Edward known
That all the blood he spill'd, had been his own,
Thine, and the Christian name, and made them blest
To serve thee, while that loss this gain would bring,
Christ for their God, and Edward for their king;
When thou that saint thy patron didst design,
In whom the martyr and the soldier join;
And when thou didst with the azure round,
(Who evil thinks may evil him confound)
The English arms encircle, thou didst seem
But to foretell, and prophesy of him
Who has within that azure round confin'd
These realms, which nature for their bound design'd,
That bound, which to the world's extremest ends,
Endless herself, her liquid arms extends;
In whose heroic face I see the saint
Better express'd than in the liveliest paint,
That fortitude, which made him famous here,
That heavenly piety, which saints him there.
Who when this order he forsakes, may he
Companion of that sacred order be.
Here could I fix my wonder, but our eyes,
Nice as our tastes, affect varieties;
And though one please him most, the hungry guest
Tastes every dish, and runs through all the feast;
So having tasted Windsor, casting round
My wandering eye, an emulous hill doth bound
My more contracted sight, whose top of late
A chapel crown'd, till in the common fate,
Th' adjoining abbey fell:  (may no such storm
Fall on our times, where ruin must reform)
Tell me, (my muse) what monstrous dire offense,
What crime could any Christian king incense
To such a rage?  Was't luxury, or lust?
Was he so temperate, so chaste, so just?
Where these their crimes?  they were his own, much more;
But they (alas) were rich, and he was poor;
And having spent the treasures of his crowns,
Condemns their luxury to feed his own;
And yet this act, to varnish o'er the shame
Of sacrilege, must bear devotion's name.
And he might think it just, the cause and time
Considered well, for none commits a crime
Appearing such, but as 'tis understood,
A real, or at least a seeming good.
While for the Church his learned pen disputes
His much more learned sword his pen confutes,
Thus to the ages past he makes amends,
Their charity destroys, their faith defends.
Then did religion in a lazy cell,
In empty, airy contemplation dwell;
And like the block unmoved lay:  but ours,
As much too active like the stock devours.
Is there no temperate region can be known.
Betwixt their frigid, and our torrid zone?
Could we not wake from that lethargic dream,
But to be restless in a worse extreme?
And for that lethargy was there no cure,
But to be cast into a calenture?
Can knowledge have no bound, but must advance
So far, to make us wish for ignorance?
And rather in the dark to grope our way,
Than led by a false guide to err by day?
Parting from thence 'twixt anger, shame and fear,
Those for what's past, and this for what's too near:
My eye descending from the hill, surveys
Where Thames among the wanton valleys strays.
Thames, the most lov'd of all the ocean's sons,
By his old sire to his embraces runs,
Hasting to pay his tribute to the sea,
Like mortal life to meet eternity.
Though with such streams he no resemblance hold,
Whose foam is amber, and their gravel gold;
His genuine, and less guilty wealth t' explore,
Search not his bottom, but survey his shore;
O'er which he kindly spreads his spacious wing,
And hatches plenty for th' ensuing spring.
Nor with a sudden and impetuous wave,
Like profuse kings, resumes the wealth he gave.
No unexpected inundations spoil
The mower's hopes, nor mock the ploughman's toil:
But God-like his unwearied bounty flows;
First loves to do, then loves the good he does.
Nor are his blessings to his banks confin'd,
But free, and common, as the sea or wind;
When he to boast, or to disperse his stores
Full of the tributes of his grateful shores,
Visits the world, and in his flying towers
Brings home to us, and makes both Indies ours;
Finds wealth where 'tis, bestows it where it wants,
Cities in deserts, woods in cities plants.
So that to us no thing, no place is strange,
While his fair bosom is the world's exchange.
O could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
My great example, as it is my theme!
Though deep, yet clear, though gentle, yet not dull,
Strong without rage, without o'er flowing full.
Heaven her Eridanus no more shall boast,
Whose fame in thine, like lesser currents lost,
Thy nobler streams shall visit Jove's abodes,
To shine amongst the stars, and bathe the gods.
Here nature, whether more intent to please
Us or herself, with strange varieties,
(For things of wonder give no less delight
To the wise maker's, than beholders' sight.
Though these delights from several causes move,
For so our children, thus our friends we love)
Wisely she knew, the harmony of things,
As well as that of sounds, from discords springs.
Such was the discord, which did first disperse
Form, order, beauty through the universe;
While dryness moisture, coldness heat resists,
All that we have, and that we are, subsists.
While the steep horrid roughness of the wood
Strives with the gentle calmness of the wood
Such huge extremes when Nature doth unite,
Wonder from thence results, from thence delight.
The stream is so transparent, pure, and clear,
That had the self-enamour'd youth gaz'd here,
So fatally deceiv'd he had not been,
While he the bottom, not his face had seen.
But his proud head the airy mountain hides
Among the clouds;  his shoulders, and his sides
A shady mantle clothes;  his curled brows
Frown on the gentle stream, which calmly flows,
While winds and storms his lofty forehead beat:
The common fate of all that's high or great.
Low at his foot a spacious plain is plac'd,
Between the mountain and the stream embrac'd:
Which shade and shelter from the hill derives,
While the kind river wealth and beauty gives;
And in the mixture of all these appears
Variety, which all the rest endears.
This scene had some bold Greek, or British bard
Beheld of old, what stories had we heard,
Of fairies, satyrs, and the nymphs their dames,
Their feats, their revels, and their amorous flames?
'Tis still the same, although their airy shape
All but a quick poetic sight escape.
There Faunus and Silvanus keep their courts,
And thither all the horned host resorts
To graze the ranker mead, that noble herd,
On whose sublime and shady fronts is rear'd
Nature's great master-piece;  to show how soon
Great things are made, but sooner are undone.
Here have I seen the King, when great affairs
Give leave to slacken, and unbend his cares,
Attended to the chase by all the flower
Of youth, whose hopes a nobler prey devour:
Pleasure with praise, and danger, they would buy,
And with a foe that would not only fly.
The stag now conscious of his fatal growth,
At once indulgent to his fear and sloth,
To some dark covert his retreat had made,
Where nor man's eye, nor Heaven's should invade
His soft repose;  when th' illusions of his fear
Had given this false alarm, but straight his view
Confirms, that more than all he fears is true.
Betray'd in all his strengths, the wood beset,
All instruments, all arts of ruin met;
He calls to mind his strength, and then his speed,
His winged heels, and then his armed head;
With these t' avoid, with that his fate to meet:
But fear prevails, and bids him trust his feet.
So fast he flies, that his reviewing eye
Has lost the chasers, and his ear the cry;
Exulting, till he finds, their nobler sense
Their disproportion'd speed does recompense.
Then curses his conspiring feet, whose scent
Betrays that safety which their swiftness lent.
Then tries his friends, among the baser herd,
Where he so lately was obey'd, and fear'd,
His safety seeks:  the herd, unkindly wise,
Or chases him from thence, or from him flies.
Like a declining statesman, left forlorn
To his friends' pity, and pursuers' scorn,
With shame remembers, while himself was one
Of the same herd, himself the same had done.
Thence to the coverts, and the conscious groves,
The scenes of his past triumphs, and his loves;
Sadly surveying where he rang'd alone
Prince of the soil, and all the herd his own;
And like a bold knight errant did proclaim
Combat to all, and bore away the dame;
And taught the woods to echo to the stream
His dreadful challenge, and his clashing beam.
Yet faintly now declines the fatal strife;
So much his love was dearer than his life.
Now every leaf, and every moving breath
Presents a foe, and every foe a death.
Wearied, forsaken, and pursu'd, at last
All safety in despair of safety plac'd,
Courage he thence resumes, resolv'd to bear
All their assaults, since it was vain to fear.
And now too late he wishes for the fight
That strength he wasted in ignoble flight:
But when he sees the eager chase renew'd,
Himself by dogs, the dogs by men pursu'd:
He straight revokes his bold resolve, and more
Repents his courage, then his fear before; 
Finds that uncertain ways unsafest are,
And doubt a greater mischief than despair.
Then to the stream, when neither friends, nor force,
Nor speed, nor art avail, he shapes his course;
Thinks not their rage so desperate t' assay
An element more merciless than they.
But fearless they pursue, nor can the flood
Quench their dire thirst; alas, they thirst for blood.
So towards a ship the oarfinn'd galleys ply,
Which wanting sea to ride, or wind to fly,
Stands but to fall reveng'd on those that dare
Tempt the last fury of extreme despair.
So fares the stag among th' enraged hounds,
Repels their force, and wounded returns for wounds.
And as a hero, whom his baser foes
In troops surround, now these assails, now those,
Though prodigal of life, disdains to die
By common hands;  but if he can descry
Some nobler foe's approach, to him he calls,
And begs his fate, and then contented falls.
So when the King a mortal shaft lets fly
From his unerring hand, then glad to die,
Proud of the wound, to it resigns his blood,
And stains the crystal with a purple flood.
This a more innocent, and happy chase,
Than when of old, but in the selfsame place,
Fair liberty pursu'd, and meant a prey
To lawless power, here turn'd, and stood at bay.
When in that remedy all hope was plac'd
Which was, or should have been at least, the last.
Here was that charter seal'd, wherein the Crown
All marks of arbitrary power lays down:
Tyrant and slave, those names of hate and fear,
The happier style of king and subject bear:
Happy, when both to the same centre move,
When kings give liberty, and subjects love.
Therefore not long in force this charter stood;
Wanting that seal, it must be seal'd in blood.
The subjects arm'd, the more their princes gave,
Th' advantage only took the more to crave:
Till kings by giving, give themselves away.
And even that power, that should deny, betray.
"Who gives constrain'd, but his own fear reviles
Not thank'd, but scorn'd;  nor are they gifts, but spoils. . . ."
Thus kings, by grasping more than they could hold,
First made, their subjects by oppression bold:
And popular sway, by forcing kings to give
More than was fit for subjects to recieve,
Ran to the same extremes;  and one excess
Made both, by striving to be greater, less.
When a calm river rais'd with sudden rains,
Or snows dissolv'd, o'erflows the adjoining plains,
The husbandman with high-raised banks secure
Their greedy hopes, and this he can endure.
But if with buys and dams they strive to force
His channel to a new, or narrow course;
No longer then within his banks he dwells,
First to a torrent, then a deluge swells:
Stronger, and fiercer by restraint he roars,
And knows no bound, but makes power his shores.

by Sir John Denham


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Roundup, Part One

       "In the warmth of early afternoon Rosina Sorani was replacing a book on its shelf in the synagogue library after noting its title and subject matter in her notebook when she realized she was not alone.  Standing in the doorway were two men in gray suits.  One was bald and wore spectacles.  His companion was younger with a brush mustache who apologized if they had startled her.  The older man said they were looking for President Foa.  Rosina explained he was not there, but could she help?  The men stepped into the library and said they would like to look around.  Rosina asked if there was any particular book or subject they would like to see, remembring Foa had told her that in 1939, Fascists in Turin had forced their way into the Jewish community library, seized almost all its collection, and used the books to fuel a bonfire in the city's Piazza Carlina.
       Perhaps, sensing her concern, the older man said they were professors from the Einsatzstab Rosenberg Institute, ERR, claiming it was linked to the great universities of Europe, including the Sorbonne in Paris.  The ERR was dedicated to the study of academic fields which until now had not been fully exploited.   They were in Rome purely to assess the role the synagogue library could have as part of that program.  The younger man added that under no circumstances was she to confuse them with the SS or any other military organization.
       Somewhat reassured Rosina escorted them around the library, pointing out books produced by the earliest printers and documents handed down through the centuries.  She decided their polite questions were those of cultured men who had spent their lives in scholarly pursuits, and far removed from the coarse-voiced soldiers who walked the streets of Rome.  The older man revealed he was an Orientalist and had spent time in libraries in Palestine and other Middle East countries.  His colleague said he was a specialist in Jewish literature and his language teacher had been a rabbi in Berlin before the war.  He had spoken to Rosina in Hebrew and she was impressed.  From time to time as she pointed out a book the two men spoke to each other in German.
       After shaking her hand they left.
       The ERR was a specialist unit formed in July 1940 by the official theoritician of the Nazi Party, Alfred Rosenberg, to assemble a library for the new educational and research institute for the party, the Hohe Schule, to be located at the Chiemsee in Bavaria.  It would contain half a million volumes and would have an auditorium for three thousand people.
       Rosenberg had laid down a rule for what ERR acquired for the institute:  'If the desired object belongs to foreign 'Aryans' the owners are compelled to sell it;  if it belongs to Jews it is confiscated.  Material of no use is to be destroyed.'
       The Jewish library at Lublin in Poland was one of the first to be burnt;  Joseph Goebbels had sent a journalist from the Ministry of Propaganda to report the event.
       'We brought the books to the marketplace where we set fire to them.  The fire lasted twenty hours.  The Jews assembled around wept bitterly, almost silencing us with their cries.  We summoned the military band and with joyful shouts the soldiers drowned out the sounds of the Jewish cries.'
       A different fate had been earmarked for the Rome ghetto synagogue library.\
       In London, Simonds's report on Hitler's threat to kidnap the pope reached Stewart Menzies.  The MI6 chief sent for Sefton Delmer.  The former foreign correspondent for Lord Beaverbrook's Daily Express had interviewed Hitler before the war and had developed important connections across Europe.  In his office on Fleet Street he had written newsbreaking stories few other reporters could equal.  He spoke several languages and Beaverbrook called him 'my source in the world.'
       He had arranged in 1942 for Delmer to join the Foreign Office political warfare department.  It was there that Delmer picked up his first news of a plot to overthrow Hitler.  It had been leaked to him by a long-standing source, who Delmer suspected was an opponent of the Nazi regime.  In his diary Delmer would write:  'Whether successful or not, even the suspicion of an anti-Hitler coup would help to hasten his defeat.'
       The story normally would have guaranteed Delmer the front page of the Daily Express.  But he was told by Beaverbrook that he should hold it for a 'more opportune time.'
       By October 1943 Delmer knew that moment had come, when he had been transferred from the Foreign Office to MI6.  Menzies told him his new task 'is to foment the maximum suspicion between Hitler and his generals.'
       Delmer was to head a unique intelligence operation.  Using his journalistic skills he produced radio programs that supposedly originated from an undercover station in Germany.  In reality they came from a country house outside London.  Delmer had picked his team of German-speaking broadcasters with care.  He described each one as a 'loyal German dedicated to the fatherland but disturbed by the fanatical policies of Hitler.'  A number were Jews who had fled to England before the war.  Others were students from German universities.  All were told their broadcasts were not designed to attack Britain but to provide their listeners with news not broadcast to German audiences.  To emphasize its role Delmer called the station Free Fascist Republican Radio (FFRR).
       Menzies had shown Simonds's report to Delmer and told him to create a broadcast aimed at the Third Reich's Catholic populations.
       On October 7, the station announced that 'quarters have been prepared in Germany for Pope Pius where he will be taken and remain.'
       Pius was quoted as telling Secretary of State Maglione that 'I was placed by the will of God here and therefore shall not leave.  THey would have to tie me up and carry me out because I intend to remain here!'  The words were written by Sefton Delmer.  The threat to the pope and his response was published in newspapers around the world, creating outrage in Catholic countries.  Hitler's plot, which he had intended to remain secret until the last moment, was now in the public domain."  The Pope's Jews by Gordon Thomas pgs. 162-164

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Kidnapping the Pope

       "O'Flaherty had put together the Vatican network with the speed and skill for which he was known.  He had first spoken to Irish priests working in the Vatican to check their Gaelic language skills.  Priests who spoke their native language had played an important role in those harsh years in Irish history in the 1920s when they had used it to help Republicans fight the English Black and Tans who were seen by Catholics as 'terrorists of the King.'  O'Flaherty said the priests he chose would use Gaelic to outwit the Germans.
       Among the first recruits was Father Sean Quinlan, whose family were neighbors of the O'Flahertys in County Kerry.  Another was Monsignor Thomas Ryan who said, 'It's going to be more fun than saying morning Mass.'  Father Owen Sneddon worked for Vatican Radio.  O'Flaherty already knew he frequently slipped in messages during his broadcasts for families of Allied prisoners.
       Within days a dozen other priests had been recruited and Sneddon--a lover of spy stories--suggested they should all have code names.  O'Flaherty became 'Golf;' Sneddon chose to be known by his father's name, 'Horace;' Quinlan 'Kerry;'  and Ryan 'Rinso.'  Others were assigned names which could have come from one of the prison camp stage reviews O'Flaherty had watched.  There was 'Eyerish,'  'Fanny,' 'Emma,' and 'Whitebows,'  a priest in the De La Salle teaching order.
       All were graduates of Ireland's Maynooth seminary, the largest in the Catholic world.  They would act as couriers between safe houses.  For the most part he had decided they would be convents.  But on Princess Pallavicini's suggestion he had agreed she should negotiate for apartments to rent whose occupants had fled.  They could be used to hide Allied soldiers who might find it 'a little uncomfortable being tucked away in a convent of nuns,' she had told him.
       One of his recruit's tasks would be to provide details of the network to rural priests who had parishes close to prisoner-of-war camps from where Allied prisoners had escaped and were heading for Rome.
       O'Flaherty had made several visits over the years to the ghetto, attracted by its history and lifestyle.  There was a poverty of centuries of difficult times but also a strong sense of spirituality that centered on the tempio magiore, the synagogue.  He had learned that their culture was as deeply rooted as that of Ireland's.  His latest visit had been to meet Settimio Sorani, an introduction effected by Father Weber who had said after O'Flaherty had been appointed by the pope to head the Vatican network it would be good if it worked with Delasem.
       Settimio had shown him evidence Delasem had received which confirmed the latest reports from nuncios of Nazi atrocities.  They included grainy photographs of roundups in Lithuania, Latvia, and the Ukraine.
       Through Rosina, O'Flaherty had met with Ugo Foa, Dante Almansi, Renzo Levi, and Israel Zolli.
       It was the first time he had been inside a synagogue and Foa had shown him around, taking him to the library and explaining its importance in Jewish history before leading him to his office where the others were waiting.  They greeted O'Flaherty warmly and listened intently when he told them of the pope's plans to help the Jews of Rome.  O'Flaherty noticed everyone except Zolli expressed their satisfaction after O'Flaherty finished outlining Pius's intentions.  The chief rabbi said if the Allies did not arrive there soon there would be a bloodbath.  According to Zolli, Almansi said to him, 'How can a mind as clear as yours make such a prediction which can only disrupt the lives of our people?  The Germans have not shown any sign yet of making a move against us!'  The chief rabbi had shrugged and took no further part in the conversation.

       The pope sent his congratulations to O'Flaherty when he learned the Vatican network had begun to work closely with Delasem and the Pallotine fathers to help the refugees.  Pius arranged for Settimio Sorani to use church buildings to set up secret offices in towns and cities across Italy which operated with the support of archbishops in Genoa, Turin, Florence, and Milan.  He ordered diocese bank accounts to be used to distribute money Delasem received from Jewish relief organizations in the United States to provide documents and clothes for the fugitive Jews.  Clearly identified Vatican trucks supplied food to convents and monasteries where the refugees sheltered.
       Delasem had started to send small groups of Jews across the border into Switzerland.  Some of the priests who had volunteered to act as guides were Pallotine fathers, and carried Vatican-stamped papers to show the Swiss border guards they were escorting home pilgrims from Rome.  Jewish men were dressed with robes provided by religious orders.  The women wore nun's habits and the children were listed as orphans from a Catholic home.  If the guards suspected anything an envelope of money settled matters.  Sorani had already arranged for members of the Swiss branch of Delasem to be waiting at the nearest border town to organize new lives in a neutral country for the refugees.  Pius had sent several nuns and priests to Switzerland to assist with the resettlement.
       Many of those waiting to make the journey there were moved from one religious house to another.  Gisela Birach would remember that 'nuns were kind, but they expected us to follow their work ethics.  We had to wash and wax the corridor floors and our men would work in the fields.  In some convents they had long periods of silence during which we had to remain in our rooms and not talk.'
       Ester Braunstein worked in a convent kitchen.  'I was in charge of peeling potatoes and everyone was counted.  Hunger defined our existence.  While the sisters shared with us, there was never enough to meet our hunger.  Unless you have chewed potato peel or radish leaves you don't know what hunger is.'

Since the fuhrer ranted in July 1943 that he intended to go into the Vatican and 'clean out that gang of swine,' he had remained obsessed with kidnapping the pope and bringing him to Germany.  It was fuelled by his belief that Pius had been responsible for persuading King Victor Emmanuel III and Badoglio to abandon the Axis and join the Allies.
       Hitler also believed the abduction would enable him to persuade Britain and the United States they were fighting the wrong war;  that together they should join Germany and defeat the Soviet Union.
       By September 13, Hitler's plot to kidnap the pope had reached the stage he decided it should be implemented.  He had summoned to his headquarters--the Wolfsschanze, the Wolf's Lair near Rastenburg in East Prussia--General Karl Friedrich Otto Wolff.  The steel-eyed and handsome forty-three-year-old had served as Himmler's chief of staff before becoming the SS liason officer to Hitler.  His anti-Semetic credentials were gilt-edged and he had played his part in ensuring that the SS dealt efficiently with the Jews.  A month ago Hitler had bestowed on Wolff a unique title--general of the Waffen SS, and police leader of all Italy.  Within the paranoid inner circle at the Wolf's Lair Hitler trusted Wolff completely.
       But there was another side to the smiling, courteous, heel-clicking, and confident-sounding Wolff.  He knew the war was lost.  He had seen it on the faces of Hitler's top military advisers:  Field Marshal Alfred Jodl and General Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel.  Even bombastic Luftwaffe minister, Hermann Goering, could not quite conceal that defeat was only a matter of time.  His air force could do little to stop the Allies from bombing Germany day and night and the Red Army was racing westward and threatening to communize all of Europe. 
       But none of this was to be discussed on that Monday morning in Hitler's office.  He had stood behind his desk, palms pressed down on its top, and told Wolff why he had sent for him.  The general would later write in his diary the conversation which followed:
                                    Wolff, I have a special mission for you.  It will be your duty not to discuss it 
                                     with anyone before I give you permission to do so.  I want you and your troops
                                      to occupy Vatican City as soon as possible, secure its files and art treasures,
                                      and bring the pope to Germany.  I do not want him to fall into the hands of
                                     the Allies, or to be under their political pressure and influence.  When is the
                                     earliest you think you will be able to fulfill this mission?
       Wolff sat stunned into silence as his mind raced.  He had renounced his Protestant faith upon joining the SS and his knowledge about Catholicism had been confined to listening to the ravings of Himmler.  But what he did know was that the pope was the most powerful religious leader in the world.  Wolff realized the kidnapping would guarantee he would be condemned for posterity.  But to even give so much as a hint of refusal to Hitler would be fatal.
       Wolff's response was calm.  He could fulfill the mission--but he needed time to prepare it.  Hitler asked how long Wolff needed.  Wolff said four to six weeks.
       The fuhrer's eyes stared into Wolff's face.  'Too long,' he rasped.
       Wolff's voice grew in confidence.  He would need additional SS and police units transferred to Rome.  Specialists in identifying precious art treasures.  Translators in Latin and Greek to authenticate the documents in the Secret Archives of the Vatican.
       Hitler had stopped Wolff with a wave of his hand.  He could have whatever he wanted but the mission must be completed in a month.
       Wolff stood up, clicked his heels, saluted, and left the office.
       By the time he reached his headquarters on Lake Garda in the Alps Wolff saw what he must do.
       Until now he would have carried out any order for Hitler;  if he had been told to devise a plan to murder Stalin in Moscow or kill Churchill in London, he would have done so.  That was his strength:  The impossible was possible he had learned at military school.  But kidnapping the pope and looting the Vatican was madness beyond anything he had envisaged.
       From that conclusion he began to see how he could use the mission to win the gratitude of the pope and save his own life when the Allies won the war.  It would mean delaying and sabotaging the kidnapping plan.  To do so would have to involve the German ambassador to the Holy See, Baron Ernst von Weizsacker.

        Days after he had met Hitler, General Wolff flew to Rome in a Luftwaffe transport.  During the flight he had devised a plan to show Hitler how he would kidnap the pope.
       It called for two thousand Waffen SS soldiers to arrive in Rome and seal off the Vatican.  A squad would then occupy Vatican Radio and take it off the air.  Other squads would enter the Apostolic Palace and arrest the pope and his entourage.  They would be taken to Rome's airport and flown to Munich.  In the meantime another unit of experts would assess the Vatican's paintings and sculptures.  Truckloads of books and documents would be removed from the Secret Archives.  Together with the treasures they would be sent to Germany.
       Wolff knew the plan would satisfy, even excite Hitler, but was determined it would never happen.  The Waffen SS was already committed on all fronts and to find experts to evaluate the Vatican treasures would take considerable time to locate.  By then the Allies could be close to Rome, forcing the Germans to withdraw and leaving the Vatican safe.  To the Catholics he would be a hero and the Jews would see how sabotaging the plot helped to save the lives of those in Rome. 
       Wolff would give Hitler sufficient details to convince him preparations were underway and sent a coded message to that effect from the German embassy.  Then he went to the Villa Napoleon to see Weizsacker.
       He had already studied the ambassador's file.  He came from a prominent Wurttemberg family who included Ribbentrop in its circle.  The foreign minister had found a place in his office for Weizsacker and guided his career up through the ministry.  Wolff also knew of the ambassador's growing relationship with Admiral Canaris.  Since Hitler's rages that he was surrounded by traitors, Wolff had come to wonder if they included the head of the Abwehr.  If so, could Weizsacker have been sent to Rome to become involved in his machinations?  Was that why Hitler wanted the pope kidnapped--to use him as a weapon against his enemies?  Wolff later admitted those were the questions which still preoccupy him as he walked into Weizsacker's office.
       The ambassador and Kessel, his deputy, were waiting and Wolff sensed their tension.  Weizsacker wasted no time in explaining why.  He had seen a copy of Kappler's Judenaktion order and asked if that was why Wolff was in Rome.  If so, he should be aware that the pope was bound to protest and that could be the prelude to a popular uprising led by the Resistance, one possibly supported by the Allied escaped prisoners of war hiding in the city.
       Wolff had not hesitated:  He told the two diplomats of Hitler's order to kidnap the pope--and of his own intention to stop it.
       Weizsacker had thanked him.  Wolff explained he must continue with its preparation so as not to arouse Hitler's suspicion.
       Weizsacker pressed, 'But what if you fail?'
       Wolff replied, 'Then we are all finished.'  The Pope's Jews by Gordon Thomas pgs. 129-30, 146-48, and 150-51.