Today in Catholic History – The Dutch Bishops Condemn the Nazi Deportation of the Jews

On Sunday 26 July 1942, the Dutch Bishops publically condemned the deportation of Jews by the Nazis in the Netherlands.

In retaliation, the Reichskomissar of the Netherlands, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, ordered that all Jewish converts to Catholicism in the Netherlands be arrested. Among the two hundred converts arrested would be St. Edith Stein and her sister Rosa – both of whom were executed in Auschwitz.

There is some evidence that the arrest and deportation of the Jewish converts would contribute to Pius XII’s decision to refrain from an action similar to that of the Dutch bishops, that is a public condemnation of the Nazis. Indeed, the Protestant churches of the Netherlands had initially also wished to issue similar strong condemnations but Seyss-Inquart’s threat to take action against Jewish converts to Protestantism kept these churches silent.

Arthur Seyss-Inquart will be charged with crimes against humanity for his actions during WWII and will be executed at Nuremburg on 16 October 1946. Before he died he returned to the Catholic faith of his youth, receiving the Sacrament of Penance from Father Bruno Spitzl.


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