The Third Reich and the Vatican with Dr. Finn Ballard - Context Travel

The Third Reich and the Vatican with Dr. Finn Ballard


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From the Catholic Church came some of the most remarkable figures of the Resistance movement against Nazi Germany. Yet from the upper echelons of the Holy See came financial support and ideological collaboration both overt and covert. What is the true nature of the relationship between the Third Reich and the Vatican?

In this seminar, we will examine the complex connection between Hitler and the two Popes who resided in the Vatican between 1933 and 1945: Pius XI and Pius XII. We will look at how the Nazis, a party more interested in the occult than in Catholicism, made overtures to the Church to which a third of their citizens belonged. Preferring pagan practices to Catholic mysticism, and wishing above all not to distract from state-sanctioned Führer-worship, the Nazis reconfigured Christmas and Easter festivities; yet continued to refer in vague and appeasing terms to a guiding deity.

Numerous Germans found it no contradiction to be both members of the Nazi Party and of the Catholic Church - others still were horrified not just by Hitler's atrocities, but by his 'blasphemy.' And from the highest authority in Vatican City came a jumble of condemnatory encyclicals and financial support; the sheltering of Jews and yet the financing of their persecution.

We will look in particular at the assistance given to Nazis fleeing Germany and Austria as of 1945, particularly from the Austrian Bishop Alois Hudal, the central facilitator of the so-called 'ratlines,' which enabled perpetrators such as Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele to escape to Latin America and beyond. We will also discuss the persecution of priests and bishops, and the tale of the ‘Saint of Auschwitz,' Maximilian Kolbe. And we will look at the remarkable Resistance efforts of Bishop Clemens von Galen, Irene Sendler, and the Irish 'Pimpernel of the Vatican,' Hugh O'Flaherty, whose religious faith both compounded their disgust at the Third Reich and called them selflessly to action.

Led by an expert on twentieth-century German history, Dr. Finn Ballard, this interactive seminar will bring you up to date on the latest research on this controversial topic. Designed to inform curiosity and well as future travels, participants will come away with a new understanding of the machinations of power within the Nazi regime - and those within the Holy See.

Finn grew up in Northern Ireland before moving to England to study and later teach in the department of Film and Literature at the University of Warwick. He completed his doctoral study on German folklore and popular cinema in 2012, and has published extensively in the fields of Film Studies and Gender Studies. Since 2008, he has been living and guiding in Berlin. He now works as a historical advisor for television and film productions set in Berlin, particularly during the Weimar era or Third Reich. He is a journalist for the 'Siegessauele', Europe's foremost Queer magazine, and organises events at Berlin's English-language bookstore 'Another Country'.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
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K
K.S.
Very important, timely

Very interesting talk on a dark chapter I didn't know much about and that should be better known than it is.

A
Anonymous

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O
O.E.
No title

Superb and very informative presentation. Very clearly organized. I learned a lot.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
100%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
K
K.S.
Very important, timely

Very interesting talk on a dark chapter I didn't know much about and that should be better known than it is.

A
Anonymous

Guest did not leave comment

O
O.E.
No title

Superb and very informative presentation. Very clearly organized. I learned a lot.