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Ratzinger’s Vatican Benefactor

Cardinal Josef Frings

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COMMENT: We’ve posted often recently, in the wake of the Pope’s resignation. Before moving on, it might be useful to amplify a topic of discussion in FTR #508.

In that broadcast, we highlighted the background and activities of one of Ratzinger/Benedict’s Vatican mentors–Cardinal Josef Frigs of Cologne. (Ratzinger attended Vatican II as a protege of Frings.)

Frings was pivotally involved with successful efforts to have the death sentences of SS war criminals commuted. In the passages that follow, note that Frings’ efforts were conducted in concert with”

  • Mainstream German periodicals and newspapers.
  • Leading German politicians.
  • Top German industrialists from the Ruhr and elsewhere.
  • The various SS and Nazi post-war political fronts set up as the Nazis were preparing their postwar diaspora.

The New Germany and the Old Nazis by T.H. Tetens; Copyright 1961 by T.H. Tetens; Random House [HC]; pp. 201-204.

EXCERPT: . . . Effective schemes had been developed by the Nazis and militarists to obstruct law and justice. After they had reached success, after thousands of Nazi criminals had fled to Spain and Egypt, after other thousands had been freed from Allied prisons, there appeared accounts in some Rightist newspapers, congratulating a group of Nazi ringleaders on accomplishing an almost impossible task. The Deutsche Soldaten Zeitung aune 1958) published a full-page account of a farreaching secret organization which had been founded in 1948 in violation of Allied rules.

The purpose of the organization was to free the war criminals in defiance of law and justice. The author of this remarkable report, Major General Hans Korte, describes how a kind of General Staff, or “steering committee,” was set up in Munich to direct all the anti-warguilt propaganda in occupied Germany and throughout the entire world. A group of Nazi jurists who had served in Nuremberg as counsels for major war criminals formed the nucleus of the directing body. Prominent among them were Dr. Rudolf Aschenauer of Munich and Ernst Achenbach (of the Naumann circle) of Essen, the latter having excellent financial connections on Rhine and Ruhr.

In order to conceal certain activities from the occupying powers, a number of fronts or subagencies were created to serve as special task forces. To furnish the press with propaganda on the war-guilt question, an “independent” monthly newsletter, Die Andere Seite (The Other Side), was issued, in which material about the “so-called war criminals” was cleverly introduced among other news items. This distorted and slanted news was reprinted not only in the provincial press but in such leading papers as the Frankfurter Allgemeine) the Stuttgarter Nachrichten) and Die Welt. In addition, a circular letter was mailed periodically to organizations and influential personalities in Germany and abroad in order to gain their support for the release of all war criminals.

To camouflage these activities well-known German church representatives were brought into the organization, so that both major denominations joined the common defense for the convicted Nazi war criminals. A Committee for Christian Aid to War Prisoners was formed in 1948; among its sponsors there were prominent Roman Catholics-Cardinal Josef Frings of Cologne and Bishop Johann Neuhaeussler of Munich-and leading Protestants-Bishop Theophil Wurm of Stuttgart and Bishop Meiser of Munich. These church leaders had already issued several strong protests against the Allied war crime trials.

Now Cardinal Frings and others demanded a halt to the hanging of convicted Nazis. In May 1946, Washington had ordered a stop to all executions in Landsberg. But there were still 230 Nazis sentenced to death for having committed mass murder. In 1948, Cardinal Frings again asked President Truman for clemency for the last two dozen convicted Nazis, whose executions were pending.6 

Under the sponsorship and prestige of Cardinal Frings and Bishop Wurm, a wide network of organizations coordinated their efforts to save the convicted criminals from the gallows. The church leaders were supported by two powerful religious organizations-the Roman Catholic Caritas and the Protestant Evangelisches Hilfswerk. The latter had given jobs and shelter to dozens of Nazi officials, especially former Ribbentrop diplomats. This group issued a weekly newspaper, Christ und Welt) in which the campaign for the war criminals had top priority.

Cardinal Frings and Bishop Wurm headed another organization under the slightly confusing name, Committee for Justice and Trade, which served as a rallying point for the former Nazi elite. According to General Korte’s account, this group consisted of ex-officers, high government officials, jurists, educators, industrialists, and church leaders. Its purpose was to raise money to assist all war criminals financially and legally and to create a climate of public opinion conducive to the release of all convicted Nazis.

The organization had a mysterious bank account (“Konto Gustav”), to which more than sixty unnamed industrial and financial tycoons regularly contributed large sums. According to the report in the Deutsche Soldaten Zeitung) this group was closely affiliated with a propaganda center in Switzerland, the Centro Europa, which carried on a world-wide campaign to bring quick freedom to Hitler’s professional mass murderers. Two other organizations were working toward the same goal, but they extended their activities into the exclusive circles of high society and among aristocrats in Germany and abroad. One was the Stille Hilfe (Silent Help), headed by Princess Helene von Isenburg, and the other was called Helfende Haende (Helping Hands), and was directed by Princess Stephany zu Schaumberg-Lippe.

The common characteristic of all these groups was their dual activity; first, they solicited financial aid for Nazi prisoners, and second, they stirred propaganda against the “warguilt lie,” climaxing it with a demand for speedy release of all war criminals. Working in cooperation with the Christian Aid center in Munich were such notorious Nazi organizations as the SS HIAG, the Society of Late Homecomers, the Stahlhelm, the Federation of German Soldiers, and the various expellee groups. Among the organizations abroad we find the Kameraden Hilfe in Spain, headed by the SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny, a similar group working in Latin America under the leadership of the Luftwaffe ace Colonel Hans Ulrich Rudel,· and various German “relief” and propaganda organizations in the United States under the political guidance of the Steuben Society. . . .

Discussion

One comment for “Ratzinger’s Vatican Benefactor”

  1. http://www.timesofisrael.com/german-seminary-to-probe-nazi-jokes-claim/

    German seminary to probe Nazi jokes claim
    Trainee priests allegedly also played far-right music and gave Nazi salutes
    June 3, 2013, 1:40 pm 1

    BERLIN (AP) — A Catholic seminary in Germany says it is investigating claims that trainee priests made anti-Semitic jokes, played far-right music and gave Nazi salutes.

    The head of the seminary in Wuerzburg, Herbert Baumann, says a probe was launched as soon as the allegations surfaced earlier this month.

    They were first reported by German news agency epd, which didn’t cite its sources.

    Baumann said Wednesday in an e-mail to The Associated Press that he wouldn’t tolerate anti-Semitic behavior at the seminary.

    Local lawmakers have called for a thorough investigation.

    Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

    Posted by Vanfield | June 4, 2013, 7:55 pm

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