Cesare Orsenigo

Cesare Vincenzo Orsenigo (December 13, 1873 – April 1, 1946) was Apostolic Nuncio to Germany from 1930 to 1945, during the rise of Nazi Germany and World War II. Along with the German ambassador to the Vatican, Diego von Bergen and later Ernst von Weizsäcker, Orsenigo was the direct diplomatic link between Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII and the Nazi regime, meeting several times with Adolf Hitler directly and frequently with other high-ranking officials and diplomats.


Cesare Orsenigo

Your Excellency
Orsenigo with Hitler and Joachim von Ribbentrop, January 1939
Personal details
BornDecember 13, 1873
Villa San Carlo, Italy
DiedApril 1, 1946(1946-04-01) (aged 72)
Eichstätt, Germany
DenominationRoman Catholicism

Orsenigo was close to Achille Ratti, the Archbishop of Milan, and was appointed to the Vatican diplomatic corps when Ratti was elected Pope Pius XI, as nuncio to the Netherlands (1922–1925), Hungary (1925–1930), and Germany (1930–1945).

Orsenigo believed in the Italian fascist ideal and hoped the German variety would develop into something similar.[1] He was a controversial figure among his contemporaries and remains the subject of historical criticism for his advocacy of "compromise and conciliation" with the Nazis, particularly in relation to The Holocaust.[2] Pius XII has been criticized by several contemporaries and historians for not replacing Orsenigo as nuncio. Pius XII left the nunciature vacant after Orsenigo's death in 1946 until he appointed Aloisius Joseph Muench to the post in 1951.