Conversion of Jews to Catholicism during the Holocaust

The conversion of Jews to Catholicism during the Holocaust is one of the most controversial aspects of the record of Pope Pius XII during The Holocaust.

According to John Morley, who wrote about Vatican diplomacy during the Holocaust, "one of the principal concerns of the Vatican, especially in the early days of the war, was those Jews who had converted to Catholicism, the so-called Catholic or Christian non-Aryans".[1] Morley further argues that Pius XII was "primarily, almost exclusively, concerned about baptized Jews".[2] Moreover, Pius XII's purported fear of reprisals against "non-Aryan Catholics" is often cited as a motive for his not speaking out against the Holocaust.[3][4]

In many Axis and Axis-occupied countries, racial legislation restricted, banned, or did not recognize the conversion of Jews to Christianity. Across Europein Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, and SlovakiaPius XII's nuncios saved their staunchest protests for the effects of the various anti-Jewish laws on baptized Jews. According to Roth and Ritner, "this is a key point because, in debates about Pius XII, his defenders regularly point to denunciations of racism and defense of Jewish converts as evidence of opposition to antisemitism of all sorts".[5] The Holocaust is one of the most acute examples of the "recurrent and acutely painful issue in the Catholic-Jewish dialogue", namely "Christian efforts to convert Jews".[6]