Reconsidering the Catholic Church and the Holocaust: Special Film Screening and Discussion

St. Peter's Basilica window where the Pope addresses the faithful.

December 5, 2019
7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. EST
Location: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

In 1933, the vast majority of Germans belonged to a Christian church. A third of the population (around 21 million) were Roman Catholic, whereas the Jewish community represented less than 1% of the population. As the Nazi Party’s power and anti-Semitism spread across Europe, how did one of the world’s most influential institutions—the Catholic Church—address and confront the Nazi regime and its laws, particularly the persecution of Jews? Furthermore, how did the Catholic Church's response influence its followers in Nazi-occupied Europe?

Holy Silence is a new thought-provoking documentary that examines the individuals who played a crucial role in shaping the Vatican’s response to the rising Nazi threat across Europe. Stories include: a humble Jesuit priest from New England, a leading American industrialist dispatched on a mission by President Franklin Roosevelt, and high-ranking officials within the Vatican determined to carry out their own objectives. This special screening of Holy Silence was followed by a discussion and audience Q&A with the film’s director, Steven Pressman, and the author of The Pope’s Last Crusade, Peter Eisner.

This event was co-sponsored by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Trinity Washington University's Billiart Center for Social Justice, Marymount University's Department of Theology and Religious Studies, and Catholic University of America's Institute for Interreligious Studies and Dialogue.

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