The Framing of Hitler's Pope


See the previous parts of Susan L.M. Goldberg’s blogging on Ion Mihai Pacepa’s Disinformation

Red or Dead: How Stalin Re-Defined American Liberalism

The Assassination of Patriotism: Intellectuals, Disinformation and JFK


“The first Soviet tsar, Vladimir Lenin, killed thousands of priests and closed most of Russia’s churches so as to make Marixsm-Leninism the country’s sole religion. Stalin, who continued that bloody rampage, transformed Lenin’s new religion into Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism, and used it to portray himself as a Soviet saint in order to keep his famished, oppressed population quiet.”

— Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa

In his book Disinformation, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa supports a wealth of evidence with a first-hand accounting of the Soviet empire’s war on Judaism and Christianity. Stalin’s purpose in attacking both religions was simple:

“… atheistic communism’s very existence and expansion required that it discredit and demonize its chief competitor”

Consequently, Stalin followed the tsarist suit, employing Russia’s historic anti-Semitism (think: Protocols of the Elders of Zion) to portray America as “a Zionist realm owned by Jewish money and run by a greedy ‘Council of the Elders of Zion’.” According to Pacepa, Stalin “…transformed his Georgian anti-Semitism into a national and international policy.” As a result, the Soviet dictator, “labeled Zionism as the main tool used by the United States to undermine the ‘socialist camp,’ and he committed unlimited Soviet political, military, and financial support to Israel’s historical enemies, its neighboring Arab states.” Simultaneously, Stalin purged his party and the Soviet nation of millions of Jews “…allegedly to preserve the ‘purity of Eastern European Socialism’.”

Stalin also played on post-World War II global fears of European anti-Semitism to discredit his number one enemy: The Pope of the Catholic Church. As the number one religious leader of the western world, the Pope was tapped by President Truman in his “Campaign of Truth” against the expansion of communism, “the mortal enemy of religion – of all religions.” The Catholic Church had a history of railing against Communism since the days of Marx. Now, legitimized by the Western World, Stalin the Nobel Prize winner decided it was time to make his move.

If this two-pronged attack on Western religion sounds confusing, don’t worry. It’s supposed to be. As Pacepa explains, the “nature of disinformation” is that of “a sophisticated, complicated, long-term, multifaceted campaign of pure lies and smears.” When the seeds of pure lies planted by Stalin in 1945 finally flourished, they contributed to the creation of an intellectual and spiritual cataclysm in the West.


As early as June 1945 the Soviet government was hard at work attempting to discredit Pope Pius XII as “Hitler’s Pope.” The accusation didn’t stick for good reason: Too many witnesses, including the Chief Rabbi of Rome, knew of the Pope’s publicly professed ideological stance against Nazism and the many actions the Pope ordered and took upon himself to save Jews and others from Nazi persecution. Of Pius’s Church, Albert Einstein observed, “Only the Church protested against the Hitlerian onslaught on liberty.” Winston Churchill referred to Pope Pius XII as “the greatest man of our time” and the U.S. Eighth Army, a.k.a. “The Jewish Brigade Group” noted, “…the fate of the Jews was alleviated by [the Church’s] truly Christian offers of assistance and shelter.”

Pope Pius XII denounced the evils of Nazism, ordered his congregants to hide Jews in their homes, provided falsified documentation for those seeking refuge in the Vatican, and even participated in Allied espionage. There were far too many witnesses to the Pope’s true character for Stalin’s framing operation to work. Biding his time, he framed and tortured Eastern European Catholic officials. Not until after the Pope was dead could the Kremlin begin the greatest framing operation in its history: The re-writing of Pope Pius XII as a Nazi and a hater of Jews.

When Khrushchev took on the operation in 1960 he aimed not for the mainstream, but for the intellectuals. The primary tool to frame the now deceased Pope as a Nazi anti-Semite: a theatrical play based on Soviet disinformation, poorly written by an obscure West German sycophant named Rolf Hochhuth, and directed by an avowed lifelong communist, Erwin Piscator.

Sent by the Soviets to the U.S. in 1939, Piscator launched The Dramatic Workshop at The New School for Social Research in New York City, where he churned out many leftist Hollywood stars including Castro-approved actor Harry Belafonte. Piscator “abruptly” returned to Germany after being summoned to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1951. He returned to American shores in 1964 with The Deputy, already a European hit, which landed on Broadway thanks to Communist producer Herman Shumlin, the lover of Stalinist liberal intellectual Lillian Hellman.


“I get frightened when I see 18 year olds in the audience. I just hope they don’t think that the play’s viewpoint is the only one that should be heard.” – Actor Jeremy Brett

As Pacepa details, the American Communist media, along with “American journalistic icon” and “paid Soviet spy” I.F. Stone launched a PR blitz for the production, outshining the many protests against its blasphemous, antisemitic (and poorly written) script. “New York Times theater critic Frank Rich wrote, ‘The only bomb was on stage, but the publicity turned the show, now forgotten, into a quasi-hit and earned its producer a Tony for his courage.'”

It would seem as if the work launched at the Waldorf Peace Conference in 1949 by Hellman, Stone and their anti-capitalist, pro-Stalin associates was finally bearing fruit. By the mid-1960s the socialist infiltration of the liberal intellectual class was reaching its zenith. Anti-Communist Liberals like the Trillings had given way to rising intellectuals like Susan Sontag, “who throughout her career was criticized for repeating Marxist jargon.” Sontag solidified her intellectual career in part by praising The Deputy in the New York Herald Tribune‘s “Book World” section in 1964 as “an excellent theatrical idea.” Her review would be included in Eric Bentley’s 1964 book The Storm Over the Deputypublished by the communist-owned Grove Press.

In a 1966 review of Bentley’s book in the journal Jewish Social StudiesThe Deputy would be described as:

“an historic attempt to exorcise the demons still lingering in the breast of modern Western man because of the crime of silence on the part of the onlookers, their transgression of the Biblical commandment, ‘thou shall not stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor.'”

The reviewer goes on to discount claims of historical inaccuracies, instead viewing the play as a moral condemnation of the Pope and both the Catholic and Protestant churches. Thus the wedge Stalin sought to drive between Judaism and Christianity had been hammered into place by the intellectuals of the early 1960s.

Patriotism and religion down; morality to go.