Special Philadelphia Screening: “Holy Silence” — Reconsidering the Catholic Church and the Holocaust

A Film by Steven Pressman [trailer]

Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Teletorium in Mandeville Hall [campus map]

Pope Pius XI from the documentary "Holy Silence." The film examines whether Jewish lives would have been saved had Pope Pius XI or his successor, Pope Pius XII, issued a statement urging the protection of Jews in Axis-held Europe. (PerlePress Productions)

In 1933, the vast majority of Germans belonged to a Christian church. A third of the population (around 20 million) were Roman Catholic, whereas the Jewish community represented less than 1% of the population. As the Nazi Party’s power and antisemitism 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?

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.

In collaboration with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, SJU is honored to host a special Philadelphia screening of this important new documentary, including a discussion with its director Steven Pressman.