Date of Award
Master's Essay - Restricted
Master of Arts (MA)
Laurence J. McCaffrey
Three years ago the newspapers in Paris, Berlin, and Basel sensationalized the riots, pickets, and walk-outs wherever Rolf Hochhuth's, drama, "Der Stellvertreter," as performed. More recently, Herman Shumlin's adaptation of the English version of the play has been staged in large American cities. When it appeared in Detroit, however, there were no demonstrations. Instead, the controversial responses proved by the young German playwright were confined to the pens of journalists, professors , and critics. "Specifically, 'The Deputy,' says that because Pope Pius XII failed to issue a proclamation denouncing Hitler and the slaughter of Jews, he must bear a share of the Nazi guilt for that slaughter." Perhaps it is this accusation against Pius XII for the murder of six million Jews which has touched a worldwide raw nerve. World War II is still contemporary. John Simon in The Nation proves that the historicity of the play is obvious from the fact that Anouih's Becket grossly caricatured a twelfth-century pope and elicited no more than the arching of an isolated eyebrow. Therefore, Simon concludes that to be fiercely critical or freely inventive where a figure of the distant past is concerned, here our own 1orld and memories are not incriminated, and where the plea of insufficient evidence cannot be advanced, is permissable. But the question of silence, the silence of Pius and the world in regard to the Jews and the Nazis, is too much a part of our world to be ignored, and so historians are challenged by the Hochhuth theory.
Mancuso, Jerome Marie, "The Catholic Church and the Third Reich: A Contemporary Controversy" (1966). Master's Essays (1922 - ). 1661.