A 30-member Simon Wiesenthal Center international delegation met with Pope Francis on Wednesday to present a facsimile of an original four-page 1919 document authored and signed by Adolf Hitler, in which he openly espouses the destruction of the Jewish people by “a government of national strength.”

The facsimile, whose original is displayed at the SWC’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, was presented by Simon Wiesenthal Center founder and CEO Rabbi Marvin Hier and Dawn Arnall, chairwoman of the leading NGO for Jewish human rights.

In Hier’s remarks to Pope Francis, the Jewish leader first enumerated statistics on both sides of the Atlantic that confirm surging anti-Semitism, including violent hate crimes. He then spoke about the human-rights organization’s namesake, Holocaust survivor turned Nazi hunter, Simon Wiesenthal, and how he would react to current events.

“Against such a tidal wave of hate, Simon would ask, ‘How could it possibly be that the world’s leaders knowing what’s happening still want to make a deal with Iran on nuclear weapons when her leaders deny that there ever was an Auschwitz or a Treblinka; who continues to preach that no Jews were ever murdered in gas chambers? How can the United Nations and the world trust a regime, which for the last 43 years, has never deviated from those notorious lies?’ ”

“If that is not scary enough, look at what [Russian President Vladimir] Putin … is doing to the people of Ukraine. How can a country, which suffered the wrath of Hitler, turn around and adopt his very same tactics? Slaughtering innocent people, bombing hospitals, orphanages and schools.”

A four-page letter written and typed by Adolf Hitler in 1919 documenting plans for German and world Jewry. Source: Screenshot.

“Your Holiness,” continued Hier, “we stand before you today, 80 years after the infamous Wannsee Conference, where 15 Nazi officials—eight of them Ph.D.s from some of the finest universities—made the decision, agreeing with Hitler’s orders, to mass murder all of Europe’s Jews. By May 1945, in addition to 6 million Jews, millions of non-Jews, including gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals and other enemies of the Reich, were also killed.

“That is why we’ve come here to present to the Vatican Archives one of the most significant documents in the history of humankind; a copy of an original letter, typed and signed by Hitler on Sept. 16, 1919, in which he openly maps out the need for the final removal of the Jewish people in Europe.”

Hitler, in the letter, wrote: “Our final aim … must be the uncompromising removal of the Jews altogether. Both are possible only under a government of national strength, never under a government of national impotence.”

“What began as one man’s opinion,” noted Hier, “would become state policy of Nazi Germany 22 years later, which led to the systematic murder of one-third of world Jewry. This document shows the power of words and is a warning for everyone to take threats of any demagogue seriously.

“As the Psalmist teaches, “the Heavens belong to G-d, but the land was given to man” [Psalms 15-16]. It is ‘we the people,’ men and women, who must lead the fight against anti-Semitism, bigotry and genocide.”

The pope denounced the current wave of anti-Semitism and cautioned about the threat of populism. He acknowledged that the letter revealed that Hitler didn’t care about the German people, only about promoting a dangerous ideology.

Pope Francis urged the SWC to continue to serve as a bridge between the past and the future. Continue “recalling history so it can be of service to the future,” he said.


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