The home page of this book, released today on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, summarizes the book:

Did Christianity play any role in the millenarian hatred towards Jews that led to the paroxysm of murder known as the Holocaust?

Six Million Crucifixions: How Christian Antisemitism Paved the Road to the Holocaust provides an answer to the question, “What could have possibly motivated ordinary Germans and their helpers throughout Nazi-occupied Europe to hate Jews so much as to drag thousands of Jewish men, women and children to a forest, and shoot them in the head at close range one by one, getting blood, pieces of brain and splinters of cranial bone splattered all over them after each victim, and continue to do it all day long, day after day?”

Six Million Crucifixions examines the root causes of antisemitism in Christianity and how that prepared the soil for the secular antisemitism that culminated in the Holocaust. The book covers the last two thousand years of history, from the origins of this hatred all the way to the advent of modern antisemitism. It also covers the role of the Churches during the Holocaust, and the role of the Vatican in setting up escape routes for wanted war criminals after WWII. Six Million Crucifixions concludes by making the point that after the Holocaust the Allies should have set up an international trial and put any and all clergymen who may have had a role in the defamation of and incitement against the Jewish people, as well as those who helped wanted Nazis escape Justice and other charges, on the dock.

Readers of this blog know that I have a pro-Christian orientation, and that there are major distinctions between Christianity and its Catholic subset, which seems to be the focus of much of the book. It’s also important to remember that it was genuine Christianity that guided the consciences of many Christian (and Catholic) Europeans during WWII to harbor and save Jews. Let me also say that I think it’s more productive these days to worry more about Islamic anti-Semitism than Christian anti-Semitism — as it is to worry more about the anti-Semitism of the leftist “secular humanists” who populate the readership of, for example, the Huffington Post, where I first communicated with the author of the book. (Indeed, the modern-day Passion Play touring the world is titled “My Name is Rachel Corrie,” inciting hatred and enmity toward Israel and the Jews through distorted and selective information.)

But I suppose that since the Christian world has taken its cues from Islam before (and with regard to the Middle East and the Balkans, often still does), and since the Catholic Church has historically ganged up with Islam against Jews and Orthodox Christians, it wouldn’t hurt to get a reminder of how anti-Semitic thinking infiltrated and proliferated throughout society institutionally by Christianities of the past. And that’s what this book offers. So while stressing that I would sooner place my life in the hands of a Christian than a non-Christian — whether atheist or Muslim — let me introduce the author of this important work, Gabriel Wilensky, whom I “met” when he posted the following comment under my Jerusalem Post article “Mass Grave of History” after it also appeared on Huffington Post:

That [WWII Croatian Ustasha leader Ante] Pavelic was such a devout Catholic, who was received by Pope Pius XII in April 1941, led the British Foreign Office to describe the Pope as “the greatest moral coward of our age.” As the Foreign Office later told the British ambassador to the Holy See, the Pope’s reception of Pavelić “has done more to damage his reputation in this country than any other act since the war began.” The immorality of support for the Ustasha regime crossed the threshold into criminality when the Vatican established the ratlines with the help of Ustasha priests and members of the Catholic hierarchy to spirit wanted war criminals out of Europe after the war.

The role of the Catholic Church in regards to Slovakia should not be forgotten either. A Catholic priest [Jozef Tiso] ruled Slovakia and he and his regime were instrumental in the disenfranchisement of the Jewish population of Slovakia, the passing of anti-Jewish laws that constituted grave civil rights violations, and the deportation of Slovakia’s Jews to their deaths in German death camps. The Vatican made some token gestures to show concern about all this, but their concern was with the potential damage to the Church’s reputation, not the fate of those Jews.

Gabriel Wilensky

More information about the book can be found in the following press release, pegged to the current scandal in the Catholic Church:

A Convenient Silence is Nothing New for the Vatican

San Diego, Cal – April 9, 2010 – Some orders of Catholic monks take a vow of silence. Recent events surrounding a widespread child sex abuse scandal and the Catholic Church make it seem as if Pope Benedict has taken one too.

This is not the first time a pope has stood by silently while the innocent were victimized. Popes Pius XI and XII did nothing or very little to protect the Jews during World War II. Yet, the current Pope is pushing through a rushed canonization of Pius XII, despite calls even from Catholic scholars to slow down the process until all the documents from the period can be scrutinized.

“The Vatican Secret Archives for the WWII period need to be opened as soon as possible,” says Gabriel Wilensky, author of “Six Million Crucifixions: How Christian Teachings About Jews Paved the Road to the Holocaust.”

Father John Pawlikowski, who was the lead Catholic scholar who wrote Pope Benedict imploring further research prior to the canonization process continuing, is among the 13 scholars who have endorsed Wilensky’s book. Two of the 17 other signatories of the letter to the pope have also endorsed “Six Million Crucifixions: How Christian Teachings About Jews Paved the Road to the Holocaust.”

“Covering up allegations and not punishing pederast priests is the wrong thing to do for anyone, but particularly for an institution who is the self-proclaimed protector of morals,” continues Wilensky. “Pope Benedict should learn from the mistakes of Pope Pius XII. Being a silent observer is no longer an option.”

Following his life-long fascination and study of the Holocaust and Christianity’s teachings about the Jews, Wilensky has produced a methodical, well-structured and hard-hitting book examining the root causes of antisemitism in Christianity so that history may never be repeated by those who do not learn from it.

Questions Wilensky and other scholars would like answers about Pope Pius XII include:

• Why didn’t the Pope make a clearly worded condemnation of the genocide, and repeat it at every possible occasion?

• Did Pope Pius ever admonish Catholics passively or actively involved in mass murder to cease and desist or else they would be excommunicated from the Catholic Church?

• How much did Pope Pius know of the “Ratlines,” the Vatican escape routes for wanted
war criminals?

“Six Million Crucifixions: How Christian Teachings About Jews Paved the Road to the Holocaust” is now available from online booksellers and select bookstores as a hardcover (ISBN 978-0-9843346-4-3) and an eBook.

For more information on “Six Million Crucifixions: How Christian Teachings About Jews Paved the Road to the Holocaust,” or to arrange an interview with Gabriel Wilensky, please contact Yazmin Ghonaim [at] yazmin@qwertypublishers.com.