Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Vatican newspaper recalls German Jew hired by Pius XI

Catholic World News - April 20, 2011

L’Osservatore Romano has paid tribute to Hermine Speier (1898-1989), a German Jewish archeologist hired by Pope Pius XI in 1934 as an archivist. During the Nazi occupation of Rome, Speier was hidden by nuns. Following World War II, she converted to Catholicism, after which her family broke ties with her.

“The story of Speier can be read in different ways and through a variety of perspectives: as a page from the history of intellectual Jewish emigration from Germany, as a salient step in the affirmation of a feminine presence in the Vatican, or as an important moment in the work undertaken by the Holy See in the 1930’s and 40’s to aid a persecuted minority,” reflects Paolo Vian, director of the manuscripts department at the Vatican Library.

“But it is the story of the archeologist which, on closer look, appears to be a parable rich in significance: a German Jew, student of classics, finds refuge in the Vatican during the dark nights of 20th-century barbarism, and discovers in the shadow of St. Peter’s a place from which to shelter and witness a sense of that humanism which is the highest inheritance of the most authentic German spirit.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($25,841 to go):
$150,000.00 $124,158.96
17% 83%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Denial of Service Attack: Success! 22 hours ago
Federal debt as a social-justice concern 24 hours ago
Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle December 18
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed December 18
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? December 18

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17