In 1965 the Second Vatican Council declared that God loves the Jews. Before that, the Church had taught for centuries that Jews were cursed by God and, in the 1940s, mostly kept silent as Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis. How did an institution whose wisdom is said to be unchanging undertake one of the most enormous, yet undiscussed, ideological swings in modern history?
From Enemy to Brother illuminates the baffling silence of the Catholic Church during the Holocaust, showing how the ancient teaching of deicide—according to which the Jews were condemned to suffer until they turned to Christ—constituted the Church’s only language to talk about the Jews. As he explores the process of theological change, John Connelly moves from the speechless Vatican to those Catholics who endeavored to find a new language to speak to the Jews on the eve of, and in the shadow of, the Holocaust.
John Connelly is an American historian and an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His interests include modern East and Central European history, comparative education, and the history of nationalism. His 2000 book Captive University was the winner of the 2001 George Louis Beer Prize, American Historical Association.