The Italian Almanac

Pope Pio XXII

Italian News - January 17th

Weeks before Nazi troops abandoned Rome, Adolf Hitler personally ordered the SS to kidnap the pope so he could be brought back to Germany and locked up in a castle, according to previously unpublished testimony made available at the weekend.

Instead of carrying out the Führer's orders, the head of the SS in Italy, General Karl Wolff, went to the Vatican to warn Pope Pius XII of the danger he was in.

The newspaper "Avvenire" (Future), which is owned by the Catholic church in Italy, suggested the kidnap plot was part of a wider plan to "abolish" Christianity and replace it with a religion in which Hitler would be worshipped as the saviour of humankind.

Wolff was quoted as saying: "I received from Hitler in person the order to kidnap Pope Pius XII."