We propose you to discover resources (interviews, publications, etc.) around the theme of the exhibition ««By the grace of God», the Churches and the Holocaust».


Exhibition book-catalogue 

“By the grace of God” The Churches and The Holocaust


Author: the Shoah Memorial 

208 pages

Price: €29

Available at the Shoah Memorial bookstore

Buy the exhibition book-catalogue


In what way does this exhibition make it possible to question the role of the Churches during the Holocaust ?

On the one hand, for the first time, we will present unpublished archives (originals and facsimiles), those of the Vatican on the pontificate of Pius XII, those of the archives of the Church of France and those of the Reformed Church of France. On the other hand, on the occasion of the commemorations of the raids of summer 1942, we will recall the protests of five archbishops and bishops, including those of Toulouse and Lyon, as well as Protestant pastors. We will give to see and hear the drafts of these letters revealing a part of their implementation as well as the reactions of the population.


How can we explain the differences in the reaction of the three Churches to the Holocaust?

The exhibition is based on plurality: it addresses the Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Churches. These are institutions, but also men and women. We apply several scales, from diplomacy to the field and present the various attitudes and responses of the Churches that vary according to national, chronological and human contexts. It is also the behaviour of men and women that will also be questioned.

How did the opening of the Vatican archives allow a new look at the relationship of ecclesiastics with the dictatorships in place?

The presentation of new archives makes it possible to understand the dilemmas and hesitations of Pius XII, but also, beyond the pope, the internal debates within the Vatican: the Holy See is not a bloc and there has indeed been a plurality of positions and sensitivities expressed within its diplomacy. One constant however: in the face of Nazism, fascism and Vichy, the Vatican’s top priority is to ensure the survival of the Church as an institution and to protect Catholics. This partly explains his cautious reserve in the face of anti-Semitic persecution.

What main messages would you like to deliver?

We would like visitors to understand that behind the churches there are mostly men and women, with their strengths and weaknesses, which explains a plurality of behaviours. Everything is not reducible to the figure of the pope, even if he catalyzes many controversies.


See the bibliography of the exhibition. 

I discover the bibliography


Think about consulting the Shoah Memorial’s online bookstore or requesting your books from the museum bookstore during your visit. Our staff would be happy to help you with information and order the books you are looking for if necessary.