Zusammenfassung / Abstract
“Prelate Rudolf von Gerlach: Weighed – and found to be too light” – When the new elected Pope Benedict XV. in September 1914 chose the Bavarian priest Rudolf Gerlach (1886–1946) as one of his closest collaborators, this nomination evoked worldwide stupefaction, especially as it took place in War times. Two years later Italy was war-opponent to the German Reich. A high-ranking Vatican official from Germany, intimate to the Pope as Gerlach was, inevitably was under suspect of espionage and target of public (and intelligence) suspicion. Gerlachs origin and career in great parts remain enigmatic – to his contemporaries as well as to historians nowadays. Undoubted a charming and social character, handsome and multilingual, he was driven by a strong will of achieving ascent, recognition and influence. It does not surprise, that a net-working figure like him did not stick to facts and truth alone but put in a good amount of creativity as well.