Die III. Päpstliche Mission in Deutschland (1945-1950)

Zusammenfassung / Abstract

The III Papal Mission in Germany (1945–1950).” – Although the pontificate of Pius XII has been attracting a great attention of historians for decades, there still remain topical research deficits. One of the stepchilds in academic research was the widely ramified postwar charitable activity of the Vatican diplomacy. On the basis of the newly opened Vatican archival sources of the Pacellian pontificate, the article reconstructs one of its most important but less known initiatives, the III Papal Mission in Germany launched in November 1945 in favour of the numerous displaced persons and refugees from Eastern Europe who did not want to return to their countries integrated into the Soviet Union or the Soviet zone of influence and for years remained stranded in the war-damaged and overpopulated postwar Germany and Austria. Although the spiritual, moral and later also modest material help to the DPs and refugees was the only scope of the Mission that was officially recognized by the American occupation forces and tolerated by the other Western military administrations, the III Papal Mission, since sommer 1946 led by the American bishop of German origin Aloisius Muench at the same time nominated papal visitor to Germany, tried to use this unique open door also to gain a foothold in Germany and prepare the ground for a future papal representation on German soil.

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