Last month while at a lovely dinner party in a resort town near Rome I got chatting with an elderly woman who was abrasive, anti-war and would not say where she was from. Her first question to me was: "So, are you conservative?"
Just before the meal with a drink in one hand and a friendly wave with the other I made my way over to her on the couch and she warmed up in a flash. We enjoyed a lovely conversation in which she shared her life story: born in Berlin before the war and survived April and May of '45.
Curious to hear her take on Pius XII I asked if at that time she in her youth knew that the camps existed and what they were doing to Jews inside of them and her reply was a firm: "Yes, we already knew everything even before the end."
Then I asked if Pius XII was guilty of "silence" and she replied: "Surely, he must have known everything what with all the bishops and priests that could have reported the news to him."
Just today I finished reading The Last Battle by Cornelius Ryan (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1966). Here's an interesting bit from pp. 328-329:
"General Eisenhower made a personal tour of a camp near Gotha. Ashen-faced, his teeth clenched, he walked through every part of the camp. 'Up to that moment,' he later recalled, 'I had known about it only generally or through secondary sources...I have never at any other time experienced an equal sense of shock.'"
So, if the brass of the Western Allies at the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) had not a clear picture, then how could the Pope have known!
Thunderstruck we should be that the anti-Catholic secular media still goes after Pius XII.