There have long been rumors that Adolf Hitler wanted to kidnap or kill Pope Pius XII. In 1972, former SS General Karl Wolf referred to such a plan in a meeting he said he had with the wartime Pope on May 10, 1944. However, Wolf’s story could never be verified.
But now the Italian bishops’ newspaper Avvenire — and later L’Osservatore Romano — have reported today about “more concrete rumors” of a plan hatched by the Reichssicherheitsamt (the Third Reich’s Security Headquarters) in Berlin after July 25, 1943.
The reports cite a viable source: the son of one of the key people involved, Niki Freytag von Loringhoven.
According to the account of the son, who is now 72, on July 29-30, 1943, a secret meeting took place in Venice. At the meeting, the head of Italian counterintelligence, General Cesare Ame, was informed of Hitler’s wish to punish Italians for the arrest of Mussolini by kidnapping or killing Pius XII and the King of Italy.
Such a plan arrived by plane directly from Berlin, from the head of German counterintelligence, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, and two colonels of Section II (sabotage): Erwin von Lahousen and Wessel Freytag von Loringhoven.
But according to the report in Avvenire, as soon as Ame arrived back in Rome, the news of the plot got out and the plan was shelved.