How did the Nazi bishop François Auvity get away with it so easily?

Discussion in 'The Holocaust' started by Maquis, Jun 10, 2024.

  1. Maquis

    Maquis New Member

    Why did Nazi Bishop François Auvity escape all punishment, both criminal and ecclesiastical, after the Liberation of France by the Allies, and how could his criminal role remain hushed up for EIGHTY long years ??
  2. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Since he does not appear here before your post I expect you have us at a disadvantage about his role(s). I did briefly look online and found very little, the latest being a LinkedIn post.

    There are threads from memory on the post-war decisions not to proceed with suspected war criminals. IIRC there is a thread with a title similar to Collaborators and Resistance in France.

    Perhaps you can enlighten us by providing links to reputable sources on him?
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2024
    P-Squared and Maquis like this.
  3. P-Squared

    P-Squared Well-Known Member

    I knew nothing about the bishop. There’s a little bit on line; this short article for example: FRANCOIS AUVITY, THE NAZI BISHOP FROM GERMIGNY; and a Wikipedia entry, but in French and although I understand some French, it’s certainly not enough!
    The Catholic church’s involvement with the Nazis has, as I understand it, been a source of considerable controversy, not least Pope Pius XII, but threading through the Vatican and its involvement in the ‘rat lines’, helping Nazis escape at the end of the war. That a French bishop got away with it doesn’t particularly surprise me - the tendrils of the Catholic Church reach far into the politics of many countries. I could start banging on about the perfidy of religious zealots of all models, their hypocrisy, etc, but I’ll avoid that!
    Maquis likes this.
  4. Maquis

    Maquis New Member

    Thank you very much for your answer, David. If I understand correctly, I posted in the wrong forum? Should I delete this thread and repost it elsewhere? Anyway, sure, I can provide you with quite a few links, but unfortunately, they're all in French. Reputable: here (by a French academic).
  5. Maquis

    Maquis New Member

    To sum it all up:

    * Auvity used his position as a bishop to pressure his diocesans to report resistance fighters to the Kommandantur,
    * Auvity used his position to force Catholics in his diocese to work as Hitler's slaves under the Compulsory Labor Service ("Service du Travail Obligatoire"),
    * Auvity refused protection to the Jews of his diocese,
    * Auvity encouraged the Gestapo to hunt down the resistance fighters,
    * Auvity participated in the betrayal of the Parade resistance fighters who were massacred by the Wehrmacht,
    * Auvity published a rag ("La Croix de la Lozère") that spoke of the Nazis as "ours" and the Allies as "the enemy",
    * Auvity supported, encouraged, celebrated the creation and exactions of the Darnand Militia (la "Milice") which was made up of Gestapo auxiliaries.
  6. Maquis

    Maquis New Member

    How did he escape any sanction to enjoy a golden retirement in a villa in the French countryside, and endowed with a fat prebend allocated by Pius XII?? It's beyond me! No one ever held him accountable for his crimes. His criminal role was completely covered up for 80 years. Why?
  7. P-Squared

    P-Squared Well-Known Member

    I don’t think you’re in the wrong forum at all and I don’t get the impression that that is what David meant (but, excuse me, David, if I’ve misunderstood - and misrepresented your comment, David; I’m happy to be corrected!)

    This is all very interesting. David did mention ‘reputable sources’. I can’t doubt the veracity of your statement, but - equally - I have no knowledge of this subject. Either way, I think the point is that, as accurate as your points may be (I really don’t know), what sources do you have? Where are you getting this information from? Like I say, I’m not doubting you, but I want to see some reputable source - as, I think, does David.
    [EDIT: Sorry, I somehow missed the link you provide which gives the source (and that author does cite a number of references.]
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2024
  8. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    P-Squared and Chris C like this.
  9. P-Squared

    P-Squared Well-Known Member

    So, same post on another forum, under a different alias. Interesting. I’m starting to wonder if Maquis is asking a rhetorical question, or on a crusade! Either way, the answers are interesting and - I think - sum up the position. Moreover, many collaborators ‘got away with it’ as did some out and out war criminals. Once such ‘criminals’ had got beyond the kangaroo courts, they’d be subject to a less reactionary legal system, presumably, with a requirement to present substantial evidence to convict. Much of what is listed here, at least, ‘encouraging’, ‘denying’, etc, while certainly not patriotic, does not necessarily amount to criminal traitorous acts does it? I am, to a degree, playing Devil’s Advcate, here, but my point is that, in a country keen to forget it’s relationship with the German occupiers, post-1945, perhaps it was a little unpalatable to go after Autivy and his ilk. Or, perhaps, what he did, amounts to no more criminal acts than many other authority figures in Vichy might have committed? Vichy was, essentially, neutral. Things do take on a different perspective, of course, after November 1942 when Vichy was occupied…or do they?

    I’m not defending this guy, but I’m interested to know why Maquis is raising this one example.

    In the conclusion to the article Maquis provides, the author says [Google Translate applied to the source document], ‘I have a hard time accepting the assertion that Auvity was a Nazi. That he acted very openly in the interests of the Nazi occupier is a fact which brooks no discussion. On the other hand, whether he was a Nazi himself, no. National Socialism, in fact, is a harsh doctrine that requires adherence, commitment, and risks. But Auvity was, positively, nothing. Just a regular bastard.’ He goes on to conclude, ‘We could also say, in other words, that Auvity is the “banality of evil”. However, as Hannah Arendt explained very well, the trivialization of evil is a necessary moment in the dialectic of evil which results in absolute evil. So it is good, even posthumously, to put Auvity on trial who voluntarily participated in this dialectic crushing human lives.’

    I guess that’s what it’s about. I’m still interested to know why there’s the sudden interest in this clergyman after all these years.
    von Poop likes this.
  10. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Personally I don't mind this thread appearing here, but to be frank I have better things to read and ponder upon. The forum's focus is quite broad, though mainly British and Commonwealth. The man is dead.
    ltdan likes this.
  11. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    He 'got away with it' because postwar France was an (understandably) delicate and complex mess.

    While the mythos is one of resistants to the fore, the truth is that a large segment from high to low collaborated with the occupier.
    I'd never profess on the hundred complex reasons people did so, but it remains true.

    So what to do postwar as civil order is returned to the nation state?
    A root and branch witch-hunt, or a shrug of the shoulders and attempt to return to business as usual?

    The witch-hunt option was not as easy or satisfying as it sounds.
    The collaboration rot may have run quite deep, but most of it was of a low order and more to do with survival under total occupation. To hound everyone could open further cracks in an already fragile civic. People were uneasy about the head-shaving etc. that immediately followed liberation & stuff like that is rarely sustainable when the outrage runs out of ready targets and starts turning on those who served a glass of Calvados to German officers. The potential is there to drag it out for decades, with little reward.

    There's also the possibility of running a distraction alongside the Nuremberg trials with individuals not directly included in Nuremberg's mandate.
    (Look at the end result of the Bordeaux Trial. A mess, where local politics and a certain political pragmatism eventually carried out no sentences.)

    The Soviet Union is always nearby too.
    A sense that the iron curtain could still expand much further than its current annexations and that to be a publicly divided nation might not be the best face to show uncle Joe.

    So France largely chose the shrug.
    De Gaulle et. al. chose not to wield the rather complex weapon of total vengeance in an already battered state.
    And it pretty much worked, with France returning to democratic elections remarkably quickly after removing its puppet leadership.

    As for the bishop himself.
    A Catholic nation dealing with all the above and more.
    He resigned alongside Dutoit, Villerabel & Beaussart under the government 'Épuration' scheme, and that was seen as enough.
    The potential to upset the balance by action against former members of the SS Charlemagne, let alone a bishop, is substantial. (And believe me, this forum has experience of devotees & curious loyalty to their clerics...)
    Peiper settled in France, and the state largely left him alone (until somebody didn't). If that was possible, then a 70 year old bishop is hardly likely to be seen as worth the effort.

    I see you've posted the query on every historical forum known to man. Didn't read the replies as felt like ploughing my own furrow.
    Is that your 'book' on Auvity available as a free. Pdf on Lulu?
  12. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    As an addendum, and for the avoidance of doubt:
    'The Catholic Church' and its clerics did some very silly things in the Hitler era.
    'They' also also did some very wholesome things.
    A massive religion spread across nations, particularly concentrated where the war raged, with a central HQ within an Axis nation...
    Probably about as complex as it gets.
    Approach in any generalised manner with caution.

    Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty.
    Very much worth a Google.

    Screenshot 2024-06-24 a[...].png

    Swings & roundabouts, eh...
    Redd likes this.

Share This Page