The Internet is circulating with rumors and conspiracy stories about Pope John Paul II. One of the more dastardly is Tony Alamo, the “World Pastor” of Alamo Ministries. Here is what he has to say in his tract called “The Fugitive Pope”:
“In the early 1940s, a young Polish salesman, employed by I.G. Farben Chemical Company (manufacturer of Cyanide Gas) sold cyanide to the Nazis for use in Auschwitz… Fearing for his life after the war, he took refuge in the Catholic church (cult) and was ordained a priest in late 1946. In 1958, he was ordained Poland’s youngest bishop. After the 30-day reign and assassination of his predecessor, he assumed the papacy as Pope John Paul II… and now controls an organization in America called the Jewish Federation and one of its many branches, the Cult Awareness Network which kidnaps and ‘deprograms’ Christians and other victims… Pope John Paul II has never made one anti-Nazi statement, certainly because he is a Nazi… State and Federal agencies with their news media and judicial system in every nation, under instructions from Rome, will certainly say that Fugitive Pope is hate literature.”
This might sound very far-fetched to say the Pope worked for the Nazis or indirectly killed the Jews and other claims made by Alamo. But a quick Google search will reveal that many people have similar opinions and even some very reliable sites pass this off as fact to one degree or another. Some of it is obviously anti-Catholicism, but much of the spread is sheer ignorance on the part of the people repeating the stories.
In short, this is all bunk. Someone will try to refute me citing some strange obscure reason these lies are true, but that’s the problem with conspiracy theories – a lack of evidence only further validates their points. No documents to prove a claim? Obviously the government destroyed those records! You get the idea. So without further ado, here is a break-down of the claims made by Alamo and the truth or falsity of them.
Karol Wojtyla Working for IG Farben
The claim Karol Wojtyla (John Paul II) worked for Farben in his youth is one of the more widespread rumors on the Internet about this pope. Yet despite the repetition of this “fact” over and over again, I have yet to read anywhere that cites a source backing up this assertion. No papal resume, no Farben employment records, no witness statements from co-workers. Quite simply, no shred of evidence to validate these claims.
John Paul was an orphan by 1941 having lost his parents and a brother. He was 21 years old. Contrary to being a Nazi supporter, official histories tell of John Paul’s “intensive” connections to the Jewish community in Krakow, Poland. Furthermore, being a Roman Catholic was not a favorable decision in the eyes of the Nazi regime who had imprisoned numerous priests. During the war, he worked in a quarry (1940-1944) and at the Solvay chemical factory. While at this time I am unclear what this chemical factory was, there is no reason to believe the factory was connected to Farben seeing as John Paul was Polish and the company (Farben) was German.
John Paul’s primary preoccupation during the German occupation of Poland? Preparing himself mentally, spiritually and physically to become a priest. Shortly after the war in November 1946 he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest (having been at the seminary in Krakow since 1942, studying under Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha).
Nazis Using Cyanide Gas in Extermination Camps
Saying that the Nazis used “cyanide gas” in the death camps is technically incorrect or at the very least somewhat vague. What they actually used was a chemical called Zyklon-B. A minor difference, but for a source to be reliable they should at least know their facts.
Cyanide gas (more technically called hydrogen cyanide) is actually relatively common. The gas is present in vehicle exhaust and also in the smoke from cigarettes and other tobacco products. The gas can come from burning plastics or even in house fires – many “smoke inhalation” deaths are due to cyanide poisoning. The gas is colorless and smells faintly like bitter almonds. Prussic acid gives off hydrogen cyanide and people who commit suicide by ingesting “cyanide pills” will have the almond smell around them. The lethal dose of cyanide is 50mg.
Zyklon-B was a pesticide that gave off cyanide gas, but was not cyanide gas itself (so to say the Nazis bought “cyanide” is incorrect). This product was actually in pellet form, and was kept in airtight containers where it was stable. Once exposed to air, the pellets would react and give off the cyanide gas. Originally the Nazis used this gas in concentration camps to kill lice, but already by 1941 it had become prominent at Auschwitz. Ironically, the inventor of Zyklon-B was Fritz Haber – a German Jew.
Even if we give Alamo the benefit of the doubt and substitute “Zyklon-B” for “cyanide gas”, the fact remains this product was most likely not sold to the Nazis by John Paul II. IG Farben and the German government already had a very close working relationship well before the war. For a thorough history of IG Farben during the Hitler regime, I recommend Joseph Borkin’s “The Crime and Punishment of IG Farben”.
The Assassination of Pope John Paul I
First let’s clear up that this pope’s reign was 33 days rather than 30 (a slight difference, but we may as well be specific). But now more to the point. Alamo casually says that John Paul I was “assassinated.” That is possible, but not the sort of claim you can throw around casually.
Many conspiracy theories (including one taken from “Godfather III”) have been offered to suggest that John Paul died from poisoned coffee or some other undetectable method. They will tell you it was suspicious how quickly he was embalmed without an autopsy being performed. They will also tell you that his official cause of death (heart attack) is incorrect because the media attributed that attack to smoking, a habit John Paul never had.
The problem with this theory is that there is no way to know. Anyone can say he was poisoned and without an autopsy you can’t say definitively one way or the other. But lack of proof he wasn’t poisoned doesn’t mean automatically that he was. And just because he didn’t smoke, doesn’t mean he can’t have a heart attack – the media is known to make mistakes. He was sixty-five years old, certainly old enough to have a heart attack.
Can we say John Paul was assassinated? Sure we can, but without definite proof we should either say he was “allegedly” assassinated or simply rely on the official version – common heart attack.
Pope John Paul II and the Jewish Federation
To the best of my knowledge, there is no connection between John Paul and the Jewish Federation. Why there would be any connection between the head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Vatican and a Jewish American charity is beyond me. Upon his death, the Jewish Federation mourned the loss of a man they considered a “friend” to Israel, though this in no way implies he was intimately involved with the group.
The Cult Awareness Network and the Jewish Federation
There were two different Cult Awareness Networks (more on this in the next section). Neither the old one (run by the Christian Rick Ross) or the new one (run by Scientologists) have any decipherable connection to the Jewish Federation.
The Kidnappers at the Cult Awareness Network
Strangely enough, there is some truth to the claim that the Cult Awareness Network has kidnapped people, although the word “kidnapped” is misleading in its severity.
There was a family involved in the Life Tabernacle Church for a while before the mother decided to withdraw from the organization in 1996. She consulted the CAN to help “deprogram” her children. While two children were successfully deprogrammed, the third (18-year old Jason Scott) was unwilling to leave the church. At his mother’s insistence, the CAN held him against his will and eventually helped him to overcome his belief in the church. In the meantime, Scott (who was a legal adult) sued the Network for false imprisonment. The lawsuit succeeded, leaving the Network marked as a band of kidnappers.
Prior to this instance, Rick Ross (head of CAN) was a prominent figure in the anti-cult movement (and remains so today). He had even been hired by the FBI during the Branch Davidian crisis in Waco to conduct psychological warfare on the Davidians. While controversial, he was well respected by many of the Bureau’s members.
After the false imprisonment, however, Ross and the Network were hounded by Scott’s lawyer, a Scientologist. This lawyer filed numerous lawsuits and the CAN had to declare bankruptcy. In the ultimate show of disrespect, the Scientologists purchased the rights to the name “Cult Awareness Network” along with their website and phone number. The site is now used to promote lesser religions (which had formerly been accused of being cults).
Pope John Paul II Never Criticized the Nazis
Tony Alamo makes some outrageous claims, including the story that the Nazis, Hitler and the SS were all Catholics. This is not true. Hitler’s faith was Christian in some regards, but contained thinly veiled allusions to German mythology. Some have even called his belief system “Wotanism” after Wotan, the chief German god (known as “Odin” to the Norse). Further, Catholicism was by no means the preferred religion of the German Reich. Priests and bishops were arrested just the same as any other so-called criminals.
The Catholic Church does not deny that the Pope did not speak out against Nazis. But even if he never did, they remind us that he was made pope in the late 1970s, over thirty years after the end of World War II. John Paul speaking out against Hitler and his followers is about as sensical as George W. Bush speaking out against Timothy Leary or Charles Manson. The threat simply does not exist and more pressing issues are at hand.
This page has undergone more traffic in the past day than in the past several years due to Tony Alamo’s alleged involvement with child abuse. Alamo and his associates are innocent until proven guilty. And, it is important to note, even if proven guilty his words would be no more true or false. Even the worst of men can tell the truth, and words must be analyzed outside of their source.