26th Superior General "Black Pope" of the Jesuit Order
February 11, 1915 - December 13, 1942
In late September 1938, LaFarge submitted the text to his Jesuit superior general, Fr. Wlodimir Ledochowski. The latter is reported to have said the document was "too strong and provoking." Ledochowski, a Polish count with, some said, anti-Semitic inclinations of his own, withheld the encyclical from the pope. Instead, he asked a Rome scholar, Fr. Eurico Rosa, to tone it down. Rosa, however, was ill, and was dead within three months.
Crucial time was passing. A turning point was Kristallnact, Nov. 9-10, a night of pogroms when Jewish shops were widely and brutally vandalized and Jews were beaten and killed. Some Holocaust students claim that the silence--particularly on the part of the churches--that followed this outrage was all the hint Hitler needed that he could scapegoat the Jews with impunity.
LaFarge's papers indicate that Ledochowski held on to the encyclical draft for several months. Finally, LaFarge wrote directly to the pope, who then ordered Ledochowski to produce the document without delay.
Wlodimir (Vladimir) Ledochowski: 1942