A Concordat is an agreement or treaty, especially one between the Vatican and a secular government relating to matters of mutual interest. The Reichskonkordat was a controversial treaty negotiated between the Vatican and the newly formed Nazi government. It was signed on July 20, 1933 by Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the Vatican Secretary of State, who later became Pope Pius XII.
The Concordat effectively removed the German Catholic Church from any opposition to Hitler and gave moral legitimacy to the Nazi regime. By offering recognition from a foreign state it enabled Hitler to come to power. For the Church, it seemed to promise that it could carry out its spiritual mission, however violations of the treaty by the Nazi regime began almost immediately.
Some have viewed the Concordat as a manifestation of the Pope’s preference for dictatorships over democracies and disregard for German Jews. The Vatican insisted, however, that they approved the agreement simply to protect the church.
The concordat remains in effect to this day.
Concordat, 5.5” x 3.75” x .75”, 26 painted, mono printed and collaged pages with mica overlays. Drum leaf binding with leather cover (cut from vintage jacket).
Images of wood and stone by 16th century Würzburg sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider are contrasted with photographs from the exhibition, “Fascination and Terror” at the Nuremberg Documentation Center.
The title uses the Gothic font Maximilian Zierbuchstaben by Dieter Steffmann.
For additional documentation gathered from the Vatican archives see:
Cornwell, John. “Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII”, Viking Press, NYC, 1999