By Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim May 20, 2020
Rolf Hochhuth, a firebrand German writer whose play indicting Pope Pius XII for his silence about Nazi crimes led to riots in theaters and an international furor but also greater transparency in the Roman Catholic Church, died on May 13 at his home in Berlin. He was 89.
The death was confirmed by his son Martin.
Mr. Hochhuth examined the moral culpability of Pius in “The Deputy,” which had its premiere in West Berlin in 1963. Confronted with evidence of the mass killings of Jews, the pontiff had shrunk from a public condemnation of Hitler, and in a 65-page commentary that was appended to the published play, Mr. Hochhuth wrote, “Perhaps never before in history have so many people paid with their lives for the passivity of one single politician.”