A man out of time

October 22, 1999

You accompany the review of John Cornwell's Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII ("A proof of papal fallibility", THES, October 15) with a photograph and caption taken from the book purporting to show Cardinal Pacelli leaving the presidential palace in Berlin in March 1939.

I find this extremely unlikely. With the previous pope having just died and the conclave to select his successor taking place at the beginning of March, Pacelli would have been in Rome. Details of the photograph, such as the soldiers' dress and the absence of Nazi uniforms, suggest that this is a photograph of a younger Pacelli - perhaps on a visit to Hindenburg - in his capacity as papal nuncio.

An inaccurate caption may thus create a tendentious image from an innocent photograph of a man performing his official duties.

Tom Connor Putteridge Bury University of Luton

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