Saturday, February 28, 2009

A libel corrected

The libel was that Pope Pius XII was "Hitler's Pope," complicit in the Holocaust and indifferent to Fascist and Nazi crimes. The Jewish Chronicle reports on new research demonstrating the "Wartime pope’s secret heroism."
Documents that show the wartime pope saved tens of thousands of European Jews from the Nazis have been discovered in the Vatican’s archives.

The 300 pages reveal that Pope Pius XII directly ordered convents, monasteries and Catholic churches to hide Jews from the Gestapo.

He also helped Jews to escape to safe countries, requesting the Brazilian government to receive 3,000 “non-Aryans” and persuading the Dominican Republic to grant visas for a further 11,000 people.

The documentation from the recently-opened archives has now been posted online by the Pave the Way Foundation, a largely Jewish group invited by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust remembrance authority, to investigate the role of the wartime pope. ....

Gary Krupp, president of the Pave the Way Foundation, said that correcting the record was a matter of justice.

“Personally, as a Jew, I must state that correcting this perversion of history has really nothing to do with the Catholic Church,” he said.

“It is in the interest of Jewish justice that we must acknowledge the efforts of one man, during a period when as a people we were abandoned by the rest of the world.

“It is time to recognise Pope Pius XII for what he really did rather than what he did not say.”

Mr Krupp added: “From what I have seen, this is the greatest hero of World War II, without question.

“This man had German guns just 200 yards from his windows and still managed to save thousands of Jews. It is astonishing what this man actually accomplished — and did secretly.

“This wasn’t Hitler’s pope, this wasn’t a collaborator, this was a man Hitler was planning to kill. There is not one shred of evidence that supports the ‘Hitler’s pope’ theory”. ....

The papers include a 1939 US foreign service document in which the US consul-general to Cologne reported how the “new Pope” had surprised him by his extreme hatred of the Nazi regime and Adolf Hitler, and how he had supported the German bishops’ opposition to Nazism. ....

...[S]ome Jewish historians, such as the late Pinchas Lapide, have estimated that the Catholic Church under Pius saved between 700,000 and 850,000 Jews from the Nazis.

This was mostly managed by providing sanctuary or passage to safe countries but also by intervening, when practicable, to stop their round-up in occupied countries. [more]
Wartime pope’s secret heroism | The Jewish Chronicle

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