|Says Pope Worked to Save Lives Before, During, After War
NEW YORK, 20 FEB. 2009 (ZENIT)
Recently uncovered documents show
gestures of friendship and protection that Pius XII showed to Jews
before, during and after World War II.
The Pave the Way Foundation, which works to promote dialogue between
religions, publicized this Thursday.
The discoveries were made by the German historian and advisor of the
foundation Michael Hesemann, author of the books "The Pope Who Defied
Hitler" and "The Truth About Pius XII." Hesemann found a number of
documents in the Vatican Secret Archives that certified Pope Pacelli's
numerous interventions in favor of Jews.
He noted that Archbishop Pacelli intervened in 1917 while papal
nuncio in Bavaria, going through the German government to demand that
Palestine Jews be protected from the Turkish Ottoman Empire.
Hesemann also shows that in 1917, the future Pius XII used his
personal influence to enable the World Zionist Organization
representative, Nachum Sokolov, to meet personally with Benedict XV to
talk about a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
In 1926, Archbishop Pacelli urged German Catholics to support the
Committee for Palestine, which supported Jewish settlements in the Holy
The foundation's president, Gary Krupp, added these findings to the
evidence he already had complied for a Pius XII symposium last September
in Rome. Since this event, 300 new pages of original documents have been
These documents, available for downloading from the foundation's Web
site, include a nun's manuscript from 1943, detailing the Pope's order
to hide Jews in Rome and a list of protected Jews.
Another document is a 1939 report on the "new Pope" by the U.S.
Foreign Service, from the American consul in Cologne. The diplomat
reported surprise at the "extreme dislike" of Pacelli toward Hitler and
the Nazi regime, and his support to the German bishops in their
opposition to Nazism, even at the cost of losing German Catholic youth.
The foundation also provides a 1938 document, signed by then
Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli, in which he opposes the Polish bill
outlawing kosher slaughter because he understood that this law would be
a "grave persecution" against the Jewish people.
During the war, Pius XII saved 80,000 lives by persuading the
Hungarian regent to prevent the deportation of the Jews. He also
requested the Brazilian government to receive 3,000 "non-Aryans."
Another document provided by the foundation is an interview with
Monsignor Giovanni Ferrofino, secretary of the nuncio in Haiti. The
priest said 11,000 Jews were saved by Pius XII's continual requests for
visas from General Trujillo, president of the Dominican Republic.
There is also evidence that the Vatican secretly issued baptismal
papers to allow Jews to emigrate to many countries as "Catholics."
The commitment of the Pave the Way foundation reflects that of its
president, a Jewish American, who acknowledges that he grew up
"despising Pius XII." This changed when he read Dan Kurzman's book, "A
Special Mission: Hitler's Secret Plot to Seize the Vatican and Kidnap
Pope Pius the XII."
The foundation acknowledged that there were spies in the Vatican and
German snipers less than 200 yards from the papal windows.
The foundation stated that the lack of public statements by the Pope,
which has been a source of criticism against him, is explained by the
increased punishment in concentration camps, witnessed by former
prisoners, when Church leaders spoke openly against the Nazi regime.
Krupp also discovered a secret plot of the Communist KGB, revealed by
Lieutenant General Ion Mihai Pacepa, to manipulate Vatican documents and
discredit the Holy See in international public opinion.
Krupp said: "I was surprised when I personally researched archived
news stories from the New York Times and the Palestine Post from
1939-1958. I could not find one negative article about Pius XII."
The foundation undertakes the correction of Pius XII's image in order
to "eliminate an obstacle" to understanding between Jews and Catholics,
"which impacts over one billion people."
Krupp added: "In the interest of Jewish justice 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's time," he said, "to recognize Pope Pius XII for what he really
did rather then what he didn't say."