A ZENIT DAILY DISPATCH

Group Gives New Proof of Pius XII's Help for Jews

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 Land.

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 uncovered.

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."

Personal discovery

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."
 

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