PIUS XII AND YAD VASHEM
by Sister Margherita Marchione, Ph.D.
Sister Margherita Marchione is the author of several books on Pope Pius XII, the latest being Crusade of Charity: Pius XII And POW's 1939-1945.
Below the portrait of Pope Pius XII in the Israeli Holocaust Memorial, Yad Vashem, there is a statement which is contrary to the truth and is unjust. It must be repudiated. I contacted the director of Yad Vashem and asked him to consider the efforts of the Pope who helped save hundreds of thousands of Jews and other victims of the Nazis. But will Yad Vashem at least correct the errors beneath his photo?
|Pius XII and the Jews RABBI DAVID G. DALIN |
Even before Pius XII died in 1958, the charge that his papacy had been friendly to the Nazis was circulating in Europe, a piece of standard Communist agitprop against the West.
It sank for a few years under the flood of tributes, from Jews and gentiles alike, that followed the pope's death, only to bubble up again with the 1963 debut of The Deputy, a play by a left-wing German writer (and former member of the Hitler Youth) named Rolf Hochhuth.
The Deputy was fictional and highly polemical, claiming that Pius XII's concern for Vatican finances left him indifferent to the destruction of European Jewry. But Hochhuth's seven-hour play nonetheless received considerable notice, sparking a controversy that lasted through the 1960s. And now, more than thirty years later, that controversy has suddenly broken out again, for reasons not immediately clear.
|JEWISH HISTORIAN PRAISES PIUS XII'S WARTIME CONDUCT |
Michael Tagliacozzo Works at a Center for Holocaust Studies
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 25, 2000 (ZENIT.org).- The closed-door meeting of the Judeo-Christian Historical Commission, which has been meeting in Rome since Monday 23, ends today.
The commission was established last October by Cardinal Edward I. Cassidy, president of the Committee for Religious Relations with Jews, to examine the 11 volumes of archives documents relating to the Holy See's activities during the Second World War.
In recent years Pius XII and the Holy See have been accused of not doing enough to save Jews persecuted by the Nazis.
To shed light on the Pope's role in this part of the war, ZENIT interviewed Jewish historian Michael Tagliacozzo, responsible for the Beth Lohame Haghettaot (Center of Studies on the Shoah and Resistance) in Italy. Beth Lohame Haghettaot in western Galilee in Israel is one of the world's largest museums and centers of documentation on the Holocaust.
* Tagliacozzo: I know that many criticize Pope Pacelli. I have a folder on my table in Israel entitled 'Calumnies Against Pius XII,' but my judgment cannot but be positive. Pope Pacelli was the only one who intervened to impede the deportation of Jews on Oct. 16, 1943, and he did very much to hide and save thousands of us. It was no small matter that he ordered the opening of cloistered convents. Without him, many of our own would not be alive.
About The Author
Rabbi David G. Dalin, a widely-published scholar of American Judaism and the history of Christian-Jewish Relations, is the author or co-author of five books, including Religion and State in the American Jewish Experience, published by the University of Notre Dame Press in 1997 and, most recently, The President of the United States and the Jews. His article, "Pius XII and the Jews," was published in the February 26, 2001 issue of the Weekly Standard, and was reprinted in the August-September issue of Inside the Vatican, published in Rome. Rabbi Dalin is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal First Things, and a member of the Board of Governors of Sacred Heart University's Center for Christian Jewish understanding. He is now writing a new book, tentatively entitled: Two Popes and the Jews: Pius XII and John Paul II.
In recent years, Eugenio Pacelli, who became Pope Pius XII in 1939, has been the subject of considerable public criticism, and even vilification, for his alleged failure to speak out against Hitler during the Holocaust. Pope Pius' alleged "silence," in the face of the worst Nazi atrocities, has led some of his harshest critics to accuse him of being a Nazi sympathizer or an anti-Semite. In 1999, the British journalist John Cornwell created an international sensation with the publication of his best-selling attack on Pius XII, vilifying Eugenio Pacelli as "Hitler's Pope."