Sunday, February 16, 2003

Documents Prove that Pope Pius XII Sought to Aid Jews During World War II

From the Daily News in the UK:

The documents undermine critics' claims that Pius - condemned by critics as "Hitler's Pope" - put the interests of Rome first and did not protest about the fate of Jews during the Holocaust.

A letter, signed by the Pope in October 1940 and sent to Giuseppe Palatucci, Bishop of Campagna in southern Italy, instructed him to give money "in aid to interned Jews", to whom Pius also referred in an earlier letter as "suffering for reasons of race".

The bishop was already involved in assisting Jews through his nephew, Giovanni Palatucci, the police chief in Fiume, in north-eastern Italy. Palatucci had distributed false identity papers to 5,000 Croatian Jews, enabling them to leave local internment camps for relative safety in his uncle's southern Italian diocese, an operation that would later lead to the police chief's death in Dachau.

A second letter to Bishop Palatucci in November 1940 contained a cheque for 10,000 lira that was to be used for the "support of Jews interned in your diocese".

Supporters believe that the letters will help to repair the reputation of a man whom the present Pope, John Paul II, is seeking to make a saint but who has been accused of being anti-semitic, culturally Germanophile, rabidly anti-communist and conspicuously silent about the fate of Europe's Jews.