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Israel ambassador salutes Pope Pius XII for sheltering Jews from Holocaust

Catholic World News - June 24, 2011

Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See has confirmed that Pope Pius XII was responsible for protecting many Jews from the Holocaust.

Speaking at an event honoring Father Gaetano Piccinini as a “righteous gentile” for his efforts to save Jews during World War II, Mordechai Lewy said that it is inaccurate to claim that Pope Pius XII and the wartime Vatican failed to act on behalf of Jews. “They always gave the help that they could,” he said.

Lewy noted that after Nazis organized a raid to round up Jewish residents of Rome, Catholic religious institutions quickly began taking in Jews, sheltering them from arrest. That policy, Lewy added, clearly had the approval of “the highest authorities of the Vatican.”

The Israeli envoy acknowledged that his statement would be unpopular with Jewish critics of Pope Pius XII. He made a careful distinction, however, saying that his statement "refers to saving Jews, which Pius did, and does not refer to talking about Jews, which he did not do and which Jews were expecting from him."

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  • Posted by: roth115703578 - Jun. 24, 2011 10:21 PM ET USA

    Before decades of baseless attacks on Pius XII, Israel's Prime Minister Golda Meir public praised and thanked Pius for Vatican's aid to Jews during the Holocaust. Its good to see another Israeli official reiterate this truth that has been forgotten.

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