Israeli Holocaust memorial recognizes Vatican support for efforts to protect Jews
September 18, 2013
Yad Vashem, the Israeli memorial to Holocaust victims, has acknowledged that some Catholic convents and monasteries opened their doors to shelter Jews from the Nazi genocide, “sometimes with the knowledge of the Vatican.”
In a display dedicated to the “Righteous Among the Nations”—the honest people who sought to protect Jews from the Holocaust—Yad Vashem now pays homage to those Catholic institutions that provided safe havens for Jews. The display still criticizes Church leaders for failing to speak out forcefully, complaining of a “lack of overt and unequivocal guidance by the Vatican,” but recognizes that some Church leaders openly encouraged help for the Jews.
Last year, after a sometimes contentious debate, Yad Vashem changed its description of Pope Pius XII, noting that recent historical work has shown his efforts to save Jews. The memorial replaced a panel criticizing the wartime Pontiff with one that said research shows “a more complex picture than previously presented.”
- “Sometimes the Vatican knew about convents opening their doors to Jewish fugitives” says Yad Vashem museum (Vatican Insider)
- Israeli Holocaust memorial moderates critical tone in description of Pope Pius XII (CWN, 7/2/12)