Did Pope Pius XII REALLY do nothing to help for the Jews in World War II?

Who Pope Pius XII Guilty in WWII?

Is it possible that one of the most powerful men in the world, Pope Pius XII, did nothing to help the Jews during the Holocaust?  Did a man who wielded such authority just turn a blind eye to all the death and destruction.  Worse yet, could he have worked deals with the Nazis in order to procure safety and riches for the Vatican?  These and many other charges have been fired against Pope Pius XII, but are they true?

The truth is that nobody believed or even heard these charges until 1963.  Rather, everyone in the world, even Jewish people, honored Pope Pius XII as a hero.  The first charge invented against the pope emerged in the early 1960s with the release of a theatrical play called, “The Deputy.”  This play was written by a Protestant who accused the pope of complying with the Nazis through silence – by doing nothing to help the Jewish people and their plight.  After this accusation was launched, severe criticism of the pope and the Vatican grew into a firestorm and has resulted in many all-out smear campaigns for the last 50 years.

In actuality, it is all untrue, and the facts may be verified by anyone interested in understanding the truth.  What Jews say now, and what they proclaimed then are two different realities.  That the pope was silent and did nothing to help the Jews is the farthest thing from the truth.

So, let’s look at those facts……

Fact:  Pope Pius XII did more to help the Jews than anyone else, including any organization  or government.  Even when he was Cardinal Eugene Pacelli, he spoke out loudly and strongly against the Nazi’s.

When Pacelli became Pope Pius XII, he continued to speak out strongly and created quite a stir for a long time.  It is no secret that the Nazis hated the pope and wanted to do away with him.  We have many letters which verify this fact and reveal their disdain for him.

After a while, the Nazis warned the pope and the Catholic Church to stop speaking out or  face severe consequences.  One famous example was in Holland.  The church there refused to stop speaking out against the Nazis.  As a result, not only did Jews die (including Ann Frank), but thousands of Catholics died along side them (including Edith Stein who had converted to Catholicism).  The Nazis promised that if anyone spoke out against their regime, they would die along with the people closest to them.  Thus, continuing to do so only proved to agitate the situation and bring about more death.

From that time on, Pope Pius XII developed a new, much more effective strategy.  In fact, it saved close to a million Jewish lives, about 800,000 to be exact.  Countless Jews, including many of the ones that the Pope personally hid in his own residence, all agreed that the pope’s speaking out would only make things worse.  The Jews of the day admired the way he silently labored to save lives, and they praised him for the way he served their people.  What did the pope do exactly?

The Pius Truth:

  • Pope Pius XII secretly opened the monasteries and convents around different parts of Europe (France, Spain, Germany, Italy, etc).  Even cloisters and people’s personal homes were opened, and in all these places, the Church safely hid thousands of Jews.  The pope himself opened up the Vatican to the Jews and thousands more took refuge there.
  • The pope was also actively involved in secretive negotiations to help save Jews from being killed and/or deported; just for example, 20,000 Jews in Italian prison camps, 8,000 Jews from Holland, and thousands of Jews from other countries.

How could anyone claim that the pope was indifferent, quiet, or that he did nothing to help people who were killed before his eyes?  Nothing could be more erroneous.

More Evidence in favor of Pope Pius XII:

  • The head Rabbi of Rome, Abraham Zolli was so inspired by the example and work of Pope Pius XII that he ended up researching and converting to the Catholic Church after the war ended.
  • Likewise, the chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Isaac Herzog praised the efforts of the pope and didn’t hesitate to proclaim him and the good he did.
  • After the death of Pius XII, there were many prominent Jewish leaders and laymen who praised his efforts and successes.  They honored him highly.  Even Golda Meir, Israel’s delegate to the UN and future Prime Minister of Israel, gave Pius XII strong praise for his outstanding work in helping the Jews and for his efforts in speaking out.
  • Most people don’t realize that shortly after the war, the World Jewish Congress gave Pius XII two million Lira as a gift of thanksgiving for all he did to help the Jewish people.
  • Even Jewish scientist, Albert Einstein published an article in Time Magazine praising the efforts of the Church in helping Jewish people everywhere.  He said, “I looked to newspapers and editorials, but they, like the universities were silenced in a few short weeks.  Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for surprising truth.  I had never any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom…” (Pope Fiction, pg. 304).
  • Perhaps one of the clearest signs is this: After World War II ended, the government of Israel estimated that pope Pius XII saved about 800,000 Jewish lives during the Holocaust, more than every other religious organization combined.  In the pope’s honor, the Israeli government planted 800,000 trees to represent all the lives he saved through his untiring effort and hard work.

That the pope did nothing is the farthest thing from the truth.  That the pope silently turned a blind eye to the horror is just not true.  The pope was in the trenches, on the front lines, and doing what it took to save as many Jews as possible.  Thus, Pius XII  should not be smeared falsely, but should be honored, in the highest.

For more information on Pius XII: See the books, Pope Fiction, by Patrick Madrid;  Pius the XII and the Holocaust, by Robert Graham.

Also check out a great article by Jimmy Akin called, How Pius XII Protected the Jews.

About Bryan Mercier

Bryan Mercier is a thirty-eight year old speaker and retreat leader. He has spoken to adults and teens for the last fifteen years on a wide variety of topics; ranging from catechetics and faith formation, to morality, spirituality, and apologetics. He has spoken at youth and adult retreats, workshops, seminars, Catholic schools, parish missions, local, regional and national conferences. He has spoken in front of crowds ranging from thirty to three-thousand and has been aired on both TV and radio in different states. Bryan also runs the R.O.C.K. (Revival Of Catholic Kids) Ministry Team that puts on all-day retreats for teens. He is going for his Masters in theology and working on writing numerous books and tracts.
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One Response to Did Pope Pius XII REALLY do nothing to help for the Jews in World War II?

  1. Jessica says:

    Krupp: But if you go to an average pesron with the information that we have found they can only come to one conclusion that this guy was the greatest hero of World War Two. We can prove it. We have something on our side documented proof where the revisionists haven’t a scrap of paper to support their theories. To find such proof the foundation has commissioned the German historian Michael Hesemann to search the Vatican archives opened two years ago by Pope Benedict XVI. These cover the period from 1922 to 1939, the years when Eugenio Pacelli served as nuncio to Bavaria and then as Pope Pius XI’s Jew-loving Secretary of State, as he was referred to by the Nazis.Krupp says he was surprised to learn that literally none of the Monday-morning quarterbacks who criticise Pius have visited the archives. Yet the same critics, he says, continue to wrongfully dismiss each new finding as either old or irrelevant as they defend their theories at the expense of historical accuracy .Some of the new evidence is hard to ignore, however. One piece, discovered in the diary of a Rome convent, revealed that Pius directly ordered the religious houses of Rome to hide the city’s Jews on October 16 1943, the same day his protest at their deportation was ignored. When I met Krupp he was buzzing about a separate project the foundation was due to begin in cataloguing the private archives of Fr Robert Graham, a Californian Jesuit who until his death in 1997 was considered to be the world’s leading expert on the wartime role of Pius. The collection of 25,000 documents contained photocopies of wartime papers from the Vatican’s Secret Archives which will not be released until 2013. It’s as though the Vatican archives have opened as of today, said Krupp. But after the project became public, permission to publicise the documents was denied.It would represent the second setback Krupp, 61, has suffered recently. Last September he sponsored a symposium on Pius in Rome. He invited Pius’s most trenchant critics to attend, but they not only refused but also then attacked the symposium as one-sided, which was comical , according to Krupp, because they were complaining about a situation of their own making.Pope Benedict used the symposium, however, to express his own conviction that, when free from ideological prejudices , Pius could be seen as a noble pope who spared no effort in intervening on behalf of the Jews, either directly or through instructions given to other individuals or to institutions of the Catholic Church . Those rabbis who attended the event went away convinced that Pius was one of the unsung heroes of the Holocaust, says Krupp.Not all Jews approve of what Krupp is doing. There is a substantial body of opposition among them to the beatification of Pius XII, leading to claims that Krupp does not represent the views of the Jewish mainstream and that he is something of a maverick. Yet he fits neatly into a long line of prominent Jews to defend Pius. These date to at least 1940 when Albert Einstein vigorously defended the Catholic Church as the only institution in Nazi Germany that stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth .Throughout that decade tributes to Pius came from Chaim Weizmann, Israel’s first president; Moshe Sharett, Israel’s first foreign minister, and Isaac Herzog, the chief rabbi of Israel. Pius granted an audience to 80 concentration camp survivors who wanted to thank him pesronally for helping to save lives. The chief rabbi of Rome, Israel Zolli, became a Catholic and took as his baptismal name Eugenio in tribute to the Pope. When Pius died in 1958 Golda Meir, Israel’s foreign minister and future prime minister, praised him for raising his voice when fearful martyrdom came to our people .Since the Sixties most of the evidence in defence of Pius has been unearthed by Jewish historians, most notably by Pinchas Lapide who used Yad Vashem’s records to show that the Church under Pius saved up to 850,000 lives more than all the international agencies put together.Most recently, the American professor David Dalin, a rabbi, has used historical evidence to demonstrate that the attacks on Pius are ideologically motivated, largely emanating from lapsed and angry Catholics intent on damaging the papacy, and which, he argues, in reality amount to a form of Holocaust denial because they disparage the testimonies of survivors. Sir Martin Gilbert, the world’s leading authority on the Holocaust, is among those who believe Pius should be considered as a Righteous Gentile.In this light, the restoration of Pius’s reputation is an issue of truth and justice. But to Krupp it remains principally a Jewish issue because it has the potential to alienate his people from a billion Catholics whom they should consider as historic allies. Today, with the dangers to the Jewish people and to the state of Israel, we need to do everything possible to eliminate these obstacles when they are simply not based on facts, Krupp explained. We really need every friend we can get. In this respect his work is a deadly serious venture and is as much concerned with the future as the past. It should be seen by Christians and Jews alike as a mitzvah a Jewish good deed.

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