In a dreadful August 16, 2010, article in the perpetually anti-Catholic Boston Globe, the paper failed to correct high-profile Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel when he falsely claimed that Pope Pius XII "did nothing to protest" the persecution of Jews "under the windows of the Vatican" during World War II.
Wiesel's claim is simply untrue. In fact, it was rebutted by the Globe (of all places) in a posting just last year. In a June 19, 2009, item by Michael Paulson, the paper quoted Israeli ambassador Mordechay Lewy:
"It is wrong to look for any affinity between [Pius] and the Nazis.
"It is also wrong to say that he didn’t save Jews. Everybody who knows the history of those who were saved among Roman Jewry knows that they hid in the church, they hid in Roman monasteries, in the Vatican itself people were hidden."
In addition, we know from Michael Tagliacozzo, "the foremost survivor on the October 1943 Nazi roundup of Rome's Jews" and "a survivor of the raid himself, " said Pius' actions helped rescue 80 percent of Rome's Jews. Rabbi David Dalin quotes Tagliacozzo in his excellent book, The Myth of Hitler's Pope.
"Pope Pacelli was the only one who intervened to impede the deportation of Jews on October 16, 1943, and he did very much to hide and save thousands of us." (Dalin, p. 83)
Finally, it is worth noting what the New York Times wrote in a December 25, 1941, editorial. (Boy, the paper has changed!)
The voice of Pius XII is a lonely voice in the silence and darkness enveloping Europe this Christmas… he is about the only ruler left on the Continent of Europe who dares to raise his voice at all… the Pope put himself squarely against Hitlerism… he left no doubt that the Nazi aims are also irreconcilable with his own conception of a Christian peace.
Wiesel's claim about Pope Pius XII is simply false. He certainly owes Catholics a correction and an apology.
Some resources for Mr. Wiesel and any others who are interested in the truth:
- "Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust" (a catalog of research): The Catholic League
- "The Truth About Pope Pius XII," by Sister Margherita Marchione. Ph.D.
- "The Real Story of Pius XII and the Jews," by James Bogle
- "How Pius XII Protected Jews," by Jimmy Akin
- "Catholic Heroes of the Holocaust," by Elizabeth Altham
- "How to Manufacture a Legend: The Controversy over the Alleged Silence of Pope Pius XII in World War II," by Robert A. Graham, S.J.
- The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice by Philip Jenkins
- "The Charity of Pope Pius XII," by Eugenio Zolli (former Chief Rabbi of Rome)
- "The Record of Pius XII's Opposition to Hitler," CatholicCulture.org
- A Hand of Peace: Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust (DVD)
- Highly recommended: The Myth of Hitler's Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis by David G. Dalin