Pope Pius XII Saved Jews


Stolen from AMERICAN CATHOLIC
Venerable Pius XII always believed that it was part of his duties as Pope to be accessible to virtually everyone who wished to see him. His audiences would normally be crowded as a result. In the autumn of 1941 he held an audience which was no different. Italians, pilgrims of all nations, German soldiers (German soldiers flocked to see the Pope until the Nazis forbade such visits, fearing the influence the words of the Pope, in direct contradiction to the doctrines of National Socialism, might have on the Landsers.), humanity from across the globe, all eager to see, and perhaps have a word with, the Vicar of Christ on Earth.

Among the people waiting to see the Pope was a Jew. He was a German refugee. He wanted to tell the Pope about a group of Jews interned by the Fascist government of Italy on an island, in danger of starvation. Why go to the Pope? The whole world in 1941 knew that the Pope was a friend of the Jews and an enemy of the Nazis, so of course a Jew would seek his aid.

The turn of the Jew arrived to speak to the Pope. At first he spoke in broken Italian, but the Pope invited him to speak in his native German which the Pope both understood and spoke. He did, explaining to the Pope that he was a German Jew. After he had told the Pope about the interned Jews, the Pope told him, in German, “You have done well to come to me and tell me this. I have heard about it before. Come back tomorrow with a written report and give it to the Secretary of State who is dealing with the question. But now for you, my son. You are a young Jew. I know what that means and I hope you will always be proud to be a Jew!”

The Pope then raised his voice so that everyone in the hall, including the German soldiers, could hear him: “My son, whether you are worthier than others only the Lord knows, but believe me, you are at least as worthy as every other human being that lives on our earth! And now, my Jewish friend, go with the protection of the Lord, and never forget, you must always be proud to be a Jew!”

The Pope’s interlocutor didn’t forget his warm reception and wrote about it in the Palestine Post anonymously on April 28, 1944. The story at the time caused no great stir, because, of course, the whole world knew that the Pope had always been a friend of the Jews.
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Eugenio Pacelli was the Vatican ambassador to Germany. He HATED NAZISM. He had to do all that he could do without fanfare or publicity because when the Church made a stand against the Nazi’s the Jews and Catholic priests suffered imprisonment and execution as retribution. Edith Stein, a Jewish convert and Carmelite Nun was killed in Auschwitz in 1942, as revenge against the Church for speaking against the Nazis.

The Jews themselves begged the Church not to oppose the Nazis publicly. So, not being stupid, Pius XII did all he could do for the Jews and other Nazi enemies secretly. You can read about this Here–>Edith Stein

But the most incontrovertible evidence that Pius XII helped the Jews is the story of the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Israel Zolli, and his conversion to the Catholic church less than a year after Rome was liberated by the Americans. And not only that, he chose as his baptismal name, EUGENIO, the name given to the Pope by his parents.

A few days later, the Chief Rabbi relinquished his duties, and went to find a priest in order to complete his instruction in the truths of the faith. On February 13, 1945, Archbishop Traglia conferred the sacrament of Baptism on Israel Zolli, who chose ‘Eugenio’ as his Christian name, in gratitude to Pope Pius XII for his decisive action on behalf of the Jews during the war. Zolli’s wife, Emma, received Baptism with her husband, and added the name ‘Maria’ to her first name. Their daughter Miriam would follow her parents after a year of personal reflection.

You can read the rest of his amazing conversion story at Salvation is from the Jews

There you will find many Jewish conversion stories. The webmaster’s own story is told in great detail in his book Salvation is From the Jews
I would also recommend Honey From The Rock a book of Jewish conversion stories.

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8 Responses to Pope Pius XII Saved Jews

  1. Constantine says:

    In 1933, the papal nuncio, Eugenio Pacelli (later Pius XII) negotiated the Reichskoncordat with the Nazi regime. Among other things, it required the German clergy to take an oath of allegiance to the German government and forbade clerics from becoming involved in politics.

    Hitler’s biographers, Ian Kershaw notes the following:

    “Despite the continuing molestation of Catholic clergy and other outrages committed by Nazi radicals against the Church and its organizations, the Vatican had been keen to reach agreement with the new government. Even serious continued harassment once the Concordat had been signed did not deter the Vatican from agreeing to its ratification on 10 September [1933]. Hitler himself had laid great store on a Concordat from the beginning of his Chancellorship, primarily with a view to eliminating any role for ‘political Catholicism’ in Germany. At the very same cabinet meeting at which the sterilization law was approved, he underlined the triumph which the Concordat marked for his regime. Only a short time earlier, he remarked, he would not have thought it possible ‘that the Church would be ready to commit the bishops to this state. That this had happened, was without doubt an unreserved recognition of the present regime.’ Indeed, it was an unqualified triumph for Hitler. The German episcopacy poured out effusive statements of thanks and congratulations.”
    Kershaw, Ian. Hitler: a biography. London: W. W. Norton & Company, Ltd., 2008, p. 295.

    Pius XII, as papal nuncio, set the stage for the German decimation of the Jews.

    But it gets worse.

    Prior to 1938, the Jews of Italy enjoyed what may be called “equal rights” with other non-Jews. However, “From September to November 1938, the Italian government had declared Jews undesirables, thrown Jewish children out of school, and fired large numbers of Jewish adults from their jobs. It had called on Catholics to avoid the Jews, to treat them as a source of pollution.” (Kertzer, David I. The Popes Against the Jews: The Vatican’s Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001, p. 287)

    Of course, the Roman Catholic Church was the official state religion and could have exerted enormous influence but it remained silent while Jews were forced out of their homes and jobs and subjugated to all manner of humiliation.

    And why didn’t the pope protest?

    “The explanation for this fact is simple: Mussolini’s new laws embodied measures and views long championed by the Church itself.” Kertzer, P. 287.

    As the Italian government began to crumble and the onslaught of the Germans was inevitable, the Jews petitioned the Vatican to restore them to their pre-1938 status in order to have some protection.

    “But, as the Vatican emissary reported, he rejected their pleas. In preparing his petition to the new Italian Minister of Interior Affairs, “I limited myself, as I was supposed to, to only the three points specified in Your Eminence’s praiseworthy message of 18 August…I took care not to call for the total abrogation of a law…which, according to the principles and the traditions of the Catholic Church, certainly has some clauses that should be abolished, but which clearly contains others that have merit and should be confirmed.” Op. cit., p. 287.

    So the Vatican hung the Jews out to dry in the face of the Nazi onslaught.

    What happened next?

    “Shortly thereafter, German soldiers marched down the peninsula and entered Rome, where, on October 16, they surrounded the old ghetto and rounded up over a thousand Jews.” Op. cit. p. 290.

    Two days after Pius XII’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Maglione, met with the Nazis, over a thousand Jews were taken from Rome to their deaths. (Why there were a thousand Jews in a Vatican ghetto is left for another day.)

    The Cardinal’s recollection of his meeting with the Nazi ambassador:

    “Your Excellency has told me that he will try to do something for the poor Jews. I thank you for it. As for the rest, I leave it to your judgment. If you think it more opportune not to mention this conversation, so be it.”

    1933 – Eugenio Pacelli, later Pius XII, makes a deal with the Nazis requiring German bishops to swear allegiance to the German government.
    1938 – Pius XII, as head of the state religion, fails to come to the aid of Italian Jews who are being thrown out of their homes and jobs.
    1943 – Pius XII, through his Secretary of State, stands aside as the Germans remove over a thousand Jews from the Vatican ghetto to be taken to their deaths.

    And you tell us about an audience in 1944.

    How sad. How very, very sad.

    • bfhu says:

      Constantine,

      I am sure you are sincere but you need to know that you are repeating lies and distortions. Eugenio Pacelli was the Vatican ambassador to Germany. He HATED NAZISM. You have conveniently not been told about those quotes. He had to do all that he could do without fanfare or publicity because when the Church made a stand against the Nazi’s the Jews and Catholic priests suffered imprisonment and execution as retribution. Edith Stein, a Jewish convert and Carmelite Nun was killed in Auschwitz in 1942. The Jews themselves begged the Church not to oppose the Nazis publicly. So not being stupid, Pius XII did all he could do for the Jews and other Nazi enemies secretly. You can read about this Here–>Edith Stein

      But the most incontrovertible evidence that Pius XII helped the Jews is the story of the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Israel Zolli, and his conversion to the Catholic church less than a year after Rome was liberated by the Americans. And not only that, he chose as his baptismal name, EUGENIO, the name given to the Pope by his parents.

      A few days later, the Chief Rabbi relinquished his duties, and went to find a priest in order to complete his instruction in the truths of the faith. On February 13, 1945, Archbishop Traglia conferred the sacrament of Baptism on Israel Zolli, who chose ‘Eugenio’ as his Christian name, in gratitude to Pope Pius XII for his decisive action on behalf of the Jews during the war. Zolli’s wife, Emma, received Baptism with her husband, and added the name ‘Maria’ to her first name. Their daughter Miriam would follow her parents after a year of personal reflection.

      You can read the rest of his amazing conversion story at Salvation is from the Jews

      There you will find many Jewish conversion stories. The webmaster’s own story is told in great detail in his book Salvation is From the Jews
      I would also recommend Honey From The Rock a book f Jewish conversion stories.

  2. Tito Edwards says:

    Constantine,

    Mussolini was an atheist.

    The “three month period” of Jewish persecution were only headlined news stories to show Fascist favor with the Nazi’s during Mussolini’s state trip to Germany (to appease Adolph).

    As far as Jews being fired, that was more Fascist propaganda to appease Mussolini’s ‘friend’ Hitler. Whom Mussolini himself thought very little of and went so far as to call him mentally deficient in private conversations.

    The Fascists controlled all media in Italy through intimidation and violent reprisals on newspaper editors.

    The Catholic Church along with nearly all Italians knew the newspaper reports was a sham and the law unenforceable (only when the Nazi’s occupied Italy did this occur… by Nazi’s themselves).

    Taking conversations out of context and blatant lies about “alleged” conversations is par for the course for anti-Catholic bigots such as yourself.

    As far as “swearing allegiance” to the government, many countries in Europe had similar agreements, especially France more so than Germany.

    This was a huge win for the Vatican because they aggressively and successfully eliminated language that said “allegiance to Hitler”, which all German civil servants, military personal, and other government employees had to do in order to get jobs.

    Any American would say the same by swearing allegiance to America. That doesn’t mean they aren’t loyal to their faith first.

    Keep up the bad history and lies.

    Truth always wins out in the end.

  3. Constantine says:

    Bfhu wrote: Eugenio Pacelli was the Vatican ambassador to Germany. He HATED NAZISM.

    Then why did he negotiate a treaty with the Nazi’s that required the Catholic bishops of Germany to take an oath to the state? Aren’t the bishops supposed to be in allegiance to the Roman pontiff? Secondly, if he hated Nazism so badly, why did that same concordat prevent the Catholic bishops from protesting against the state?

    You see, your position simply denies the facts of history.

    Bfhu, again: He had to do all that he could do without fanfare or publicity because when the Church made a stand against the Nazi’s the Jews and Catholic priests suffered imprisonment and execution as retribution.

    If that is true, then how do you explain Pius’s praise for Bishop (and later, Cardianl) von Galen. Pius told the bishop, ““the Church in Germany is all the more dependent on your (von Galen’s) public action”. If the Church was “dependent” upon the public action of a local bishop, which stopped the Nazi euthanasia, machine, how can you believe that public support from the pope would have less effect? You are misguided, and to believe that is nonsense.

    And Jewish conversion stories are meaningless. We could, of course, talk of Catholic-to-Jewish conversions, which resulted in the death of the convert, but that would be rather inconvenient for your point.

    The facts of history are that Pius XII, as Vatican Secretary of State, laid the groundwork for the rise of Nazism. Without the work he did in establishing the Reichskoncordat, the Nazis would have had none of the prestige upon which they built their empire.

    And Edith Stein was deported because of her Jewish heritage, not her Catholic affiliation. Therefore, her canonization is invalid because she fails the test of Confessor of the Church. She was sainted merely to salve the guilty conscience of the Vatican which resulted from the work of Pius XII and his predecessors.

  4. Constantine says:

    Tito Edwards,

    TE writes: Mussolini was an atheist.
    So what? So was Pope Alexander VI. What’s your point?
    TE writes: The “three month period” of Jewish persecution were only headlined news stories to show Fascist favor with the Nazi’s during Mussolini’s state trip to Germany (to appease Adolph).
    If you say so. But the fact is that the Roman Catholic Church was the state religion and it failed to wield any influence to stop this. But let’s not also forget the 700 year period of Jewish persecution that preceded this which was directed by the popes of Rome.
    TE writes: As far as Jews being fired, that was more Fascist propaganda to appease Mussolini’s ‘friend’ Hitler. Whom Mussolini himself thought very little of and went so far as to call him mentally deficient in private conversations.
    Oh really, I’m sure they would be glad to hear that. So, Tito, how do you explain the fact that these same Jews were forced to live in a ghetto by the popes of Rome? Was that “Fascist propaganda”, too?
    \TE: The Fascists controlled all media in Italy through intimidation and violent reprisals on newspaper editors.
    Sorry to be blunt, Tito, but that is simply a lie. L’Osservatore Romano and Civilta cattolica were (and are) Catholic publications strictuly under the direct supervision of the Pope. And they contained some of the most virulent anti-Semitic writings in history. And some of their editors were honored by the popes for their “service to the Church”.
    TE again: The Catholic Church along with nearly all Italians knew the newspaper reports was a sham and the law unenforceable (only when the Nazi’s occupied Italy did this occur… by Nazi’s themselves).

    Really. Since the Vatican controlled L’Osservatore Romano and Civilita cattolica perhaps you could cite for me one article wherein the Vatican opposed the “sham” laws of the period. Nope….I didn’t think so. The official state religion was silent….again.

    TE again: Taking conversations out of context and blatant lies about “alleged” conversations is par for the course for anti-Catholic bigots such as yourself.
    Shame on you. To resort to name-calling shows that you are an evil, small-minded person, Tito.. Go to confession. I would never call you an ignoramus no matter how richly you might deserve it.

    TE: As far as “swearing allegiance” to the government, many countries in Europe had similar agreements, especially France more so than Germany.
    So it’s ok with you for Catholic bishops to serve the state first, and Rome second. Very interesting.
    Tito Edwards: This was a huge win for the Vatican because they aggressively and successfully eliminated language that said “allegiance to Hitler”, which all German civil servants, military personal, and other government employees had to do in order to get jobs.
    Hmmmm. I wonder where that language came from? Yep, it came from the document that Pacelli agreed to with Wieszacker, the Nazi ambassador!!! So, according to you, when the Vatican eliminates language it originated, it’s a hero. That is funny. According to you, an arsonist who puts back the lighter he used to burn down a house is just as much a hero.
    TE: Any American would say the same by swearing allegiance to America. That doesn’t mean they aren’t loyal to their faith first.
    Apparently, Tito, you aren’t aware that by doing that American Catholics commit the heresy of “Americanism”, as per Leo XIII. But it’s not surprising that you don’t because you really don’t know much.

    TE: Keep up the bad history and lies.
    I think we’ve seen who has bad history, Tito.

    Peace to you, anyway.

  5. Tito Edwards says:

    Constantine,

    TE writes: The “three month period” of Jewish persecution were only headlined news stories to show Fascist favor with the Nazi’s during Mussolini’s state trip to Germany (to appease Adolph).
    If you say so. But the fact is that the Roman Catholic Church was the state religion and it failed to wield any influence to stop this. But let’s not also forget the 700 year period of Jewish persecution that preceded this which was directed by the popes of Rome.

    Being a state religion only recognizes a fact that the country was 99% Catholic back then. The Church has no political power.

    And for those 700 years of persecution.

    That’s a black legend.

    You need to distinguish between government persecution of Jews and the inquisition by the Catholic Church.

    So, Tito, how do you explain the fact that these same Jews were forced to live in a ghetto by the popes of Rome? Was that “Fascist propaganda”, too?

    The Popes have no legal jurisdiction beyond the Vatican. You really need to brush up on your knowledge of Italian history.

    Sorry to be blunt, Tito, but that is simply a lie. L’Osservatore Romano and Civilta cattolica were (and are) Catholic publications strictuly under the direct supervision of the Pope. And they contained some of the most virulent anti-Semitic writings in history. And some of their editors were honored by the popes for their “service to the Church”.

    They are not official mouth pieces of Rome.

    Look it up in Wikipedia.

    Shame on you. To resort to name-calling shows that you are an evil, small-minded person, Tito.. Go to confession. I would never call you an ignoramus no matter how richly you might deserve it.

    I am being truthful, not hurtful, such as what you are doing.

    So it’s ok with you for Catholic bishops to serve the state first, and Rome second. Very interesting.

    So to far as to commit crimes. You have no idea what you’re talking about do you.

    “Americanism”,

    You really don’t know what that means do you? It has nothing to do about being an American and everything to do about behaving as a Catholic. But you go look it up yourself because you’re making yourself into a fool.

    This is a Catholic blog, we are Catholics and know our faith better than most. So you need to be careful what you say because whatever arguments you have are slowly losing credibility the more you type.

    Peace to you, anyway.

    Peace to you as well!

  6. […] Pope Pius XII Saved Jews « The Black Cordelias […]

  7. Anonymous says:

    Pope Pius could have called on the Catholics of the world to unite & stand against the Nazis & to protect the Jews; our lord was himself afterall, a Jew.
    Lets not make this more complicated than it is, there were many good individuals & catholics that heped protect Jews but they were lead by their conscience not Pope Pius II.

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