In comments to the newspaper, “Le Point,” Jewish historian Saul Friedländer defended Pius XII against accusations that he was “Hitler's Pope.” Friedländer recalled that Pope Pacelli's aversion to Nazism was made known by his collaboration in the writing of Pius XI's encyclical, “Mit brennender Sorge.”
Friedländer previously taught contemporary history at the University Institute of Higher International Studies in Geneva and also worked at universities in Los Angeles and Tel Aviv. He is the author of such books as, “Hitler and the United States,” “Pius XII and the Third Reich,” and “Reflections on the Future of Israel.”
In the interview with Le Point, which was covered by L’Osservatore Romano (LOR), the Jewish historian referred to the silent work of Pius XII.
While some say he did little to protest the deportation of Jews and the Holocaust, written records and witnesses tell another story. They testify to his actions in defense of the Jews. Accounts of his intervention to save 4,000 Jews from a ghetto in Rome and place them in convents and Catholic schools refute claims of his passiveness.
In response to accusations against Pius XII's character, LOR pointed out, “Friedländer says he does not want to transform Pius XII into ‘Hitler’s Pope,’ as others have done. Instead, he recounts Pope Pacelli’s aversion to Nazism and his collaboration in the drafting of Mit brennender Sorge,” Pius XI’s encyclical condemning Nazi ideology.