.- A recently uncovered archival document demonstrates Pope Pius XII’s high esteem and support for the Jewish people during the Second World War.
The uncovered document provides further evidence against the notion that Pope Pius XII was an anti-Semite and did nothing to help the Jews during World War II.
Monthly magazine, Inside the Vatican, reported on the document, which is an article that was published in The Palestine Post, (now The Jerusalem Post), on April 28, 1944. The article was written as a first-hand account by an anonymous Jewish author in wartime Palestine.
It describes a meeting between Pope Pius XII and the anonymous author, a young German Jew, in 1941 at the Vatican. The young man had gone seeking help for Jews who were being held in an Italian Fascist internment camp.
After listening to the young man and asking him to follow up with a letter to the Secretary of State who was dealing with the matter, Pius told him twice in front of a large group, which included German soldiers: “Be proud to be a Jew.”
The document was uncovered by William Doino, a longtime contributor to Inside the Vatican and the author of an 80,000-word annotated bibliography on Pope Pius XII, titled “The Pius War: Responses to the Critics of Pius XII". Doino found the article in archives maintained by Tel Aviv University.
"The testimony has apparently been forgotten, because, as far as I know, no leading Holocaust authority or biographer of Pius XII has ever cited it,” Doino was reported as saying.
According to the article, the Pope had told the young Jewish man: "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!"
Pius 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!"
"For Pius XII to make this statement to a German Jew, in 1941, in private, would have been remarkable enough," Doino told Inside the Vatican. "That he did it in public, with his voice raised so that 'everybody in the hall' could 'hear it clearly,' in front of German soldiers, as well as cardinals, bishops, and other high dignitaries of the Vatican government, is more astonishing still.”
“It doesn't merely reveal Pius XII's kindness and Christian compassion; he goes well beyond that and affirms the young man's Jewishness, the very core and dignity of his being," Doino said.
Doino will be contributing a full commentary on his findings in an upcoming publication of Inside the Vatican.
For Doino's initial article and the full text of The Palestine Post article see this link to Inside the Vatican.