Loading
Yad Vashem honors Italian cardinal who rescued Jews
The entrance to the Yad Vashem memorial. Credit: Ido Mor via Flickr.com (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
The entrance to the Yad Vashem memorial. Credit: Ido Mor via Flickr.com (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Israel’s official Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem has named the World War II-era Archbishop of Florence, Cardinal Elia Dalla Costa, as “Righteous Among the Nations” for his help in rescuing hundreds of Jews from Nazi persecution.

Yad Vashem said on Nov. 26 that the cardinal “played a central role in the organization and operation of a widespread rescue network.”

The Nazis began to deport Jews after the German occupation of Italy in September 1943. A major rescue effort in Florence was begun by the city’s Jewish leader Rabbi Nathan Cassuto and Jewish resistance fighter Raffaele Cantoni. The operation soon became a joint Jewish-Christian effort, with the cardinal offering guidance.

Cardinal Dalla Costa recruited rescuers among the clergy and supplied letters asking monasteries and convents to shelter Jews. He sheltered Jewish refugees in his own palace for short periods before they could be taken to safety.

Yad Vashem said the cardinal was part of a network that helped save hundreds of local Jews and Jewish refugees from areas previously under Italian control.

Survivor Lya Quitt testified that she received help from the cardinal after she fled to Florence from France in September 1943. She was brought to the cardinal’s palace and spent the night with other Jews sheltered there before rescuers took them to different convents in the city.

The cardinal died in 1961 at the age of 89. The cardinal’s medal will be kept at the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem.

Yad Vashem has honored over 24,000 people with the medal in recognition of their “extraordinary courage to uphold human values.” Other Catholic honorees include Latvian priest Fr. Kasimir Vilnis, who was honored in 2008.

Controversy over the actions of the Catholic Church during the Holocaust has often focused on Pope Pius XII. Some critics contend the wartime Pope did not do enough to speak out against the persecution of Jews.

The Pope’s defenders point to his numerous actions behind the scenes that helped save persecuted Jews.

Until earlier this year, the Yad Vashem memorial’s exhibit on Pope Pius XII mainly echoed his critics, saying the Pope “did not protest” the murder of Jews.

The memorial has since changed the exhibit panel, citing recent research. It acknowledges the Pope’s condemnation of ethnic persecution and the efforts of the Holy See to save Jews. It notes Pius XII defenders who say official Catholic neutrality prevented harsher measures against the Catholic Church and allowed more covert rescue efforts to succeed.

The exhibit still criticizes “a lack of clear guidance” and instances of silence from the Vatican during the Nazi era.

Tags: Pius XII, Catholic-Jewish Relations

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Nov
21

Liturgical Calendar

November 21, 2014

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 19:45-48

Gospel
Date
11/21/14
11/20/14
11/19/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Rev 10: 8-11
Gospel:: Lk 19: 45-48

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/21/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 19:45-48

Homily
Date
11/21/14
11/20/14
11/19/14