The Pope and the Holocaust

The Vatican’s ambassador to Israel has reversed an earlier decision, and will visit Yad Vashem.

Monsignor Antonio Franco, announced last week that he would skip Sunday night’s event because of a caption at the [Yad Vashem Holocaust] museum describing the wartime conduct of Pope Pius XII.

The caption next to the picture of Pius in Yad Vashem’s museum reads, “Even when reports about the murder of Jews reached the Vatican, the pope did not protest,” refusing to sign a 1942 allied condemnation of the massacre of Jews…

Officials from Yad Vashem, the Vatican’s Embassy and the Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed that Sunday that Franco had reversed his decision and would attend Sunday’s ceremony.

Franco told Ynet he merely wanted to draw attention to the Catholic Church’s stance regarding the picture of Pius, saying it was “only diplomacy.”

According to him, there is evidence that the pope worked diligently to help save Jewish lives during the Holocaust. — YNet

Here is a story told to my wife by a survivor now living in Israel. This woman was not given to making things up and there’s no reason to doubt her story.

Molly’s parents managed to get her family from Germany to Italy by the beginning of the war when she was perhaps 10 or 11 years old. She was hidden in a convent in Rome near the Vatican with her sister and brother and several other children; only the Mother Superior knew that they were Jewish.

Molly remembers that the Mother Superior would take the children from time to time on “dry runs” through a long underground tunnel into another building; she was told that this was part of the Vatican and that this would be their escape route if their presence and identity were discovered by the Germans.

Did the Pope know? How many children were saved through similar arrangements? Who knows?

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