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July 07, 1967 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1967-07-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Lapide Defends Pius XII, Claims Pope Saved
860,000 Jews, Proposes Forest in His Honor

Pinchas Lapide, having known
Popes Pius XII and John XXIII,
having met Pope Paul VI when he
was Cardinal Montini, incorporates
many years of research and study
into his new book, "Three Popes
and the Jews," published by Haw-
thorn Books (70 5th, NY11).
Packed full of valuable resource
material, this volume discredits
the charges against Pius XII made
in "The Deputy" and in other
volumes. It gives full credit to
Pius XII and John XXIII for
serious and sincere efforts in be-
half of Jews.
It contains a vast amount of
material exonerating Pius XII and
gives him credit for rescuing Jews.
The tribute to Pope John

XXIII is especially affirmative
and effective and Paul VI is
similarly honored. As a "final
step which Papa Roncalli (who
became John XXIII) has en-
visaged and, it seems, prepared
in his capacity as Pontifex Maxi-
mus—the supreme bridge-build-
er," Lapide quotes the Pontiff as
having said to Israel Ambassador
to Rome Maurice Fisher: "If I
were permitted to listen to my
heart, I would recognize the
State of Israel here and now."
And Pope Paul VI is quoted
from his coronation speech in
1963: "It will be my duty and
an obligation of honor not to
disappoint the high hopes raised
by my unforgettable predeces-

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sor; to implement that great
dream that 'all of us may be as
one,' for which Pope John XXIII
has sacrificed his life."

While much that Lapide has re-
corded is subject to question and
debate in view of the challenges
that have been directed at the
record of Pius XII in dealing with
Nazis and Nazism, and his alleged
failure to come to the aid of af-
flicted Jewry, the new book, "Three
Popes and the Jews," contains such
a vast amount of valuable material
regarding the Vatican and the
Jews that the work will be referred
to for a long time as an important
collection of data.
Especially valuable is the com-
plete record of the Vatican's atti-
tude toward Israel and the position
taken by the Popes vis-a-vis Jeru-
salem and the claims to the city
by the Jewish people.

See Page 32 for Detailed
Story on Vatican and the
Issue Involving Jerusalem

While Lapide deals at length
with the attitudes of the last three
Popes, he also reviews Vatican his-
tory related to dealings with Jews.
He does not exonerate the Church
and declares at one point: "In
sum, the Church saw to it that the
Jews entered Medieval Christen-
dom rightless and anathemized."
Insofar as Pius XII is concerned,
he maintains that the Pope was
responsible for rescuing 860,000
Jews from Nazism. It is on this
score that he will be differed with
by those who have challenged the
Vicar whose dealings with Hitler's
emissaries have been held respon-
sible for silence at a time when
the Vatican was asked to speak

out against Hitlerism.

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Justifiably—the critics of Pius
XII have emphasized it — Pius
XI is acclaimed for his out-
spoken attitude against persecu-
tion and Nazism. It was Pius XI
who, on Sept. 6, 1938, declared:
"Anti-Semitism is inadmissible;
spiritually, we are all Semites."

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

14—Friday, July 7, 1967

Polish Jews in Britain Blast Gomulka Warning

LONDON (JTA) — The Asso- the sympathy of the Polish Jews

ciation of Polish Jews in Britain
has sent a protest to the Polish
government expressing "deep dis-
appointment" over the govern-
ment's attitude toward Israel and
denouncing Communist Party
leader Wladyslaw Gomulka for his
warning to Polish Jews against be-
ing sympathetic to Israel in the
recent crisis and war.
The statement criticized Poland's
abrupt severance of diplomatic re-
lations with Israel, "the irrespon-
sible and vicious campaign of the
Polish press, particularly the
snreading of one-sided false in-
formation, inciting the Polish
people against Israel, as well as
the demonstration organized at
Warsaw airfield when a group of
hooligans attacked departing Is-
raeli diplomats."

Five months after Pius XI died,
Mussolini rejoiced and referred to
him as "that stubborn old man."
Lapide records these events. While
defending Pius XII he also de-
votes 40 pages of his book to indi-
cating what Pius XII did not do.
The description of gradual
changes in the Vatican is of sup-
reme interest in Lapide's book.
In his analysis of what happened
to the Jews during World War II,
the author examines Nazi-occupied
Europe country by country, tracing
The statement added that such
what he maintains were the efforts
developments prompted the as-
of Catholic citizens, at the direction sociation to "express our strong-
of the Vatican, to save the Jewish
est protest in the name of truth
people.
and elementary loyalty to the
Lapide, who lost six of his rela-
Jewish people so tragically
tives in the mass murders, calcu- tried."
lates that some 860,000 Jewish
The statement declared that
lives were saved from Nazi exter-
mination through the efforts of the Gomulka's warning of "repres-
sions"
against Polish Jews pro-
Catholic Church. "These figures,"
he writes, "small as they are in duced "shock and apprehension. If
comparison with our six million
martyrs whose fate is beyond con-
solation, exceed by far the total
saved by all other rescue organiza-
tions, including churches and other
religious institutions, the Red Cross
and various Western governments
combined."
"I've waited for the Vatican to
stand up and say what it did," the
author told an interviewer. "Ap-
parently it doesn't really appre-
ciate the results of the Pope's re-
peated intervention. I felt those re-
sults must ' - told, and told by a
Jew."
After two years of research, ac-
complished without assistance from
the Vatican, Lapide set about to
paint his 2,000-year panorama. He
was aided by the fact that as a
journalist and writer, he was per-
sonally acquainted with Pius XII
and John XXIII before they were
elected to the Papacy and knew
Pope Paul VI when he was Car-
dinal Montini.

towards Israel should come to be
considered as an expression of dis-
loyalty toward their native land,
then sympathy and aid of millions
of Poles throughout the world for
Poland today could also be regard-
ed as an act of disloyalty in re-
spect to the countries in which
they now live."

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Lapide concludes "Three Popes
and the Jews" with the sugges-
tion that a memorial forest of
860,000 trees, one for each life
saved, be planted in the Judaean
hills as a tribute to Pius XII.
Lapide, a former diplomatic of-
ficial of the Israel government, has

written extensively on religious af-
fairs for journals throughout the
world. He is the author of eight
other books, including "The
Prophet of San Nicandro" which
was awarded a literary prize by
the Jewish Book Guild of America.
Born in Canada, Lapide was the
founder and member of the first
American kibutz in the Mountains
of Gilboa. During World War II

he fought with the British Eighth
Army in the North African, Mal-
tese and Italian campaigns. While
serving in Southern Italy he "dis-
covered" a group of peasant con-
verts to Judaism to whom he has
been godfather and adviser for
more than twenty years. They were
the subject of his prize-winning
book.
His other works include "A Pil-
grim's Guide to Israel"—written
for all believers in the Bible; "An
Israeli's Introduction to Christian-
ity" and "The Vicar — And the
Truth," a reappraisal of Pius XII,
which was published in 16 Euro-
pean journals, including the Vati-
can's Osservatore Romano.
Lapide is a staff lecturer at the
American Institute of Biblical
Studies in Jerusalem.



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