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June 10, 1988 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-06-10

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FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 1988


Lonely Voice

Continued from Page 7

Rights is in the process of
publishing a book about the
pope's role during the
Holocaust. Two Catholic
League members, Anthony
Mangano and Dr. Robert
Martin, compiling existing
historical research, assembl-
ed what they see as a com-
prehensive volume. The U.S.
Catholic Historical Society,
with the support of the Ar-
chdiocese of New York, plans
to publish English transla-
tions of Vatican documents
relevant to Pius XII's efforts
on behalf of Jews. Msgr.
Eugene Clark, secretary of
the society, said the
documents contain a great
deal of information never
before publicized.
The common theme of these
efforts is that the pope was
deeply concerned with the
plight of the Jews and active
in discreet but substantial
and effective ways to save the
people whom Hitler hated
most. Father Graham,
outspoken in his defense of
Pius XII, commented often as
he stated particular points:
"It's all on the record."
Many Jewish leaders from
various parts of the world
came to the pope for help,
"and they always got an
answer. They got results," he
Moreover, during the
Holocaust, in the years follow-
ing World War II, and even at
the time of his death in 1958,
Pius' efforts were explicitly
and gratefully acknowledged
by Jewish leaders.
Mangano pointed out
specific expressions of
gratitude by Jewish leaders.
Moshe Sharett, who would
later become Israel's first
foreign minister and second
prime minister, told Pope
Pius that his "first duty was
to thank him, and through
him the Catholic Church, on
behalf of the Jewish public,
for all they had done in
various countries to rescue
Isaac Herzog, chief rabbi of
Jerusalem, one of the Jewish
leaders who had sought Pope
Pius' help, praised the pope
following the war for "his life-
saving efforts on behalf of the
Jews during the Nazi occupa-
tion." Harry Greenstein, then
executive director of the
Associated Jewish Charities
of Baltimore, who conveyed
the greeting to the pope, later
recounted the glow in Pius'
eyes, and his reply that "his
only regret was that he was
not able to save many more
Among those acknowledg-
ing the pope's efforts at the
time of his death, Mangano
added, were Rabbi Joachim
Prinz, president of the

American Jewish Congress;
Dr. Israel Goldstein, chair-
man of the Western
Hemisphere executive for the
World Jewish Congress; and
Dr. Nahum Goldmann, World
Jewish Congress president.
Other Jewish leaders who
were in occupied Europe dur-
ing the war also gave
testimony during that time of
For example, Dr. Raphael
Cantoni, a hero of Italy's
Jewish Assistance Commit-
tee, said that "the church and
the papacy have saved Jews
as much and insofar as they
could Christians. Six million
of my co-religionists have
been murdered by the Nazis

Many Jewish
leaders from
various parts of
the world came to
the pope for help.

... but there would have been
many more victims had it not
been for the efficacious in-
tervention of Pius XII."
Voices of mourning and
gratitude for the deceased
pontiff also were heard from
Israel. Then-Israeli United
Nations delegate Golda Meir
sent a cablegram to the
Vatican: "When fearful mar-
tyrdom came to our people in
the decade of Nazi terror, the
voice of the pope was raised
for the victims. The life of our
times was enriched by a voice
speaking out on the great
moral truths above the
tumult of daily conflict. We
mourn a great servant of
The one point on which
both his critics and defenders
agree is that Pope Pius did
not publicly and explicitly
condemn Hitler's genocidal
campaign against the Jews.
Such an action, Father
Graham said, would not have
stopped Hitler from killing
Jews, "and might have had
the opposite effect." What is
often forgotten, Father
Graham continued, is that
almost all of Europe was
under Hitler's domination, so
any effort on behalf of Jews or
others had to be scrutinized
for its effectiveness and for
possible consequences.
Critics of Pope Pius remark-
ed that the contention that
discretion was necessary to
prevent the situation from
becoming worse is a fallacy.
The situation, they say, could
not have been any worse.
Such criticisms are rejected
by Father Graham. "It could
have been a lot worse. There
were hundreds of cases where
things could be done and they
In fact, Mangano said that

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