Yad Vashem softens portrayal of Pope Pius XII

From WaPo:

Israel’s national Holocaust memorial softens portrayal of wartime Pope Pius

JERUSALEM — Israel’s national Holocaust memorial has toned down its account of Pope Pius XII’s conduct toward the massacre of Jews during of World War II, following a long diplomatic dispute with the Vatican. [WaPo’s description is still distorted, isn’t it?]

Critics have long contended that Pius, who was pope from 1939 to 1958, could have done more to stop the Holocaust, when 6 million Jews were killed. Before his election as pope, he also served as the Vatican’s No. 2 and before that as the papal envoy to Germany. [And… so?]

Given his deep involvement in the Vatican’s diplomatic affairs with the Nazis, what Pius did or didn’t do during the war has become the single most divisive issue in Vatican-Jewish relations.

A wall panel at the Yad Vashem memorial installed on Sunday still lists occasions when the wartime pontiff did not protest the slaughter of Europe’s Jews. But it also offers the views of defenders who say the church’s “neutrality” helped to save lives.

“This is an update to reflect research that has been done in the recent years and presents a more complex picture than previously presented,” Yad Vashem said in a statement.


Pius XII ought to have been declared a “Righteous Gentile” long ago.

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  1. ray from mn says:

    What did Franklin Roosevelt or Winston Churchill and, needless to say, Joseph Stalin do for the Jews? How come Yad Vashem never complains about them? I think we have a case of extreme anti-Catholicism on the part of Yad Vashem. Besides loving to see their name in the papers.

  2. chcrix says:

    Let Yad Vashem say what they wish. Over the long run, spite to a man who did more than any single individual to assist those persecuted disgraces only those who exhibit it.

  3. aviva meriam says:

    Careful…. I’ve been to Yad Vashem. They do NOT extoll the virtures (in any way shape or form) of FDR or Churchill. There is direct criticism of FDR, Chruchill and Stalin.

    At least they are willing to reconsider the record on Pius XII and NOT accept the criticism as a fait accompli. What I would urge is for the Vatican, and others willing to defend Pius’s record during 1933-1945 to make the case publicly.

    Yad Vashem is a memorial. It is also a compilation of documents, artifacts as well as testimonials.

  4. yatzer says:

    There is plenty of evidence for the help Pius XII gave during WWII. Pave the Way is a good site and is run by a Jewish guy who went looking for the truth and found it was not what he thought. I believe those who defame the pope don’t want to know any different. Shame on Yad Vashem.

  5. BaedaBenedictus says:

    WaPo’s bias is far more insidious than Vad Yashem’s. That article was atrocious!

  6. Until the Kremlin got its mitts on the life story of Pius XII, there was never any doubt among either Jews or Gentiles about the role that holy Pope played in saving the lives of persecuted Jews. The guy who wrote The Deputy was a front for the Soviets. Ironic that those Jews who buy into the myth of “Hitler’s Pope” should allow themselves to be stooges of the most anti-Semitic regime in human history, even including the Nazis.

  7. acardnal says:

    Excellent, well documented books defending Pope Pius XII’s behavior vis a vis the Jews during WWII are “Hitler, the War and the Pope” by Ronald J. Rychlak, “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope” by Rabbi David Dalin, and the many, many books on this subject authored by Sister Margherita Marchione.

  8. Kathleen10 says:

    The accusation someone “could have done more” is hard to counter, true or not. We could always do more, even someone who did alot could always do more, theoretically. It is a nebulous complaint for which there no satisfactory retort.
    And I agree, some people just want to believe the worst. The truth is something they aren’t really interested in.

  9. Johnno says:

    I’ve been there and visited the memorial. I note back then the entry on Pius XII and other figures. It started of with the words, “While controversy still surrounds this figure…” and ends something like “more could’ve been done to speak out against the atrocity.”

    It’s always mystified me as to how anyone could look back at history in hindsight and judge whether anyone made the right decisions at the time. None of this is an easy thing to discern the right course of action against a monstrous regime… All the same Pope Pius XII did more than any other person on earth to save the Jews, and his treatment is a great injustice and ingratitude on the part of politically motivated Jews and anti-Catholics. Least we forget, as RealCAtholicTV’s CIA episode on Pius XII showed, much of the blame falls on liberal Catholics who sought to promote the ‘Hitler’s Pope’ fantasy in order to undermine the Church and the Papacy so as to promote their own immoral and heretical reforms against the Church’s authority.

  10. AnAmericanMother says:

    It was kind of a ‘perfect storm’. You had the Soviets, via STASI, funding Hochhuth to undermine the moral authority of the Church – and you had anti-Catholics only too happy to play along – and you had lib/rad Catholics who saw it as an opportunity to try to change the Church to their liking.
    It’s going to take time and a lot of persuasion to change Vad Yashem and the minds of most Jews. My Jewish friends were brought up on horror stories about the Church, and it’s a visceral, emotional, automatic reaction to blame Pius XII. We lost two close friends when we converted.

  11. Grabski says:

    Yad Vashem doesn’t mention that over 6 million Christians were exterminated by the Nazis as Untermenschen.

    Yet Pope Pius obviously is not responsible for the genocide of millions of Catholics and other Christians.

  12. PostCatholic says:

    This is an area in which we have complete agreement. I’d be happy to see Pacelli join the four Unitarians listed at Yad Vashem (Rev & Mrs Waitstill Sharp most prominently among them).

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