Grand Rabbi Herzog of Jerusalem sent a message expressing thanks for actions taken by Pius XII and the Holy See on behalf of Jewish people. After six months of research at Yad Vashem, Pinchas E. Lapide, The Israeli consul in Italy, wrote:

The Catholic Church saved more Jewish lives during the war than all other churches, religious institutions and rescue organizations put together. Its record stands in startling contrast to the achievements of the International Red Cross and the Western Democracies…The Holy See, the nuncios, and the entire Catholic Church saved some 400,000 Jews from certain death.

He eventually increased his estimate to about 860,000 Jews.

The World Jewish Congress also expressed its thanks and donated two million lire (about $20,000) to Vatican charities. The press reported that the gift was given in recognition of the work of the Holy See in Rescuing Jews from Fascist and Nazi persecution. Dr. Joseph Nathan, a representative of the Hebrew Commission, expressing thanks for support during the Holocaust, said: “Above all, we acknowledge the Supreme Pontiff and the religious men and women who, executing the directives of the Holy Father, recognized the persecuted as their brothers and, with great abnegation, hastened to help them, disregarding the terrible dangers to which they were exposed.”

The National Jewish Welfare Board wrote to Pius: “From the bottom of our hearts we send to you, Holy Father of the Church, the assurance of our unforgotten gratitude for your noble expression of religious brotherhood and love.”

The New York Times reported that Rome’s population grew during Nazi occupation because “in that period under the Pope’s direction the Holy See did an exemplary job of sheltering and championing the victims of the Nazi-Fascist regime. I have spoken to dozens of Italians, both Catholics and Jews, who owe their liberty and perhaps their lives to the protection of the church. In some cases anti-Fascists were actually saved from execution through the Pope’s intervention.” The article went on to explain that “none doubt that the general feeling of the Roman Curia was anti-Fascist and very strongly anti-Nazi.” The World Jewish Congress, on December 1, 1944, at its war emergency conference in Atlantic City, sent a telegram of thanks to the Holy See for the protection it gave “under difficult conditions to the persecuted Jews in German-dominated Hungary.”

The end of the war saw Pius XII hailed as “the inspired moral prophet of victory,” and he “enjoyed near-universal acclaim for aiding European Jews through diplomatic initiatives, thinly veiled public pronouncements, and, very concretely, an unprecedented continent-wide network of sanctuary.”

Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa and Professor Ronald Rychlak, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism (2013)


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