ROME (JTA) — The Vatican has produced another document to bolster its assertion that Pope Pius XII worked behind the scenes to save Jews during World War II.
Vatican Radio on Wednesday said a 1943 document found in a convent in Rome listed the names of 24 people who were to be sheltered by the nuns there in accordance with the pope’s desire.
"The Holy Father wants to save his children, also the Jews, and orders that hospitality be given to these persecuted [people] in the monasteries," Vatican Radio quoted from the document.
Vatican Radio said the document was dated November 1943 — just weeks after German occupiers rounded up about 2,000 Roman Jews on Oct. 16 and deported them to Auschwitz.
The Rev. Peter Gumpel, the German Jesuit historian in charge of promoting the cause for beatification of Pius XII, told Vatican Radio that the document was important in that it provided written evidence of Pius’ directives.
Jewish critics and other historians have said Pius turned a blind eye to the fate of Jews during the Holocaust. They have urged Pope Benedict to put a hold on the beatification process until the issue is clarified and have called on the Vatican to open its secret archives in order to do so.