ROME (JTA) — The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation has launched a worldwide appeal for testimonies of Jews saved by Catholics during the Holocaust.
The group is making the appeal ahead of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Israel next month.
The testimonies, according to the Catholic News Agency Zenit in a report this week from Jerusalem, would be "a way to celebrate the presence of the Pope in the Holy Land and the fraternal embrace between Catholics and Jews it symbolizes."
Named for Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews in the Budapest ghetto, the foundation has as its mission the development of "educational programs and public awareness campaigns based on the values of solidarity and civic courage, ethical cornerstones of the saviors of the Holocaust."
This includes seeking information on rescuers and promoting knowledge of their actions.
"During World War II, a great number of Catholic men and women in the European continent risked their own lives to save Jews persecuted by the Nazis," Zenit quoted the foundation as saying. "Only a fraction of these saviors were duly recognized."
The pope is scheduled to visit Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority May 8-15.