Airbrushing History


I must respond to the assertion that Pope Pius XII did what he could to save European Jewry (Letters, Nov. 25). This is an attempt to airbrush history.

The fact is that the Catholic Church was the one institution that could have prevented the mass deportation and extermination of European Jewry. It is admitted that some national churches, i.e. the Church in Holland did what they could to protest deportation.

The reason why the Vatican did not do anything publicly was that it was fearful of weakening the German war effort. There were officials within the Vatican who wanted either a German victory or draw as a bulwark against Soviet Communism even as they detested the Nazis. Hence, any initiative such as the rescue of the Jews of Rome had to be done quietly so as to not weaken the war effort.

This attitude represents the opposite of the Orthodox churches of Romania and Bulgaria, which publicly fought deportation with some success. (More that half of the Jews of Romania survived the Holocaust).

Had the Catholic Church done the same, the mass deportation and extermination of the Jews of Europe could have been stopped. Look at the Bishop of Munich and his intervention stopping the extermination of the mentally retarded.

As a final note, the Jews were not the only group abandoned by the Catholic Church during World War II. The Catholic Church said nothing regarding the slaughter of Orthodox Serbs. It was also silent as to the deportation and extermination of Gypsies and the murder of segments of the general Polish populace (Catholic).

Clearly, today’s Catholic Church is not responsible for the inaction of its forbearers. But there ought to be an honest accounting.

Fairlawn, N.J.