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New Book Discusses the Role of Pope Pius XII During World War II

Posted on 2/12/2013 by Miriam Cohen in Holocaust HaShoa Israel Israel Today Pope Pius XII Catholic Pope The Pope's Jews
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Next month, The Pope's Jews hits book stores. In this historical account, author Gordon Thomas attempts to clarify the role played by Pope Pius XII, known as "Hitler's Pope," during the Second World War regarding Europe's Jewish population. Based on previously unpublished Vatican documents and first-hand accounts provided by Holocaust victims and wartime priests, the book reveals the existence of a secret operation personally overseen by the Pope to shelter Jews across Nazi Europe.

According to Thomas, a Protestant, Pius XII allowed the establishment of safe houses in a number of convents and monasteries and blessed the fabrication of fake documents identifying thousands of Jews as Catholics. Under him, the Vatican instructed priests to issue hundreds of baptism certificates for Jews hidden in Genoa, Rome and other parts of Italy, where racial laws were first implemented by dictator Benito Mussolini in 1938. Another 4,000 Jews were hidden in Vatican-owned buildings across Italy and a priest was put in charge of extensive funds to provide them with food, clothing and medicine.

Many of those who survived the Nazi death camps could not return home, and one of the only guaranteed safe places for them was the Land of Israel, committed to bring all Jews back to their homeland. But the ghosts of their horrific past linger, and far too many are living out their last days in poverty and loneliness.

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