'Pope Pius XII Saved Thousands of Jews'

New research has found that Pope Pius XII may have facilitated the exodus of about 200,000 Jews from Germany shortly after Kristallnacht, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Haaretz Service
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Haaretz Service

New research has found that Pope Pius XII may have arranged the exodus of about 200,000 Jews from Germany just three weeks after Kristallnacht, the Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday.

The research is being carried out by Dr. Michael Hesemann, a German historian who is combing through the Vatican archives for the Pave the Way Foundation, a U.S.-based interfaith group.

Pope Pius XII has been widely criticized for his silence during the Holocaust and his failure to explicitly denounce the Holocaust, the Nazi regime or to excommunicate Hitler.

The new research, however, shows that the perception of Pius XII as "Hitler's Pope" may be historically incorrect.

Pope Pius XIICredit: AP

Kristallnacht, known as "The Night of Broken Glass", took place on November 9-10, 1938. Ninety-one Jews in Germany and Austria were killed in anti-Jewish pogroms and tens of thousands were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Thousands of homes, buildings and synagogues were destroyed.

Hesemann said that Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli – the future Pius XII – wrote a letter on November 30, 1938, urging Catholic archbishops throughout the world to apply for visas for "non-Aryan Catholics" and Jewish converts to Christianity who wanted to flee Germany.

According to Hesemann, there is evidence that the visas would have been given to ordinary Jews and that the terms "converted Jews" and "non-Aryan Catholics" were a cover to prevent the Nazis from discovering the true purpose of the visas.

Elliot Hershberg, the chairman of the Pave the Way Foundation, was quoted in the Daily Telegraph report saying: We believe that many Jews who were successful in leaving Europe may not have had any idea that their visas and travel documents were obtained through these Vatican efforts. Everything we have found thus far seems to indicate the known negative perception of Pope Pius XII is wrong.



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

Relatives mourn during the funeral of four teenage Palestinians from the Nijm family killed by an errant rocket in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 7.

Why Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rockets Kill So Many Palestinians

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed


AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op