Magazine says it has proof that Pope Pius XII helped hundreds of Jews avoid Nazi concentration camps

News release from Inside the Vatican magazine
Jan. 9, 2012

Is much of the modern world’s prevailing scholarly thinking about Pope Pius XII and his relations with Jews and the Jewish community just plain wrong?

It may very well be, according to remarkable new evidence discovered by researcher William Doino, Jr., and published in the latest edition of Inside the Vatican magazine.

The evidence shows that Pope Pius XII helped hundreds of shipwrecked Jews to avoid deportation to German concentration camps. 

The evidence is compelling, so compelling that some Jewish voices are now calling on the authorities of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum in Israel to consider declaring Pope Pius XII one of the “Righteous among the Nations” for personally intervening to save Jewish lives during World War II.

William Doino, Jr., researcher and Pius XII expert, during five years of painstaking research, has uncovered and here published explicit new testimony from two Jewish witnesses — evidence either up to now unknown, not fully known, or, for reasons difficult to understand, deliberately ignored by scholars and others engaged in a 50-year campaign of defamation against Pius XII.

Doino’s research challenges those who hold negative views of Pius XII, and in particular, Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial, which still displays an exhibit accusing the wartime pontiff of indifference toward Jews during the Holocaust.

Will this powerful evidence, revealing the Pope’s firm support for Jewish victims, finally persuade Yad Vashem to take down its inaccurate exhibit? Might it move Yad Vashem, in fact, toward declaring Pius XII a “Righteous Gentile”?

The new research may also influence the Catholic Church’s thinking as a decision about whether to advance Pius XII’s cause for beatification is weighed.

The eyewitnesses to Pius XII’s actions are two Jewish refugees: Howard Heinz Wisla (1920-2004), from Germany; and Herman Herskovic (1921-1983), from Czechoslovakia, each of whom left behind dramatic testimonies until now overlooked or forgotten. Doino earlier touched on some of Wisla’s testimony, which had?anonymously been published in thePalestine Post (today’s Jerusalem Post) in 1944.

This new January essay, “Pope Pius XII: Friend and Rescuer of Jews,” draws upon Wisla’s virtually unknown memoir, first published in German and Hebrew (1945), and then, in expanded form, in English (1966).?The memoir describes his astonishing audience with Pius XII at the Vatican in late 1941, when Pius embraced the young Wisla, and told him: “Always be proud to be a Jew!”

The revealing article also tells the full story of the Jewish refugees shipwrecked in the Aegean Sea, who had managed to get to a deserted island, only to discover they faced slow starvation, and approaching Germans. The Nazis did eventually take control of the island and commit atrocities. Before that, however, Wisla had escaped, reaching Rome and the Pope. Alerted by Pius XII, the Italian Red Cross took the refugees to relative safety in southern Italy.

In addition to Wisla’s first-hand account, there is that of his fellow refugee, Herman Herskovic. Herskovic confirms Wisla’s meeting with the Pope, as well as the harrowing ordeal of the Jews saved by Pius, and declares: “I owe my life to the Pope,” adding that “several hundred Jews” also owed their lives to Pope Pius.

This groundbreaking journalism establishes in detail a successful rescue effort carried out at the personal direction of Pius XII, enabling 500 endangered Jews to survive the deadly anti-Semitism of World War II.

“This is just another example of how Pope Pius XII directly interceded to save Jewish lives when most of the world’s religious leaders did nothing,” said Gary Krupp, a Jewish researcher on Pius XII and the Second World War who lives in New York. “And Pius did so while being surrounded by hostile forces and mindful of the plan to invade the Vatican to kidnap him in 1943. It is time for the world to appreciate what this man did. We call upon the authorities at Yad Vashem to seriously look at this material, in addition to the other evidence we have submitted to them, in order for Pope Pius XII to be called righteous among nations.” (Gary Krupp is the Founder and President of Pave The Way Foundation.)

To read the full story, Click Here.



Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2012 9:35 AM By goodcause
The article misses the key point……as Pope, Pius XII refused to call an international news conference to publicly condemn Nazism and Facism as evil. Fears that Pius would have been kidnapped hda he done so are a stretch….in Germany, one cardinal publicly condemned the euthanasia of the mentally ill and was promptly arrested by the SS. However, cooler heads around Hitler persuaded him to let him go. Pius was the Pope and could have used the Papcy as a bully pulpit to condemn evil, but did not do so. THAT is where the criticism comes from, not that he helped rescue Jews, which many Catholic clergy did. Thousands of priests and nuns died in the Holcaust, but there was silence from Rome, an obivous mistake by the Holy Father.

Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2012 11:10 AM By Traditional Angelo
So much for the fable of “Hitlers Pope”! Rome has held back on the Beatification of Ven. Pius Xll in order not to draw the ire of certain people who threatened that Jewish-Catholic relations would deteriorate if he were Beatified. Many have worked hard to exonerate the “Angelic Pope” as he was and is known. I wonder if this will be enough to stop the madness. Many have already proven enough that Ven. Pius Xll did not collaborate with Hitler in exterminating Jews, a calumny of unheard of proportions.

Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2012 2:15 PM By Greg
Several factors that often go unreported: The “silence” of Pope Pius XII may have been due to the influence of the leaders of International Jewish organizations who may have asked the Holy Father not to worsen the situation by publicly denouncing the Nazis; Pius was a diplomat and may have thought he could do more to help Jews quietly through the diplomatic channels of the Holy See, as well as through the efforts of the clergy and Religious; and, that the campaign against Pius XII was a deliberate effort of the KGB.

Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2012 3:37 PM By Bruce
I have always had faith in my Holy Father Pope Pius the XIIth, even when the post-WWII prevalent worldly point of view was to persecute and try him without evidence. He was the Vicar of Christ, acted like our Lord would have him, and he did not fold even given the horrible and personal dangerous situation he and the Vatican were in Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s backyard. These crazy war criminals could have killed Pope Pius the XIIth, his resident Cardinals and Bishops, and Vatican City turned into rubble, as they risked it by saving hundreds, perhaps thousands Jewish, Polish, Czech, and other refugees directly and indirectly. I would believe there is more hard to find evidence buried somewhere. We need to remember, considering the life and death situation at the time, most of the evidence was avoided or swept up and discarded so that the Nazis and Fascists could not publicly accuse and squash the Vatican with a vengeance. Our Lord held true to His promise to protect His Church!

Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2012 6:50 PM By Traditional Angelo
goodcause, The German Bishops took the step of condemning Nazism. Thats what many wanted the Church to do. In retaliation the Nazis massively murdered Jews. If Ven. Pius Xll would have done the same as the German Bishops there would perhaps be no Jews today. Today many say Pius Xll should have done this or that as if they new more than the Pope. Many forget that His Holiness was an expert diplomat and that he knew what could and could not be done. Because of so many lies, Ven. Pius Xll has not been Beatified. The Church for this reason should bypass Beatification and just Canonize this Holy Pope.

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 10:21 AM By Bruce
Angelo, There should no be no bypass of the beatification and canonization process for Pope Pius the XIIth. It really doesn’t matter what the Vatican declares, as God has already judged Pope Pius the XIIth. If he is in heaven, he is already a Saint, if he is not in heaven, no beatification or canonization process will matter. It is God’s decision, not man’s to decide who enters the Kingdom and Heaven and who does not. I hope and pray that Pope Pius the XIIth is in heaven.

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 11:23 AM By JLS
Bruce, the Church affirms those She believes to be in Heaven. Jesus gave the popes and bishops the authority to bind and loose; thus the Church sends some souls to Heaven and leaves others to the mercy of God.

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 1:25 PM By Charles
JLS, You are wrong and taking St Matthew’s Chapter 16 verse 19 out of context to state your claim. Studying the footnotes in the most accurate Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible you will find the insightful definition tied to this 19th verse: “Loose upon earth: The loosing the bands of temporal punishments due to sins, is called an indulgence; the power of which is here granted”. In other words, Jesus’ direction to Simon Bar-Jona (AKA St. Peter) is in relation to the forgiveness of sin and easing punishment/atonement for sin, NOT in decreeing to God who will be His saints. Only God can pass that judgement. Our Father in Heaven leaves that up to His Son Jesus. The Roman Catholic Church from the begining was cautious in declaring a person a saint and only after a very thorough, defined, rigorous, and lengthy investigative process with proven credible/unquestionable miracles by the intercession of the deceased person all for the sake of preserving the Church’s credibility. Imagine what would happen to the Church’s credibility if a declared saint turned out to be an imposter!

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 2:36 PM By Maryanne Leonard
Charles, do you mean sort of like ex-Auxiliary Bishop Zavala?

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 2:41 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
The bottom line is that canonization or no canonization should only depend on the personal sancitity of the person being considered, not on any political considerations! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 4:06 PM By JLS
Charles, what’s the difference?

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 5:55 PM By JLS
Charles, I never said the pope and bishops “decree to God who will be saints”. I said the Church sends some souls to Heaven and leaves some to the mercy of God: This, Charles, is way different from your misinterpretation of what I posted.

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 11:26 PM By JLS
Charles, in 2000 years of the Catholic Church’s recognizing some men, women and children as “saints”, can you find a single example where one of them later was proved to be an “imposter”?

Posted Thursday, January 12, 2012 3:12 AM By Traditional Angelo
Ven. Pius Xll Santo Subito! When the Pope declares someone a Saint he has the guarantee of Infallibility. When I pointed out the political consideration of Ven. Pius Xll as a great diplomat, it was for the purpose of silencing all the wanna be diplomats. Those who suggest what the Pope should have said or done 70 years ago. Ven. Pius Xll was not a diplomat of a pagan country, he was in the service of the diplomacy of Christs Holy Catholic Church. Which he carried out with great Christian virtue. In this Mans greatness, Pope Pius Xl gave him one of most serious responsibilities, at one of the most crucial times in history. And he carried it out with Charity, Humility and unwavering sterness. Which is why Hitler and his people hated this Great Pope, they found him a major obstacle to their evil plots. As I stated before, were it not for Ven. Pius Xll perhaps Hitler would have succeeded in exterminating all the Jewish People.

Posted Thursday, January 12, 2012 8:17 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
I would like to add to my posting of 2:41 PM that all I have read and witnessed of this great Pope Pius XII indicates he should be canonized and no political considerations should be involved. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Saturday, January 14, 2012 8:01 AM By Traditional Angelo
Kenneth M. Fisher, I misunderstood your post of Jan, 11, 2012 2:41. I thought you were suggesting that the diplomatic work of Ven. Pius Xll should be separated from his holy life. Which of course can’t be done. I now see what you meant, politics have in fact held back the Cause for Ven. Pius Xll. The Church has enough proof that the calumnies against him should be discarded. And the Cause of the Angelic Pope should proceed, regardless of the politics against him.

Posted Saturday, January 14, 2012 12:12 PM By Larry
goodcause: You are mistaken. The archives of the New York Times for the World War II years are replete with attacks by Pius and the Holy See on actions of the Nazis. The Times itself, in year-end editorials, even (ironically enough!) praised Pius as the only public figure in Europe who had guts enough to confront the Nazis. And before Pius XII took office, his predecessor Pius XI had gone on record in writing with “Mit Brennender Sorge” branding Naziism as a form of idolatry. That encyclical was largely written by Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pius XII. As far as calling “an international news conference”–that wasn’t done by popes back then–and the only papal news conferences today are impromptu when the pope gathers with journalists who are accompanying him on the plane to some travel destination.

Posted Saturday, January 14, 2012 3:45 PM By Maryanne Leonard
Amen, Kenneth and Angelo! I was born just before America got into the war, so I was extremely fortunate to grow up and attend Catholic school when Pope Pius XII headed the Holy Roman Catholic Church. He was wonderful in every way that we were aware of. It was impossible to believe the false accusations leveled against him after his death. Happily, extensive research conducted in recent years by a Jewish intellectual completely contradicted his expectations that he could affirm Pope Pius XII did nothing to help the Jews during the war. He wrote a well-received book giving specifics and extensive references that the facts turned out to be exactly the opposite, which of course only silenced those who were willing to be swayed by facts. The uninformed, a few lingering bigots, and those who seem to have it in for Catholics in general will still argue otherwise at dinner parties, but serious researchers have long since come to disavow the vicious rumors against him. It’s amazing how many saints have been excoriated without merit either during their lifetimes or even afterward. It happens so frequently that one almost wonders if being accused of crime and sin is part of the process of achieving sainthood. I celebrate the cause of the canonization of Pope Pius XII and agree with you both that politically correct considerations are of no import in this case or any other. Only truth matters, and thanks be to God, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church can be depended upon to base its conclusions solely upon careful consideration thereof, even if it takes hundreds of years to discern.

Posted Sunday, January 15, 2012 12:33 PM By JLS
Maryanne, I was born on the last day; very happy you won.

Posted Sunday, January 15, 2012 6:50 PM By Maryanne Leonard
JLS, what a joyous day on which to be born! Your parents must have been overjoyed in so many ways. I noticed I posted an error about my own birth date, which I realize is of no interest to anyone but myself, but I was actually born a year after America got into the war, not before! This just proves I’m really getting old, that’s for sure! But your comment “very happy you won” makes me wonder if you are not American born . . . ?? We all won that war, not just the Allies, but everybody in any way a part of the Christian world, even to today. I have read in credible sources that it has been learned that Pope Pius XII was threatened by Hitler not to challenge the Third Reich or the Nazi’s would destroy the entire Catholic Church while they were busy wiping out Jews, Catholic priests and nuns who dared speak out against him, gypsies, homosexuals, the infirm and disabled, the insane, etc., etc. Pope Pius therefore worked behind the scenes so as not to endanger the entire Church with aggressive acts of confrontation, but many acts by individual Catholics cost them their lives all the same. The unforgettable story of Saint Maximilian Kolbe is one that is well known, and that was an era of countless saints, heroes and martyrs still known only to God.

Posted Sunday, January 15, 2012 10:13 PM By Traditional Angelo
Maryanne Leonard, To your posts of January 14, 2012 3:45 PM and January 15, 2012 6.50 PM. Amen! I enoyed that. Everything that should be said in just 2 posts.

Posted Sunday, January 15, 2012 11:47 PM By JLS
Maryanne, I’m glad you took up my “we won” point. It really does lead to profound contemplations. Ever try to imagine all the wars that have taken place beyond the time and place of Christianity? The number of souls is staggering to even attempt to guess.

Posted Sunday, January 22, 2012 9:13 AM By Joannie
I have said almost a year ago and I will continue to say it now Pope John Paul II should not have been beatified before Pius XII because Pius’s record in history has already been made known but yet for political reasons the last Pope was still beatified before him despite the continuing fallout from the sex abuse crisis. It shows a double-standard that is unacceptable because the truth should prevail not feelings.

Posted Sunday, January 22, 2012 8:19 PM By Narob
Anti-Catholic minds are not changed by facts.

Posted Sunday, January 22, 2012 8:29 PM By JLS
Joannie, Bl John Paul II was declared blessed not for political reasons but for A. holiness, B. his philosophical work on the Catholic tradition of personhood, never before treated comprehensively.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 6:57 AM By JLS
Wrong, Narob, because Catholicism has a lengthy history of changing not only minds, but hearts and souls as well. That is what Catholicism is about, ie her reason for being. And God has guaranteed it.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 6:18 PM By Abeca Christian
Narob but I think that facts are changed by Anti-Catholic minds. Would you agree? Plus read JLS’s reply to you, he conveyed it well!