Cites '43 Letter by Which Pope Urged Aid for Jews
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 19, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican secretary of state says that Pope Pius XII signed a letter asking all religious institutes to open their doors to Jews persecuted by the Nazi regime.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said that Wednesday when commenting on a caption in the Yad Vashem, a Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, which asserted that Pius XII was silent in the face of the persecution against the Jews.
Cardinal Bertone explained that on Oct. 25, 1943, Pius XII signed "a bulletin from the Secretary of State which mandated that religious institutions and even the catacombs be opened to welcome the Jews persecuted by the Nazis."
The president of Yad Vashem, Avner Shalev, has promised to reconsider the way that Pius XII is portrayed in the museum.
While participating in the presentation of a book by Maria Franca Mellano, which documents the rescue of hundreds of Jews who took refuge in the Pius XI Institute of Rome, Cardinal Bertone called such cases "a luminous history of generosity."
"But this was possible, not only in this situation but in any of them, due to the bulletin from the secretary of state signed by Pius XII," the cardinal added. "It is impossible that Pius XII, who signed that bulletin, would not have approved that decision."