ROME, JAN. 17, 2006 (Zenit.org).- A U.S. rabbi says that the title “Righteous among the Nations” should be conferred on Pope Pius XII for his efforts to defend the Jews during World War II.
Rabbi David Dalin, a professor of history and political science at Ave Maria University in Florida, makes his case in his book “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope,” published by Regnery.
The work shows that, in the course of history, many popes defended and protected the Jews from accusations and persecutions. It also recounts many incidents which show how Pius XII saved Jews from Nazi persecution.
Rabbi Dalin quotes authoritative studies by Jewish authors, such as Pinchas Lapide’s “Rome and the Jews” and “Pius XII and the Jews,” written in 1963 by Joseph Lichten, a member of the Anti-Defamation League.
The rabbi also quotes Hungarian historian Jeno Levai who, in the face of accusations of silence against Pius XII, wrote “Hungarian Jewry and the Papacy: Pope Pius XII Did Not Remain Silent. Reports, Documents and Records from Church and State Archives,” published in English in 1968. Robert M.W. Kempner, the deputy U.S. counsel during the Nuremberg trials, wrote the introduction to that book.
Martin Gilbert’s view
Among recent books, the American rabbi stresses specifically the works of Martin Gilbert, one of the most authoritative living Jewish historians. Gilbert is the official biographer of Winston Churchill and author of more than 70 books on World War II and the Shoah.
Gilbert recounts all that the Catholic Church did in defense of the Jews, opposing racism and Nazism, and affirms that “Pius XII should be praised and not censured.”
Rabbi Dalin proposes that Pius XII, for his actions in favor of Jews, be conferred the highest Jewish recognition for a gentile, the title “Righteous among the Nations.” Last Nov. 3, the Internet edition of the Jerusalem Post published a positive review of the book.