Jewish Group Demands Info on Wartime U.S. Warning to Vatican

NEW YORK, Oct. 27, 00 ( - A Jewish group on Thursday demanded the Vatican provide new information on a warning issued to the Vatican in 1944 by the US secretary of state that the Nazis planned to kill 65,000 Jews in three concentration camps.

The October, 1944 directive from then-Secretary of State Cordell Hull asked the Vatican to use its diplomatic contacts to warn German second-in-command Heinrich Himmler that he would be held accountable for the deaths after the war. The World Jewish Congress demanded that the Vatican open up its archives to reveal what steps Pope Pius XII took after he received the letter.

Some Jewish groups have excoriated Blessed Pius XII in recent years, saying he did not do enough to save Jews from the Nazis or had even provided implicit approval to the Nazis. That stance differs from historical Jewish praise for Pius, including plaudits from the late Israeli prime minister Golda Meir, for his actions in saving 700,000 Jews.

Elan Steinberg, the World Jewish Congress' executive director, said that the Vatican should reveal what, if anything, the wartime pontiff did after receiving Hull's warning. "If there is, in fact, documentation refuting this, it would be in the Vatican's interest to open up the archives," he said. The Vatican has refused such requests for open access, saying the archives also contain sensitive information of a sacramental nature, but has worked to release all information possible.

Catholic World News Service - Daily News Briefs
27. oktober 2000

av Webmaster publisert 30.10.2000, sist endret 30.10.2000 - 15:24