Pius XII Saved Many Jews, German Officer Reports

VATICAN, Dec. 11, 00 (CWNews.com) - A former German Army officer has stated that the concrete efforts by Pope Pius XII to save the lives of Jews from the Holocaust were more effective than any public condemnation of the Nazi regime would have been.

In an interview published by L'Osservatore Romano, Nikolaus Kunkel, observed that most of the Jews living in Rome during World War II escaped the Nazi death camps. Kunkel, who is now 80, was working in Rome in 1943, as a lieutenant in the German occupation force. He recalls that in October 1943, the German troops received the order to round up the Jews of Rome. But of the 8,000 to 9,000 Jews living in the city at that time, only 1,000 were actually arrested, he reports. Over 7,000 people took refuge in the Vatican-- where German soldiers were not free to pursue them.

If Pope Pius XII had made any public protest about the treatment of Jews, it would have had negative consequences, Kunkel insists. Hitler would not have been moved by public pressure to change his policies, but he might have chosen to take new steps against the Church.

In fact, Kunkel reveals, the German army had been ordered to draw up place for the forcible occupation of the Vatican and the arrest of Pope Pius XII. Those plans might have been carried out if the Pontiff had issued any further public condemnation of the Nazis, he said.

CWN - Catholic World News
11. desember 2000

av Webmaster publisert 11.12.2000, sist endret 11.12.2000 - 20:43