Although there was a collective effort by the Catholic Church to save Jewish children, many questions remain, such as the degree of the pontiff’s involvement and the underlying motivation.
Pope Francis takes part in the penitential procession on Ash Wednesday in Rome, Italy, last week. (photo credit: REUTERS)
For many years, the figure of Pope Pius XII was both vilified and defended in connection to his alleged role during the Holocaust.
His detractors believe the pontiff tolerated the advent of Nazism, and later, did not raise his voice to protect the Jews.
His defenders, especially the Vatican, claim that Pius XII did protect the Jews behind the scenes, and opted not to be outspoken against the Nazi atrocities for fear it would prove counterproductive.
This fierce controversy has a chance to come to an end if the Vatican will fully open its secret WWII-era archives, and offer free and unfettered access to historians and researchers in search of the truth.
According to Pope Francis, this will occur on March 2, 2020, coinciding with the 144th anniversary of Eugenio Pacelli’s birth and the 81th anniversary of the commencement of his papacy.
Back in 2014, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation launched its Houses of Life program. Its objective is to identify and recognize sites across Europe that provided shelter to the victims of Nazism, mostly children who were left by their parents who faced deportation to the concentration camps.
In the last five years, our NGO has managed to identify well over 500 Houses of Life in Italy, France, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, the Netherlands, Denmark, Greece and Albania, and the numbers are growing on a daily basis. Our intention is to fix a commemorative plaque on the facade of each building, explaining the feats of heroism which took place under its roof. The aim is to educate visitors and passersby about the heroes who stood up against evil in the darkest era known to humankind.
The statistical data in our hands show that the majority of Houses of Life were churches, convents, monasteries and boarding schools connected to the Roman Catholic Church. In our view, this has extraordinary significance, as it hints of a well-orchestrated rescue effort within a hierarchic organization and hence, one might surmise that the highest ecclesiastical echelons, including Pope Pius XII, who must have known this, or even directed and encouraged this magnificent operation.
Many of the rescued children did not get back to their biological parents, for they perished in the Nazi death camps. Some of them became Catholic, or even priests and nuns. Others were retrieved by their original families and kept their faith, oftentimes with the encouragement of those rescuers who did not hide from them the fact they were Jewish.
The Houses of Life program teaches us that there was a collective effort by the Catholic Church to save Jewish children. Still, many questions remain pending, such as the degree of involvement of the pontiff, and the underlying motivations of these life-saving feats.
To be sure, the free access to the archives will shed light into these and broader questions in regard to the role played by the Holy See during one of most tragic chapters of history.
Eduardo Eurnekian and Baruch Tenembaum are chairman and founder of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, respectively.
The University of Cape Town campus. Photo: Adrian Frith via Wikimedia Commons.
The University of Cape Town, the top-ranking academic institution in Africa, is set to consider enforcing an academic boycott against Israel later this month.
The UCT Senate, a decision-making body comprised primarily of professors and administrators, endorsed a proposal on March 15 to bar the university from entering into any formal relationship with Israeli academic institutions that operate “in the occupied Palestinian territories,” or otherwise enable “gross human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories,” the university said in a statement.
The campus of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
JNS.org – Students at Brown University voted overwhelmingly in favor of a referendum held between Tuesday and Thursday, calling on the school to separate itself from companies that conduct business with the State of Israel.
The tally was 69 percent in favor and 31 percent against.
Members of the pro-Israel community nationally and locally condemned the outcome.
“For the sake of My servant Yaakov, Yisrael My chosen one, I call you by name, I hail you by title, though you have not known Me.” Isaiah 45:4 (The Israel Bible™)
Many have seen similarities between the Biblical King Cyrus and President Donald Trump. (Breaking Israel News)
After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!
Many are claiming this was a pre-election gift to Trump’s friend, Netanyahu, but it others see a much larger significance that transcends politics and enters into the realm of the Biblical. One such belief was expressed by Breaking Israel News publisher Rabbi Tuly Weisz, who noted that the announcement came on the Jewish holiday of Purim.
“The same days on which the Yehudim enjoyed relief from their foes and the same month which had been transformed for them from one of grief and mourning to one of festive joy. They were to observe them as days of feasting and merrymaking, and as an occasion for sending gifts to one another and presents to the poor.” Esther 9:22 (The Israel Bible™)
If there was ever a quintessentially Jewish holiday, it’s Purim, when the Jewish people were threatened by Haman, a descendant of Amalek, and saved by God’s hidden hand. Even so, we find examples of people from the Nations being inspired by the story of Purim and even gathering to mark the day alongside the Jewish people.
Protesters waving Turkish and Palestinian flags shout anti-Israel slogans during a demonstration in Amsterdam June 4, 2010. Israel’s raid of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla has set off a diplomatic furor, drawing criticism from friends and foes alike and straining ties with regional ally Turkey, which cal. (photo credit: REUTERS)
AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Demonstrators carrying Palestinian flags turned their backs on a Dutch chief rabbi during his eulogy at a vigil for Muslims killed in New Zealand.
The incident Sunday happened as Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs was discussing the meaning of a minute of silence at the gathering at the Dam Square World War II memorial monument. Thousands of people, many of them Muslims, gathered at the square to commemorate the 49 people slain Friday by a far-right killer at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Hamas is now accusing the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah of exploiting the economic crisis in the Gaza Strip to call on Palestinians to overthrow the Hamas regime. Fatah, for its part, is accusing the “dark forces” of Hamas of acting on orders from outside parties to establish a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip.
The US administration says it will publish its long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East, known as the “Deal of the Century,” after the general elections in Israel on April 9
There is a difference between an “honest broker” and a “neutral arbiter.” In advance of the rollout of its Middle East peace plan, the Trump administration has taken a series of steps to ensure its role as the honest broker. The U.S. is not “neutral” between our ally, Israel, and the Palestinians who seek to replace it. But it won’t be easy to change presumptions that are deeply embedded in the
When the FBI informs us that parents are ready to spend up to $6.5 million in bribes to get their children into prestige colleges, it seemingly implies that all is very, very well in the American university. But Warren Treadgold tells us that’s an illusion.
He’s a distinguished professor of Byzantine history at St. Louis University who has also taught at Berkeley, FIU, Hillsdale, Stanford, and UCLA. Having entered college in 1967, he draws on long experience to both indict and offer a remedy of the most thoroughly left-wing major institution in America. His book, The University We Need (Encounter, 2018) presents its case with insight and a light touch.
The threat posed by Hezbollah and Ali Musa Daqduq, a senior operative in Hezbollah, was unmasked by Israel on Wednesday.
Daqduq was responsible for the “abduction and execution of five American servicemen in Iraq in 2007,” the IDF said. The role of Hezbollah members in neighboring states is an illustration of how groups allied with Iran are continuing to build a web linking Tehran to Beirut via a “road to the sea” that transits Iraq and Syria.
According to the IDF, the role of Daqduq includes establishing terror cells in Iraq to fight the US in 2006, stints training in Lebanon in 2013-2018 and now putting down roots in Syria.
Every few weeks, some political or national figure demands a national conversation about race. (Most recently, Senator Kamala Harris insisted, “We have not had these honest discussions about race.”)
What does a conversation about race mean? Invariably, an indictment of the fundamental unfairness of our country, the historical roots of racism in white supremacy, and the national guilt of white people.
Or, to put it more simply, why Senator Kamala Harris deserves to be in the White House.
We don’t have national conversations about anti-Semitism because the problem can’t be narrowed down to an easily blamed demographic. The Democrats invariably try to blame anti-Semitism on the usual suspects, white male Republicans living more than two hundred miles from a Starbucks, but the largest toll of violent anti-Semitic attacks tend to fall on New York City’s black neighborhoods.