Tous les articles
|Pius XII helped the Jews of Rome, Mordechay Lewy|
Il est symptomatique que L'Osservatore Romano ait publié, en première page de son édition italienne du 25 juin le texte d'une allocution favorable à l'action de Pie XII à l'égard des Juifs durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, prononcée par l'Ambassadeur d'Israël près le Vatican. Toutefois, devant le tollé qu'a provoqué cette initiative en milieu juif, l'ambassadeur a dû corriger le tir. Voir: L'ambassadeur d'Israël fait marche arrière, après son éloge de Pie XII, Pape durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Notons également qu'en mars 2010, le même Ambassadeur était beaucoup plus sévère dans ses jugements sur le Vatican.
Pius XII helped the Jews of Rome
We publish a translation of an address, given in Italian, of the Israeli Ambassador to the Holy See, on June 23, on the occasion of the awarding of the Medal of the Righteous Among Nations in memory of Don Gaetano Piccinini.
I am pleased to have been able to accept the invitation to participate in this ceremony in honor of Don Gaetano Piccinini who helped save members of the Camerini family, doing everything possible to alleviate their very difficult time during the period of Occupation.
I will not focus on the details of the experience which my colleague Livia Link has already illustrated and which the first-hand witnesses here present can certainly recount better than I can.
Instead, I would like to very briefly highlight an argument that is widely discussed: the stance of the Church during the period of Nazi Occupation in Rome, during which the life of the Jews of the city was put in serious danger and many of whom unfortunately did not return from the extermination camps.
Without Don Gaetano Piccinini and other men and women like him, the number of destroyed human lives would have been much greater.
We recognize that Don Piccinini did not only provide asylum, but did so with respect to the origins and identity of each person.
From the beginning of the round-up in the ghetto in Rome on October 16, 1943 and in the following days, monasteries and orphanages, belonging to religious orders, opened their doors to the Jews and we have reason to think that they did so under the supervision of the highest levels of the Vatican, who were informed of these gestures.
It would therefore be an error to declare that the Catholic Church, the Vatican or the Pope himself opposed the actions to save the Jews.
Rather, the opposite is true: they gave help every time they could. The fact that the Vatican could not avoid the departure of the train going to the extermination camp, during the three days of the round-up from October 16-18, can only have increased the willingness, on the part of the Vatican, to offer its own religious houses as refuge for the Jews.
The Roman Jews had a traumatic reaction. They saw in the person of the Pope a sort of protector and expected that he would save them and avoid the worst. Well, we all know what happened, but we must also recognize that the convoy which left on October 18, 1943, was the only one that the Nazis managed to organize from Rome towards Auschwitz.