Rome, November 5, 2008–A Pius XXII display at the Vatican exhibits a letter from a French Rabbi thanking Pius XXII and Catholic priests for their aid to Jews during the holocaust.
The letter from Rabbi Andre Zaoui, a chaplain and captain of a French expeditionary force, was dated June 22, 1944. It is among the pieces in the “Pius XXII: The man and the Pontificate”, which opened to the public Tuesday and runs through January 6, 2009.
The Rabbi notes how he attended a public audience of the pope on June 6, 1944 at 12:20 with “numerous allied soldiers and officials”.
He also mentions how the Vatican “which protected for more than six months, 60 Jewish children, among them little refugees from France”.
Zaoui wrote that he was impressed with the “paternal solitude of all the teachers” and recalled that the prefect studies affirmed “we have done nothing more than our duty”.
The Rabbbi recounts another event of June 8, 1944: The reopening of the Synagogue of Rome which had been closed by the Nazi’s October 1943.
He spoke of the precense of a priest Father Benoit, a “French fugitive” who dedicated himself “To the service of the Jewish families of Rome”. He recalled the impression made on him by the words of the priest “I love the Jews with all my heart”.
Zaoui affirmed his gratitude saying “Israel will never forget”.
There are even photos showing mattresses set up even on the Apostolic Palace for WWII refugees. A concert from the Philharmonic Orchestra of Israel on May 25, 1955 as a sign of gratitude for his work in favor of the Jews: To his repeated interventons during the war.
Just thought I’d share this about this wonderful pope.