After six years of untiring research that has uncovered 76,000 pages of original material, plus multiple eyewitness accounts and testimonies from prominent international scholars, Gary Krupp is confident the besmirching of Pope Pius XII’s reputation is coming to an end.
“We’re definitely winning, absolutely no question,” Krupp tells me on a visit to Rome this week. “Every time we do more research, we find a diamond. It’s incredible, but there’s nothing on the other side because there’s no documented foundation for any of their accusations.”
Nick Donnelly lists some of the Pave the Way Foundation historians’ findings:
- Some of these documents show that Pius XII favoured the creation of a Jewish state as far back as 1917.
- In further recent discoveries, Pave the Way has come across a letter written by Cardinal Pacelli in 1939 in which he attempted to obtain visas for 200,000 Jews who remained in Germany after Kristallnacht. “He wasn’t able to obtain the visas, but he tried,” says Krupp. “The point is, he didn’t do it from the safety of Washington DC or London. He did it while surrounded by hostile forces, and infiltrated by spies, and yet he still managed to save more Jews than all the other world leaders combined.”
- Further letters reveal how, through his nephew Carlo Pacelli, Pius XII helped prevent the arrest of Roman Jews in 1943, giving an estimated 12,000 of them the chance to seek refuge in Church monasteries, convents, and the homes of Italian Catholics. “All these archival records show how he personally helped save Jewish people,” says Krupp, “Anti-Semites don’t do that!”
- On the claim no Nazis were excommunicated: “They were – I love this one. The German bishops said anyone who joined the ‘Hitler Party,’ who wore the uniform or flew the flag were excommunicated and a priest couldn’t attend their funeral if any of them died.”
- On the accusation that Pius XII helped Nazi war criminals flee to South America after the war: “No, it was exactly the opposite according to Bishop Hudal himself [Hudal was a Nazi collaborator in Rome]; just read his [Hudal's] autobiography.”
- On the claim that Pius authorized forced baptisms of Jewish infants: “Nonsense. In fact he forbade it. There were some . . . overzealous nuns and others who did this, but he forbade it. He forbade it because he had a great love and respect for Judaism, starting from his childhood. His closest friend was a Jewish orthodox boy, Guido Mendes.”
- Krupp points out a “fantastic letter” from the American ambassador to Germany, reporting on 3rd March 1939 on the new Pope’s election on 2nd March. The ambassador recalls in the letter meeting Cardinal Pacelli in 1937, and wanting to visit the Sistine Chapel, but he wasn’t able to as the Cardinal had kept him in his office for three solid hours, talking about National Socialism and Hitler. “In the letter it says: “While his views against Hitler were well known to me, I had no idea of the extremity of his views,’” Krupp recounts.