Pius XII documents revealed

New insights on Pope’s relations with Jews

The future Pope Pius XII demonstrated his support for a Jewish homeland on numerous occasions according to documents uncovered by American researchers.

The Pave the Way Foundation, which specifically examines Pope Pius’ historical relationship with the Jewish community, has revealed on its website, documentary records to show that the man who would become Pontiff, Archbishop Eugenio Pacelli, arranged meetings – between 1917 and 1925 for Nahum Sokolow, president of the World Zionist organisation, to discuss aspirations for a Jewish homeland. One of those meetings was with Pope Benedict XV.

Sokolow would later write of his meetings, including with Pacelli: “…this revealed an extraordinary amount of friendship: to grant a Jew and representative of Zionism with such a promptness a private audience which took so long and was of such a warmth and took place with all assurance of sympathy, both for the Jews in general and for Zionism in special.”

Further, the latest documents show, Archbishop Pacelli also acted quickly and successfully later in 1917 to urge action on the part of the German government to use its influence with its allies the Ottoman Turks to protect the Jews of Palestine from a threat of massacre.

Pave the Way has also stated that it is aware of a document in the Vatican archives, dating from 1944 in which then Pope Pius XII dismisses a warning from his own secretary of state regarding help for the Jews. The document, Pave the Way insists records the Pope as writing, in his own hand: “The Jews need a land of their own.” Announcing the uploading of the early documents to the Pave the Way site, group director Elliot Hershberg said: The documents we have uncovered reveal Pacelli’s numerous interventions to save Jewish lives and protect Jewish traditions. This evidence repudiates the allegations that Pacelli was in any way anti-Semitic, which has been stated as fact by some historians.”