Saturday, November 08, 2008
Just a little bit from the historical record.
It was in 1963 that the spotlight was focused on Pius XII, in an effort to find evidence of his guilt, and nothing emerged. On the contrary, the studies brought to light copious documentation attesting to how his Church gave crucial help to the Jews. I recall, in this regard, one beautiful gesture: in June of 1955, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra asked to be allowed to give a concert at the Vatican in honor of Pius XII, to express gratitude to this pope, and it played in the presence of the pope a movement from Beethoven's seventh symphony. This was the atmosphere. And when the pope died, Golda Meir – Israel's foreign minister, and future prime minister – said: "When the most appalling martyrdom ever struck our people during the ten years of the Nazi terror, the voice of the pontiff was raised in favor of the victims. We weep for the loss of this great servant of peace." For some, the pontiff's voice had not been raised, but they had heard it. Understand? Golda Meir had heard his voice. And William Zuckerman, director of the magazine "Jewish Newsletter," wrote: "All the Jews of America pay homage and express their sorrow, because it is likely that no leader of this generation gave more substantial help to the Jews in the hour of tragedy. More than anyone else, we were able to benefit from the great and charitable goodness and magnanimity of the lamented pontiff during the years of persecution and terror."