The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) yesterday thanked Pope Francis for his remarks this past weekend, in which he criticized the world’s “great powers” for their failure to act during World War II as Jews were being transported by the Nazis to various death camps throughout Europe.
“The great powers had photographs of the railway routes that the trains took to the concentration camps, like Auschwitz, to kill the Jews, and also the Christians, and also the Roma, also the homosexuals,” the Pope said during his recent visit to Turin in northern Italy. “Tell me, why didn’t they bomb” those railroad routes?
In light of his comments, the NCYI also called on Pope Francis to take immediate steps to permanently table any plans to proceed with the “beatification” process of Pope Pius XII, who essentially remained silent concerning the mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust, despite repeated pleas for him to speak out and intervene.
Pope Pius XII was inundated with calls for him to help the Jews, including requests from Rabbi Isaac Herzog, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel, who served in that role even prior to the formal establishment of the state; Harold Tittman, Assistant Chief of the U.S. delegation to the Vatican; Myron Taylor, U.S. representative to the Vatican; Cardinal Theodor Innitzer of Vienna; Bishop Preysing of Berlin; and Wladislaw Raczkiewicz, president of the Polish government-in-exile.
“The National Council of Young Israel commends Pope Francis for his acknowledgement of the devastating and deadly consequences that ensued after the international community was largely silent as Jews were being hauled away to be slaughtered during World War II,” said NCYI President Farley Weiss. “With global anti-Semitism on the rise, the Pope’s comments are an important and timely reminder of how critical it is to speak up and take action when hate and bigotry rear their ugly heads.”
“The most important time to call for the destruction of the railroad lines that carried Jews to their death was during the Holocaust, yet the silence of Pope Pius XII at that time was absolutely deafening,” continued Weiss. “Not only did many world leaders fail to take steps to stop the massacring of Jews at the hands of the Nazis, but Pope Pius XII failed humanity as well by remaining quiet and opting not to stand up to the carnage of the Holocaust. We therefore call on Pope Francis to permanently remove Pope Pius XII from the beatification docket and ensure that he does not get undue recognition in light of his inaction during World War II.”