ZE09050712 - 2009-05-07
Wanted: Documented Pius XII Defense
Foundation Aims to Prove Pope's Efforts to Save Jews
NEW YORK, MAY 7, 2009 (Zenit.org).- An organization dedicated to interreligious dialogue is seeking to resolve some of the conflict surrounding Pope Pius XII.
The New York-based Pave the Way Foundation has launched a call seeking images of archived records specifically from ecclesiastical institutions related to the Holy See's efforts to save innocent lives during World War II. The organization is also looking for early (prior to 1963) news articles on the subject.
Gary Krupp, president of the foundation and a Jew, explained that Pave the Way has already "devoted years to identifying, and making public, the documents and eyewitness testimony which has clearly shown the extraordinary efforts of the Holy See to save human lives during this dark time in human history."
The research could have far-reaching effects.
For example, AFP reported that Israel's Holocaust remembrance authority said today that ties with the Vatican could markedly improve if some of the conflict surrounding Pius XII was cleared up.
The chairman of the group, Avner Shalev, acknowledged that the Vatican has already produced evidence that Church officials ordered a convent outside of Rome to shelter Jews during World War II.
"If one or two more documents like this come to light, it would certainly result in a significant improvement in our relations with the Vatican," Shalev said, as Benedict XVI readies to head to the Middle East on Friday.
Krupp's efforts at Pave the Way already produced a documentary that was released last September.
The foundation is now asking everyone from students to retired people to join the research effort; new documents will be included in an updated version of the documentary.
Pave the Way is requesting that documentation be emailed to Krupp at firstname.lastname@example.org. The note should include details such as location of the document, page numbers, dates and any other verifiable information.
Documents can also be faxed to Pave the Way in New York: (1) (516) 432-7561.
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On the Net:
Pave the Way Foundation: www.ptwf.org
In 1993 Avner Shalev accepted the position of Chairman of the Directorate of Yad Vashem. Five years after he took the helm of the institution, Shalev accepted on its behalf the coveted Israel Prize, for Special Service to Society and Country. In 2007, he once again received a nation's supreme honor, this time Spain's Prince of Asturias Prize for Concord (the Hispanic world's Nobel Prize equivalent), in the name of Yad Vashem. He also received the French Legion of Honor by President Sarkozy, at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
As leader of Yad Vashem, Shalev has dealt with the controversy over Pope Pius XII, and with the Museum's complicated relations with the Church. He has sought better access to Vatican archives for the period of Monsignor Pacelli's papacy.
As you can see, Avner Shalev is in good company, with the likes of Edward Said, Daniel Berenboim and others... just our kind of friends!