The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust

Source: FSSPX News


On January 24 in Rome the presentation of the work by Sir Martin Gilbert published by Citta Nuova publishing House and entitled The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust, took place. The British historian, aged 70, is the official biographer of Winston Churchill and a specialist on the Second World War and the Shoah. The author of 72 books, Sir Martin Gilbert teaches the history of the Shoah at University College in London.

The Righteous, specifies the historian “are those non-Jewish men and women who, everywhere in Europe, broke the chains of indifference, egoism, and individualism, in order to rescue a great number of Jews from Nazi extermination, at the risk of their own lives and that of their families.”

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of the Holy See, intervened during this presentation and declared that the history of the Righteous “was the expression of the good, or rather of the force for good which runs through mankind without any consideration for religious differences.” “Christians, among them many Catholics, but also Muslims, had been prepared – at the peril of their own lives – to rescue the Jews from the Shoah.” “We often forget,” added the cardinal, “that Poland was the only country where the death penalty was enforced for helping the Jews.”

For the Church and for Pope Pius XII, “it was not merely a matter of a bureaucratic organization to search for missing persons and to assist the prisoners; but of having a precise attitude towards the Jews pursued by the Nazis. They had to be helped in any way.” “It is obvious that the silence of Pope Pius XII was not mere silence but an intelligent and strategic way of expressing himself, as is evidenced by his radio message of Christmas 1942 which so enraged Hitler. We cannot speak of silence, but of a series of calculated interventions proportionate to the current situation,” declared Cardinal Bertone. “The proofs are found in the Archives of the Vatican. There we find, for instance, the declaration of the former Congregation of the Holy Office, which, in 1928, had condemned anti-Semitism very clearly and without ambiguity. This document has been completely forgotten, as if there had only been the declaration of the Second Vatican Council against anti-Semitism.” “The Church keeps a record of the thousands of Jews and of the Jewish authorities who, just after the war, wanted to personally thank Pius XII for his intervention and for the strategy he had set up to rescue the Jews.”

“The History presented in Martin Gilbert’s book deserved to be known for yet another reason: for it is not only the story of the “Righteous” proclaimed as such before the world, but that of the numerous “implicit Righteous” whose historical memory has been lost and which we could not honor,” concluded the Secretary of State of the Holy See.

Introduced in 1965 by Paul VI “the cause of beatification of Pius XII is well advanced,” declared the German Jesuit Fr. Peter Gumpel, postulator for the cause of the pope, on April 27, 2006, on the occasion of a symposium on Pius XII in Rome. The Jesuit Father, a member of the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints, had declared unacceptable “the continued attacks of the communists, the Freemasons and other groups antagonistic to the Church” against Eugenio Pacelli.