Jewish Group Thanks Pope for Recognizing Great Powers’ Failure to Intervene During the Holocaust
A leading Jewish group on Wednesday thanked Pope Francis for his recent criticism of the world’s “great powers” for failing to bomb the train routes that led victims of the Holocaust to their deaths during World War II.
“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 over the weekend during a visit to Turin in northern Italy.
“Tell me, why didn’t they bomb [those railroad routes]?” he asked.
In response to the comments, Farley Weiss, president of The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI), commended the Pope for acknowledging “the devastating and deadly consequences” of the overall silence of the international community as Jews and other victims of Nazi prejudice were being transported to concentration camps. He said the Pope’s comments serve as a reminder of how important it is to speak up and take action “when hate and bigotry rear their ugly heads,” especially at a time when global antisemitism is on the rise.
The NCYI also called on Pope Francis to permanently end the beatification of Pope Pius XII who is known for his inaction during World War II. The former Pope remained silent about the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust, despite repeated requests for him to speak out and intervene.
Among those who asked Pope Pius XII to help Jews at the time was Rabbi Isaac Herzog, the first chief rabbi of Israel, Harold Tittman, assistant chief of the U.S. delegation to the Vatican and Myron Taylor, U.S. representative to the Vatican.
“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,” Weiss said. “Not only did many world leaders fail to take steps to stop the massacring of Jews at the hands of the Nazis, but Pope Pious XII failed humanity as well by remaining quiet and opting not to stand up to the carnage of the Holocaust.”