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How Pius XII helped Jews before the Nazi regime occupied Rome

2014-05-10

October 16, 1943, is engrained in Italy's history as a day of clear and direct anti-semitism. It's the day when Nazi soldiers evacuated Jews from the Roman Ghetto.

Now, new details show Pius XII helped Jews in Rome, before the events of the so-called "Black Saturday.” Even before the arrival of the Nazis to the Eternal City.

DOMINIEK OVERSTEYNS 
L'Opera della Chiesa
"By July 9th, a monastery was already taking in Jews, and on July 20, a letter from the Diocese arrived. It read: 'This is Papal territory, please do not enter.' And this happened seven weeks before the German occupation of Rome.”

In all, 43 monasteries opened their doors to Rome's Jewish population, before the occupation.

These details were discussed during a conference on Pius XII at Rome's Pontifical Lateran University.
Help continued even after the German Army occupied Rome.

DOMINIEK OVERSTEYNS 
L'Opera della Chiesa
"After Italy's occupation, Rome's Jewish population increased. On June 4, 1944, there were about 9,930, out of which 6,300 received help. That's almost two thirds.”

In a three part investigation, Belgian researcher Dominiek Oversteyns looked into all the details of that dark chapter. From the name of each Jewish person, to where they hid, and for how long.

This specific information was introduced publicly for the first time, and it could change the perception of the role Pope Pius XII played during World War II. 


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