Rome’s Chief Rabbi attacks positive portrayal of Pope Pius XII

Rome’s Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni has attacked an Italian mini series on Pope Pius XII’s efforts to help the Jewish people during World War II as ‘junk’, forgetting that the former Chief Rabbi of Rome, who presided over the Jewish community during the Nazi occupation, converted to Catholicism and took the Christian name Eugenio out of gratitude for  Pius XII’s courageous assistance.

JTA, the global News Service of the Jewish People, reports:

Italian Jewish leaders have sharply criticized an Italian TV mini-series that portrays Pope Pius XII as working forcefully to save Jews during the Holocaust.’

Rome Jewish community president Riccardo Pacifici called the portrayal “unacceptable revisionism.”

‘Rome’s Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni described the series as “junk” that had the “precise goal of demonstrating the absolute goodness of that pope and the political and moral justification of everything that he did.”

RAI provide the following description of their miniseries, ‘Under the Roman Sky’:

‘Despite all his efforts, Pius XII is not able to prevent the horrors that take place in Rome,” the synopsis on the film’s website states. “On October 16, 1943, the SS carry out an unexpected and violent raid on the Jewish Ghetto. Over one-thousand victims are deported to Auschwitz, only fifteen will eventually return. This tragedy for the Jews is shared by the Pope. History will testify that over 10,000 Jews were saved in churches and convents in Rome, more than in any other occupied city.”

Protect the Pope comment: Contrary to the Chief Rabbi’s false accusation it is not RAI that is perpetrating historical revisionism, but is rather justifiably challenging the mendacious revisionism that has attempted to blacken the reputation of a great and saintly pope, Pius XII. Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni would do well to remember that his predecessor, who actually lived through World War II, Chief Rabbi of Rome Israel Zolli, was so convinced of Pope Pius XII’s ‘absolute goodness’ that he converted to Catholicism and took Pius XII’s Christian name as his own. Who exactly is promoting revisionism here?

“Under the Roman Sky,” starring James Cromwell as Pius XII, was aired Sunday and Monday on state-run RAI television. Set in 1943, it shows Pius remaining in Rome despite a plan by the Nazi occupiers to kidnap him.  RAI

3 comments to Rome’s Chief Rabbi attacks positive portrayal of Pope Pius XII

  • Annalisa

    Well done to RAI.

  • Karla

    Pope Pius and other Catholics including Priests and Nuns did help to save 1000s of Jews. It is a fact.

  • peterNW1

    What does Rome’s Chief Rabbi make of these quotes? …

    “The Holy See is lending its powerful help wherever it can, to mitigate the fate of my persecuted co-religionists.” (Chaim Weizmann, 1943. Weizmann later became Israel’s 1st President)

    “I told him [Pope Pius XII] that my first duty was to thank him, and through him the Catholic Church, on behalf of the Jewish public for all they had done in the various countries to rescue Jews. We are deeply grateful to the Catholic Church.” (Moshe Sharett, Israel’s 1st Foreign Minister and 2nd Prime Minister)

    “The people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness and his illustrious delegates, inspired by the eternal principles of religion, which form the foundation of true civilization, are doing for our unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history, which is living proof of Divine Providence in this world.” (Isaac Herzog, Chief Rabbi of Israel)

    In September 1945, Dr. Leon Kubowitzky, the Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress, donated $20,000 to Vatican charities “in recognition of the work of the Holy See in rescuing Jews from Fascist and Nazi persecutions.”

    “Six million of my co-religionists have been murdered by the Nazis, but there could have been many more victims had it not been for the efficacious intervention of Pius XII.” (Raffael Cantoni, head of the Italian Jewish community’s wartime Jewish Assistance Committee)

    “When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the Pope was raised for the victims. The life of our times was enriched by a voice speaking out on the great moral truths above the tumult of daily conflict. We mourn a great servant of peace.” (Golda Meir, on the death of Pope Pius XII)

    On the same day, before beginning a concert of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein called for a minute of silence “for the passing of a very great man, Pope Pius XII.”

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