04 November 2010
Jewish leaders in Italy have criticized a TV series that portrayed wartime Pope Pius XII as working forcefully to save Jews from the Nazi onslaught as "unacceptable revisionism.” The feature ‘Under the Roman Sky’ was aired Sunday and Monday on the state-owned ‘RAI Television’. Set in 1943, it shows Pius remaining in Rome despite a plan by the Nazi occupiers to kidnap him. "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 16 October 1943, the SS carry out an unexpected and violent raid on the Jewish ghetto [in Rome]. 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."
While the head of Rome’s Jewish community, Riccardo Pacifici, called the portrayal in the series of Pius XII "unacceptable revisionism," the city’s Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni described it 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."
Controversy over Pius' role during the Holocaust has long strained Catholic-Jewish relations. The Vatican and other supporters of Pius argue that the wartime pontiff worked behind the scenes to save Jews, which critics accuse him of having ignored Jewish suffering in the Shoah. The World Jewish Congress and other Jewish organizations have repeatedly called on the Vatican to open its secret archives covering the period in order to clarify the matter. Pope Benedict XVI angered many by formally moving Pius closer to sainthood in December 2009.
We welcome any comments you may have on this article.
Comments are moderated and we reserve the right to edit or remove any which are derogatory or offensive.
The WJC is not responsible for the content of any comments.
There are no comments
Fill up the form above and be the first one
Subscribe to our newsletter.