Yaffa Eliach, Holocaust survivor-author-historian, first learned of a Polish priest named Karol Wojtyla some 30 years ago while working on her book "Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust." Wojtyla after World War II had refused to baptize a Jewish infant who had been put in the care of a Catholic by his parents, Holocaust victims. Wojtyla told the Catholic woman: Don't baptize him, but return the infant to his Jewish relatives.
Eliach told the story of the priest, who later became Pope John Paul II, in her book.
Shortly after a little-known cardinal from Poland was elected spiritual head of the Catholic Church in 1978, Rabbi Arthur Schneier received a call from a network television correspondent asking for comment. The correspondent, who “equated Poles with anti-Semitism,” assumed that Rabbi Schneier, a Holocaust survivor and president of the Manhattan-based Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an ecumenical human rights organization, would comment negatively on the new pope, the rabbi recalls.