Nearly 40 years ago, Rolf Hochhuth’s play “The Deputy” accused Holocaust-era Pope Pius XII of moral cowardice and indifference while millions of Europe’s Jews were being murdered.
The German playwright’s work triggered a worldwide wave of anti-Pius XII criticism, prompting the Vatican — in an unprecedented move — to unlock some of its secret wartime archives in an attempt to refute the charges, arguing he worked behind the scenes to save Jews and did not speak out for fear of a backlash against Catholics and Jews.
For the first time since the Six-Day War in 1967, Jewish leaders are calling for an emergency national Israel Solidarity rally in Washington to take place Monday.
With the decision to hold the rally made just a week before the event, dozens of national Jewish groups — from Reform to Orthodox, from right wing to left — were working feverishly to mobilize their members.
Several hundred New York City Jewish community leaders and elected officials gathered last Thursday night to commemorate the third anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. The two-hour memorial for the Israeli leader who risked his life for peace was unfolding even as the drums of war rumbled once again in the Middle East as the late Rabin’s good friend, President Bill Clinton, was deciding on military action against Iraq.
Prague, Czech Republic — Pavel Dostal could hardly contain his anger. The nattily attired Czech minister of culture sat in his conference room, arms folded and jaw tight, as he explained how he felt betrayed by the Jewish community he was trying to help.
Dostal, bearing a resemblance to Kurt Vonnegut and dressed in gray bow tie, matching silk shirt and jacket, spoke with reserved bitterness last week while relating through a translator how he had become the victim of a worldwide misinformation campaign by the haredi and Orthodox Jewish communities.
During a revealing World War II meeting between Pope Pius XII and the British ambassador to the Vatican, the pontiff said he had no complaints against the Nazis occupying Rome and expressed concern about the trouble his city would encounter when they left, according to a recently declassified U.S. memo obtained by The Jewish Week.
And when the British diplomat details for the pope German abuses, the pope does not directly respond, according to the two-page document which records the Nov. 1, 1943, meeting between Pius XII and British Ambassador Francis D’Arcy Osborne.
Jordan’s King Hussein, addressing rumors about his sickness, declared himself to be “in good health, thank God,” and pledged to spend the rest of his days trying to transform the warring Middle East into a region of peace and economic cooperation that includes Israel.