The pope being referred to here is Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovani Pacelli who took the name Pope Pius XII when he was elected head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City, from 1939 until his death in 1958.
In a book published in 1999 by British journalist and author John Cornwell titled, Hitler’s Pope, Pacelli became a controversial figure when he was criticized for not doing enough, both in words and deeds, about the atrocities committed by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime during WW II against the Jews that led to the infamous Holocaust.
He was accused of being anti-Semitic for his seemingly indifference to the European Jews and even refused pleas for help on the grounds of Vatican’s neutrality.
Thus, Pope Pius XII was vilified as Hitler’s pope, not only for being perceived as conciliatory to Hitler’s objectives, but apparently subordinating also his compassion for the Jews to his goal of increasing and centralizing the power of the papacy.
Well, that is no longer the truth now.
Now another British author, Gordon Thomas, has written a book, The Pope’s Jews, due to be published next month, who has the opposite description of Pope Pius XII.
Thomas is said to have unearthed extensive material, which Vatican insiders believe will restore Pacelli’s reputation, revealing the part that he played in saving lives and opposing nazism. He claims to have been given access to previously unpublished Vatican documents and tracked down victims, priests and others who had not told their stories before.
This new book describes in detail how the much maligned pope gave his blessing to the establishment of safe houses in the Vatican and Europe’s convents and monasteries. He oversaw a secret operation with code names and fake documents for priests who risked their lives to shelter Jews, some of whom were even made Vatican subjects.
Thomas also writes how priests were instructed to issue baptism certificates to hundreds of Jews hidden in Genoa, Rome and elsewhere in Italy. More than 2,000 Jews in Hungary were given fabricated Vatican documents identifying them as Catholics and a network saved German Jews by bringing them to Rome. The pope appointed a priest with extensive funds with which to provide food, clothing and medicine. More than 4,000 Jews were hidden in convents and monasteries across Italy.
After all, Pope Pius XII was not ‘Hitler’s pope’, but the ‘Jew’s pope’ for being, as what Hitler is said to have branded him, ‘a Jew lover.”
Note that Pope Pius XII is in the process toward sainthood as Pope Benedict XVI declared him Venerable in December 2009.