But this year’s observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day carried an added weight of silence, coming soon after the outbreak of an international, interfaith controversy over the proposed canonization of Pope Pius XII, who presided in Rome during World War II.
None of the readers, including Cardinal Edward M. Egan and several prominent rabbis, made mention of the dispute while standing at microphones planted along Park Avenue, reciting names that included about 1,000 Roman Jews rounded up by German and Italian authorities in a single day, Oct. 16, 1943....
Many historians contend that Pius XII did not do enough to save Jews during the Holocaust. The Vatican has long said that Pius, who was pope from 1939 to 1958, helped save many Jews who were hidden in Roman Catholic churches, monasteries and convents.
Natalia Indrimi, one of the organizers of Wednesday’s event and director of the New York office of Centro Primo Levi, a group dedicated to the history of Italian Jews, said the question of Pius’s role during the Holocaust would be settled only when all papal records of the wartime period were unsealed by the Vatican, which so far has released only some.
“It is up to the church to make its own decisions about canonization,” she said. “But any claim that Pius did something or didn’t do something is only a claim until all the records can be studied by the historians.”
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Today, January 27, is the day that people in European countries usually commemorate the Holocaust. (In the U.S., as far as I have noticed, the Holocaust is commemorated on the day chosen by the Israeli Knesset and followed by Jewish communities - the 27 of Nisan, which this year falls on April 11). The date was chosen because on January 27, 1945, the Red Army liberated Auschwitz. Outside the Italian consulate in New York City today the names of the 8,600 Italian Jews rounded up and killed from 1938 to 1945 were read aloud by a variety of figures. The readers included the Cardinal Edward Egan of New York and some prominent rabbis.