Wednesday, July 01, 2009

'One Word by Pope Means 1,000s of Jews'

Published: 07/01/09, 9:22 AM
by Hillel Fendel

( A top anti-assimilation organization says the Pope’s recent consent to “consider” revealing the names of hidden Holocaust Jewish children has led to a “flood” of requests on the topic.

Two weeks after a Papal representative agreed in principle to consider asking Catholic Church members to “reveal to Holocaust orphans their Jewish past,” many Jews are anxious to “keep up the momentum” and ensure that this actually happens.

Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifschitz, chairman of the Yad L’Achim anti-assimilation and anti-missionary organization, says emotional letters and reactions to the idea continue to “flood our offices.” Many of the letters contain details of children given up for protection to church orphanages during the Holocaust.

“Just one word from the Pope,” Rabbi Lifschitz told members of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE) this week, “could reveal, all at once, thousands of names hidden away in the monasteries.” The RCE is actively involved in the attempt to locate the currently-lost Jews, and has dispatched a special envoy to Italy to coordinate the activities among the relevant bodies.

Yad L’Achim wrote to Pope Benedict shortly before his visit to Israel three months ago, asking the pontiff to take action to reveal the “hidden Jewish children” of the Holocaust. Specifically, the request was to ask Church members to “reveal to Holocaust orphans their Jewish past and provide them with accurate information concerning their families.”

Earlier this month, an official response was received from Archbishop Antonio Franco, of the high Vatican rank of Apostolic Nuncio. Franco wrote, “I know that there has been action taken by the Holy See, but at this moment I cannot be accurate in my information. I assure you that I will try to provide more precise information and see if an appeal like the one you propose could be made.”


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