Holocaust Survivors to Honor Pope Pius XII
As early as 1929, when he was still nuncio to Germany, and four years before Hitler came to power, Sister Pascalina remembers how Archbishop Pacelli warned that Hitler was a "madman," capable of destroying everything that went before him; and she describes how the Nuncio criticized Germans who refused to recognize the evil Hitler represented. (See Pascalina's memoirs, Pio XII, il privilegio di servirlo [Milan: Rusconi, 1984]).
Ten years later, after Pacelli became Pope Pius XII, Sister Pascalina describes how the pontiff continued to fight Hitler with every fiber of his being, and how Pius went out of his way to assist the victims of the Third Reich. In her testimony before the Congregation (Session CLXIII, March 17, 1972), Sister Pascalina stated: "The Pope not only opened the doors of the Vatican to protect the persecuted, but he encouraged convents and monasteries to offer hospitality. The Vatican provided provisions for these people. The accusation that Pius XII was indifferent to the needs of the victims is without foundation. He ordered me to spend his inheritance and personal funds to provide for those who wished to leave Italy and go to Canada, Brazil, or elsewhere. Note that $800 was needed for each person who emigrated. Many times the Pope would ask me to deliver to Jewish families a sealed envelope containing $1,000 or more."