After modifying a wall panel on Pope Pius XII’s actions toward Jews during World War II, Israel's Holocaust Museum has softened its position further, with an exhibition marking the 50 Years of honouring Righteous Among the Nations, reports Vatican Insider.
The Jerusalem Museum, Yad Vashem, has ended the heated historiographical debate surrounding Pius XII’s actions towards Jews during the Holocaust by modifying a contested panel dedicated to the former pope. The museum has stressed that sometimes the Vatican was aware of the fact that convents and monasteries opened their doors to Jewish people.
The exhibition marks the 50th year of honouring the Righteous Among Nations – the honorific used by Jerusalem to describe those who put their lives at risk to save Jews from Nazi extermination. The exhibition was inaugurated about a week ago and is called: “I am my brother’s keeper”. The phrase alludes to the question Cain asks in the Bible but the question mark has been deliberately removed from the exhibition title.
The exhibition is based on some controversies and emblematic stories surrounding the efforts of various people to help Jews during the Holocaust. The Yad Vashem lists as many as 25,000 people as Righteous. One of the sections of the exhibition is dedicated to men from all Christian Churches who performed acts of heroism.
This part of the exhibition highlights the point of view expressed in Jewish historiography but also refers to the objections raised by the controversial panel on Pius XII. “Christian conduct during the Holocaust continues to challenge the Christian world well into the 21st century.
Confronted with the murder of the Jews, many church leaders and clergy remained silent, and some even collaborated. A few – from all Christian denominations – risked their lives to save Jews or spoke out loudly against the murder of the Jews,” the online version of the exhibition’s introductory note reads.