16 April 2007

Yad Vashem Caption Controversy

In the end, it seems Monsignor Antonio Franco, the Papal ambassador to Israel, will attend a memorial service for the victims of the Nazi murder of Jews at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum. You can find the text of the caption quoted in this article.

Having written plenty of captions and short texts about historical subjects ranging from Scottish medieval history to the 9/11 Terror Attacks, I feel confident that I know how difficult it is to reduce a complex subject to a handful or two of words. In this case, my sympathies lie with the Vatican. The caption about Pius XII seems to use the available information to place the former pope in the worst possible light. While I wouldn't call the information in question 34 here as kind to Pius XII, it does place his conduct in the context of the Catholic Church and other Christian religions institutions as a whole. Pius XII could indeed have done more, but I'm sure that's true of plenty of other people. This caption seems either calculated to offend or a ploy in order to achieve greater access to the Vatican archives. Either way, it's not good history.

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