The Vatican’s Endeavors on Behalf of Rumanian Jewry during the Second World War
Herein Lavi reviews an article by Monsignor Martini. In July 1940, Jews who had converted to Catholicism began to be persecuted and were banned from Catholic schools. The Papal Nuncio protested and the instruction was reversed. In March 1941, Jews were forbidden to convert and those who had converted were still considered Jews despite the Nuncio’s objection. In June 1941, the Rumanians joined the German forces marching through Rumania to attack the Russians, and mass murder, rape, and deportations became the order of the day. Nuncio Cassulo traveled to Rome, which led to a significant decrease in deportations. Cassulo, believing that religion must help all those in distress traveled widely in Eastern Europe and often prevailed on the authorities to ease persecution of Jews. Antonescu remained a rabid antisemite until the end. The Papal Nuncio, humane and sympathetic, did everything in his power to influence the Rumanian government to save as many Jews as possible from suffering and death. He stands out as a true friend of the Rumanian Jews.