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Yours Is a Precious Witness: Memoirs of Jews and Catholics in Wartime Italy [Paperback]

By Margherita Marchione (Author)
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Item description for Yours Is a Precious Witness: Memoirs of Jews and Catholics in Wartime Italy by Margherita Marchione...

An account of how the Catholic church in Italy came to the assistance of Jews in World War II.

Publishers Description
Mainly using untapped oral histories of Italian Jews and Catholics, this book shows that Catholics in Italy who saved Jews firmly believed they were doing so in consonance with the Pope's wishes, Readers will get to know these courageous individuals through their inspiring memoirs.

Yours Is a Precious Witness strives to redraw a common picture of Pius XII. He spoke loudly -- not in words that would have resulted in Nazi retaliations, but in actions that directly saved thousands of Jews, Convents, monasteries and papal buildings in Italy became havens for refugees.

Pius XXII did not bow to the Nazis and Fascists. He also did not bow to the pressure of world opinion. He took the more courageous path of direct action. His example inspired Italians to respond with countless acts of individual heroism. The little-known result is that, while 67 percent of European Jews were killed, 85 percent of Italy's Jews were saved. The people who were there -- the people who knew best -- credit Pius XII for this moral victory.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Paulist Press
Pages   272
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.01" Width: 5.98" Height: 0.51"
Weight:   0.98 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 5, 2001
Publisher   Paulist Press
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0809140322  
ISBN13  9780809140329  

Availability  1 units.
Availability accurate as of May 23, 2017 03:08.
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More About Margherita Marchione

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Marchione is a member of the Religious Sisters Filippini and professor emerita of Italian language and literature at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Margherita Marchione currently resides in Morristown, in the state of New Jersey.

Margherita Marchione has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Memoirs of Jews and Catholics in Wartime Italy

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Product Categories

2Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Italy > General
3Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Italy
4Books > Subjects > History > Jewish > Holocaust
5Books > Subjects > History > Military > World War II > General
6Books > Subjects > History > Military > World War II
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History
9Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

Reviews - What do customers think about Yours Is a Precious Witness: Memoirs of Jews and Catholics in Wartime Italy?

A Good Start in Resurrecting an Honorable Pope's Reputation  Aug 20, 2005
This reviewer read Sister Marchione's YOURS IS A PRECIOUS WITNESS when the book was first published in 1997 and was impressed by it. Sister Marchione demonstrates a passion for her work, and her book undermines Pope Pius XII's critics.

Sister Marchione condenses an array of evidence based on documents, interviews, anecdotes, etc. to illustrate that Pope Pius XII was a hero who worked tirelessly to save hundreds of thousands of Jews in Italy during W. W.II.

Part one of the book gives the Italian historical background of Italian attempts to rescue those whom the Italian and later German authorities had designated for concentration camps.

Part two of YOURS IS A PRECIOUS WITNESS details the efforts of the Catholic Church authorities and their religious to use any means possible to rescue Jews in different areas of Italy. This section of the book is important in that Sister Marchione makes clear that these efforts were sponsored by Pope Pius XII who knew very well that the German political leadership were incensed at these efforts. What may interest readers is that Hitler had a plan to invade the Vatican, massacre the Catholic leadership, and relocate the Papacy in Lichenstein. Pope Pius XII knew this at the time, but he did not waiver in his efforts to rescue Italian Jews.

What should also be known that while the Catholic priests, nuns, sisters, monks, etc. were taking great risks, these brave men and women were operating under Pope Pius XII's policies and direct orders. In other words, Sister Marchione makes clear that these efforts, which the German and Italian Fascist authorities considered illegal and subversive, had both the blessing and the sanction of Pope Pius XII.

Sister Marchione demonstrates in a book of 203 pages of text a concise record of Pope Pius XII's courage, class, and determination to fullfill his mission as Christ's Vicar. Sister Marchione has included appendices, document listings, and a good bibliography that will lead the interested reader to numerous resources that clearly vindicate Pope Pius XII.

While Sister Marchione's book is not combative in any obvious sense, she undermines the mainstream media's view of Pope Pius XII. What may be amusing to readers is that during Pope Pius XII's lifetime, THE NEW YORK TIMES editors and writers praised Pope Pius XII's rare courage and determination. The current gurus of THE NEW YORK TIMES should read YOURS IS A PRECIOUS WITNESS to know just how wrong they are today. In other words, THE NEW YORK TIMES editors are either so incredibly stupid or biased, that reading this book would correct their own anti-Catholic stupidity.

One should further note that Sister Marchione is a first class scholar. Her book is lucid and would be useful to both professional historians and laymen alike. This reviewer highly recommends this book.
The Mixed Legacy of the Vatican during the Holocaust   Nov 11, 2004
A good part of this book is inspirational. The book documents how many Italian Catholics acted to help and protect Jews in Italy. Their sacrifices and courage should never be underestimated. Nazi-controlled police and government prohibited hiding or assisting Jews with penalties ranging from imprisonement to death. Risking not only their own but family lives, Italian Catholics including those in the Vaticans protected Jews. The number and percentage of Jews killed in Italy was less than that in many other countries.

That said, Marchione takes the sacrifices of individual Catholics in Italy to argue that the Church vigorously opposed the persecution of Jews and acted to prevent the Holocaust. Few could agree. Important accords were signed between the Church and Fascist Italy and even Nazi Germany. Cardinal Coughlin espoused a vigorous anti-semitic message in the 1930's in the United States without any opposition or condemnation.
Coughlin identified Jews with international banking and communism and said they were themselves themselves responsible for Hitler's moves against them. Few German priests spoke out against Hitler.

German Catholics were an integral part of Nazi Germany. German Catholics helped burn Jewish synagogues, arrest Jews for deportation to concentration camps, and arrange for their extermination. These German Catholics largely followed church dogma going to church on Sunday after they had helped kill Jews
during the week, they attended Christenings after burning down temples and arresting 9 year old boys and girls. They did partly from venal motives and partly because they knew no better, for the Church failed to clearly condemn Hitler and Nazism, preferring to issue ambiguous and delicately worded statements for internal use. German Catholics by and large did not have abortions or divorce for they followed church dogma; they helped kill Jews for their church did not condemn this.

Clear Pope Pius could have done something important. He could have clearly and unequivocally announced that the horrible campaigns against Jews such as Kristtalnacht were wrong. As the head of a large religion whose members followed his dictates, he had the ability to stop Nazism. Had he told his members that persecuting and killing Jews was wrong and would lead to excommunication, many German Catholics would likely have followed those instruction. Pius's reign will be remembered as one of cowardice and complacency, with the death of millions of women, children, and men as result.

The discussion of Pope Pius does tend to dispell the notion he was an anti-semite (see the misleadingly titled book Hitler's Pope). Otherwise, why would he have helped the Jews in Italy. Instead, it shows he was a cowardly man, of no high moral principle, who would do what he could so long as it would not rock the boat.

His limited actions can be contrasted with others in the Church who did far more with far less power. When they helped Jews escape, their legacy is one of strength, courage, and self-sacrifice, and it is important to memorialize that. Like the range of human behavior during World II, ranging from the heartless killing to tremendous sacrifice, the actions of those in the Church spanned the gamut.

Marchione Does It Again  Jan 7, 2003
All of Marchione's books on Pius XII are the sort of straight forward, fact filled, indisputable studies Catholic haters like to suppress. I've seen no editorial reviews of this unusual contribution to setting the record straight. The book is filled with personal stories, told by Jews and Catholics who were there. If you want a more traditional approach to the matter, try Marchione's "Pope Pius XII:Architect of Peace" and her scholarly "Consensus & Controversy".
If you like memoirs and first hand accounts, also read Chief Rabbi of Rome during the Nazi occupation Eugenio Zolli's "Before the Dawn", republished recently as "Why I Became A Catholic".
Truth at last  Sep 8, 2000
The book clearly documents how Pius XII and Italian Catholics saved thousands of Jewish lives. This is a tribute to the heroic efforts of the Vatican to save Jews. No "silence" here.
Documents, please  Sep 7, 2000
The strength of the book is simply its evidence: thousands of documents (letters, newspaper reports, chancery reports, diplomatic cables) showing the heroic efforts of Pius XII to save persecuted Jews and Christians during World War II. No silence here---only determined diplomatic and humanitarian charity.

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