Back to Index

Pope John Paul II

Dear Professor Naimark: The role of religion in international affairs is a special interest of WAIS, and most of one day, July 29, will be devoted to it in our international conference on globalization. The role of Pope John Paul II is an important element in this problem. The Economist (April 18--May 4, p.50) has a disturbing article entitled "Poland and the Holocaust. It wasn't just Germans. The discovery of a Polish atrocity against Jews in the second world war is making many Poles rethink their past". It reveals that it was Poles, not Germans who actually burned alive 1,600 Jews on July 10, 1941.

Pope John Paul II was born in 1920, so in 1941 he was 21. Is there any evidence he knew of the episode at the time? When did he find out about it? Has he ever referred to it? Is that why his is so apologetic about the Catholic attitude toward Jews? Have references to Polish Jews been found in his writings or speeches? Since you are a specialist in the area, your response would be greatly appreciated. Cordially, Ronald Hilton.

Ronald Hilton - 5/8/01