The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Meet one fan of Pius XII: “Just a Jewish kid from Queens”

Pius XII has his boosters, and his critics. But he has at least one big fan from my own backyard — who also just happens to be Jewish:

08pius_CA0-popup.jpgAt home here on Long Island, he is Gary L. Krupp, medical equipment dealer, now retired after a career of ups and downs. He shares one car and a small house in a no-frills neighborhood with his wife, Meredith, and wryly describes himself as “an average schlemiel, just a Jewish kid from Queens.”


At the Vatican, he is known as Commendatore Gary Krupp, Knight Commander of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great. For short, the Swiss Guard and cardinals address him as “Your Excellency.”

It is a compelling tale in itself: how Mr. Krupp became only the seventh Jewish papal knight in history, dubbed by Pope John Paul II in 2000 for persuading American manufacturers to donate $12 million worth of high-tech medical equipment to an Italian hospital.

But the more curious and complicated story is the transformation Mr. Krupp has undergone since. With no previous training or special interest in history, he has emerged as the Vatican’s most outspoken Jewish ally in a heated debate at the crux of tensions between Roman Catholic and Jewish leaders and historians: whether Pope Pius XII, the pontiff during World War II, did as much as he could have to save Jews from the Holocaust.


Mr. Krupp, 62, has raised enough money through the Pave the Way Foundation, a nonprofit organization he founded in 2002, to travel the globe, hire researchers to scour historic documents, sponsor a three-day symposium in Rome and publish four editions of a glossy, illustrated volume of evidence supporting his view that Pius XII spared no effort to save the lives of persecuted Jews.

He has pressed his case in a recent op-ed article for The New York Post, and in interviews with conservative Catholic television programs and Web sites, which have cited him as an expert on Pius.

And in a special audience at the papal summer residence in September 2008, Pope Benedict XVI thanked Mr. Krupp for bringing attention to “what Pius XII achieved for the Jews.”

There’s more at the Times link.

Comments read comments(3)
post a comment
Your Name

posted March 9, 2010 at 12:35 am

Oh, come on. Right there in the story –
“The assessment of Mr. Krupp’s work among many scholars and leaders of long-established Jewish organizations has been equally harsh.
Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg, associate director of interfaith affairs at the Anti-Defamation League, called Mr. Krupp’s mission “a campaign of misinformation.”
Professor Dwork said Mr. Krupp’s research was “amateurish, worse than amateurish — risible.” More disturbing, she said, it seems to have emboldened some in the Vatican to push harder for Pius XII’s canonization.
He may be well-meaning, but his lack of experience in international affairs and historical research makes Mr. Krupp highly vulnerable to being manipulated by factions inside the Vatican, she said.
Several historians said the 860,000 figure that Mr. Krupp cited appeared frequently in biographies of Pius XII, but had never been documented.
The Rev. John T. Pawlikowski, a Catholic priest who is a founding member of the board of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and a professor of social ethics at the University of Chicago, said the Vatican was “discrediting itself by associating itself with this kind of questionable scholarship.”
Mr. Krupp has heard it all. In 2008, several historians called to ask him to cancel his three-day conference in Rome, which ultimately drew many Vatican-friendly scholars but few with independent credentials.
One caller, Paul O’Shea, who has written extensively about Pius XII, tried to warn Mr. Krupp that proponents of canonization might be trying to use him. He urged Mr. Krupp to wait for the Vatican to open its files, and for scholars to complete their work, before reaching conclusions.
Mr. Krupp thanked him for his advice and ignored it.
“Listen to me: Pius XII was the greatest hero of World War II,” Mr. Krupp said recently. “He saved more Jews than Roosevelt, Churchill and all the rest of them combined. We should not let him be an issue between Catholics and Jews.”
He added: “And I predict this: Historians are never going to solve this whole problem. There will always be questions.”
In the debate over Gary Krupp, too, there will always be questions. Why is he doing this? How has he marshaled deep-pocketed support for his foundation, which has an annual budget of about $500,000 and pays him and his wife a combined $140,000 a year? (Its board includes New York entrepreneurs and Wall Street managers, most of them Jewish.)”

report abuse

Franklin Jennings

posted March 9, 2010 at 11:39 am

Yeah, but Mr Krupp has one thing you lack, friend. He has the cajones to attach his name to his work, rather than sniping anonymously.

report abuse


posted March 9, 2010 at 3:14 pm

The Times articles states: “Several historians said the 860,000 figure that Mr. Krupp cited appeared frequently in biographies of Pius XII, but had never been documented.”
The basis for the 860,000 figure is from the book “The Last Three Popes and the Jews” by Pinchas Lapide (London: Souvenir Press, 1967), an Israeli diplomat and historian, where he wrote that “the Catholic Church, under the Pontificate of Pius XII was instrumental in saving at least 700,000 thousand, but probably as many as 860,000 Jews”. It might be noted that the book is far from a paean to the Catholic Church; many pages are quite critical of Catholic attitudes and practices respecting the Jews.
“The Pius War,” a compendium of essays edited by Joseph Bottum and David Dalin (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2004) states at a 1975 Holocaust conference in Hamburg Lapide said that his estimate “was based on six months of research at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust archive in Jerusalem” (p. 199).
It is thus disingenuous of the Times to fail to note that Krupp’s claim was not pulled out of thin air, but has its source in a scholarly work written by a Jewish historian. Although Lapide’s documentation has been challenged, it has also been vigorously defended.
In a 2003 interview, the great Jewish historian of the Holocaust, Sir Martin Gilbert, said it was “absolutely correct” to conclude that “hundreds of thousands of Jews [were] saved by the entire Catholic Church, under the leadership and with the support of Pope Pius XII” (quoted in “The Pius War,” p. 200).
Contrariwise, it might be asked whether it has it ever been documented that any individual, organization or state did *more* to save Jewish lives than Pius XII?

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz ...

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives! ...

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below. ...

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The ...

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy. ...

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.