November 25, 2001

On the 120th anniversary of Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli’s birth

The actions where he saved thousands of persecuted are remembered

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation remembers on November 25, 2001 the 120th anniversary of Monsignor Nuncio Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli’s birth and it celebrates it by editing an unprecedented research work created with the aim of documenting the actions in favor of persecuted carried out by the Apostolic Nuncio in Istanbul during the Holocaust.

The Angelo Roncalli International Committee is composed by people of different religions and ideologies. All of them are united by the will to make public something of which little is known throughout the world: the rescue of persecuted during the Holocaust, of whom were mostly Jewish, by someone who later became Pope John XXIII.

The constitution of this Committee, founded by Baruch Tenembaum, a son of the Argentine Jewish colonies, already has the support of Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State; Apostolic Nuncios Santos Abril and Castelló and Monsignor Renato Martino; Professor Andre Chouraqui, translator into French of the Torah, the New Testament and the Coran; Monsignor Jorge Bergoglio, Cardinal of the Argentina and Monsignor Estanislao Karlic, President of the Argentine Episcopal Conference.

Among its members it is worth mentioning Rabbies Joseph Ehrenkranz, from the Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding of the US; Simón Moguilevsky, President of the Israeli Congregation of the Argentine Republic; Mario Ablin and Norman Lamm, President of the New York Yeshiva University.

Hannah Arendt in her book ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem’ praises and stands out Roncalli’s actions during his time in Istanbul. The same does the former judge of the court who judged Adolf Eichmann, Gideon Hausner, in his book ‘Justice in Jerusalem’, among many other well-known intellectuals.

The membership is completed with the businessman Natalio Wengrower; Father Horacio Moreno; Mordechai Arbel, Historian and Researcher and former Consul of Israel in Istanbul and Dr. Antonio Boggiano, Judge of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Argentine Republic. Other important members are the historians and journalists Dr. Yoav Tenembaum, José I. García Hamilton and Nicholas Tozer.

It can be said that this Committee is a natural continuation of the sitting of the Commemorative Wall to the Victims of the Holocaust installed within the Buenos Aires Cathedral during April of the year 1997 at the request of the IRWF, carried out by the late Cardinal Antonio Quarracino and preserved by the determination of his successor, Cardinal Bergoglio.