Thursday, June 19, 2008

Holocaust Survivors Visit Benedict XVI

Express Gratitude for Role of Church in Saving Their Lives

By Jesús Colina

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 18, 2008 ( Benedict XVI received in audience a group of four Holocaust survivors who wanted to express their gratitude to the Church for saving their lives during World War II.

The visit, which took place after today's general audience, was sponsored by the Pave the Way Foundation.

Gary Krupp, president of that foundation, told ZENIT: "The Jewish survivors were all very grateful for the opportunity to greet the Pope in German and Italian and to thank him for the intervention of the Roman Catholic Church for saving their lives during World War II."

One of the survivors, Ursala Selig, was saved by Monsignor Beniamino Schivo, in those years rector of a seminary in Città di Castello, Italia, and now 97 years old. The monsignor saved Selig along with her mother and father, by shuttling them around to keep them safe, Krupp recounted.

"She spoke of her and her mother dressing like nuns and staying in a convent," Krupp said. "Her father was protected on a little farm eight hours away. She still speaks to Monsignor Schivo twice a week. He was supposed to come but is too frail."

Krupp also presented Benedict XVI with the symposium on the papacy of Pius XII the foundation is preparing for September.

The symposium, he said, aims to reveal "the true hidden story of the dark days of the Holocaust."

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