In a story in the New York Times, a self-described "Jewish kid from Queens" has become a leading advocate on behalf of Pope Pius XII in the long-running debate over that pope's actions during the Holocaust. Gary L. Krupp, a retired medical equipment dealer living on Long Island, N.Y., has now made it his mission to convince the world that Pius XII, who was declared venerable in December, did, in fact, do all that he could to save Jewish lives.
"“Believe me, I never dreamed I would be defending a man who, when I was growing up, we believed he was a Nazi sympathizer,” Krupp says in the Times story.
Being a Jewish fan of Pope Pius XII isn't Krupp's only unlikely Catholic connection. He is also one of only seven Jewish papal knights in history. He was dubbed a knight by Pope John Paul II in 2000 for his efforts to collect $12 million worth of medical equipment from American manufacturers for an Italian hospital.
From the New York Times story:
"Being knighted thrust Mr. Krupp into the ranks of some of the world’s richest and most prominent people, living and dead — Bob Hope and Rupert Murdoch included — who received the knighthood of St. Gregory the Great for serving the church in some way. Unlike the vast majority of them, however, Mr. Krupp said he saw his elevation as an opportunity to become a conduit between the Catholic Church and the world. In 2005, he brokered an agreement with the Vatican Library to lend a rare set of manuscripts by the medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides to the Israel Museum. And gradually he decided he liked promoting interreligious understanding more than he liked selling medical equipment.Read the full story HERE.
"His Pave the Way Foundation became a full-time occupation in 2005, around the time a friend at the Vatican suggested that he might help clear up misunderstandings between Catholics and Jews about Pius. Mr. Krupp began collecting and underwriting research.
“'Did you know Pius XII saved more than 860,000 Jews from the death camps? I mean, I never knew that before. It’s character assassination — a shanda — that so many Jews say he was an anti-Semite,' said Mr. Krupp, using a Yiddish word for disgrace."