The word “hero” so often conjures up images of the brash and the bold. We may think of Audie Murphy’s WWII exploits, the Spartans at Thermopylae, or the doomed holdouts at the Alamo. But then there are the quiet heroes, people such as Oskar Schindler. Ever since Schindler’s List hit the silver screen in 1993, his clandestine efforts resulting in the rescue of almost 1,200 Jews from Nazi death camps have been well known.
Yet that dark time birthed another quiet hero, one who saved as many as 860,000 Jewish lives. Today, however, few know of his accomplishments, few sing his praises. And Steven Spielberg will undoubtedly never make a movie lauding him. On the contrary, this man is roundly maligned as a WWII villain who was at best indifferent to the plight of the people in the Nazis’ crosshairs. This man is Eugenio Pacelli. But he is better known as Pope Pius XII.
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