The discovery of a Vatican directive to French authorities urging them to prevent baptized Jewish children from being returned to their families after the Holocaust provides perhaps the strongest argument yet for the full and uncensored release of Vatican wartime baptismal records ("Saving Jewish children, but at What Cost?," Jan. 9).
As a hidden child – not in France but in Lithuania – I was baptized in a local church and raised as a Catholic by my nanny. When my parents who survived the war returned to claim me, this pious woman refused to return me to my parents and my faith. For many years, my parents could not fathom the sudden change of heart in my nanny's attitude toward them, me and my faith.
The recent disclosure sadly sheds light on her actions. The instruction most likely was not limited to France, but reached all Catholic clergy throughout Nazi-occupied Europe who engaged in the saving and conversion of Jewish children. Therefore, it is clear that there may have been tens of thousands of rescued and baptized Jewish children who have been kept from knowing their true origins and possibility returning to their original faith. Time is running out, but the Vatican still has a chance to enable this special class of Holocaust survivors to have access to a fuller understanding of their heritage.
Abraham H. Foxman National Director
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