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Vatican Ambassador to Israel, Monsignor Antonio Franco sits at the opening ceremony of the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem, Israel on April 15, 2007. Initially the Vatican was not going to attend in protest of a caption at Yad Vashem that condemns the Pope Pius XII for refusing to help Jews during the Holocaust. (UPI Photo/David Blumenfeld/Pool).
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The Venerable Pope Pius XII (Latin: Pius PP. XII; Italian: Pio XII), born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli (2 March 1876 – 9 October 1958), reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958.

Before election to the papacy, Pacelli served as secretary of the Department of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, papal nuncio and Cardinal Secretary of State, in which capacity he worked to conclude treaties with European and Latin American nations, most notably the Reichskonkordat with Nazi Germany. His leadership of the Catholic Church during World War II remains the subject of continued historical controversy.

After the war, Pius XII contributed to the rebuilding of Europe, and advocated peace and reconciliation, including lenient policies toward vanquished nations and the unification of Europe. The Church, flourishing in the West, experienced severe persecution and mass deportations of Catholic clergy in the East. In light of his protests, and his involvement in the Italian elections of 1948, he became known as a staunch opponent of communism.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pius XII."