SOURCE: Reuters (6-5-07)
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's Secretary of State, who ranks second only to the Pope in the Holy See hierarchy, made his comments at the presentation of a new book about Pius by Italian author Andrea Tornielli.
Bertone called accusations that Pius turned a blind eye to the Holocaust "a black legend" and re-stated the Vatican's position that he worked behind the scenes to help save Jews.
Bertone said that in October 1943, the Vatican asked the German occupiers for permission to take on some 1,425 more men for a police force called the Palatine Guard, since disbanded, which patrolled the Vatican and Church-owned buildings in Rome.
Holding up still classified Vatican documents, he said this was an attempt to get Jews into the force to protect them.