I refer to the letter from Paul Kokoski (Post, 27 December) in which he refers to "largely Jewish efforts to cast a dark shadow over Pius Xll's good character". (Pius has been accused of not condemning Hitler's horrific treatment of Jews). But it is important to stress that many Jewish historians have spoken out in defence of the pope. They have shown that Pius was responsible for saving thousands of Jews from their Nazi persecutors. This could only have been achieved in secrecy.

Eighty per cent of Italy's Jewish refugees were saved through the underground system of hiding Jews in Catholic monasteries (mainly Franciscan) and convents, obtaining false identities for them and arranging their transport out of the country.

A recent (2005) book by the distinguished American Jewish professor Rabbi David Dalin, The Myth Of Hitler's Pope, is a powerfully written defence of Pius XII. MA Glendon, professor of law at Harvard University says that "Dalin sets the record straight ... demonstrating that the wartime pope was a friend and protector of the Jewish people in their time of greatest need."

Marie Celine O'Byrne SSL

St Louis Convent,