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Monday, March 08, 2010

Gary L. Krupp: Jewish Kid From Queens--And Papal Knight

This sounds intriguing:
At home here on Long Island, he is Gary L. Krupp, medical equipment dealer, now retired after a career of ups and downs. He shares one car and a small house in a no-frills neighborhood with his wife, Meredith, and wryly describes himself as “an average schlemiel, just a Jewish kid from Queens.”

At the Vatican, he is known as Commendatore Gary Krupp, Knight Commander of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great. For short, the Swiss Guard and cardinals address him as “Your Excellency.”
Interestingly enough, the focus of the New York Times article is not so much on Krupp himself and how he joined the ranks of Bob Hope and Rupert Murdoch, as on what Krupp has done since then.

In short, Krupp became only the seventh Jewish papal knight in history when in 2000 Pope John Paul II dubbed him in recognition of his efforts in persuading American manufacturers to donate $12 million worth of high-tech medical equipment to an Italian hospital.

But since that time:
With no previous training or special interest in history, he has emerged as the Vatican’s most outspoken Jewish ally in a heated debate at the crux of tensions between Roman Catholic and Jewish leaders and historians: whether Pope Pius XII, the pontiff during World War II, did as much as he could have to save Jews from the Holocaust.

Mr. Krupp, 62, has raised enough money through the Pave the Way Foundation, a nonprofit organization he founded in 2002, to travel the globe, hire researchers to scour historic documents, sponsor a three-day symposium in Rome and publish four editions of a glossy, illustrated volume of evidence supporting his view that Pius XII spared no effort to save the lives of persecuted Jews.

He has pressed his case in a recent op-ed article for The New York Post, and in interviews with conservative Catholic television programs and Web sites, which have cited him as an expert on Pius.

And in a special audience at the papal summer residence in September 2008, Pope Benedict XVI thanked Mr. Krupp for bringing attention to “what Pius XII achieved for the Jews.”

...Deborah Dwork, a professor of Holocaust history at Clark University, put it another way: “Pope Benedict would not have had the chutzpah to go forward with the veneration process if not for this P.R. work Gary Krupp does.”
Read the whole thing.

The controversy that surrounds Pius XII now surrounds Krupp as well, and his qualifications--or lack thereof--as a historian. Apparently, nothing definitively can be known, until the Vatican releases its records.

Or until Dan Brown decides to write a book about it.

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