Page 4, 28th November 1980

28th November 1980
Page 4
Page 4, 28th November 1980 — The significance of a suitcase

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People: Pius Xll
Locations: Plymouth, Lisbon, Rome


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The significance of a suitcase

ALTHOUGH I had no access to German or Italian wartime documents I did take rather an active part, though on a small scale, in Pope Pius Xll's help towards Jews.

I was released from an internment camp in Italy in 1944, and came to Rome, to await a plane home. I had known Pius XII as Cardinal Pacelli, and before my departure he gave me an audience and a personal blessing.

He also gave me a message to convey to the Prior of' a Monastery in Lisbon — I had lived in Portugal for seven years.

The message, which I learnt by heart, was for the Prior to give a very substantial sum of money, amounting to thousands, to a party of Jews, awaiting transport to America.

I was also given charge of an empty suitcase. which I was to leave at-a tourist agency to be collected by the prior. After a miraculous escape from death, due to being requested to travel on another plane, I reached I.isbon safely.

I carried out my 'mission', but was met with stony stares by the prior and his companion, until I remembered the empty suitcase. Smiles broke over the two faces and the prior held out his hand and said "Thank you Madame. now we know your message is genuine. The 'empty' suitcase is your password!

Is one really asked to believe a Pope who could send such generous help by even such an insignficant messenger as myself, capable of Pro-Nazi sympathies? Agnes M. V. Richardson Beacon Park Plymouth

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