Roncalli Angelo Guiseppe (1882–1963)

Archbishop, Vatican Nuncio to Turkey and Greece, Pope John XXIII

From his base in Istanbul during World War II, the Papal Nuncio Roncalli had a personal working relationship with Chayim Barlas, the head of the Jewish Agency office in Istanbul. He appealed to the Turkish government to provide asylum to stranded Jewish refugees from Nazi territories, interceded with King Boris of Bulgaria against the deportations of Jews and aided Archbishop Rotta, then the Nuncio in Sofia in his efforts to save Jews. He protested the deportations of the Greek Jews and had the Pope issue letters and protests to the heads of the affected States to stop any further deportations. Against Vatican policy and orders and in tandem with Barlas and the  Jewish Agency’s efforts he kept appealing to the Turkish government to give asylum to Jews, sent to starving Greek Jews and kept the pressure on the Bulgarian King and his parliament to refuse the German demands for deportations.  In 1958 Archbishop Roncalli became Pope John XXIII. He died in Rome in 1963 at age eighty-one. 


Back to the Cast