The never-before-told first person account of a friendship that changed the church and the world.
In The Pope and I Jerzy Kluger, a Polish-born Jew, tells the surprising story of his lifelong friendship with Karol Wojtyla, who became Pope John Paul II. As this memoir shows, their friendship played a role in shaping Wojtylaís early views toward the Jewish people and his later efforts, as pope, to overcome the Catholic Churchís legacy of anti-Semitism.
Though their story has been recounted before, Kluger here for the first time offers his own account of their relationship. His story begins with their friendship in grade school in Poland, describes Klugerís extraordinary survival of the war (while much of his family perished in Auschwitz), followed by his astonishing reunion with then-Archbishop Wojtyla in Rome during the days of the Second Vatican Council.
After his friendís election as pope, their relationship unfolds against the background of extraordinary advances in Jewish-Christian relations, including the first papal visit to the synagogue of Rome, John Paulís pilgrimages to Jerusalem and Auschwitz, and the Vatican recognition of Israel (for which Kluger served as a back-channel Vatican emissary).
A fascinating personal tale, told with much charm, The Pope and I highlights the surprising confluences of history, politics, and religion sealed by friendship and mutual respect.
Jerzy Kluger grew up in the Polish town of Wadowice, where he befriended Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II. While most of his family perished, Kluger escaped and fought with the Allies. After the war he moved to Rome and trained as an engineer.