Thursday, August 5th | 27 Av 5781

March 4, 2019 9:38 am

Vatican to Open Secret Archives of Wartime Pontiff Pius XII

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Pope Francis is seen during the weekly audience in Saint Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Feb. 27, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Yara Nardi.

Pope Francis announced on Monday that he has decided to open fully the Vatican’s secret archives on the wartime pontificate of Pope Pius XII, something which Jews have been seeking for decades.

Some Jews have accused Pius, who reigned from 1939 to 1958, of turning a blind eye to the Holocaust during World War Two by not speaking out forcefully. The Vatican has said Pius worked quietly behind the scenes to save Jews and so as to not worsen the situation for many, including for Catholics in parts of Nazi-occupied Europe.

The archives will open on March 2, 2020, Francis announced in a speech to members of the Vatican’s Secret Archives. He said “the Church is not afraid of history,” adding that Pius’ legacy had been treated with “some prejudice and exaggeration.”

The American Jewish Committee (AJC), one of the world’s leading Jewish groups, welcomed the move.

Related coverage

August 4, 2021 6:11 pm

Pro-Israel Democrats Cheer Shontel Brown’s Upset ‘Victory’ in Ohio Congressional Race

Pro-Israel and Democratic Jewish groups heralded the upset victory of Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown in Tuesday's party primary in...

“For more than 30 years, the AJC has called for the full opening the Holy See’s Secret Archives from the period of World War Two,” said Rabbi David Rosen, the AJC’s International Director of Interreligious Affairs.

“It is particularly important that experts from the leading Holocaust memorial institutes in Israel and the US objectively evaluate as best as possible the historical record of that most terrible of times, to acknowledge both the failures as well as the valiant efforts made during the period of the Shoah,” Rosen told Reuters in an email, using the Hebrew word for the Holocaust.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.