Historians Suspend Study of Vatican Archives

By Donovan, Gill | National Catholic Reporter, August 10, 2001 | Go to article overview

Historians Suspend Study of Vatican Archives


Donovan, Gill, National Catholic Reporter


VATICAN CITY: Five historians appointed in 1999 by the Vatican's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and the International Jewish Committee for Inter-religious Consultations suspended their study of the Vatican's role in the Holocaust, saying they could not proceed without access to the Vatican's full archives.

Responding to the suspension, the Vatican said the 11 volumes available contain all the relevant documents.

"Everything regarding the topic up until 1945 -- everything regarding World War II and the position of Pope Pius XII on the Jews and the Holocaust -- has already been published by the Vatican in the 11 volumes available to everyone," the Vatican press office said July 25.

Although archives from that period are still closed, four Jesuit scholars appointed by the Vatican were given access to the archives and compiled the 11 volumes of material related to World War II.

The Catholic and Jewish scholars' decision to suspend their work came after they received a letter from Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the pontifical commission, saying access to the complete archive of material from 1923 onward "is not possible at present for technical reasons. …

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