Magazine article The Christian Century

Rome to Open Some Prewar Papal Archives. (News)

Magazine article The Christian Century

Rome to Open Some Prewar Papal Archives. (News)

Article excerpt

In an announcement both surprising and disappointing to Jewish researchers, Pope John Paul II has directed the Vatican to give historians access to its archives on relations with Germany during the 17 years leading up to World War II and the Holocaust.

Vatican officials said February 15 that the pope had made an "exceptional" gesture to try to "put an end to unjust and ungrateful speculation" that Pope Pius XII failed to try to protect Jews from Nazi persecution. Files that will be made available to scholars early next year deal with the papacy of Pius XI, from 1922 to 1938, but also will provide information on his successor. Archbishop Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pius XII, served as the Vatican's envoy to Germany and secretary of state during the period.

Also published will be information on prisoners of war between 1939 and 1945, which archives officials said "will make historians aware of the great work of charity and assistance carried out by Plus XII regarding the numerous prisoners and other victims of the war, of whatever nation, religion and race."

However, Seymour D. …

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