Wiesenthal Center Welcomes Announcement by Pope Francis that Vatican Archives on Pope Pius XII will be Opened Next Year

March 4, 2019

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today welcomed the announcement yesterday by Pope Francis that he had decided to open the Vatican’s secret archives on the wartime activities of Pope Pius XII, who was pope from March 2, 1939 until his death on October 9, 1958.

In a statement issued here today, by its Israel director, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center emphasized the importance of such a step, which hopefully would help fully clarify the role of Pius XII, who was pope during the entire period of World War II, during which he refrained from specifically denouncing the Nazis’ persecution and mass murder of the Jews and/or calling upon Catholics to do whatever they could to help save Jews from death.

According to Zuroff:
"There are two cardinal questions regarding the papacy of Pope Pius XII during the Holocaust which await critical answers. The first is what information reached the Vatican regarding Holocaust crimes, and the second is when did that information reach Pius XII? In that respect, we have to keep in mind that the pope had representatives who functioned as ambassadors (papal nuncios) in many of the countries in which the Jews were being persecuted, and therefore he was almost certainly the recipient of accurate information regarding the fate of the Jews (and of converts to Christianity of Jewish origin) at a relatively early date, most probably before such news reached the Allies."

For additional information please contact the Israel Office of the Wiesenthal Center: Tel: 972-2-563-1274 or Tel: 972-50-721-4156, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal @EZuroff for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.
 
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).