Pope Pius XII, Accused of Silence During the Holocaust, Knew Jews Were Being Killed, Researcher SaysHistorians in the News
tags: Holocaust, Catholic Church, Pope Pius XII
(Religion News Service) —The long-awaited opening of Pope Pius XII’s wartime records lasted only a week before the coronavirus outbreak shut down the Vatican archives. But that was long enough for documents to emerge that reflect badly on the pontiff accused of silence during the Holocaust, according to published reports.
In that week alone, German researchers found that the pope, who never directly criticized the Nazi slaughter of Jews, knew from his own sources about Berlin’s death campaign early on. But he kept this from the U.S. government after an aide argued that Jews and Ukrainians — his main sources — could not be trusted because they lied and exaggerated, the researchers said.
They also discovered that the Vatican hid these and other sensitive documents presumably to protect Pius’s image, a finding that will embarrass the Roman Catholic Church, which is still struggling with its coverup of clerical sexual abuse.
These reports emerged out of Germany, home to seven researchers from the University of Münster who went to Rome despite the coronavirus crisis there for the historic opening of Pius’s wartime papers on March 2. Other researchers from the United States and Israel had been expected to attend the opening but apparently stayed home because of the pandemic.
Leading the German team was Hubert Wolf, 60, a historian of the Catholic Church who has researched in the Vatican’s Secret Archive — now called the Apostolic Archive — since his student days. A Catholic priest and prolific author, he enjoys a reputation as an objective researcher and outspoken analyst.
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