The deafening silence of the Catholic Church and its leader Pope Pius XII during the reign of the fascist duo of Mussolini and Hitler has been the subject of much discussion in the years following the Holocaust. The church’s steadfast refusal to open its archive form that era has made the situation worse, since no reliable data was made available to researchers, historians, and the public at large.
That is about to change. Pope Francis has just made public his decision to open the Vatican’s archives from the Holocaust period and make available to the public the relevant documents on March 2nd, 2020. The Pope was quoted as saying: “The Church loves history and wishes to love it even more as it loves God. Therefore I am going to open these archives to researchers.”
The Pope’s decision was welcomed in Israel, where much of the Holocaust research takes place. Perhaps now it will be possible to correctly evaluate the role that the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII played in the events of the largest genocide to have ever taken place on European soil. Much of this unspeakable tragedy took place in deeply Catholic countries and regions such as France, Italy, Southern Germany, and Poland, and much of it was perpetrated by practicing Catholics, making the understanding of Catholic Church’s role in it absolutely crucial.