Vatican unseals archives on Holocaust-era Pope Pius XII

Vatican unseals archives on Holocaust-era Pope Pius XII

PanARMENIAN.Net - The Vatican has opened its archives on the wartime papacy of Pius XII, kept secret for decades amid accusations that he turned a blind eye to the Holocaust," the BBC reports.

Critics say Pius XII, sometimes labelled "Hitler's Pope", knew Nazi Germany was murdering Jews but failed to act. He reigned from 1939 to 1958.

But the Vatican says Pius XII worked behind the scenes to save Jews.

Dozens of scholars are preparing to pore over the many documents.

Pope Francis took the decision a year ago to open up the archives on one of the Roman Catholic Church's most controversial figures.

Pope Francis said the Pius XII papacy was marked by "moments of grave difficulties, tormented decisions of human and Christian prudence, that to some could appear as reticence".

The official Vatican News website says there is a vast quantity of material, and much is now in digital form.

Bishop Sergio Pagano, prefect of the Vatican's Apostolic Archives, said the World War Two documents ran into millions of pages, divided into 121 sections according to topic.

All the space in the consulting area has been booked for the rest of the year, said Bishop Pagano, quoted by Reuters news agency. The scholars include some from the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC and award-winning German historian Hubert Wolf, a specialist on the Pius XII pontificate.

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