American Jewish Committee (AJC) welcomes today’s announcement by Pope Francis that the Vatican Archives, for the period of Pope Pius XII, will be open to researchers beginning in March 2020.

For more than 30 years, AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization, has called for the full opening of the secret archives on Pope Pius XII, to shed light on his activities as pontiff during World War II. Pius XII served as pope from 1939 until his death in 1958.

“Pope Francis's decision to make these materials now fully open and available for international scholarly research is enormously important to Catholic-Jewish relations,” said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC International Director of Interreligious Affairs, who has met regularly and raised this issue with Pope Francis and his predecessors.

“It is particularly important that experts from the leading Holocaust memorial institutes in Israel and the United States objectively evaluate as best as possible the historical record of that most terrible of times — to acknowledge both the failures as well as the valiant efforts made during the period of the systematic murder of six million Jews,” Rabbi Rosen said.

The announcement comes just ahead of an AJC leadership delegation visit to the Vatican and audience with the Pope this week. AJC has been a decades-long pioneer in the field of Catholic-Jewish ties. As the late John Cardinal O’Connor said: “No Jewish organization in the United States or the world has done more to advance Catholic-Jewish relations than American Jewish Committee.”

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