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Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust - Current State of Research International Academic Workshop Opened at Yad Vashem Today

Papal Nuncio: One cannot be Catholic if he denies the Shoah
Chairman Shalev: We are aware that the Pope has ordered the acceleration of the cataloguing of the Vatican Archives to enable their opening

8 March 2009

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev (left) listens as Vatican Nuncio Mnsg. Antonio Franco makes a point this morning during the opening of the academic workshop on Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev (left) listens as Vatican Nuncio Mnsg. Antonio Franco makes a point this morning during the opening of the academic workshop on "Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust: Current State of Research" at Yad Vashem. Photo: Isaac Harari

An international academic workshop looking at the current state of research on Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust opened today at Yad Vashem. The 2-day workshop is being held in partnership of Yad Vashems International Institute for Holocaust Research and the Studium Theologicum Salesianum, Saints Peter.

At this mornings opening session, Chairman of Yad Vashem Avner Shalev said, The complex historical issues that will arise during the workshop touch on basic human values, and questions of morality. Serious academic research, whose goal is to uncover the truth, must rest on documentation. I was pleased to learn that the Pope has directed that the cataloguing of the Vatican archives related to the Holocaust be accelerated so that the Archives can be opened up as soon as possible to researchers.

Vatican Nuncio Mnsg. Antonio Franco referred in his remarks to the case of the Holocaust denying Bishop Williamson and said, It is clear that one cannot be Catholic if he denies the Shoah. He added that the workshop is an important step in building cooperation in the search for the truth. At the end of his remarks, the Nuncio also referred to the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Yad Vashem in two months.

This meeting of scholars is being held to understand the present state of research on the man and the topic, and is an opportunity for an exchange of updated knowledge and a sharing of scholarly opinions. In the last few years, several important books and articles have been published, and new material has come to light, and therefore there is a need to summarize what information is known to scholars, to see whether there is any new information not previously known, as well as any information that needs re-evaluating.

Among the topics scholars will discuss are the pre-Papacy period; relations with the German Bishops; Pius XII and the Holocaust; the situation in Italy during the Holocaust; and the aftermath of the Holocaust.