October 22, 2008
UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM STATEMENT ON POPE PIUS XII RECORDS
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum views with concern recent indications that definitive conclusions are being drawn regarding the record of Pope Pius XII during the Holocaust. Such pronouncements, and any actions that might follow, can only be substantiated when the archives of the Vatican from this period are fully opened to the public for in-depth scholarly research.
Over a quarter century ago, the Vatican published eleven volumes of selected archival material from the Holocaust period. However, these volumes are not a complete record of the Vatican’s actions during the Holocaust.
In recent years, the Museum has enjoyed a cooperative relationship with the Vatican Archives, thanks in particular to the decision of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to open to researchers major archival collections relating to the rise of Nazism in Germany. Copies of many of these records can now be consulted at the Museum and conclusions for the pre-war period are possible.
Recognizing the urgency imposed by the advanced age of Holocaust survivors who deserve definitive answers, the Museum encourages the Vatican to follow up this gesture with a decision to make full and complete access to all of its archives from the Holocaust period its highest priority. The Museum stands ready to participate in any way to achieve this goal.
A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum strives to inspire leaders and citizens to confront hatred, prevent genocide, promote human dignity and strengthen democracy. Federal support guarantees the Museum’s permanence, and donors nationwide make possible its educational activities and global outreach. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.