Team to probe Vatican’s wartime archives


ROME, Nov. 23 (JTA) — The Vatican and an international committee of Jewish leaders have announced the team of scholars who will review published Vatican archives relating to World War II.

The panel plans to help clarify the role of the Roman Catholic Church, and of Pope Pius XII, during the Holocaust.

Tuesday’s announcement was made by Cardinal Edward Cassidy, president of the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, and Seymour Reich, chairman of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations.

The two groups agreed to form the joint review team in October. That announcement stopped short of complying with long-standing Jewish demands that the Vatican open its unpublished wartime archives to outside researchers.

The Jewish scholars are: Michael Marrus, of the University of Toronto; Bernhard Suchecky, of the Free University of Brussels; and Robert Wistrich, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The Catholic scholars are: Eva Fleischner of Montclair State University in New Jersey; the Rev. Gerald Fogarty of the University of Virginia; and the Rev. F. John Morley of Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

Panel members include experts in Holocaust Studies, anti-Semitism, church history and Jewish-Catholic relations.

They plan to study the 11 volumes of Vatican archival material, published between 1965 and 1981 that relate to the church’s role during World War II.

As part of their efforts, they are expected to raise questions and issues that are not resolved by this published documentation and to request further clarification that could draw on unpublished material from secret Vatican archives.

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