Jewish organizations praised Pope Francis on Sunday following a report that the Catholic leader will open the Vatican archives to investigate the actions of his predecessor Pius XII during the Holocaust.
Pius, who is currently being considered for canonization,
has been criticized by Jewish groups for failing to speak up against
the persecution of Jews during the Second World War.
beatification has been a sore subject in Jewish-Catholic relations.
Thus far, Pius has passed two of the four stages necessary to reach
The Sunday Times quoted Argentinean rabbi Abraham
Skorka, a close friend of Francis, as saying that the pope will follow
through on a prior promise to examine Pius' wartime role.
ascending to the papacy, Francis, who was known as Cardinal Bergoglio
expressed his position on the issue in his book, On Heaven and Earth,
which he co-wrote with Skorka in 2010.
"Opening the archives of
the Shoah [Holocaust] seems reasonable," the future pope wrote.
them be opened up and let everything be cleared up. Let it be seen if
they could have done something [to help] and until what point they
could have helped." “If they made a mistake in any aspect of this we
would have to say: ‘We have erred.’ We don’t have to be scared of this —
the truth has to be the goal.”
Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust
memorial institute, praised Francis’ intention to open the archives,
stating that it “would allow researchers to gain a clearer picture of
the Vatican and the Pope's behavior during the Holocaust.”
Holocaust survivors also welcomed the news.
is something that we have been asking for and hoping for for decades,”
Menachem Rosensaft, the senior vice president of the American
gathering of Jewish holocaust survivors and their descendants, told The Jerusalem Post.
“It is yet another proof that pope Francis is an exceptional
individual who repeatedly demonstrates great sensitivity and
"If the story is correct, it is very encouraging news," WJC President Ronald S. Lauder told the Post.
"It is important to open the archives once and for all to clarify the
historical record. It would be yet another sign of Pope Francis's
tremendous personal integrity. He is a great friend of the Jewish
The opening of the archives would be "a great step forward," Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt told the Post.
"The facts would emerge and lay to rest the concerns of Jews who feel
he was guilty of turning a blind eye to the Final Solution, of
Catholics who feel he has been unfairly maligned, and, above all, of
the historians who are anxious to know the facts so that the full story