Israel welcomed the Vatican’s announcement Monday that it will open the archives of Pius XII next year, a move that could shed light on the church during World War II.
“We are pleased by the decision and hope it will enable free access to all relevant archives,” foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said on Twitter.
Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial and research center, commended the Vatican’s decision, saying it expected researchers to “be granted full access to all documents stored in the archives”.
Opening the archives “will enable objective and open research as well as comprehensive discourse on issues related to the conduct of the Vatican in particular, and the Catholic Church in general, during the Holocaust,” Yad Vashem said in a statement.
Pope Francis said on Monday that “the Church is not afraid of history” as he announced the archives of Pius XII would be opened in March 2020.
Researchers have long sought to examine the archives over why Pius XII did not intervene more against the Holocaust perpetrated by the German Nazis, an attitude denounced as a form of passive complicity.
Historians say six million Jews died in the Holocaust.