The Poles were major victims of the Nazis. Members of the Polish Government in Exile in London and some Polish bishops were often very vocal in their criticism of Pius XII’s role. It has been reported that the Vatican commissioned the Jesuits to prepare a defense of its Polish policy.55 Is this correct and, if so, may we see the report? More generally, the subject of Vatican-Polish relations is an essential element for understanding the role of the Holy See during the Holocaust period and deserves further investigation in the Vatican archives. Is there other pertinent information on this subject in the archives that is not in the volumes, and may we see it?
In assessing the adequacy of the eleven volumes for an understanding of the role of the Vatican during the Holocaust, let us bear in mind that no history of the role of any government in a matter so broad as the Holocaust could be effectively undertaken on the basis of diplomatic exchanges alone – even when supplemented, as the ADSS occasionally are, with notes prepared as aides mémoires or other records. Furthermore, historians need to know what material is not in those volumes. Even without an inventory of the archives of the Holy See, it is plain from the ADSS that important pieces of the historical puzzle are missing from that collection. Some of these are the records of day to day administration of the Church and the Holy See. In addition, there are the numerous internal communications that every administration leaves behind – diaries, memoranda, appointment books, minutes of meetings, draft documents, and so forth that detail the process of how the Vatican arrived at the decisions it made.
Apropos the usefulness of having documents outside the official archives, it would be helpful to have access to the papers (spogli) of such prominent protagonists as Luigi Maglione, Amleto and Gaitano Cicognani, Giovanni Montini, Domenico Tardini, Alfredo Ottaviani, Valerio Valeri, Giuseppe Burzio, Angelo Rotta, Eugene Tisserant, Filippo Bernardini and other Vatican officials of the period. Similarly, it would be useful to have access to the various archives of the Society of Jesus, particularly for the papers of Wlodimir Ledochowski, Robert Leiber, Pietro Tacchi-Venturi, Gustav Gundlach, and Robert Graham.
More than thirty years have passed since the appearance of the first volumes of the wartime Vatican documents. Since that time many if not all of the then-living individuals referred to in those pages have died, removing some of the constraints upon publication that might have existed when the documents were first released. Restrictions which may have been appropriate then, need no longer apply.
We appreciate that even if full access to the archives were granted, this would not necessarily lay to rest all of the questions surrounding the role of the Holy See and the Holocaust. Nevertheless, we believe that this would be a very significant step forward in advancing knowledge of the period and enhancing relations between the Jewish and Catholic communities. Finally, we would like to recall what we said at our first meeting in December 1999: "It seems to us that the search for truth, wherever it may lead, can be best promoted in an environment in which there is full access to archival documentation and other historical evidence. Ultimately, openness is the best policy for a mature and balanced historical assessment."
The Vatican and the Holocaust: A Preliminary Report
Submitted to The Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations
By the International Catholic-Jewish Historical Commission
Where are the papers of Wlodimir (Vladimir) Ledochowski?The trillions of $$$ being spent upon what may certainly be modern day religious war are but one indication of the tremendously high price of the ignorance fostered by our socially treasonous Jesuit-Masonic oligarchy.