Webinar Note: The Opening of the Pius XII Archives and Holocaust Research

Contemporary Church History Quarterly

Volume 27, Number 2 (June 2021)

Webinar Note: The Opening of the Pius XII Archives and Holocaust Research

By Suzanne Brown-Fleming, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

On March 2, 2020, the multiple archives relating to the pontificate of Pius XII (1939-1958) opened. Important but incomplete documentation has been available since the publication of the series Acts and Documents of the Holy See Relative to the Second World War (beginning in 1965).[1]  Scholars have also had access to the archives from the pontificate of Pius XI (1922-1939, since 2006) and those of the Vatican Office of Information for Prisoners of War (1939-1947, since 2004).[2]  Announced by Pope Francis on March 4, 2019 and marking 80 years since the election of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (Pope Pius XII) to the office of pope, the Pius XII archives are now accessible in multiple locations across Vatican City. The global reaction to the papal announcement invites us to reflect on the connections between history, memory, archives and public opinion.

On March 10, 2021, the American Catholic Historical Association held a webinar entitled “The Opening of the Pius XI Archive and Holocaust Research.” Presenters included Suzanne Brown-Fleming, US Holocaust Memorial Museum: Beth A. Griech-Polelle, Pacific Lutheran University; Claire Maligot, Ecole pratique des hautes études, Paris, and Institut d’études politiques, Strasbourg; Heath A. Spencer, Seattle University; and Robert A. Ventresca, King’s University College at Western University.

To view the video of the webinar, please visit https://achahistory.org/webinar/.


[1] Actes et documents du Saint-Sìege relatifs à la seconde guerre mondiale, ed. Pierre Blet, Robert A. Graham, Angelo Martini, Burkhardt Schneider. Vatican City: Libreria Vaticana, 1965-1981, 12 vols.

[2] Inter arma caritas: l’Ufficio informazioni vaticano per i prigionieri di guerra istituito da Pio XII, 1939-1947. 2 vols.