Desperate requests for help from the Vatican by the Jews. There are thousands of archival papers that, by the explicit will of Pope francesco, have been published on the website of the Historical Archive of the Secretariat of State – Section for Relations with States. This is the documentary series, relating to the pontificate of Pius XII – open for consultation from 2 March 2020 -, called “Jews“, Being destined to preserve the requests for help addressed to the Pope by Jews from all over Europe, after the start of the Nazi-Fascist persecutions.
The archival series consists of a total of 170 volumes, digitally equivalent to almost 40,000 files. In a first moment – the Holy See communicates – the 70% of the overall material, which will later be integrated with the latest volumes in progress. “The then Sacred Congregation for Ecclesiastical Affairs Extraordinary (from which the Archival Fund takes its name), equivalent to a ministry of foreign affairs, charged a diplomat minutant (Mons.Angelo Dell’Acqua) to deal with the requests for help that reached the Pope from all over Europe, with the aim of provide all possible help “, he writes onRoman Observer the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Monsignor Paul Richard Gallagher.
“The requests – he recalls – could be aimed at obtaining visas or passports for expatriation, refuge, reunification with a family member, release from detention, transfers from one concentration camp to another, news about a deported person, supplies of food or clothing, financial support, spiritual support and more. Each of these instances came to constitute a practice which, once processed, was destined for conservation in a documentary series called Jews– explains Gallagher -. It is about beyond 2,700 files, which contain requests for help almost always intended for entire families or groups of people ”. Who did the requests come from? “Thousands of persecuted for their belonging to the Jewish religion, or for a mere one non-Aryan ancestry‘, they turned to the Vatican knowing that others had received help – he continues -. Requests came in State Secretary, where diplomatic channels were activated to try to provide every possible help, taking into account the complexity of the political situation on a global scale ”. After the opening to consultation of the pontificate of Pius XII in 2020, this particular list of names was called “Pacelli’s list“, Inspired by the well-known”Schindler’s list“.
“Although the two cases are different – underlines Gallagher -, the analogy perfectly conveys the idea of how, among the corridors of the institution at the service of the pontiff, efforts were made relentlessly to provide the Jews with concrete help“. From this month, the Jews series it will be available on the internet in a virtual version, accessible to all. And in addition to the photo-reproduction of each document, a file with the analytical inventory of the series will be made available, in which all the names of the recipients of help found in the documents have been transcribed.
Meanwhile, in the hearing yesterday morning to a delegation of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (Swc), Pope Francis was given a facsimile of an original report written and signed by Adolf Hitler in which he openly supported the destruction of the Jewish people by “a government of national strength”. “We came here today to present one of the most significant documents in the history of humanity to the Vatican Archives; a copy of an original letter, typewritten and signed by Hitler on September 16, 1919in which he openly outlined the need for the definitive removal of the Jewish people in Europe, ”explained the rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and CEO of SWC. Hitler, in the letter, wrote: “Our ultimate goal … must be the uncompromising removal of the Jews … possible only under a government of national force, never under a government of national impotence.” The Pope, thanking the Simon Wiesenthal Center for having protected the memory of the past, also denounced the current wave of anti-Semitism.