New York, NY, November 22, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today renewed its call for the opening of the complete Vatican archives on the Second World War following remarks by Pope Benedict XVI calling his predecessor, Pope Pius XII, a "great, righteous" man who "saved more Jews than anyone else" during the Holocaust.
The statements attributed to Pope Benedict XVI were made in a book-length interview with a German journalist to be published this week.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor, issued the following statement:
Pope Benedict XVI's unqualified praise for Pope Pius XII's alleged efforts to save Jews during the Holocaust does a great disservice to the families of Holocaust victims, qualified historians and Catholic-Jewish relations. Pope Benedict's conclusions that Pius XII, "was one of the great righteous men and that he saved more Jews than anyone else" amounts to a double standard – ignoring the Vatican's own position calling on Jewish institutions not to come to conclusions about the World War II-era pope until all the evidence is in.
What the Vatican needs to do, and can do, is release the secret archives concerning Pius XII for the years 1939-1946, something Cardinal Jorge Mejia promised the Jewish community he would do 10 years ago. Our understanding is the war years have already been catalogued and there is no legitimate rule preventing them from being made public.
The Vatican's argument that it must wait until all the millions of records of Pope Pius XII's entire papacy, which lasted until 1957, are catalogued is questionable. For the sake of Holocaust survivors and their families, for the sake of historical truth and for the sake of Catholic-Jewish relations, the secret Vatican archives must be opened now, not in six years, and the light of truth must shine on the record of Pius XII once and for all.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.