The Pave the Way Foundation will be scanning and posting online some documents from the Vatican Secret Archives covering the WWII period. The Vatican had published these documents decades ago in the hope of making public the work purportedly done by Pope Pius XII on behalf of the Jews during the Holocaust. The Vatican commissioned six scholars, three Catholic and three Jewish, to evaluate the documentation and publish the results. The commission went through the documents, which raised more questions than provided answers, and produced a list of further questions for the Vatican including a request for further documents from the Vatican Secret Archives. The Vatican did not produce either and the commission eventually disbanded.
The Pave the Way Foundation provided a mischaracterization of what happened with the joint Jewish-Christian commission. In an article they correctly stated that the commission prepared a series of further questions as they found that the documents they had access to were not conclusive. They also stated that the commission was unable to understand the documents, as they couldn’t read them in the original languages. This is not correct. They did not have any problem in reading the documents for lack of understanding of the various languages. The Church refused to provide more information or further access to the Archives and eventually the commission disbanded, as it was unable to perform the duties that were asked of them.
It’s commendable that the Pave the Way Foundation wants to make these documents widely available, but nothing short of opening the Secret Archives covering the war years to scholarly scrutiny will once and for all make clear what the Church and the Pope did—or did not do—to save Jews during the Holocaust.