It is the pope's private archive: a thousand years of documents in eighty kilometers of shelves. In 2006, it will be opened up to 1939. Many papers relating to Pius XII's can already be read.An interview with Sergio Pagano, prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives can be read here
ROMA, January 18, 2005 – A stir has been created in Italy and other countries by a document dating from 1946, from the Vatican nunciature in Paris, headed at that time by Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, the future John XXIII.
The document – anticipated in an incomplete and poorly interpreted version by historian Alberto Melloni in the December 28, 2004 edition of "Corriere della Sera," and then discovered and published in its entirety by Andrea Tornielli and Matteo Luigi Napolitano in the January 11 edition of "Il Giornale" – carries an instruction from the Vatican approved by Pius XII and transmitted by Roncalli to the French bishops. It warns the Church against returning the Jewish children it sheltered during the war to the Jewish institutions that in 1946 were working in Paris and throughout Europe to transfer these little ones to Palestine in view of the foundation of the new state of Israel. But "it would be another matter," the document clarifies, "if the parents were asking for their children."
The document provided the impetus for the umpteenth firestorm of accusations against Pius XII. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, a professor at Harvard, accused him of "having given the order to take the [Jewish] children away from their parents," and called for an international jury to try and condemn him.
Other voices were raised in opposition to the beatification of Pius XII, which is now underway.
And others demanded of the Vatican the "courage" to make the "grand gesture" of opening its archives.