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Vatican accused over wartime archives

The World Jewish Congress says that a joint panel of Jewish and Catholic historians has suspended its investigation into the Vatican's role in the Holocaust.

The executive director of the Congress, Elan Steinberg, told the BBC at its headquarters in New York that the Vatican had refused to properly open up its archives to the scholars.

Without some positive response to our respectful case for material in the archives that has not been published, we could not maintain our credibility with the many voices, Catholic, Jewish and others, who have called for greater availability of archival material

The Vatican has not yet commented on the suspension.

The panel of historians was established in 1999 by the Vatican and Jewish groups to examine one of the most contentious issues between them - the Holocaust - and the role of the wartime Pope, Pius the Twelfth.

The historians informed the Vatican in writing of their decision to suspend their work.

World Jewish Congress