CIA archives show Pius XII saved Jews and opposed Nazis
Secret archives of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) confirm that Pope Pius XII was actively involved in opposition to the Nazi regime and efforts to save Jewish lives, an Italian newspaper has revealed.
Citing documents from the World War II archives of the OSS, which would later become the CIA, Corriere della Sera has reported that Pope Pius XII summoned the German foreign minister and demanded a halt to the deportation of Jews as soon as he became aware of the Nazi policy. From that point forward, the Italian daily said, the Vatican steadily and openly opposed Hitler's efforts.
The CIA archives, which were opened to historians' scrutiny earlier this year, remark that in his Christmas message of 1942, Pope Pius XII asked for help for "those hundreds of thousands of people who-- for no fault of their own, but because of their race or nationality-- are condemned to death or gradual extinction."
The American documents show that in July 1942, the papal nuncio in France met with leaders of the Vichy government, expressing the disapproval of the Holy See over the French government's decision to conclude an alliance with the Nazi regime.
The archives also show systematic German efforts to silence the Jesuit order in the south of Germany. A Jesuit provincial, in a document written just after the liberation of Germany from the Nazi regime, reported that the German government had demanded a list of all Jesuit priests, so that they could be rounded up and sent to concentration camps. The provincial, who was imprisoned himself when he refused to obey that order, added that the Jesuits behind bars helped to provide the Vatican with an accurate understanding of conditions in the concentration camps.