‘Jews’ series of historical archives of Vatican Secretariat of State published online

 — June 23, 202223 juin 2022

Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, The Holy See's Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations

At the request of Pope Francis, the virtual reproduction of a collection preserving the requests for help addressed to Pope Pius XII by Jews from all over Europe after the beginning of Nazi-Fascist persecution is now accessible to all. It consists of a total of 170 volumes, or nearly 40,000 files. Only 70% of the total material will be initially available, but will later be supplemented with the final volumes currently being prepared.

If I am writing to You today, it is to ask you to help me from afar”. Thousands of archived files that give voice to desperate calls for help. Like this one, from a 23-year old German university student “with Israelite origins”, who was baptized in 1938, and who, on 17 January 1942, made a last effort to free himself from detention in a concentration camp in Miranda de Ebro, Spain. He finally had the opportunity to join his mother who had fled to America in 1939, “to prepare a new life for me”, he wrote. Everything was ready for departure from Lisbon. The only thing missing was the intervention “of someone from outside” so that the authorities would consent to his liberation. “There is little hope for those who have no outside help”, he explains with few, but eloquent words. He then writes to an old Italian friend, asking her to ask Pope Pius XII to have the Apostolic Nuncio in Madrid intervene in his favour, knowing that: “with this intervention from Rome, others had been able to leave the concentration camp”.

In the following two documents, we discover that the Secretariat of State had addressed the case in a few days, “newly” bringing it to the attention of the Nuncio in Madrid. Then the paper trail is interrupted. It is silent about the fate of this young German student. As for the majority of requests for help witnessed by other cases, the result of the request was not reported. In our hearts, we immediately inevitably hope for a positive outcome, the hope that Werner Barasch was later freed from the concentration camp and was able to reach his mother overseas.

In this specific case, our wish was granted: an internet search reveals traces of him in 2001. Not only is there an autobiography that recounts his memories as a “survivor”, but among the online collections of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, there is even a video with a long interview, in which Werner Barasch tells his incredible story in person, at the age of 82 (Oral History N. RG 050.477.0392). We thus learn that he was released from the Miranda camp the year after his appeal in a letter to the Pope, and that in 1945, he was finally able to join his mother in the United States. There, he continued his studies at University of California, Berkeley, MIT and University of Colorado. He then worked as a chemist in California. Thanks to ever more rich online resources, this time we can draw a breath of relief.

The documents

A special documentary heritage that distinguishes itself from other archival series, already from the name assigned to it: “Ebrei” (Jews). A heritage that is precious because it gathers the requests for help sent to Pope Pius XII by Jewish people, both the baptized and the non-baptized, after the beginning of Nazi and fascist persecution. A heritage which, at the request of Pope Francis, is now easily accessible to the entire world thanks to a project aimed at publishing the complete digitalized version of the archival series.

It is the “Ebrei” series of the Historical Archive of the Secretariat of State – Section for Relations with States and International Organizations (ASRS). The series of 170 volumes in total are part of the Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs Collection (AA.EE.SS.) related to the Pontificate of Pius XII — Part 1 (1939-1948), and already available for consultation since 2 March 2020, in the Reading Room of the Historical Archive, by worldwide scholars.

The then Sacred Congregation for the Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs (from which the archival Collection gets its name), equivalent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, charged a diplomatic minutante (Msgr Angelo Dell’Acqua) to manage the requests for help that were addressed to the Pope from all over Europe, with the aim of providing all the help possible.

Requests could be made to obtain visas or passports to expatriate, find asylum, reunify families, obtain liberation from detention and transfers from one concentration camp to another, receive news regarding deported people, supplies of food or clothing, financial support, spiritual support and much more.

Each of these requests constituted a case which, once processed, was destined for storage in a documentary series entitled “Ebrei”. It contains more than 2,700 cases with requests for help almost always for entire families or groups of people. Thousands of people persecuted for their membership to the Jewish religion, or for merely having “non-Aryan” ancestry, turned to the Vatican, in the knowledge that others had received help, like the young Werner Barasch himself writes.

The requests would arrive at the Secretariat of State, where diplomatic channels would try to provide all the help possible, taking into account the complexity of the political situation in the global context.

After the pontificate of Pius XII was opened to consultation in 2020, this special list of names was given the name, “Pacelli’s list, (Pope Pius XII), echoing the well-known “Schindler’s list”. Although the two cases differ, the analogy perfectly expresses the idea that people in the corridors of the institution at the service of the Pontiff, worked tirelessly to provide Jewish people with practical help.

Online publication of the Archival Series

As of June 2022, the “Ebrei” series will be available for consultation on the internet in its virtual version, freely accessible to all on the website of the Historical Archive of the Secretariat of State – Section for Relations with States and International Organizations.

In addition to the photographic reproduction of each individual document, a file with the analytical inventory of the series, including all the names of the recipients of help reported in the documents, will also be available online. Seventy percent of the material will initially be available online, which will be followed with the latest volumes currently being worked on.

As for the request of Werner Barasch, the majority of the over 2,700 cases that reached the Secretariat of State, which today narrate the many stories of attempts to flee racial persecution, leave us with baited breath, and sources with further information cannot always be found. Making the digitalized version of the entire “Ebrei” series available on the internet will allow the descendants of those who asked for help, to find traces of their loved ones from any part of the world. At the same time, it will allow scholars and anyone interested, to freely examine this special archival heritage, from a distance.

Posted: June 23, 2022 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=11829
Categories: Documents, Vatican NewsIn this article: archives, Judaism, Pope Pius XII, Shoah
Transmis : 23 juin 2022 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=11829
Catégorie : Documents, Vatican NewsDans cet article : archives, Judaism, Pope Pius XII, Shoah


Pope Francis leads an audience with young priests and monks from Oriental Orthodox churches at the Vatican

Pope: Catholic, Oriental Orthodox should look at more sacramental sharing

 — June 23, 202223 juin 2022

The theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches has reached a point where it seems appropriate to consider expanding the opportunities for the faithful of any of the churches to receive the sacraments from one another when they are not available in their own community, Pope Francis said.

“Based on the theological consensus noted by your commission, would it not be possible to extend and multiply such pastoral arrangements, especially in contexts where our faithful are in minority and diaspora situations?” the pope asked members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.

Welcoming the commission members June 23, Francis said that “ecumenism always has a pastoral character” and is not simply about theological ideas.

“Among our churches, which share apostolic succession, the broad consensus revealed by your commission not only about baptism, but also other sacraments, should encourage us to deepen a ‘pastoral ecumenism,'” he said.
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Rabbi Marvin Hier Founder and CEO, Simon Wiesenthal Center (center) with Dawn Arnall, SWC chairwoman present 1919 Hitler letter to Pope Francis at Vatican audience

Simon Wiesenthal Center presents Pope Francis with Hitler’s 1919 Anti-Semitic letter

 — June 22, 202222 juin 2022

Accepting the document, Pope Francis denounced surging anti-Semitism and stressed the importance of “recalling history so it can be of service to the future.”

A 30-member Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) international delegation met with Pope Francis on Wednesday to present a facsimile of an original report authored and signed by Adolf Hitler in which he openly espouses the destruction of the Jewish people by “a government of national strength.”

The facsimile, whose original is displayed at the SWC’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, was presented to His Holiness by SWC founder and CEO Rabbi Marvin Hier and Dawn Arnall, chairwoman of the leading NGO for Jewish human rights.

In Rabbi Hier’s remarks to Pope Francis, the Jewish leader first enumerated the horrific statistics on both sides of the Atlantic, which confirm surging anti-Semitism, including violent hate crimes.

In Pope Francis’ remarks, he responded by thanking the Simon Wiesenthal Center for protecting the memory of the past. Rabbi Hier then spoke about the human rights organization’s namesake, Holocaust survivor turned Nazi hunter, Simon Wiesenthal, and how he would react to current events.
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Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay, the general secretary elect of the World Council of Churches

Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay elected as new WCC general secretary

 — June 17, 202217 juin 2022

Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay was elected as the new general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

He is the eighth general secretary in the WCC’s history since the fellowship of churches was founded in 1948.

Pillay is currently dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria. A member of the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa, he is from South Africa.

Pillay was one of two candidates standing for election to the WCC’s highest administrative post. The other candidate was Dr Elizabeth Joy. Pillay will replace outgoing acting general secretary Rev. Prof Dr Ioan Sauca, who began serving in that position in April 2020, when the previous general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, was appointed as the presiding bishop of the Church of Norway.
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Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay, the general secretary elect of the World Council of Churches

Le pasteur Jerry Pillay élu secrétaire général du COE

 — June 17, 202217 juin 2022

Le pasteur Jerry Pillay a été élu secrétaire général du Conseil œcuménique des Églises (COE).

Il est le huitième secrétaire général de l’histoire du COE depuis la création de la communauté fraternelle d’Églises en 1948.

Le pasteur Pillay exerce actuellement les fonctions de doyen de la Faculté de théologie et de religion de l’Université de Pretoria. Originaire d’Afrique du Sud, il est membre de l’Église presbytérienne unifiante d’Afrique australe.

Le pasteur Pillay était l’un des deux finalistes à l’élection aux plus hautes fonctions administratives du COE, pour laquelle il était opposé à Mme Elizabeth Joy. Il remplacera le secrétaire général par intérim sortant, le père Ioan Sauca, qui était entré en fonctions en avril 2020, lorsque le secrétaire général précédent, le pasteur Olav Fykse Tveit, avait été nommé primat de l’Église de Norvège.
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Bishop Anthony Poggo has been selected as the next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion

Former child refugee named as next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion

 — June 14, 202214 juin 2022

A South Sudanese bishop who was forced with his family into exile before he was one year old, the Right Revd Anthony Poggo, has been named as the next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion. Bishop Anthony Poggo, the former Bishop of Kajo-Keji in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, is currently the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Adviser on Anglican Communion Affairs.

Bishop Anthony was selected for his new role by a sub-committee of the Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee following a competitive recruitment process led by external consultants.

He will take up his new role in September, succeeding the Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, who steps down after next month’s Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops, which is being held in Canterbury, Kent, from 26 July to 8 August.

The Anglican Communion is the world’s third largest Christian denomination. It comprises 42 independent-yet-interdependent autonomous regional, national and pan-national Churches (provinces), active in more than 165 countries.
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Pilgrims take to the waters of Lac Ste. Anne west of Edmonton

Ecological concerns raised on state of Lac Ste. Anne

 — June 10, 202210 juin 2022

Growing up on Lac Ste. Anne in the 1940s and ’50s, Tony Belcourt remembers a rich and wondrous body of water, teeming with life.

“I go back to the ’40s. We had an abundance of fish, whitefish from the lake. The water was up,” said Belcourt, the former broadcaster and one-time president and CEO of the Metis Nation of Ontario.

When Pope Francis visits the lake this summer, he will be looking at a lake very different from the Lac Ste. Anne of Belcourt’s childhood memories. A 2017 report on the state of Lac Ste. Anne and its sister Isle Lake by the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance raises concerns about blue-green algae blooms, dropping lake levels, agricultural run-off and an environment stressed by power boats and recreation on the lake.

The report names at-risk species for the watershed, including peregrine falcons, western grebe and northern leopard frog, which are classed as “threatened,” and barred owls, black-throated green warbler and trumpeter swans as of “special concern.”
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Pope Francis grimaces in pain as he gets up from his chair during the general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican in this April 20, 2022, file photo. On his doctors' advice because of ongoing problems with his knee, the pope will not travel to Congo and South Sudan in early July, the Vatican announced

Pope Francis postpones African trip, no word on Canadian journey

 — June 10, 202210 juin 2022

The Vatican’s press office announced today that because of continuing problems with his knee, the Pope has postponed his planned African trip scheduled for July 2-7.

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Canada July 24-29. Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican Press Office, did not mention whether that trip is still set. Either way, plans are still being made for papal visit to Canada.

“At this time, we continue to move forward with our planning,” said Neil MacCarthy, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops communications lead on the papal trip.

Among the plans is ensuring plenty of rest for the Pope.

“Great care is being taken to provide significant periods of rest for the Holy Father,” he said. “And also to ensure his participation at events is for a limited period of time.”

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Called to Transformation - Ecumenical Diakonia. ISBN: 978-2-8254-1806-2

Major WCC and ACT publication on ecumenical diakonia now available

 — June 9, 20229 juin 2022

The joint publication, “Called to Transformation – Ecumenical Diakonia,” available online from now on, offers resources to strengthen the diaconal capacity of the churches and to advance the cooperation with specialized ministries.

“Writing of this document was a recommendation of the Malawi consultation in September 2014, when churches and specialized ministries’ representatives from all the continents gathered to reflect on the work they are supposed to do together,” said Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, WCC deputy general secretary, presenting the publication.

Besides adding the geographic and confessional contexts of practicing diakonia, the study document also addresses the diaconal response to COVID-19 pandemic, including examples of diaconal ministry from every continent.

“With this publication, we now have a common understanding on diakonia – and that should take churches and their partners toward the next level of ecumenical cooperation in diakonia,” said Phiri, adding that after receiving the document in 2022, the WCC central committee has recommended that churches and specialized ministries all over the world use it.
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Pope Francis receiving the Yad Vashem president, Dani Dayan, in the Vatican

Pope, Yad Vashem chief discuss cooperation on Holocaust education

 — June 9, 20229 juin 2022

Dani Dayan, head of the Holocaust center in Jerusalem, describes Pope Francis as a friend and an ally in the mission to defeat antisemitism. Pope Francis met with the chairman of the Yad Vashem (World Holocaust Remembrance Center) and the two discussed ways to prevent antisemitism and increase cooperation on Holocaust education. Dani Dayan, the head of the center in Jerusalem, described Pope Francis as a friend and an ally in the mission to defeat antisemitism. Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, is universally recognized as the ultimate source for Holocaust education, documentation and research.

The meeting that took place on June 9 was also attended by Rafi Schutz, Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See. Pope Francis and Dayan both share Buenos Aires as their birthplace and were able to converse in their native Spanish. The discussion focused on ongoing collaborative efforts by Yad Vashem and the Catholic Church on “Holocaust remembrance, education and documentation, and to discuss efforts to fight antisemitism and racism worldwide,” Yad Vashem said in a statement.
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