On March 4, 2019, Pope Francis announced the opening of the Pius XII archives, and on March 2, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the archives were finally opened after decades of scholarly curiosity about what they contained. These archives, which contain materials from Eugenio Pacelli’s pontificate from 1939-1958, are of particular interest to those who study the history of the Holocaust, the founding of the State of Israel, and the Catholic Church’s involvement in both.
This panel discussion features scholars of Catholic-Jewish history who will share their initial research findings about the documents concerning Jews carried out in these newly opened Vatican archives, with a focus both on the role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and also on the Holy See’s attitude toward the establishment of the State of Israel. Each panelist will share some of their research from the archives, discuss their findings with one another, and address questions from the audience.
About the Speakers
Maria Chiara Rioli is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global fellow at the universities of Ca’ Foscari in Venice and Fordham with the REL-NET project titled “Entangled Interfaith Identities and Relations from the Mediterranean to the United States: The St James Association and Its Transnational Christian-Jewish Network in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” She was previously project manager of the ERC Open Jerusalem project. Her publications include A Liminal Church: Refugees, Conversions and the Latin Diocese of Jerusalem, 1946–1956 (Brill, 2020). The book introduction is available in Open Access.
Nina Valbousquet is a researcher at the Ecole Française de Rome, working on Vatican diplomacy and Jewish organizations. Her first book, Catholique et antisémite: Le réseau de Mgr Benigni – Rome, Europe, Etats-Unis, 1918-1934, was published by CNRS Editions (Paris) in spring 2020. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Jewish History in New York (2016-2018), the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., (2018), and Fordham University (2019). Her articles have appeared in Revue d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine (2015), Modern Italy (2018), Journal of Modern Italian Studies (2019), Archives Juives (2018), and American Jewish History (2020).
David Kertzer is the Dupee University Professor of Social Science at Brown University, where he served as provost from 2006 to 2011. Among his books, The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara was a finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 1997, and The Pope and Mussolini won the Pulitzer Prize in biography in 2015. He was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science in 2005.
This event is open to alumni, faculty/staff, parents, students, and the public.