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Yad Vashem defendes the caption on Pius XII

2012-07-06 L’Osservatore Romano

Jerusalem, 6. Concerning the change in the caption beside a photograph of Pius XII at Yad Vashem the Management of the Sacred Holocaust History Museum has criticised the controversial comments made by Dr Riccardo Di Segni, Chief Rabbi of Rome, denying any political pressure and firmly defending the choice in the name of greater clarity and new historical information. After recalling the “worldwide reputation” of  its “academic integrity” --  said Ansa -- the Management of the museum spoke of  “disinformation” reiterating that the change was made without “any pressure or agreement with the Vatican”, and defined it  a “totally unfounded” supposition. Instead, the update is due to the “reflection of research and the gathering of information in progress” that since 2009 had led [the late] David Bankier, former Head of the prestigious research Institute on Studies of the Shoah at Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem, to convene an international seminar for historians in various fields, aimed at deepening and re-evaluating the action of Pope Pacelli during the Shaoh.

The results of the seminar, which will soon be published, have formed  “the basis” for the new caption. The Institution also added that it took into account the observations of the visitors to the museum, who sought enlightenment and clarification on what the previous caption presented as Pius XII's “disputed” action. In Yad Vashem's letter to Rabbi Di Segni -- signed by: historians Dan Michman, Dina Porat and Bella Gutterman, authorities of the Institution, and the consultant Yehuda Bauman, a world authority on studies of the Shoah – one can retrace point by point the new text, which sets the allegations attributed to Pacelli's silence and his supposed “moral failure”, next to the reasons of those who instead defended him, renewing the request for the Vatican archives to be fully opened.