Jewish groups are lauding Pope Francis’s decision to open Holocaust-era archives at the Vatican.

The Jewish community has long argued for the release of such papers, to shed light on the actions of Pope Pius XII during World War II. Some have criticized Pius for remaining silent against the Nazi regime, and the archives could act as evidence for either side of the case.

“This is something that we have been asking for and hoping for decades,” said Menachem Rosensaft, senior vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants.


“It is yet another proof that Pope Francis is an exceptional individual who repeatedly demonstrates great sensitivity and integrity.”

News of the pope’s decision was made public Sunday, when Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka revealed Francis’s intentions in an interview with London’s Sunday Times.

“The pope is consistent with all he said as a cardinal, and as pope he will undoubtedly make happen what he said he would do when he was a cardinal,” Rabbi Skorka said, following a meeting with the pontiff. “What we said to each other was between us, but I believe that, yes, he will open the archives…. The issue is a very sensitive one and we must continue analyzing it.”

In his book, “On Heaven and Earth,” Francis once wrote: “Opening the archives of the Shoah seems reasonable. Let them be opened up and let everything be cleared up. Let it be seen if they could have done something [to help] and until what point they could have helped.”