What was the true relationship between Adolf Hitler and Pope Pius XII during World War II and the Holocaust? Canal Historia broadcasts next Tuesday at 10:55 p.m. ‘The Vatican’s Secret Archives’, a miniseries that reveals a set of secret documents that shed light on one of the most controversial figures in contemporary history. It was Pope Francis who took the first step in opening to society the millions of letters, dispatches, telegrams, pleas, and many other types of documents that were made public for the first time to scholars around the world. “The Church is not afraid of history,” said the Pontiff in 2019.
In the first chapter, the new bet of the History Channel shows unpublished documents from the Holy See in which it is revealed that the Vatican tried to fight Hitler by encouraging the emigration of German Jews. In 1938, the Evian Conference brought together the most important Western countries, but none of them wanted to accept German Jews, which shows that anti-Semitism was not an exclusively German issue. A year later, in March 1939, Eugenio Pacelli, who was the Vatican’s ambassador in Berlin, and who observes the political rise of Hitler, is elected Pope with the name of Pius XII.
World War II begins and Pius XII uses the basement of St. Peter’s Basilica to hold secret meetings with the German anti-Nazi resistance. Pacelli obtains information that could change the course of the war, but the allies are wary. Hitler takes the opportunity to conquer France and all of Europe is under the control of the Führer, who decides to settle the Jewish question once and for all, with the so-called ‘final solution’ and sending Jews to extermination camps.
The miniseries also focuses on Italy in 1943, exhausted by war and surrendering. Rome itself is invaded by Nazi troops, who begin to besiege the Vatican because Hitler wants to take revenge on Pius XII: he knows very well that he is in contact with the allies. However, the Pontiff signs his resignation and the Führer will arrest only one priest. The war continues and the Nazis deport the Roman Jews without the Pope being able to prevent it, but he opens churches, convents and even the catacombs to those persecuted by Hitler. The confrontation reaches its climax.
‘The secret archives of the Vatican’ closes the season with the end of the war. At the end of the war, thousands of Nazis left Europe and some members of the Holy See facilitated this flight.
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