EXC 2060 A3-37 - Pope Pius XII. and baptized Jews in Romania and Brazil

in Process
Funding Source
DFG - Cluster of Excellence
Project Number
EXC 2060/1
  • Description

    During the times of the Nazi regime, about 15,000 Jewish people from all over Europe asked Pope Pius XII and the Vatican for help. The petitions submitted were authored by women and men, by children and adolescents, who belonged to various Jewish denominations, social classes and generations. They were written in German and Italian, in French and Romanian, in Yiddish and Hungarian.

    These letters were hitherto unknown. They were found in the holdings of the Vatican archives (the “secret archives”) pertaining to the pontificate of Pius XII, who was pope from 1939 to 1958. These holdings were only made accessible to researchers on March 2, 2020. This collection of ego-documents written by Jewish victims of the Shoah is unique in its density and allows us to trace what each individual person went through. In a research project funded by the EVZ-Foundation, these letters will be made available to the public in a critical digital edition.

    The sub-project funded by the Cluster of Excellence deals in particular with the situation of baptised Jews in Romania and Brazil.

    In her PhD thesis, Lorena König will examine the special position Romania held, analyzing the processes that helped to protect numerous converted Jews from deportation to an extermination camp as well as the role the apostolic nuncio Andrea Cassulo played here.

    Unfortunately, it was not possible to fill the position of the scholar that was supposed to deal with the possibilities and limitations of 3,000 visas Brazil provided to the Holy See for the entry of baptized Jews ever since 1940. Therefore, this sub-project will, for the time being, be continued by the project team members. Leonie Schmieding will continue to include the respective documents in the database.

  • Persons