If in some way it appeared that the boys were being returned due to the direct intervention of the Holy See, that might, at least in some countries, be judged unfavorably.” In other words, Church traditionalists familiar with Catholic doctrine might be displeased with the pope should he be seen calling for the return of the boys to their Jewish family. The archives are in fact made up of the private letters and historic records of past popes over the past four centuries. Deeming the children too young to care for, the sisters took them to the local municipal nursery school, whose director, Antoinette Brun, middle-aged and unmarried, agreed to look after them. Despite a mounting official campaign against the Jews in France, the Finalys had both boys circumcised, in accordance with Jewish law, eight days after birth. David Kertzer would like to thank his collaborator, Roberto Benedetti, whose work in the Vatican archives, after Kertzer was compelled by the COVID-19 pandemic to leave Italy, proved crucial to unearthing the documents on the Finaly case. News: Information and current events concerning the digitization project of the Vatican Library. The Germans’ encirclement of the old Roman ghetto and their hours-long rousting of the terrified Jews had been traumatic for the Romans and presented the pope with a problem. It would only be after Pius XII’s death that Church attitudes toward the Jews would change in a meaningful way, thanks to his successor John XXIII, who convened a Vatican Council devoted in part to rooting out the vestiges of medieval Church doctrine on the Jews. Nearly two-thirds of Europe’s Jews had just been murdered. What the pope did next has not, until the opening of the Vatican archives this year, been known. At the same time, the Holy Office insisted, any agreement requiring the boys’ return to France would have to meet two conditions. When the family learned of the baptism, they turned for help to a Jewish family friend who lived in Grenoble, Moïse Keller. At the center of this drama was an official of the Vatican curia who, as we now know from other newly revealed documents, helped persuade Pope Pius XII not to speak out in protest after the Germans rounded up and deported Rome’s Jews in 1943—“the pope’s Jews,” as Jews in Rome had often been referred to. David I. Kertzer: What the Vatican’s secret archives are about to reveal. Nothing should be put in writing. Anni and Fritz Finaly had made it to within months of the Allied liberation of France when the Gestapo seized them and sent them to their death. [13], In 1879, Pope Leo XIII appointed as archivist Cardinal Josef Hergenröther, who immediately wrote a memo recommending that historians be allowed to access to the archive. Applicants need to provide their personal data (name, address, etc. Montini was an intellectual with sophisticated tastes in art and literature. In April, this prompted another telegram to the nuncio in Madrid: “Cardinal Gerlier reports that the local Spanish religious authorities where the Finaly brothers are found are said to declare that the guarantees contained in Gerlier’s agreement are insufficient and would not agree to the return of the children without an order from the Holy See.” In an accompanying note for the pope, Dell’Acqua stressed the “importance that the Holy See not appear directly. Had it not been for the persistence of his family, he and Gad would likely be living elsewhere—in France or Spain—and would, as Robert noted, remember their past very differently. In a long memo now found in the Vatican archives, Dell’Acqua told of the meeting and reviewed the rabbi’s arguments for the pope to help get the Jewish children returned. The Jewish leader then had come to his second request, asking for the pope’s help in ensuring that the Jewish orphans of the Holocaust living in Catholic countries be returned to the Jewish community. [36][37] While character-recognition software is adept at reading typed text, the cramped and many-serifed style of medieval handwriting makes distinguishing individual characters difficult for the software. The Catholic Church not only has rights with respect to them, but duties that it must fulfill.” As he got up to leave, the rabbi countered that the Jewish community also had rights and responsibilities. He had been promised their return, the rabbi said, but now, almost three months later, Catholic clergy were still hiding them. Pope Pius XII was undoubtedly horrified by the slaughter, but as pope or, earlier, as the Vatican’s secretary of state, he had never complained about the sharp measures taken against the Jews as one Catholic nation after another introduced repressive laws (Italy in 1938, for instance, and France in 1940). After hearing from Cardinal Gerlier that he could get no further concessions from the Jewish side and that prolonging the concealment of the Finaly boys would prove disastrous for the Catholic Church in France, the pope reluctantly—the Latin expression aegre is used in the official record of the pope’s decision—gave his approval to the agreement. Read: Artificial intelligence is cracking open the Vatican’s secret archives. As the saga approached its final chapter, the battle over Robert and Gérald Finaly would take on a new complexion. Today, the entire documentation kept in the Vatican Secret Archives occupies 85 kilometres of bookshelves and is constantly growing. The Vatican’s behavior in the Finaly case was a nasty business. In the end, he judged it imprudent to raise his voice. Finally, it advised that in whatever action Gerlier took, no mention be made of the role being played behind the scenes by the Vatican, “so as not to compromise the Holy See in such a delicate and sensational dispute.”. It likewise expresses the fear that these boys’ Catholic education will come to be compromised, contrary to the spirit of an agreement signed by the representatives of the family and those of the ecclesiastical authorities, and to which the latter have remained faithful.”. [39], There are other Holy See archives in Rome, since each department of the Roman Curia has its own archives. Over the next weeks, more monks and nuns would be arrested and imprisoned, charged with participating in a clerical underground that had spirited the boys across the Spanish border into the heart of Spain’s Basque country. It was a struggle that pitted France’s Jewish community, so recently devastated by the Holocaust, against the country’s Roman Catholic hierarchy, which insisted that the boys were now Catholic and must not be raised by Jews. By the time Napoleon became emperor in 1804, he envisaged a central archive in Paris of the records and treasures of Europe. First, Robert and Gérald had to be placed in a “neutral” educational institution “in such a manner as not to get in the way of the boys’ practice of the Catholic religion.” Second, guarantees had to be given that Brun, Mother Antonine, and all the others charged with kidnapping either be absolved of the charges or amnestied. And in 2012, the Vatican Secret Archives put on a public exhibition of some of its most important documents in celebration of its 400th birthday. [7] The disparate archives of the rival papal claimants were not fully reunited in the Vatican's archives until 1784. [7], Initially, the archival materials of the Church were stored at the Lateran Palace, then the official papal residence.[7]. The Spanish monks hiding the boys, Cardinal Gerlier wrote Rome, were still claiming that the pope was not eager to see them returned. Frustrated by the difficulty of effectively fighting their cause from the other side of the world, the sisters in New Zealand decided it would be best if Fritz’s sister in Israel, Hedwig Rosner, took the lead. Pope says new name for trove of priceless papers will be the Vatican Apostolic Archives. The boys had already crossed the border into France. There is more. The Holy Office also suggested that Monsignor Montini speak directly with the French foreign minister, who happened to be visiting Rome, about the case, and called on Montini to send instructions to Cardinal Gerlier through the nuncio in Paris. Although I am not aware that anyone has made the link, it may not be too far-fetched to suspect that the Finaly case played a role in that historic shift and, with it, the abandonment of the Church’s centuries-long vilification of the Jews. It had been Fritz’s wish, his sister-in-law told Brun, that if anything were to happen to him and Anni, his sisters would look after the boys. The culmination of those efforts came only after Pope John XXIII’s death; in 1965, the Second Vatican Council issued the remarkable declaration Nostra Aetate. Thus they have the full right to profess and practice Catholicism, without being exposed to any pressure direct or indirect … It is clear that the prospect of the two boys’ ‘reeducation’ to Judaism would be in contrast with these premises.” The article then took a swipe at France’s Jewish community. First, Kubowitzki had asked the pope to issue a public declaration denouncing anti-Semitism. Murillo: The Vatican secret archive Is approximately 52 Miles of shelving, we’re told, And over 32,000 archives. Although French Church authorities had kept their word, the article stated, the press in recent weeks had been filled with sarcastic remarks about how long it was taking for the Church to locate the boys. The Vatican is opening files on ‘Hitler’s Pope’ almost a decade ahead of schedule. On September 21, 1945, the secretary-general of the World Jewish Congress, Léon Kubowitzki, had come to see him to make two requests. In an effort to deflect attention from any Church responsibility for the continuing concealment of the Finaly children in Spain, Dell’Acqua, with the pope’s approval, drafted an article to be placed in a Swiss newspaper. Given the situation they now found themselves in, with the Church taking a beating in the press and an increasing number of Catholic clergy imprisoned, something had to be done, the cardinals advised, to bring the case to an end. The pope, too, was unhappy with the agreement that the negotiators had reached in France. The silence of Pius XII during the Holocaust has long engendered bitter debates about the Roman Catholic Church and Jews. * This article previously suggested that Rabbi Isaac Herzog requested that the Vatican issue a public call for the release of the Finaly boys specifically. “To all my prayers and pleas,” the boys’ aunt recalled later, “she had only a pitiless response, and she kept constantly repeating: ‘The Jews are not grateful.’ She would never give the boys back, she said.”, Read: Why some Catholics defend the kidnapping of a Jewish boy. the bible. She sent pleas to the local mayor in France, to the French foreign minister, and to the Red Cross. At this time, too, Mother Antonine, the superior of the boarding school associated with the Notre-Dame de Sion convent, took on the leading role in keeping the children hidden. [23] Since 2006, members of the archives department have been organising the estimated 16 million pages of documents, to get them ready for viewing by researchers. Herzog’s visit came as part of a mission to help locate the missing Jewish orphans of the Holocaust. New underground storage space was added in 1980. [32], With limited exceptions, materials dated after 1939 are unavailable to researchers until 2 March 2020, when material from Pius XII's tenure (1939-1958) is opened. He is also opening the archive of World War II-era Pope Pius XII next year, eight years early. Six days later, Hedwig Rosner, having been awarded legal guardianship of her two nephews, boarded a plane with Robert and Gérald and flew to Tel Aviv. It would change its name once again in 1965 and is now known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. [38] Many individual letters of the alphabet are often confused by human readers of medieval handwriting, let alone a computer program. Pope Francis has decided to open secret Vatican archives on May 2, 2020, to reveal details about the papacy of World War II era pope Pius XII.Archives of this nature are typically not released until 70 years after a pope’s death, but Francis has decided to release them about a decade early. Dell’Acqua offered a suggestion. This was partly because there were so few Italian Jews and partly because so many of them had married Christians. Montini did, however, send a written protest in late September to the French government through its ambassador to the Vatican. (A good chronology of the basic events of the Finaly case, as previously known, is found in the French historian Catherine Poujol’s “Petite Chronique de L’affaire des Enfants Finaly,” published by the journal Archives Juives in 2004. [6] One study in 1969 said the name "secret" was merited because the cataloguing system was so inadequate that it remained "an extensive buried city, a Herculaneum inundated by the lava of time ... secret as an archeological dig is secret". Vatican officials raised funds by selling some volumes as well as bundling documents for sale by weight. The agreement, he told the nuncio, could only be reached “after having taken the opportune precautions to ensure that they [the boys] are not prompted to become Jews again.” Montini added a final instruction in his coded telegram to the nuncio: “E’ bene che S.O. The grandeur is obvious. Kertzer and Benedetti are preparing a longer version of this account for publication in a historical journal, providing full archival references to all the documents cited here. Thousands of Jewish orphans were scattered around the continent. Government has on alien existence. This may even be true, but is it the case to say it so openly in a Note?” It was best, he concluded, that the whole idea of a formal Vatican presentation be abandoned. “The attitude of the Spanish authorities,” the French ambassador complained to the Vatican, as a newly available Vatican record of the conversation reveals, “remains less than clear. As of that September, much of Italy was under German control, aided by a Mussolini-led puppet government established in the north. Although the Catholic press would later present Brun as a surrogate mother to the boys, throughout these years the children were living not with her but in a variety of Catholic institutions. Read: Can the Vatican survive the age of digital media? Updated at 6:06 p.m. On June 22, the French ambassador followed up with a memo he gave to Montini, which Montini in turn quickly forwarded to the nuncio in Madrid: “The Governor of San Sebastián [in Spain’s Basque region] continues to think … that the Spanish Basque clergy have the last word and that ‘without a formal order from Rome, the boys will remain in the shadows.’” The French government, the ambassador reported, found the Church’s failure to abide by the terms of Cardinal Gerlier’s agreement for the return of Robert and Gérald a matter of growing concern. The proposed Vatican statement argued that Mussolini’s racial laws, instituted five years earlier, had successfully kept the Jews in their proper place, and as a result there was no need for any violent measures to be taken against them. That is why I have opened the archives to you. [7], During the 1404 sack of the Vatican, papal registers and historical documents were thrown into the streets, and Pope Innocent VII fled the city. I guess they confused "Secret Archives" with "Restricted Archives". Hopes that the agreement would lead to the speedy return of the boys were soon to be disappointed. [7], Antipopes also had their own archives. Now, as he wrote to the pope in mid-January 1953, in a letter found in the newly opened Vatican archives, he feared what the press reaction would be if the appeals court ruled against Brun and the Church: “The seriousness of the problem results notably from the fact that a profound agitation of public opinion is being created and growing around this affair. Brun would remain in prison in Grenoble for the next six weeks. Settling in 1939 in a small town just outside Grenoble, in southeastern France, they did their best to make a life for themselves, although Fritz’s ability to practice medicine was hampered by the anti-Semitic laws installed by Marshal Philippe Pétain’s collaborationist Vichy government following the German conquest of France in 1940. Shielding the boys from the authorities, by 1952 the nuns assisting Brun had arranged to place them under fictitious names at a Catholic school in Marseille. Just as the acting nuncio received Montini’s instructions, he was visited by Israel’s ambassador to France. Besides Marguerite, Fritz had two other sisters—one, Hedwig Rosner, living in Israel and the other, Louise, like Marguerite, living in New Zealand. Despite the pressure, the pope refused to have the child released. “If, then, the Jews do not observe the commitment they assumed”—here Dell’Acqua added in parentheses, “which is likely”—“the fault will then be theirs and the Church will always be able, with reason, to charge them with hypocrisy.”. That there might have been a link between the centuries of Church demonization of the Jews and the ability of people who thought of themselves as Catholics to murder Jews seems never to have crossed his mind. [12] Scholarly access was briefly interrupted following the dissolution of the Papal States in 1870, when archive officials restricted access to assert their control against competing claims by the victorious Italian state. It would be of great assistance, said the rabbi, if the pope would issue a public plea to the priests of Europe calling on them to reveal the location of orphaned Jewish children who remained in the hands of Catholic families and institutions. "[15][16], In 1979, historian Carlo Ginzburg sent a letter to the newly-elected Pope John Paul II, asking that the archives of the Holy Office (the Roman Inquisition) be opened. Dell’Acqua responded quickly, sending the pope a lengthy critique (also newly discovered, and presented verbatim in translation at the end of this article) two days later, advising against using Tacchi Venturi’s verbal statement, not least because, in Dell’Acqua’s view, it was overly sympathetic to the Jews. On January 29, 1953, the court ordered Brun arrested for failing to produce the boys. Fritz had also had an older brother, Richard, who had remained in Vienna and perished in the Holocaust. This resulted in some loss of items. [30], The entrance to the Archive, adjacent to the Vatican Library, is through the Porta di S. Anna in via di Porta Angelica (rione of Borgo). Carter intends to publicly reveal all the information The U. Not long ago, I was able to reach Robert Finaly by email in Israel, where he and Gérald—now known as Gad—have lived since they were taken there by their aunt. [5] His predecessor Marino Marini had produced an account of Galileo's trials that failed to satisfy scholars who saw it as an apology for the Inquisition. Size: 51 x 75.5 cm (plica 5.6 cm); seal Ø 3.8 cm (weight 90 gr). Montini reported that he had already spoken with the French foreign minister and sent the nuncio the instructions to agree to a settlement as long as it accorded with the Holy Office requirements. On February 24, in the wake of the French court decision and the arrest of Antoinette Brun and Mother Antonine, the Holy Office informed the pope that it had sent Cardinal Gerlier a new letter with the directive “to hold off as long as possible, that is up to when other more serious reasons might advise a different line of conduct.” The Holy Office, using one of the anti-Semitic themes routine within the Roman Catholic Church for many years, went on to inform the pope that “the Jews, tied in with the Masons and the socialists, have organized an international press campaign” around the case. The archive also contains state papers, correspondence, account books,[4] and many other documents that the church has accumulated over the centuries. Vatican Secret Archives by Grzegorz Gorny and Janusz Rosikon https://www.leafletonline.com/vatican-secret-archives-by-grzegorz-gorny-and-janusz-rosikon SKU: 32892 On January 17, 1953, Pius XII sent Cardinal Gerlier’s urgent request for guidance on the Finaly affair to the Holy Office for its opinion. Robert and Gérald later recounted that they saw Brun only a couple of times a year, for brief visits. And yet, he concluded, the proposed agreement did not provide the guarantees the Church was looking for. Nor had they engendered the same hostility from the majority “Aryan” portion of the population that Jews engendered in other countries. “I wonder if it is not the case,” Dell’Acqua proposed, “to have an article prepared for La Civiltà Cattolica to unmask the Jews and accuse them of disloyalty.” (This document is included in the appendix.) It would never disassociate itself from and publicly condemn those who, it must be supposed, acted out of the righteousness of conscience.”, The following days saw intense negotiations between the priest deputized to represent Cardinal Gerlier and the Church on one side and Rabbi Kaplan on the other. [29], The archive also supports its own photographic and conservation studios. The Western Schism resulted in two sets of papal archives being developed at once; this rose to three during the era of Pisan antipope John XXIII. All Rights [28], To mark the 400th anniversary of the Vatican Archives, 100 documents dating from the 8th to the 20th century were put on display from February to September 2012 in the "Lux in arcana – The Vatican Secret Archives reveals itself" exhibition held at the Capitoline Museums in Rome. They confided the boys’ whereabouts to their friend Marie Paupaert, asking her to look out for the children in the event of their own arrest. ), as well as the purpose of their research. She pleaded with Brun to show pity for a family that had been so recently torn apart. Did he think about the Finaly case as he was considering the proposals of the Second Vatican Council to change the Church’s long-held attitudes toward the Jews? [7], As Napoleon conquered the states on the Italian peninsula in the 1790s, he demanded works of art and manuscripts as tribute. The Holy See might be able to support an agreement, but only if certain guarantees were given with respect to the little ones’ Faith. A footnote by the editors of the Vatican volume does not make clear what Tacchi Venturi was proposing and only quotes the passages from his memo that offered a positive image of the Jews and of the lack of anti-Jewish sentiment in Italy. Although it was considered illicit under normal circumstances to baptize a child against parental wishes, once a child was baptized, whether licitly or illicitly, the baptism was considered valid and Church doctrine had to be followed. Notice to the Scholars of the Vatican Apostolic Archives We advise the Researchers that from next December 9 th these Vatican Apostolic Archives will reopen for the consultation only for Scholars who have already obtained permission on the basis of the previous reservation. The ambassador came on behalf of his government to ask the pope to issue a public plea to all good Catholics to assist in finding the Finaly boys and to disassociate himself from the monks and nuns who had hidden them. The only complaint Pius XII made about Italy’s anti-Semitic laws was the unfairness of applying them to Jews who had converted to Catholicism. The pope apparently thought this worth considering, at least in some form; two days later, Montini prepared a message to the nuncio in Paris, complaining about Cardinal Gerlier and asking for his opinion on whether going ahead with the proposed article would be a good idea. This was the same man who—under his given name, Giovanni Montini—had spent months managing the Vatican’s dealings on the Finaly affair a dozen years earlier. In 1941, Robert, the Finalys’ first child, was born, followed by Gérald 15 months later. Coronation of the Salus Populi Romani by Pope Pius XII in … He announced that the archives would be open to research that was impartial and critical. Both involved the baptism of young Jewish children without family knowledge. Gad pursued a career in the Israeli military and subsequently as an engineer. A little less than a year later, in early February 1945, with France now under Allied control, Fritz Finaly’s sister Marguerite, who had found refuge in New Zealand, wrote to the mayor of the town outside Grenoble where Fritz had lived to learn the fate of her brother and his family. * “That,” the rabbi told him, “would immensely facilitate our task.”, David I. Kertzer: The doctored ‘memoir’ of a Jewish boy kidnapped by the Vatican. With Keller’s help, the Finaly family took the case to court, but over the next years Brun kept refusing to obey a series of court orders giving Rosner custody of her nephews. Did it leave lasting scars? They included the 1521 bull of excommunication of Martin Luther and a letter from Mary, Queen of Scots, written while awaiting her execution. Mr. Ventresca is one of the many scholars who have eagerly awaited the opening of the Vatican’s secret archives from the papacy of Pope Pius XII, which spanned from 1939 to … To Auguste’s shock, Brun grew hostile. As was customary, the cardinals turned first to their group of consultants. It was Montini—the future Pope Paul VI—to whom the pope would later entrust the management of the Finaly case. by divine right, these children were able to choose, and they have chosen the religion that assures the health of their soul; canon law recognizes for children who have attained the age of reason [age 7] the right to decide their religious future; the Church has the inalienable duty to defend the free choice of these children who, by their baptism, belong to it. The Grand Grimoire consists of four parts, and is supposedly being kept in the Vatican Secret Archives. The text he wrote, newly discovered in the archives and reprinted verbatim in translation at the end of this article, was titled “Verbal Note on the Jewish Situation in Italy.”, The thrust of the plea was far from pro-Jewish. “We will give it all our attention,” the pope had said, asking that his visitor send him “some statistics” on the matter. Pope Benedict XVI said that letter was instrumental in the Vatican's decision to open those archives. (The Canadian historian Michael Marrus provided a good overview of the situation in a 2006 Commonweal article, “The Missing: The Holocaust, the Church, and Jewish Orphans.”). Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, assessore of the Holy Office, had brought the text in mid-March to show the pontiff. From the Vatican’s perspective, while it had agreed to the children’s return, it had not agreed to have them abandon their Catholic identity. The pope, as Sovereign of Vatican City, owns the material held in the archive until his death or resignation, with ownership passing to his successor. Should the French court case decide against Antoinette Brun and grant the boys’ aunt guardianship, “one must delay its execution as long as possible, appealing to the Court of Cassation and using all other legal means.” Should the final court ruling then go against the Church, the consultants wrote, “advise the woman to resist … unless the woman were to sustain serious personal damage and one were to fear greater damages for the Church.”. Volume 9, devoted to how the Holy See sought to help the victims of the war in the year 1943, contains 492 documents. In its February 24 report, the Holy Office added its own cautious support for the negotiation. Yet in the end, following the advice of the new nuncio in Paris that an article such as the one being proposed would be widely read as a condemnation of the action of the French episcopate, and especially of Cardinal Gerlier, the plan was dropped. As a result of these discussions with the pope, on March 16 Montini wrote again to the acting nuncio in Paris. “Nor would I suggest responding with a document of the Secretariat of State directed to the Chief Rabbi because it would certainly be exploited by Jewish propaganda.” Rather, the best course, Dell’Acqua advised, was simply to instruct the papal delegate in Jerusalem to offer a generic verbal reply, saying that it would be necessary to look into each case individually. [7] The vast majority of these documents are now lost, but we know of them through references in contemporary and later works. “Some newspapers,” he wrote, “are reporting that the Finaly brothers will soon be taken to Israel to be reeducated in Judaism. The fact that Mussolini’s regime relied heavily on Church materials—its newspapers and magazines filled with references to the measures popes had taken over the centuries to protect “healthy” Christian society from the threat posed by the Jews—to justify its anti-Semitic laws led to little rethinking of Church doctrine or practice under his papacy. Le Monde, typical of much of the French media, devoted 178 articles in the first half of the year to the story of the brothers—secretly baptized at the direction of the Catholic woman who had cared for them—and the desperate attempts by surviving relatives to get them back. At Marguerite’s urging, the bishop of Auckland sent a request through the archbishop of Westminster to the bishop of Grenoble, asking him to look into the matter. The couple was transported to Auschwitz, never to be seen again. jubilee 2000. official acts of the holy see. By this time, Cardinal Gerlier was growing uneasy about the position in which he found himself. 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