The Catholic Church hid more than 3,000 Jews in Rome during World War II, according to Pontifical Bible Institute documents released Thursday.
The documents contain the names of 3,600 people who sought refuge through 155 religious communities during the war. 3,200 of them were Jews or Jews. The names of other people helped by the church are not yet known.
These documents date from 1944 and were used in the study of the Italian historian Renzo de Felice for more than fifteen years. They were thought to be lost for decades. After they were rediscovered, Pope Francis ordered them to be made public.
The Vatican’s role during the Nazi era and Benito Mussolini’s Fascist rule in Italy are still sensitive today. Later-Pope Pius XII was especially criticized during his lifetime for his attitude towards Nazi Germany and his silence about the Holocaust. However, some historians come out in his favor.
At the beginning of World War II, 10,000 to 15,000 Jews lived in Rome. Nazi forces killed more than 2,000 people as the city was occupied for nine months until it was liberated by the Allies in June 1944.
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