Pope Pius XII knew about Nazi mass killings in Poland and Poland

Pope Pius XII knew about Nazi mass killings in Poland and Poland

A letter published today by Italian news outlet Corriere della Sera confirms that Pope Pius XII could have known details about the Nazi mass killings of Jewish and Polish populations as early as 1942.

Although the relationship between the top ranks and the Pope had been revealed, the Vatican argued that Pius could not have taken any action against the mass killings because the Holy See couldn't verify the mass killings, according to historian David Kertzer's book.

This message is the only remains of a correspondence that probably took place over a long period of time, said Giovanni Coco, the Vatican archivist who found the letter. The Vatican is believed to have received regular information from Germany about the death camps.

The letter was authored by a Jewish anti-Nazi Jesuit priest and sent to one of the Pope's top aides, Pius' secretary Robert Leiber.

It opens with the line suggesting the two had a close relationship. In today's Ukraine, the report describes the widespread use of Crematoriums and mass murder in the Polish city of Rava-Rus'ka, where up to 6,000 people were killed. Hundreds were transported to the death camp of Belzec in Nazi-occupied Poland. It also mentions the camps of Dachau and Auschwitz.

There is no proof that the Pope saw the letter, and the author, German Reverend Lothar König, urges caution and care against leaks to prevent the anti-Nazi network from being betrayed.

The relationship between Pope Pius XII and Nazi leaders, especially Adolf Hitler, has been found and brought under scrutiny, indicating that the pontiff was probably aware of Leiber's correspondence with König.

Historians have been pondering whether Pius Pius kept his silence because of his fear, of complicity, or in an attempt to protect the Church during difficult times.

David Kertzer told PBS last year that he is looking to make a change in the way the media is reporting about him.

The beatification process for Pius XII, which began in 1967, has been delayed because of his controversial choices during World War II.