Saturday, December 4, 2010

An anonymous post! Oh the wonders of the internet.

True to form it did not take long before reactions to my last post on Bob Keeler's article began to circulate.  That's fine and to be expected, even encouraged, but let's keep it up front and honest.  The comment from Pave The Way below was forwarded to me from somewhere outside Australia by a reader of this blog.  My responses are in red.

Our LI (Long Island, New York) based Pave the Way Foundation (PTWF) is at the international forefront of revealing the documents of the papacy of Pope Pius XII. This is questionable.  Much of what PTW has posted on its website has already been published in other sources, such as Actes et Documents, by the ASV (Vatican Secret Archives), in independent research undertaken by scholars such as Hubert Wolf, Thomas Brechenmacher - and me - as well as in mainstream histories by Michael Phayer, Susan Zuccotti etc. Use of the word "revealing" is itself revealing.  Does this suggest that material has been hidden?  The published works of Pius XII have been available since 1939.  The unpublished material, all the material in the ASV 1939-1958, has not been published because it is under embargo until at least 2013.  PTW has published a lot of material from many sources such as newspapers, diaries and some unpublished archival sources (such as the files from Campagna that I read and commented on in late 2009 - the full report can be found on the Anti-Defamation League website as well as PTW). Therefore the opening statement of PTW's comment is somewhat misleading.

As the Wikileak organization, we have over 40,000 pages of original documentation, news articles and eyewitness video testimony all posted publicly on our website, proving Pius XII was one of the great heroes of WWII. I feel I must sound like a broken record here ... much of the 40,000 pages include the freely available material of ADSS (published between 1965-1981) and which has been online since early 2010 via the Vatican website and PTW.  PTW cannot claim to have "discovered" this material.  The news articles etc have also been readily available for years.  PTW has rendered a service by collating this information on one website.  However, there is a discrepancy between posting material without comment and historical analysis and then claiming that this material "proves" Pius XII was a "great hero of WWII".  Until the whole historical record is made available to public scrutiny, such accolades are, even if deserved, premature.

Paul Oshea (sic - my name is O'Shea, an old Irish name!) and literally all of the other critics have not ever set foot in the Vatican archives, which were opened in 2003 covering 65% of the ministry of Pacelli (Pius XII) for the years up to 1939. Mr Krupp, founder of PTW knows full well that I have not stepped foot inside the ASV.  Mr Krupp also knows full well and has acknowledged this on Galus Australia (the reader will find my comment below - May 26, Gary Krupp's response follows after) that I did not need to step inside the ASV.  My work with the ASV was conducted entirely via internet.  I sent document requests to the staff at ASV and they scanned the material and then sent it to me.  I had no need to be physically present - Australia is a long way away! - the internet has changed the nature of historical research.  As to the bald allegation that "literally all of the other critics have not ever set foot in the Vatican archives" - it is not true.  Hubert Wolf and Thomas Brechenmacher, both scholars of international repute, have spent time in ASV.  In fact their online projects working with ASV demonstrate the extent of serious historians to work with the archives to make the documentation available.  A simple and cursory examination of the two websites established by these men puts paid to PTW's risible claim.

The Jewish Catholic Commission ended in failure because one of the participants, Dr. Bernard Suchecky, leaked confidential information to the media in violation with the agreement. The participants knew very well from the start that it was impossible to see the un-catalogued closed war years documents in the archives.  This may be true, but I suspect there were other reasons behind the collapse of the International Commission.  However, the story of the "failure" is one that remains to be fully told, by both sides.

The 47 question you speak of have now been answered. PTWF conducted a two-day session in Rome in April, 2010 and the 9 hours of videos of the responses can be viewed on our website www.ptwf.org. "

The two-day session in Rome was attended by a group of interested parties that included no scholars or historians, with the exception of Napolitano, of the period whose work is critical of Pius XII.  I find this odd.  At the Jerusalem symposium hosted by Yad Vashem and the Apostolic Nunciature in March 2009 there were people from all sides of the debate.  I was one of them.  We met in an atmosphere of professional collegiality and discussed issues about Pius XII with respect and openness of mind.

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