Monday, March 9, 2009

Vatican Archives

Yad Vashem, my erstwhile employer, is hosting a meeting of Vatican and Israeli historians. I'm not at Yad Vashem anymore, and I neither know the details nor am I asking. If anything good comes of the meeting, great. In the meantime, however, I'm holding back on gushing good feelings:
Israel has encouraged the Vatican to open its wartime archives to allow researchers to look for concrete examples of Pius' actions. But the Vatican has denied access to major parts of its archives, including wartime papers.

Shalev said Sunday he was pleased to learn that Benedict instructed the archive to speed up the process of cataloging the material and hoped it could now be completed in three to four years.

Yad Vashem said Shalev was informed of the development by Vatican archive officials and people who were in direct contact with the pope.
I've been in archives before, and know a thing or two about how they think. Blocking access to documents until the cataloging is completed is the archival corollary of a government setting up a committee. It could lead to something someday. Hypothetically. Maybe. Perhaps.

An archives that wants people to know what in its collections can always find plausible ways around the lack of a catalog.

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