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Sunday, 12 March, 2000, 17:40 GMT
Vatican urged to open Holocaust archives
Jews in Nazi camp
Six million Jews died in World War Two
British Jews have called on the Vatican to open its Holocaust records following the Pope's apology for the wrongdoings of Roman Catholics.

Lord Greville Janner, chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said a speech by Pope John Paul II asking for forgiveness for the sins of the Church represented a "worthy" sentiment which now had to be turned into action.


I hope that in the spirit of his address, this great Pope will now ensure that the Vatican and its monasteries open up their archives to research on Hitler era records

Lord Greville Janner
The ailing pontiff led a Day of Pardon Mass in St Peter's Basilica with a sermon that recognised the "mistrust and hostility" of Catholics towards other faiths.

But he stopped short of specifically mentioning the Holocaust.

Lord Janner said the 79-year-old Pope's words nonetheless represented a historically significant move which should be followed by historical archives kept secret by the Roman Catholic Church being opened to researchers.

Pope
The Pope did not mention the Holocaust
The peer said: "I welcome the Pope's worthy and generous gesture.

"I hope that in the spirit of his address, this great Pope will now ensure that the Vatican and its monasteries now open up their archives to research on Hitler era records.

"Until now, the Vatican has been the only authority on earth to refuse to do so.

"I hope that this unhappy trail will now lead to honourable transparency."

The Pope's speech, the high point of a campaign by John Paul II to bring the Church to a collective examination of conscience at the start of its third millennium, consisted of a general recognition of past wrongdoings.

He said: "We are asking pardon for the divisions among Christians, for the use of violence that some have committed in the service of truth, and for attitudes of mistrust and hostility assumed toward followers of other religions."

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See also:

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Pope apologises for church sins
25 Feb 00 | Middle East
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