Jesuit Archives and the Second World War

The Jesuit Archives share their documents related to the Second World War period

An agreement with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum extends access to documents held at the General Curia of the Society of Jesus.

On 27 February, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Fondazione Polanco ETS signed a cooperation agreement to share and digitize archival materials from the Jesuit archives from before, during and after World War II.These materials will also be shared with Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust and the Museum’s partner on this project.

The materials to be shared, which are held by the Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu (ARSI) that operates under the Fondazione, will allow the Museum and Yad Vashem to make further progress in their efforts to digitize the wartime archives of the Catholic Church.

Fr Antoine Kerhuel, the Secretary of the Society of Jesus, said the signing of the contract was in line with ARSI’s “threefold mission to conserve and preserve the Society’s documents, to encourage and facilitate their use, and to promote and participate in scholarly and scientific research based on the documents.”


“The signing of this agreement with ARSI is an important step in the Museum’s work to preserve and make available archives relating to World War II and the Holocaust”, said Zachary Levine, the Museum’s Director of Archival and Curatorial Affairs. “The role of the Catholic Church during the Holocaust has been the subject of decades of intense debate. Broader access to archival material related to this period will lead to continued scholarship filling gaps in our understanding of this important history.”

“This project reflects the importance of international collaboration which opens new venues to scholarly scrutiny”, said Director of Yad Vashem’s International Institute for Holocaust Research Dr Iael Nidam Orvieto. “This will facilitate easier access to these documents for many more scholars from all fields, which will surely enrich and deepen our discussion and understanding of the complex issues relating to this period.”

ARSI holds a number of collections which are relevant to the Museum’s collecting mission, such as the records of Fr Pietro Tacchi Venturi, SJ, who served as the unofficial liaison between Benito Mussolini, the Fascist leader of Italy from 1922 to 1943, and Popes Pius XI and Pius XII. ARSI also holds the records of Fr Wlodimir Ledóchowski, SJ, 26th Superior-General of the Society of Jesus(in office 1915-1942), which are relevant because of the period he governed the Society. The Museum expects the digitized holdings to be available to researchers in itsreading room sometime in 2025.

About ARSI - Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu

ARSI is a private archive responsible for preserving historical records of the Society of Jesus and other documents that emanate from the central administration of the Society. Its access policy is closely aligned to that of the Vatican Apostolic Archives. The signing of this agreement was made possible by the recent opening of the documents covering the pontificate of Pius XII (1939-1958). For more details about ARSI, visit

For more information about the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, visit

For more information about Yad Vashem, visit

Archivum Romanum
Societatis Iesu


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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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