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San Francisco

Open and Accessible: Taking Stock of the Vatican's Holocaust-Era Archives

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In March 2019, His Holiness Pope Francis said—now famously—that “the Church is not afraid of history.” The pope was speaking about opening the estimated 16 million pages of archival material for the pontificate of Venerable Pius XII (1939–1958), which became accessible for research in March 2020.

February 2023 marks nearly three years since one of the most important new archives related to the Holocaust opened. What does the process of research in these archives look like on the ground? What have scholars discovered? What crucial questions remain, and how do they reshape our understanding of this era?


This program has 2 types of tickets available: In-person and online-only. Please pre-register to receive a link to the live-stream event.

Safety Protocols for in-person attendance:

  • We follow best practices laid out by the CDC and state and local guidelines.
  • We strongly recommend vaccination for guests, staff, and volunteers.
  • Masks are strongly encouraged while indoors (if you do not have one and would like one, inquire at our front desk for a complimentary mask).
  • We reserve the right to require different rules for specific events as necessary.

Our LEED Gold-certified building is designed to cool with outside air, using digitally controlled moveable windows and large ceiling fans. We are deploying additional HEPA filters inside to scrub the air. This is all in addition to increased cleaning of surfaces throughout the building.

We welcome donations made during registration to support the production of our programs.

This program is supported by Taube Philanthropies and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.


All ticket sales are final and nonrefundable.

Tue, Feb 7 / 6:00 pm PST

The Commonwealth Club of California
110 The Embarcadero
Taube Family Auditorium
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Image - Suzanne Brown-Fleming

Suzanne Brown-Fleming

Ph.D., Director, International Academic Programs, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Image - Alexis Herr

Alexis Herr

Ph.D., Adjunct Professor of History, University of San Francisco

Image - Jason DeRose

Jason DeRose

Western Bureau Chief, NPR News—Moderator


5:30 p.m. doors open & check-in
6 p.m. program
(all times PST)


$10 members
$20 nonmembers
Free members
$10 nonmembers