1942 letter suggests Pope Pius XII knew "detailed information" about mass killings of Jews and Poles

Pius XII, pope during World War II, was informed of the mass murders of Jews and Poles by a Jesuit in Germany in 1942, contradicting the Catholic Church's prior claims about its its awareness of the Holocaust.

Historians have long been divided about Pius's record, with supporters insisting he used quiet diplomacy to save Jewish lives while critics say he remained silent as the Holocaust raged.

Corriere is reproducing a letter dated 14 December 1942 from the German Jesuit priest to Pius's secretary, which is contained in a forthcoming book about the newly opened files of Pius's pontificate by Giovanni Coco, a researcher and archivist in the Vatican's apostolic archives.

Coco told Corriere that the letter was significant because it represented detailed correspondence about the Nazi extermination of Jews, including in ovens, from an informed church source in Germany who was part of the Catholic anti-Hitler resistance that was able to get otherwise secret information to the Vatican.

As the needle slowly glides to "knowledge" and onward to "complicity," the ground moves strangely underfoot and the goalposts shall disappear entirely.