Pope Francis
Pope FrancisReuters

Pope Francis has decided to open the archives on Pope Pius Xll, the Pope during World War Two.

The decision may reveal the role Pius Xll played during the Holocaust. He has been accused of ignoring the plight of the Jewish people during the Holocaust and failing to take action to rescue Jews or stop the Nazi crimes.

"The Church is not afraid of history," Pope Francis said.

The Vatican normally opens the archives of a Pope's term 70 years after the end of the term, so the archives would have been opened in 2028. However, the Vatican has been called to open the archives earlier, while there are still Holocaust survivors who remain alive.

The archive will be opened on March 2, 2020.

Yad Vashem in a statement commended the Vatican's decision to open the Pius XII Archives, covering the years 1939-1958.

"For years, Yad Vashem has called for the opening of these archives, which will enable objective and open research as well as comprehensive discourse on issues related to the conduct of the Vatican in particular, and the Catholic Church in general, during the Holocaust," Yad Vashem said in a statement.

"Yad Vashem expects that researchers will be granted full access to all documents stored in the archives."