Vatican Nati Shohat/Flash 90

A year after an announcing that the Vatican would agree to open its archives on Pope Pius XII, a group of investigators will get a chance to verify allegations of Pope Pius XII's support for the Nazis.

About a year ago, Pope Francis agreed to open the archives to a small group of scholars, saying that "the Church is not afraid of history." Tomorrow (Monday) for the first time, the group will be able to examine documents regarding Pope Pius XII, who presided over the Catholic Church from 1939 to 1958, and inspect allegations of his support for Hitler.

Many historians have claimed that Pius XII maintained silence throughout World War II, and never publicly condemned the persecution and extermination of Jews and other minorities by the Nazis. Defenders of the controversial pope have maintained that Pius XII "quietly urged monasteries and other Catholic institutions to hide thousands of Jews." Claims have also been made that the Catholic Church's public criticism of the Nazis could have endangered the lives of thousands of priests and nuns and that they avoided defending the Jews out of fear for their lives.

Ahaed of the historic event, Cardinal Jose Tolentino de Mendoza, in charge of overseeing the Vatican Archives, said that, "The opening of the archives is a crucial step in the contemporary history of the Church and the entire world."

Bishop Sergio Pagano, head of the Apostolic Archives in the Vatican, added, "Investigators will have to make historical judgments. He estimated that examining the millions of documents related to Pope Pius XII could take several years before an unequivocal ruling can be reached as to whether the Pope supported the Nazis.