Assistance of the Holy See to the Citizens of the USSR Who Were Abroad in 1941–1947 (Based on the Materials of the Vatican Apostolic Archives)

Zhdanova E.S.


The article looks at the assistance from the Holy See to the Soviet population during the Second world war – the problem which has not been studied in Russian historiography. Regretfully, due to the ideological dictate of the Soviet regime and, later, to the limited source base, the issue of assistance to the Soviet people from the Vatican has not yet been fully studied and is only sketchily presented in the works of various researchers. In March 2020, the Vatican opened its archives for the period of 1939–1958, thus giving historians the opportunity to thoroughly study the pontificate of Pius XII. This article, of course, will not be able to fully examine such complex and multifaceted problem, but, basing on new documents from the archives of the Secretariat of State, we consider what initiatives were taken by the Holy See in the period from 1941 to 1947 to support the Soviet people outside the USSR, and what was eventually implemented in practice. The work gives scholars the opportunity to get acquainted with the concrete facts of assistance, the evidence of which is preserved in the Vatican Apostolic Archives. The study finds that the Holy See was actively interested in the fate of Soviet citizens and provided them with church items and money.


Vatican; Holy See; Pius XII; World War II; Vatican Apostolic Archives; soviet citizens; charity.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2020.04.12

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