What did the pope know, and when did he know it

NEW YORK — After 11 months of work investigating the Vatican's role during the Holocaust, a panel of scholars is pressing the Holy See to open up more archives.

The call comes during a report issued last week by the panel, made up of three Jews and three Catholics, that raises 47 questions about the papacy's wartime record — but offers little new evidence about several disputed topics, including the behavior of the wartime pope, Pius XII.

The report does not leave much hope that questions about how much Pius did to combat the Holocaust will be answered soon.

"A scrutiny of these volumes of Vatican documents does not put to rest significant questions about the role of the Vatican during the Holocaust," the panel wrote in its introduction to the report, on the Web at www.bnaibrith.org.

In order to carry out the debate of the Vatican's wartime role "to a more mature level, the Vatican should begin to make available to reputable scholars all the documentary evidence that it has at its disposal," said Michael Marrus, a Holocaust scholar and one of the Jewish members of the panel.

The issue of Pius XII's wartime actions is the most pressing one addressed by the panel, which scoured 11 published volumes of archival material edited between 1965 and 1981.

The Vatican and the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultation established the panel last year.

Among the questions raised in the report concerning Pius XII:

Are there documents relating to discussions in 1938 involving Pius, then known as Vatican Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli, about the Vatican's reaction to Kristallnacht?

Is there confirmation of a news story that the pope intervened with the leader of Vichy France, Marshal Petain, to stop the deportation of French Jews?

What discussion was there in the Vatican regarding the pope's response to several appeals from the archbishop of Berlin calling on Pius to publicly appeal to halt the deportations of the Jews of Berlin?

The Vatican says plans for Pius XII's beatification — the final step before sainthood — are under way, even though some charge that he was an anti-Semite who failed to help Jews during the Holocaust.