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Virtual Speaker Series - Catholics and Holocaust History: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Vatican Archives Initiative


Tue 01 / 18 / 2022
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

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Catholics and Holocaust History: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Vatican Archives Initiative

Speaker:  Dr. Suzanne Brown-Fleming

In March 2019, Pope Francis announced that access to the Vatican’s archival materials for the pontificate of Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) would be granted in March 2020. Decades of speculation must now be replaced with rigorous scholarship. Analysis of this massive new set of documents, comprising an estimated 16 million pages of material across multiple archives, will take years of meticulous study and research. The Museum is sending a team of scholars and archivists to Vatican City to survey these new materials and, subject to permission by the archives, obtain digital scans of documents, to be made available at the Museum. Dr. Suzanne Brown-Fleming’s talk will provide insight into early findings and the progress of the Museum's Vatican Archives Initiative. 

Dr. Brown-Fleming joined the Museum in 2001 and oversees its International Academic Programs, which ensure that the field of Holocaust studies remains vital and vibrant around the world. Her work has been featured in the Catholic News Service, Catholic New Agency, and The Catholic Virginian. She has appeared on CNN, EWTN Global Catholic Television Network, and in several documentaries, including Holy Silence (2020). Dr. Brown-Fleming is a 2021 Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for Contemporary History’s Center for Holocaust Studies in Munich and Berlin.  

Her current research project, "Il Papa Tedesco (The German Pope): Eugenio Pacelli and Germany, 1917-1958", is a study of Pope Pius XII’s relationship to Germany and its bishops, leaders, and people during the Weimar era, the Third Reich, and the Holocaust. Another current project, “Opa War Ein Nazi (Grandpa Was a Nazi): Eduard Geist and the Crimes of the Third Reich,” is Dr. Brown-Fleming’s first attempt to research and write as both a decades-long scholar of the Holocaust and the granddaughter of a devout and locally prominent Nazi.

Brown-Fleming has a BA in history and English from Virginia Tech University, an MA in American diplomatic history from the University of Richmond, and a PhD in modern German history from the University of Maryland.

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