Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

The Vatican and the Second World War with David Kertzer

 Air Dates: January 30-February 5, 2023

When Pope Pious XII died, the Catholic Church sealed his documents until 2020.  David Kertzer was among the first to gain access to those documents when they were unsealed, and his new book reveals what the Pope knew and did while World War II ravaged Europe.

Kertzer is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and the Paul Dupee University Professor of Social Science at Brown University.  His latest book, “The Pope at War: The Secret History of Pius XII, Mussolini, and Hitler,” was published in June 2022, with Italian, German, Spanish, and Chinese editions also in press.   He is an authority on Italian politics, society, and history; political symbolism; and anthropological demography.  Kertzer is a past president of both the Social Science History Association and the Society for the Anthropology of Europe and is co-founder and served for many years as co-editor of the Journal of Modern Italian Studies.  In 2005, Kertzer was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  From 2006 to 2011, he was the Provost of Brown University.   Kertzer’s “The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara” was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1997 and has been published in eighteen foreign editions.  The book was also adapted into a play by playwright Alfred Uhry was performed at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis in 2006.  In April 2016, Steven Spielberg announced that he would be making a film based on Kertzer’s book, with a screenplay by Tony Kushner.

On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Kertzer examines the role of the Vatican and the papacy during the Second World War and new details that were released from the Vatican Archives.

“Story in the Public Square” broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m., 5:30 p.m. ET, and Sundays at 2:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.