Schriftzug Romana Repertoria

Early Modern to Contemporary History


Covering the year 1933, the first part of the Apostolic Nuncio Cesare Orsenigo’s reports sent from Germany between 1930 and 1939 has been online  since 2009. On this editorial project lead by Thomas Brechenmacher, the DHI Rome cooperates with the Bonn Commission for Contemporary History and the Vatican Secret Archives. Published now for the first time in their entirety and with a scientific comment in German language, the Nuncio Cesare Orsenigo’s reports during the year of the National Socialist rise to power are a crucial source collection regarding the relation of Roman-Catholic Church, Papacy and National Socialism. Up until the 2003 release of Vatican files from Pope Pius’ XI pontificate (1922-1939), Orsenigo’s reports had been known only in a few single excerpts. Their publication aims to broaden the knowledge of the relation of the Catholic Church and the NS regime in many details. The edition of year 1933 contains about 200 documents, including numerous instructions from the Cardinal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli to the Nuncio in Berlin, along with the latter’s reports. The edition is set to be expanded with the reports from the years 1930-1932 and 1934-1939 successively in the upcoming years.



The 2003 and 2006 opening of all files from Pius XI’s pontificate in the Vatican Secret Archives allowed for a critical online publication of the about 6,500 nuntial reports sent by Eugenio Pacelli, future Pius XII, to Rome during his sojourn in Germany between 1917 and 1929. Offering free access to academics and the general public alike, the project is based on a long-term cooperation of the Seminar für Mittlere und Neuere Kirchengeschichte at the University of Münster, the DHI Rome and the Vatican Secret Archives. Structured and commented in regesta, Pacelli’s reports are being critically edited in draft and copy, including all attachments.One year at a time, the reports are being published online at at regular intervals. Financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).



Reconstruction and Digital Edition of a Lost Source

Along with the Campo Santo Teutonico, Santa Maria dell’Anima has been a hub for pilgrims from north of the Alps or the Holy Roman Empire, ever since the late Middle Ages. Finding food and shelter there for up to three nights on average, the pilgrims’ names were registered in the respective books. Until very recently, one of these books for the time from 1778 to 1819, with most entries from the 1780ies, was available for consultation. Meanwhile, this source has to be declared lost. Thanks to older black-and-white images, the pilgrimage registry could be reproduced and inserted into an online database, where international scientists can analyse it. This allows for follow-up studies on pilgrimage in the late 18th century, possibly from a cultural historic perspective, and also linking data to the respective local or regional source.



The internecine war, which the German Reich lead between 1939 and 1945, has been intensely debated for years, yet a thorough study on the warfare by the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS in Italy remains a research desideratum. The exact number and distribution of German units are as unknown as the circumstances of killings and woundings in action at the front or in the partisan war. Memoirs and reports in official war logs have frequently been proven as false in detailed examination. The present database offers a research and work tool both for professional historians and for institutional or private searches on communal matters. Carlo Gentile (Cologne) has compiled the data between 2000 and 2004 on behalf of the German Historical Institute in Rome. The database comprises more than 16,000 entries, which have been gathered and elaborated from contemporary sources. Information has mainly been sourced in the holdings of the “Deutsche Dienststelle” (formerly “Wehrmachtauskunftsstelle”) in Berlin as well as the files from the federal military archive “Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv” in Freiburg. The database registers Italian locations (cities, towns, councils, counties, villages, settlements, street crossings) in which the presence of German troups between 1943 and 1945 has been proven.



Dating back to 1974, the Bibliographic Information on Contemporary Italian History (Biblinf) is part of the services the German Historical Institute (DHI) in Rome offers to German and international scholars. It comprises new Italian language publications on 19th, 20th and 21st century history. Founded by Jens Petersen, since 1999 it has been edited by Lutz Klinkhammer with the participation of Gerhard Kuck and Susanne Wesely. Since that year, new publications – around 2,500 monographs annually – are collected in a relational database, offering easy and vast research access for external users. The DHI website provides a PDF file with the over 20,000 publications advertised in the Bibliographic Information on Contemporary Italian History throughout the 1990ies, in which users can browse or execute a full text search. The bibliography is distributed in print format by the Research Group for Contemporary Italian History, with whom the Institute cooperates closely since 1974.