Skip to comments.ADL: Pope 'Atoned' for Hitler Youth
Posted on 04/19/2005 4:49:13 PM PDT by wagglebee
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the election of German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the new pope, Benedict XVI.
Under his leadership in Germany and Rome, the Catholic Church made important strides in improving Catholic-Jewish relations and atoning for the sin of anti-Semitism.
Cardinal Ratzinger has been a leader in this effort and has made important statements in the spirit of sensitivity and reconciliation with the Jewish people.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National director, issued the following statement:
"We welcome the new Papacy of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. From the Jewish perspective, the fact that he comes from Europe is important, because he brings with him an understanding and memory of the painful history of Europe and of the 20th Century experience of European Jewry.
"Having lived through World War II, Cardinal Ratzinger has great sensitivity to Jewish history and the Holocaust. He has shown this sensitivity countless times, in meetings with Jewish leadership and in important statements condemning anti-Semitism and expressing profound sorrow for the Holocaust. We remember with great appreciation his Christmas reflections on December 29, 2000, when he memorably expressed remorse for the anti-Jewish attitudes that persisted through history, leading to 'deplorable acts of violence' and the Holocaust. Cardinal Ratzinger said: 'Even if the most recent, loathsome experience of the Shoah (Holocaust) was perpetrated in the name of an anti-Christian ideology, which tried to strike the Christian faith at its Abrahamic roots in the people of Israel, it cannot be denied that a certain insufficient resistance to this atrocity on the part of Christians can be explained by an inherited anti-Judaism present in the hearts of not a few Christians.'
"Though as a teenager he was a member of the Hitler Youth, all his life Cardinal Ratzinger has atoned for the fact. In our years of working on improving Catholic-Jewish ties, ADL has had opportunities to work with Cardinal Ratzinger. We look forward to continuing that relationship."
The Pope was a victim of Hitler just like many other Germans, he was not a war criminal, he was not a Nazi and he has never said anything that would lead anyone to believe he felt anything but love for the Jewish people. It appears the left is simply perturbed because they were finally faced with an election that there was no possibility of interfering with.
Wow! Congrats to Foxman for being a gentleman.
This is good to hear. I had some concerns about the reactions of the Jewish people to a German pope.
Ratzinger a Nazi? Don't believe it
Jerusalem Post ^ | Apr. 18, 2005 | Sam Ser
Posted on 04/19/2005 12:52:18 PM EDT by Alouette
Basically it's a good idea for a Pope to distance himself from Adolph Hitler - duh!
If you'd like to be on or off this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
Yes, this was a very generous gesture on his part. Too bad it won't stop the media and the left from calling Pope Benedict a Nazi at every opportunity.
He could go one-better now and distance himself (read: kick him out of rome and back to the 'States to face prosecution) from bernard law (who was given sanctuary by that Staropolski czlowiek)...
Cardinal Law was not facing prosecution.
Somebody must have written the text for Foxman, he could never be that gracious. Foxman, the would-be censor of "The Passion of the Christ".
No, not yet. But I hear the investigations continue and I don't believe there's an extradition treaty with the vatican. If they _do_ find anything there's probably no way they can compel him come back here. Or, the Organization can do it's best to spend the Faithful's $$$ to make it difficult.
Probably not, but at least now Catholics can point to this statement by the ADL. Kinda takes the wind out of the MSM's sails.
I dont think anyone is listening to the liberal media anymore. Ultimately, they are just preaching to the converted.
Seems to me that Foxman isn't the one lacking in graciousness here.
Law would probably be sent back if he's indicted.
But I'm sure O'Reilly (MA Dem Attorney General) would have already tried if he could - he's gunning for Governor in '06, and prosecuting Law would probably swing it for him.
Then obviously you weren't reading dear Foxman a year ago. He was expressing great fear that Americans Christian pogroms would break out when "The Passion" was shown in theaters. And if you think I'm exaggerating, why don't you graciously look up scores of FR threads quoting Foxman?
Agreed. It takes a heck of a lot of courage for Mr. Foxman to make a gracious statement such as this. He is a gentleman.
Regardless of Foxman said last year, his words in this press release are gracious, and certainly welcome, I would think, to Catholics irritated by the MSM's harping on Ratzinger. It is unfortunate that you decided to use this moment to be ungracious in return. Sometimes, people we normally oppose politically say something with which we agree. This is not a bad thing.
Yeah, but: "double jeopardy". If he screws up the first time he'll never get a second chance and THAT would lose '06 and everything thereafter. Better to take a term to do it right and sew-up the NEXT nomination.
I'm surprised by the choice of Joseph Ratzinger to be Pope because of his background in the Nazi Youth. However, he was young and impressionable during a horrible time and never committed any war crimes. I think he deserves to be given a chance.
Okay, I'll agree with that. It's like the old saying that even a broken clock is right twice a day, and Foxman can be also.
It is beautiful, though, like a monumental healing process (although nothing can heal the Holocaust). First, a Polish Pope, who did more to reconcile old wrongs against the Jewish people by Catholics, and now a German Pope, who is a supporter of Israel. It's good, so very good.
Amen. God bless Benedict XVI.
Amen. I'm not exactly the sharpest blade in the spiritual drawer, but even I can see the hand of God in this.
Europe so desperately needs a Christian revival, and who only 50 years ago would have ever bet on having a Polish Pope and then a German Pope in their lifetime?
John Paul II was positioned exactly right to help bring down the Communist regime in Eastern Europe, and the German Benedict XVI was no doubt chosen for a very important reason also (imho). And neither are/were anti-semites. The future will be more interesting than usual.:)
I figure that if John Paul II could forgive then-Cardinal Ratzinger and take him into his confidence, though the cardinal was on the opposite side during a war that nearly destroyed Poland, then we must consider Ratzinger's atonement complete indeed. The late pope knew his friend's heart thoroughly and would not have drawn him near if Ratzinger was not deeply invested with the Holy Spirit. So we must let it go, as well.
I'm glad you included your last sentence. However, your loaded choice of words in the first two sentences is misleading and indicative of a flawed premise: that even though Ratzinger as a 14 year-old boy was a Nazi, he deserves a chance because he has atoned for that "mistake" since then.
This implied slur that is being bruited about in the MSM is absolute rubbish. Ratzinger does not "have a background in the Hitler Youth"; he was FORCED, as a 14 year-old child, to participate, and as soon as he could get out, he did.
wagglebee, you nailed it: "The Pope was a victim of Hitler just like many other Germans, he was not a war criminal, he was not a Nazi and he has never said anything that would lead anyone to believe he felt anything but love for the Jewish people. You have given us the sound bite to shut-down anyone who raises this canard:
"The Pope was not a supporter of Hitler, he was a 14 year-old victim of Hitler."
We would all hope that Jewish/Catholic relations continue to improve. Ditto for all the Christian denominations.
Exactly. Pope Benedict's membership in Hitler's youth corps had nothing to do with being an "impressionable" youth. It was compulsory service in a totalitarian State.
You are silly. Do you seriously think that school children were capable to oppose Nazi regime recruitment to its youth organizations? It was much much harder then to oppose Diversity Celebrations or feminist propaganda in American schools, and how many children are fighting the later?
It depends on who says it. Foxman is 99% jerk, so I am just not that open to his gestures.
What if Louis Farrkhan or David Duke like the new Pope?
Is that a good thing? Foxman is slightly more reputable not no less noxious.
Disclosure: I'm a Prod.
John Paul II was not a moron and he would never blame or "forgive" anybody for "joining" as a child the youth organization in a totalitarian state.
Atone for what?!
No, they were insulting.
Foxman and the ADL are still a joke. They still have an anti-Christian bias. They like to indirectly accuse many Christians and Christian groups of being antisemitic(When they obviously aren't) when they are the bigots. You don't fight antisemitism by being anti-Christian.
You're right--maybe "forgive" isn't the right word. I never suggested that the late Holy Father would ever have blamed the current pope for his service in the German Army, knowing how reluctant it was and knowing also that he deserted. I just meant if he could let it go,even though his country had been at war with Germany, so could all the critics who carp about it.
Only to the perpetually disgruntled.
Look, Foxman didn't have to say anything at all. What he did say completely pulled the rug out from under the media's smear campaign against the new pope. I cannot imagine that Benedict XVI himself would find Foxman's words "insulting".
Of course he does. He was 14 years old at the time and living in Nazi Germany. Enrolling in the Hitler Youth was mandatory. Reportedly, Ratzinger never attended any of the group's meetings. His parents were noted anti-Nazi activists. After Ratzinger was drafted into the Nazi military, he deserted -- that being a crime punishable by execution. I'd be puzzled by any objective individual who might think Ratzinger wouldn't deserve to be "given a chance". I don't see what he could have done any differently.
He cannot say it openly.
I hope and pray one that one of the items on Pope Benedict XV1's agenda---as the first German Pope in a 1000 years--- is to address the suffering and injustices German citizens experienced at the hands of the beastial Hitler and his Nazi juggernaut.
There are many firsthand accounts out there of working-class Germans sent to concentration camps because they would not kowtow to Nazism. Their families never saw or heard from them again; they simply disappeared, victims of the relentless onslaught of Hitler's killing machine.
This issue must be addressed.
I'm not a Catholic but appreciate the Pope's influence.
I feel about this Pope right now like I do about Tom DeLay.
Stick to your guns. That's why they picked him I assume.
As a reliable extension of the last Pope or maybe it's a sign of the consolidation of Orthodoxy in the Church ....bad choice of words probably right?
A little off subject, but does anyone know what order the Pope took his vows with? Benedictine?
Too bad Foxman didn't recall here that he was sheltered---and saved from certain death by Catholics-----and actually was a practicing Catholic. Foxman apparently now resents it. In later years, he has spoken critically about the family who sheltered him.
Abraham H. Foxman's Story: A Life Saved, A Life of Service
Part I: A Life Saved
I was born in 1940, in Baranowicz, Poland. My parents tried to stay ahead of the Germans and so we headed east. The Germans caught up with us in the Lithuanian city of Vilnius in 1941. For my parents, there was nowhere to run.
My nanny, Bronislawa Kurpi was Polish-Catholic and when the order came for Jews to be assembled into the Ghetto, she asked my parents what was to become of me. My mother answered that what was going to happen to them would happen to me. My nanny hastily offered to take me from them, to keep me safe until their return. As my mother recalled, it was a cold autumn day when Ms. Kurpi walked away with me. My mother recalled looking on sorrowfully with my father through the edges of the curtains, not knowing what was to become of me. It was a decision which was incredibly difficult. I guess they never really believed that it was going to be four years before they would see me again. Imagine the confusion and pain this experience inflicted on all involved.
Growing-up for the next four years in German-occupied Vilnius, Lithuania, I was called Henryk Stanislas Kurpi. To the world, Bronislawa Kurpi was my mother. She had me baptized by a priest and raised me as a Catholic. I learned how to pray with a rosary and kneel at the altar of the church. I could not play with other children, as it was too risky. There was always the possibility that someone would see that I was circumcised and discover my Jewish identity. Had my parents died during the Holocaust, it is a possibility that I may have even become a priest when I grew up.
Miraculously, my parents survived the Holocaust. Their first thought was to come and get me, their only child, back. My nanny did not see eye to eye with my parents. She did not want to give me back. There were several custody battles between my parents and my nanny, with my parents winning out in the end. That's when they decided they had no future in Lithuania, which also happened to be under the control of the Soviet Union.
To leave the Soviet Union and the surrounding satellite countries where its influence was felt, was not an easy task, however. We were smuggled across the borders until we got to the American Zone in Austria. At this time, we lived in a Displaced Persons (DP) camp, where I was able to play with children my own age for the first time in my life. Eventually, my family and I were granted visas to the United States, where we moved in 1950. I was 10 years old, and my father always said that in that time, I had lived a lifetime.
After being reunited with my parents, I had to learn how to be Jewish, which was a growing process. One thing I remember is making the sign of the cross in the home of my parents, who were observant Jews. Even once I was reunited with my parents, I was a good practicing Catholic. As a child, I went to church, I said my prayers and I wore a crucifix. I cried when other children called me a Jew. Christianity was my means of survival and it is because of this that I have always had great respect for it.
Nice take on your part. I do think---as you do---that Pope Benedict XV1's closeness to John Paul 11 was a factor in his elevation to Pope. Since JP11 named all but two of the College of Cardnals, it's a safe bet to conclude that he passed the word that Cardinal Ratzinger was to be his hand-picked successor.
Too bad?? Did you read the same article I did? Why use the occasion of Foxman welcoming the election of Ratzinger as the new pope as an excuse to bash the man?
You forgot an important rule: Only Jesse Jackson can have his past slams on conservatives forgiven. And that's because he did something they really really liked. Otherwise, it's like the kid that barfed in class in 2nd grade. No one forgets and must bring it up at every opportunity. It's called having no life.
How silly of me. If only Foxman had supported the Schindlers, then all would have been forgiven, and somebody would have posted a link to donate to the ADL.
BTW, if anyone is interested, the ADL website home page today prominently features a photo of the new pope, and the statement posted above, as well as a memoriam to John Paul II.
You don't need any excuse to bash the ignorant Foxman. The ADL should be a little more selective in what they label as antisemitism. Just because Foxman is welcoming Ratzinger doesn't make up for his ignorant actions in the past.