Austrian Catholic, Protestant churches apologize to Jews

Separate apologies for anti-Semitism before and during Holocaust come on day of commemoration of end of WWII

VIENNA — Austria’s Roman Catholic and Protestant churches have apologized for their anti-Semitic attitudes before and during World War II.

The separate apologies were issued Friday, a day of nationwide commemorations of the end of World War II 70 years ago.

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn said the Catholic Church “must acknowledge its share of responsibility for the creation of a climate of disdain and hatred” for Jews before the Nazi era. He spoke of a lack of “pity and solidarity with our Jewish fellow citizens” during the Holocaust.

Austria’s Protestant Council of Churches expressed “particular shame” for “complicity against Jews and other groups … that were considered ‘unfit to live.'”

Austrians welcomed their country’s annexation by Germany in 1938 and had more Nazi Party members per capita than in Germany.

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