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Pope expresses Holocaust ‘shame’ before Slovak Jews

Pope Francis meets the Jewish community at the Rybne Square in Bratislava, Slovakia, on September 13, 2021. (Tiziana FABI / AFP)
Pope Francis meets the Jewish community at the Rybne Square in Bratislava, Slovakia, on September 13, 2021. (Tiziana FABI / AFP)

Pope Francis voice “shame” over the massacre of more than 100,000 Slovak Jews in the Holocaust, condemning World War II’s “frenzy of hatred” and lingering anti-Semitism.

“Here, in this place, the Name of God was dishonored,” the pope says, speaking in front of a Holocaust memorial on Rybne Square in a former Jewish neighborhood of the Slovak capital Bratislava, where a synagogue was torn down during Communist times.

Slovakia during World War II was governed by a Nazi puppet regime headed up by a Catholic priest, Jozef Tiso, who signed anti-Jewish laws and allowed the deportation of Jews.

“Here, reflecting on the history of the Jewish people marked by this tragic affront to the most high, we admit with shame how often his ineffable name has been used for unspeakable acts of inhumanity,” the pope says.

“Let us unite in condemning all violence and every form of anti-Semitism,” he adds.

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