search

Pope likens Russia’s war in Ukraine to Nazi extermination campaign

Saying ‘history is repeating itself,’ pontiff invokes Operation Reinhard, the mass killing of 1.7 million Jews in 1942-1943 in Nazi death camps in Poland

Pope Francis arrives for an audience with members of the International Christian Union of Business Executives, in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican, October 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis arrives for an audience with members of the International Christian Union of Business Executives, in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican, October 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope Francis on Wednesday likened Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to an intense mass-slaughter campaign, mostly of Jews, carried out by Nazi Germany during World War II.

“May the memory of this horrible event arouse intentions and actions of peace in everyone,” the pope said in a weekly address at the Vatican, after mentioning a memorial service held for Operation Reinhard at the Catholic University of Lublin, in Poland.

Francis called the notorious action an “extermination,” then went off-script, adding: “And history is repeating itself. We see now what is happening in Ukraine.”

The infamous campaign during the Holocaust was carried out by Nazi Germany between March 1942 and November 1943 in the Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibor death camps, killing some 1.7 million Jews, most of whom were Polish.

President Vladamir Putin and his allies have rationalized Russia’s war on Ukraine as a “special military operation” to “denazify” the country, falsely claiming Kyiv was aligned in some way with Nazism.

Ukraine’s President Volodomyr Zelensky is Jewish.

Beginning in 1942, Jews in the Lodz ghetto of Nazi-occupied Poland were deported to death camps including Chelmno and Auschwitz-Birkenau. (Yad Vashem)

Throughout the war, Francis has denounced the bloodshed but has lately become increasingly critical of Russia.

Last month, the pope compared Ukrainian’s present suffering to the “terrible genocide” of the Holodomor — a famine in 1932-1933 that killed millions generally blamed on Soviet leader Josef Stalin.

In October, the pope made a rare show of singling out a specific leader, calling Putin to “stop… this spiral of violence and death” during an address at St. Peter’s Square.

“On the other side, pained by the immense suffering of the Ukrainian people following the aggression undergone, I direct a similarly trusting appeal to the president of Ukraine to be open to serious proposals of peace,” Francis added.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
image
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure: example@domain.com
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.