April 19, 2005

New Pope=Former Hitler Youth

From this story from the Times of London (which predates the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the Papacy):

Unknown to many members of the church, however, Ratzinger’s past includes brief membership of the Hitler Youth movement and wartime service with a German army anti- aircraft unit.

Although there is no suggestion that he was involved in any atrocities, his service may be contrasted by opponents with the attitude of John Paul II, who took part in anti-Nazi theatre performances in his native Poland and in 1986 became the first pope to visit Rome’s synagogue.
He upset many Jews with a statement in 1987 that Jewish history and scripture reach fulfilment only in Christ — a position denounced by critics as “theological anti-semitism”.

Photo from AFP.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:25 PM

    From the Wall Street Journal:

    Traunstein was also where Cardinal Ratzinger went through the harrowing years of Nazi rule and World War II. In his memoirs, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote that he was enrolled in the Nazi youth movement against his will when he was 14 in 1941, when membership was compulsory. He said he was soon let out because of his studies for the priesthood.

    Two years later he was drafted into a Nazi antiaircraft unit as a helper, a common task for teenage boys too young to be soldiers. A year later he was released, only to be sent to the Austrian-Hungarian border to construct tank barriers.

    He deserted the Germany army in May 1945 and returned to Traunstein -- a risky move, since deserters were shot on the spot if caught, or publicly hanged as examples to others. When he arrived home, U.S. soldiers took him prisoner and held him in a prisoner-of-war camp for several weeks. Upon his release, he re-entered the seminary.