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אפיפיור בנדיקטוס ה-16 ביקור יד ושם Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
אפיפיור בנדיקטוס ה-16 ביקור יד ושם Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
 
 

Shoah survivor: Criticism of pope exaggerated

After pontiff's Yad Vashem speech slammed as 'devoid of any compassion', leader of Holocaust survivors group says 'he is not the president of a Zionist organization'

Yael Branovsky
Published: 05.12.09, 00:52 / Israel News

While Pope Benedict XVI's speech at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum drew the ire of the Holocaust memorial's chairman Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, the head of the Consortium of Holocaust Survivors' Organizations in Israel said the criticism directed at the pontiff was exaggerated.

 

"(The pope) is not the president of a Zionist organization, so why should we have any complaints towards him?" Noah Frug said Monday night.

 

Yad Vashem
Pope pledges to remember Jews killed in Holocaust  / Aviad Glickman
During visit to Yad Vashem, Benedict XVI says Shoah victims 'lost their lives, but they will never lose their names'; adds: Church working to ensure that hatred never reigns again. Rabbi Lau: Speech devoid of compassion, regret
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"He came here to bring the Church and Judaism closer together, and we should consider his visit positive and important," Frug said.

 

However, other Holocaust survivors were less accepting of the pope's rhetoric. "He was looking for a way to avoid addressing the Holocaust," survivor Shmuel Rainish said. "It is difficult to boycott the leader of billions, but I would expect him at the very least to apologize for the wartime pope's (Pius XII) silence during the Holocaust."

 

Zeev Factor of the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel said, "As a native of the county that carried out (the Holocaust), I would expect the pope to declare that anti-Semitism is a sin; as a religious man he is supposed to condemn the phenomenon.

 

"In any case it is good that he arrived (in Israel); this way we know what people have learned and what they've forgotten," he said.

 

Rabbi Lau criticized the pope's speech as being "devoid of any compassion, any regret, any pain over the horrible tragedy of the six million victims. Even the word 'six' was not included."

 

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