Should Jews be disturbed by the image of a young Ratzinger in Nazi uniform?
A. No, that’s ridiculous. When I was a child in Italy, I was in the Fascist Youth! From the age of 4 you couldn’t go to school without joining. That was before many family members were killed in the Holocaust. Similarly, in Germany you just couldn’t escape being in the Nazi Youth. But the fact is he actually deserted from the German Army. He hated Hitler. He risked his life. And his family was vehemently anti-Nazi. Q. How did the Holocaust shape his worldview? A. One thinks of John Paul II’s childhood in Poland and his association with the Jewish people there, the consternation he experienced when his Jewish teachers were taken to extermination camps. It made a huge imprint on his conscience. I believe it was the same for Ratzinger. Q. Debates still rage regarding the Church’s role in not acting forcefully to stop the extermination of European Jews. Will Benedict address this? A. The central question revolves around Pope Pius XII. If you ask me if he was an anti-Semite, I believe the a
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