Did Pope Benedict Join Hitler's Youth? - Opposing Views

Did Pope Benedict Join Hitler's Youth?

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Catholic League president Bill Donohue
comments on
media reports citing Pope Benedict XVI’s membership in the Hitler
Youth:

“The English and French news services,
Reuters and
AFP, flatly say that the pope ‘was a member of the Hitler Youth.’
The
U.K.’s Timesonline writes that he ‘was in the Hitler
Youth
and enlisted with the Wehrmacht,’ noting that ‘he had the excuse
that
this was standard practice for young German men at the time.’ The
Daily
Mail
from Pakistan reports ‘This is a German pope who served
in
Hitler’s youth corps.’ Israel Today magazine says many
Israelis interpret the pope’s visit to the Holocaust Memorial ‘as
a
stunt to cover up his past as a member of the Hitler Youth
movement
during World War II.’ In one article, the Associated Press notes
that
the pope ‘has written that the Nazis forced him’ to join the
Hitler
Youth, and in another it mentions ‘Benedict says he was coerced.’
Similarly, CBS reports that ‘Benedict has said he was
coerced.’

“All of this is despicable smear. The
New York
Times
got it right when it said that the pope ‘was forced
into
the Hitler Youth and the German Army in World War II.’
Bloomberg.com
also got it right when it noted ‘the German pope’s obligatory
membership
as a 14-year-old in Hitler Youth’; it said further that he
‘didn’t
attend meetings and he later deserted when he was drafted into
the
German army.’ Moreover, his failure to attend Hitler Youth
meetings
brought economic hardship to his family: it meant no discounts
for
school tuition. None of this was a stunt. Furthermore, no one can
deny that the pope was coerced into doing what the Nazis demanded
of
young men at the time.

“Günter Grass and Jürgen Habermas, two
German
intellectuals loved by the pope’s critics, were also forced to
join
the Hitler Youth. But because they are left-wing icons, no one
implies they are anti-Semitic.

“Even Bill Maher apologized when I blasted
him for
accusing the pope of being a Nazi. The guilty media should do
likewise and correct the record.”

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