Pope's Polish visit gets mixed reviews

29th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

29 May 2006, WARSAW - Pope Benedict XVI's call for reconciliation during his visit to Auschwitz prompted differing reactions from Polish and Jewish commentators, reports said Monday.

29 May 2006

WARSAW - Pope Benedict XVI's call for reconciliation during his visit to Auschwitz prompted differing reactions from Polish and Jewish commentators, reports said Monday.

"The pope paid a nice tribute to the ashes of those murdered, but he did not mention what is happening in the world today nor did he speak of the future," wrote Marek Edelman, the last surviving commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in the daily Gazeta Wyborcza.

"While the pope had queried 'God's silence,' he would have posed other questions such as: Where was the human being then; why were people so indifferent to the crimes being committed in front of their eyes; are things different today; and has humanity learnt from the times in which God remained silent,'" Edelman wrote.

"I wish every German politician the courage that Benedict XVI showed when assessing what the German National Socialists did," wrote former Auschwitz prisoner and former foreign minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski.

"Benedict XVI said more than could be expected in Auschwitz. Hardly any German politician would have managed so categorically to name the extent of Germany's enormous guilt in World War II," he said.

The Israeli historian, Israel Gutman, who comes from Poland, wrote: "I appreciate Benedict XVI's visit to Auschwitz," adding, "But as a former prisoner in Auschwitz and as a former resident of Poland who lost all my relatives during the war, I would have expected a different question before the pope's address - 'Why did millions of Jews lose their lives then?' God was not the only one who did not hear the screams of the murdered - the Vatican, Pius XII did not hear them either. I regret that the pope did not speak of the destructive power of anti Semitism."

DPA

Subject: German News

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