ROME (Apr. 8)
Pope John Paul yesterday assailed Nazism as “a mad imperialist ideology” and condemned the atrocities that it bred, including the killings of the Jewish people who were “condemned to extermination.”
In an Easter message delivered to more than 200,000 persons gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope invoked the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of World War II. He praised “the men and women in each country who offered their lives in sacrifice for the right cause, the cause of the dignity of the human person.”
“They faced death as defenseless victims, offered in Holocaust, or defending with their arms the free way to life,” the Pope said. “They fought not to answer violence with violence or hatred with hatred but to affirm a right and a freedom for themselves and others, also for the children of those who were then the oppressors.”
“For more than five years,” the Pope added, “humanity had lived a horrendous experience. Tens of millions of people massacred, on the battlefronts, cities razed, slaughter in the air and on the sea, populations ruined by hunger and privations.”
In addition, he said, “other tens of millions of human beings” were “decimated and destroyed in the concentration camps.” He said, “the Jewish people” were “condemned to extermination.” The Pope also sent a Passover greeting in Hebrew to the Jewish people.