ROME (Apr. 20)
The Vatican is saying that it intended no offense to Jews when the Vatican Post Office issued a stamp that depicts Jews wearing the pointed hats of the medieval ghetto.
“I can assure you that no lack of respect was intended in the choice of the stamp in question,” a Vatican spokesman said.
“It is part of a series of miniatures from the 13th century,” he said.
“In one of them, the artist showed Jesus speaking to a group of people and portrayed listeners wearing headgear that identified them as Jews.”
The Paris office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center last Friday asked the Vatican to withdraw the 2,500 lire, or $1.50, stamp, which it said encouraged anti- Semitic prejudice and violated the standards of the Universal Postal Union.
A letter from the Wiesenthal Center to the Vatican Commission on Judaism said the headgear was “discriminatory and the direct precursor to the Nazi yellow star” which Jews were made to wear during World War II.