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B’nai B’rith President Reports on Pope’s Denunciation of Anti-semitism

February 16, 1960
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Pope John XXIII strongly denounced the recent rash of anti-Semitic outbreaks as violations of anti-Semitic outbreaks as violations of “the natural rights of man,” and called anti-Semitism “a sin against God and man,” Label A. Katz, national president of B’nai B’rith, reported here today.

Mr. Katz. who, with a B’nai B’rith delegation, had an audience with Pope John at the Vatican last month, disclosed the Pontiff’s statement for the first time when he addressed a convocation of Toronto B’nai B’rith lodges her today.

The synagogue vandalism and swastika daubings around the world were seen by Pope John, Ms, Katz said, as “violating not only the natural rights of man but as destroying the spirit of love and understanding that should exist among all brothers for the preservation of peace and freedom among all mankind.

“The Pope,” continued Mr. Katz, “also placed emphasis on what he called the ‘imperishable continuity’ between the old and the new treatments. He told us it is his private prayer that the people of both testaments will continue to grow closer in good relationships.”

From his own viewpoint, the B’nai B’rith leader said, the anti-Semitic outbreaks were attributable to “imitative domentla,” involving young persons in particular. “The bitter historical lessons of the Hitler era,” he warned, “are slipping by a younger generation at a time when their own survival as a free civilization will rest heavily on their genuine awareness of what democracy really is.”

Mr. Katz, who visited West Germany, declared that the “sincere determination” of the Adenauer government to democratize the country is handicapped by the large number of Nazi-oriented schoolteachers and government workers who still hold posts in the school system and in the civil service. Mr. Katz said there is “no real evidence” that the anti-Semitic outbreaks were linked to an anti-Semitic plot or neo-Nazi conspiracy.

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