There’s a new Pope. And he’s not Jewlicious. In fact, he was in the Hitler Youth as a…youth. That’s pretty much the anti-Jewlicious.

Too bad there’s no “Popealicious” category on this site.

(And I can’t believe I’m the first person to post on this. Must be a slow day at the office for Esther.)

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Esther Kustanowitz

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  • Ratzinger! Man. I did not see that coming at all. I am of courdse sad that my boy Lustiger didn’t make it but what the hey, I wasn’t ready for armageddon anyway. Plus I feel some Photoshop fun coming ….

  • The Hitler Youth thing is absolutely unfair. Ratzinger was required by law to join the Hitler Youth, and he was just 14 at the time. His biographers say he was not an enthusiastic member anyway. He was also drafted into the German army, but deserted a year later to the Allies.

    There’s really no evidence at all that Ratzinger was a Nazi. So it’s wrong to portray him as one.

  • I’m sorry but after the Jewish Community was fawning over itself to talk about how kind PJP II was to us, then they go and elect ANYONE from Germany? The guy is almsot 80, you think he did anything to sopt the nazi’s?

  • Interesting points, I will certainly look into this and perhaps write more about this angle. The fact he is from Germany certainly doesn’t thrill me in the least. Although he may not have joined
    with any enthusiasm you don’t know what his real feelings toward the Jews are at this point and time will tell.

  • Josh, if you’d clicked to my other blog post and then to the NY Post article, you’d see that view represented, for sure. I didn’t mean to imply that he was currently a Nazi. Plus, my Urban Kvetch post also includes some recent, more complimentary information courtesy of the JTA.

  • Bryan: Read this from the New York Post:

    He and his brother were later drafted but deserted. The cardinal claims he never fired a shot and that resistance would have meant death.

    Not so, Germans from his hometown of Traunstein told The Times of London.

    “It was possible to resist, and those people set an example for others,” recalled Elizabeth Lohner, 84. “The Ratzingers were young รขโ‚ฌโ€ and they had made a different choice.”

  • Esther, I didn’t mean to be attacking you specifically or anything like that. It’s just very frustrating to me, because Benedict-16 might end up with a “Nazi” murmur that will undermine any good things he does during his papacy.

    By the way, why is it objectionable in itself that he’s from Germany? Surely we don’t think that theologians should discriminate based on country of origin?

  • ck, you are suggesting that Ratzinger should have resisted? Surely that’s alot to ask of a 14 year old, and we’re going to hold it against him when he’s an old man?

  • Josh, no worries. I don’t feel attacked. I just wanted to make clear that I was trying to be more unbiased in the post, and it came across like I was chanting “Ratzinger’s a Nazi! Ratzinger’s a Nazi” on the playground.

    If anything, I hope that this blip on his past from age 14 (a year beyond “gil mitzvot”–how many bar mitzvah boys do you know who take contrarian perspectives?) will spur him to do more good works and become a positive force in the world. I may be overoptimistic on this, but maybe that won’t undermine his legacy, but rather strengthen it.

  • I agree with Janice. Esther’s quite witty.

    How many men agree that a woman who can make you laugh is a woman worth keeping? Raise your hands…

  • let’s not forget that Ratzinger was one of the closest advisors to the late Pope and we can only expect him to carry on in his footsteps, which were by in large friendly to the Jews.