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May 10, 2015 1:26 pm

Austrian Catholic and Protestant Churches Apologize for Anti-Semitism

avatar by JNS.org

Cheering crowds greet the Nazis in Vienna, Austria after the country joins the Third Reich in 1938 in what has become known as the Anschluss. Photo: German National Archive via Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.orgThe Catholic and Protestant churches in Austria have apologized for their anti-Semitism during and prior to the Holocaust.

The two churches issued two separate apologies on Friday, the day Austria commemorated the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

During that war, many Austrians had supported their nation’s annexation to Nazi Germany in 1938, and the country had a greater number of Nazi Party members per capita than in Germany.

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The Catholic Church “must acknowledge its share of responsibility for the creation of a climate of disdain and hatred” for Jews before the Nazi period and the lack of “pity and solidarity with our Jewish fellow citizens” during the Holocaust, said Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, the Associated Press reported.

The Austrian Protestant Council of Churches also expressed “particular shame” for “complicity against Jews and other groups … that were considered ‘unfit to live.'”

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