Daily Israel Report

Aussie Cardinal Apologizes for Holocaust Comments

Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, apologized for saying that the Germans suffered more than the Jews during World War II.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 4/15/2012, 11:26 AM

Baptist Church
Baptist Church
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, has apologized for his remarks during a televised debate aired on April 10 with the atheist advocate and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, in which he said that the Germans suffered more than any other people during World War II.

Following a question asked by a member of the audience as to why a supreme deity did not intervene in preventing the systematic murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust, Cardinal Pell remarked, “[G-d] helped probably through secondary causes for the Jews to escape and continue. It’s interesting, through these secondary causes, probably no people in history have suffered the way the Germans were [sic].”

The cardinal also said that the Jews are intellectually inferior to the Egyptians, exclaiming that, ''the poor, the little Jewish people, they were originally shepherds'' stuck between the great Egyptian and Babylonian powers of their time.

He quickly retracted his remarks and issued an apology saying that the “last thing I would want to do is give offense.”

“I am sorry that these points, which I tried to make, did not come out as I would have preferred,” he said. The cardinal continued to state that there would be a “strong argument to be made” that the Jews suffered more than the Germans.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry conveyed its ''serious concern” over Pell’s “problematic” remarks and welcomed the apology, saying it was a “first step” in clarifying the leader’s remarks.

In his statement the Cardinal said that ''historically'' or ''culturally'' unequal might have been a better term than ''intellectually''.

''My esteem for the Jewish faith is a matter of public record, and the last thing I would want to do is give offence,” Pell said.