RIO DE JANEIRO – The archbishop of the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, Dadeus Grings, accused Jews of running the world’s propaganda and said that was why not everything has been revealed about the Holocaust in which, he says, more Catholics died than Jews.
“More Catholics died than Jews in the Holocaust, but that is never mentioned because Jews run the world’s propaganda,” the prelate said in an interview published Friday in the final edition of the Brazilian trade publication Press & Advertising.
Grings, born 72 years ago to a family of German origin and considered a representative of the moderate wing of the Catholic Church, also justified the Crusades against the Muslims during the Middle Ages, defended the celibacy of the clergy and condemned stem-cell research, among other controversial subjects.
The archbishop’s statement was refuted by the Jewish community of Rio Grande do Sul, whose capital is Porto Alegre, which published a harsh response to Grings on its Web site.
The missive, signed by the president of the Israeli Federation of Rio Grande do Sul, Henry Chmelnitsky, said that “this is not the first time the clergy has referred to the Holocaust in a distorted way.”
“Minimizing the Holocaust or making it relative offends the memory of millions who died in a war spawned by fanaticism and intolerance,” he said.
The leader recalled that in recent years the Vatican itself adopted “an open and transparent position with regard to the slaying of 6 million Jews” in World War II.
Chmelnitsky also said that if fewer Jews died than Catholics in World War II, “it was because there were and still are fewer Jews in the world.”
“Proportionately the massacre minimized by the archbishop signified the annihilation of most a people that was already few in number,” the leader of the regional Jewish community said.
Chmelnitsky expressed the hope that Grings “will reflect on his statement” and said that “the only way to stop the kind of barbarism perpetrated by the Nazis from being repeated – against Jews or any other ethnicities or religious groups – is to respect memories of the past with seriousness, brotherhood and honesty.”