Pope expresses Holocaust 'shame' before Slovak Jews

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Pope Francis visiting the Bethlehem Centre for the homeless in Bratislava during his four-day visit to Slovakia (AFP/Tiziana FABI)
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Pope Francis on Monday voiced "shame" over the massacre of more than 100,000 Slovak Jews in the Holocaust, condemning World War II's "frenzy of hatred" and lingering anti-Semitism.

The 84-year-old pontiff, who is on his first foreign trip since a colon operation in July, was speaking in a former Jewish neighbourhood of the Slovak capital Bratislava.

"Here, in this place, the Name of God was dishonoured," the pope said, speaking in front of a Holocaust memorial on Rybne Square, where a synagogue was torn down during Communist times.

Slovakia during World War II was governed by a Nazi puppet regime headed up by a Catholic priest, Jozef Tiso, who signed anti-Jewish laws and allowed the deportation of Jews.

"Here, reflecting on the history of the Jewish people marked by this tragic affront to the most high, we admit with shame how often his ineffable name has been used for unspeakable acts of inhumanity," the pope said.

"Let us unite in condemning all violence and every form of anti-Semitism," he added.

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