B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is deeply disappointed in Pope Francis’ comparison of European migrant camps to Nazi concentration camps. We ask the pontiff to refrain from drawing this analogy in the future.
The Holocaust—a campaign of genocide against the Jewish people—was unique in its scope and its depravity. Any attempt to compare it to other tragedies ultimately trivializes the importance of the Holocaust and reduces its potency as a tool to educate current and future generations.
The pope first made this comparison on April 22, when he said during an event in Rome: “These refugee camps—so many are concentration camps, crowded with people.”
Then, on April 29, a German reporter asked the pope if he made a mistake in his original comparison.
Pope Francis defended his initial remarks over the weekend, “There was no linguistic lapse: There are concentration camps, sorry: refugee camps that are true camps of concentration.”
Nazis built concentration camps to murder millions of Jews. Migrant camps are meant to assist people fleeing brutal hardships at home.
We understand that people living in European migrant camps have endured arduous conditions. However, these migrant camps cannot be compared to Nazi concentration camps, which were built with the express purpose of corralling the Jews of Europe so they could be annihilated en masse.