Brazilian bishop twists the Shoah

JTA/March 29, 2009

Rio De Janeiro - A Catholic archbishop in Brazil minimized the Holocaust and declared that Jews dominate the world media.

Dadeus Grings, the archbishop of Porto Alegre, declared that "more Catholics than Jews have died in the Holocaust, but this is not usually told because Jews own the world's propaganda."

In a six-page interview that appeared Friday in the Brazilian trade magazine Press & Advertising, Grings went on to say, "How many millions of Catholics were victims of the Holocaust? Twenty-two million? The Jews say they were the major victims but the major victims were the Gypsies, who were exterminated. And they don't mention this."

Porto Alegre is home to Brazil's third largest Jewish community, with some 12,000 Jews.

"It's not the first time Mr. Grings refers to the Holocaust in a twisted way," said Henry Chmelnitsky, president of the Rio Grande do Sul Jewish Federation. "Fewer Jews died in World War II because there were and there still are fewer Jews in the world. Proportionally, the extermination minimized by the archbishop meant the slaughter of most of a people that was already small. By reproducing stereotypes created by the Nazis, Grings positions himself on the wrong side of history."

Grings is the second Catholic bishop in recent months to publicly minimize the Holocaust.

Richard Williams, who headed a seminary in Argentina, caused a furor over his public denial that gas chambers were used to murder Jews during World War II and over claims that no more than 300,000 Jews were killed by the Nazis. His rehabilitation by Pope Benedict XVI in January after decades of exclusion over his membership in an ultra-right traditionalist sect sparked a rift in Catholic-Jewish ties.

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