Was Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) a Nazi?
There’s a lot of conversation taking place right now, regarding whether or not Pope Benedict XVI was or was not a Nazi in his youth. One fact that has not been disputed is taht Ratzinger was member of the Nazi youth movement.
Per the AP (via azcentral.com): “In his memoirs, Ratzinger speaks openly of being enrolled in the Nazi youth movement against his will when he was 14 in 1941, when membership was compulsory. He says he was soon let out because of his studies for the priesthood.
Two years later, he was drafted into a Nazi anti-aircraft unit as a helper, a common fate for teenage boys too young to be soldiers. Enrolled as a soldier at 18, in the last months of the war, he barely finished basic training.”
However, there is a question on whether he did anything willingly. For example, Sam Ser at the Jerusalem Post points out that Ratzinger was forced to join Hitler Youth: “As the Sunday Times article admits, Ratzinger’s membership in the Hitler Youth was not voluntary but compulsory; also admitted are the facts that the cardinal ? only a teenager during the period in question ? was the son of an anti-Nazi policeman, that he was given a dispensation from Hitler Youth activities because of his religious studies, and that he deserted the German army.”
I am guessing that we’ll hear a whole lot more about this now that Ratzinger has been elected Pope.