A "fuhrer" furor is dogging the papal candidacy of Germany's top Roman Catholic cleric — over revelations he was a member of the Hitler Youth.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger — a favorite to become the next pontiff — joined the Nazi children's corps in 1941 as a 14-year-old and was later an anti-aircraft gunner.
At one point, he guarded a factory where slaves from a concentration camp were forced to work. He was later shipped to Hungary, where he reportedly saw Jews persecuted.
Ratzinger, a staunch conservative dubbed "God's Rottweiler," has said he joined the Hitler Youth when membership became compulsory. He and his brother were later drafted but deserted. The cardinal claims he never fired a shot and that resistance would have meant death.
Not so, Germans from his hometown of Traunstein told The Times of London.
"It was possible to resist, and those people set an example for others," recalled Elizabeth Lohner, 84. "The Ratzingers were young — and they had made a different choice."
WWJD? Join the Hitler Youth?Posted by smit2174 at April 17, 2005 10:27 PM