In the most symbolic moment of his return home to Germany, Pope Benedict has made an historic visit to a synagogue in Cologne. There was a warm welcome for the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who, like other Germans of his age had been forced to join the Hitler Youth as a teenager.
There was only one sensitive moment, when a German Jewish leader urged Benedict to open up all the Vatican’s archives dealing with the wartime period.Jewish groups claim the then Pope, Pius XII, turned a blind eye to the slaughter of the Jews. The Vatican says he worked behind the scenes to save them. To conclude the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day festivities in Cologne, Benedict met representatives of Germany’s Protestant Churches and Muslim leaders.