Susan Sarandon attacked for ‘Nazi’ Pope quip
Catholics and Jews unite against actress for ‘hateful’ remark about Benedict
CATHOLIC and Jewish groups have rounded on the Hollywood actress and civil rights campaigner Susan Sarandon for calling Pope Benedict XVI a Nazi. She made the comments about the Pontiff while speaking at the Hamptons Film Festival on Long Island in New York.
Sarandon was being interviewed by the Close Encounters of the Third Kind actor Bob Balaban about her Oscar-winning role in the 1995 film Dead Man Walking. She told Balaban she had sent a copy of the 1993 book of the same name - by Sister Helen Prejean - to the Pope. She added: "The last one, not this Nazi one we have now."
As Balaban tutted disapprovingly, Sarandon, who was brought up a Roman Catholic, reportedly repeated her comment, drawing laughter from the film festival crowd.
Born Joseph Ratzinger in Bavaria, Benedict XVI was conscripted in 1941 into the Hitler Youth, but was said to be a reluctant member and refused to attend meetings. In 1945 he deserted from the anti-aircraft corps.
The Anti-Defamation League, which campaigns against anti-Semitism, called for Sarandon to apologise for her "hateful, vindictive" words while the president of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, said that Sarandon's comments were "positively obscene".
He told TMZ: "Joseph Ratzinger was conscripted into the Nazi Youth the way every other 14-year-old German boy was at the time. Unlike most others, he not only refused to go to the compulsory meetings - he actually deserted the Hitler Youth. Which is precisely why Jews today regard him as a friend, not as an enemy."