Shortly before Israel marks Yom HaShoah, Pope Francis likened Europe’s refugee camps to the concentration camps that millions of Jewish people were sent to during the Holocaust, sparking criticism throughout the Jewish world.

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On Saturday evening, Pope Francis visited a basilica in Rome and commented on the refugee crisis in Europe. During his speech, the Pope said that the refugee camps in Europe are just like the concentration camps that millions of Jewish people were sent to during the Holocaust.

The Pope spoke about his trip to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos last year. During his time in the camp, the Pope met a Muslim refugee who shared his story with him. “I don’t know if he managed to get out of the same concentration camp,” the Pope said. He added that “many refugee camps are of concentration [type] because of the large number of people who are left inside them.”







Pope Francis

Pope Francis Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

The Pope’s controversial remark sparked many responses. The American Jewish Committee urged the Pope “to reconsider his regrettable choice of words.” In a statement, AJC head David Harris said: “The conditions in which migrants are currently living in some European countries may well be difficult and deserve still greater international attention but concentration camps they certainly are not.”