On October 16, 1943, more than 1,000 Jews were deported from Rome to the Auschwitz concentration camp, Vatican Radio reported.
The pope was joined by Chief Rabbi of Rome Dr. Riccardo Di Segni, the President of the Jewish Community of Rome, Dr. Riccardo Pacifici, and the President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, Dr. Renzo Gattegna.
"For many centuries ... the Jewish community and the Church of Rome have lived in our city, with a history -- as we well know -- which was often transversed by misunderstandings and even true grievances," Francis said. "However, it is a story, that with the help of God, has for many decades experienced the development of friendly and fraternal relations."
"We will remember in a few days the 70th anniversary of the deportation of the Jews of Rome. We will remember and pray for the many innocent victims of human barbarity, for their families," said the pope said. "It will also be an opportunity to keep vigilant so that, under any pretext, any forms of intolerance and anti-Semitism in Rome and the rest of the world not come back to life."
Francis also took the opportunity to speak on anti-Semitism within the church.
"I've said it other times and I would like to repeat it now: It's a contradiction that a Christian is anti-Semitic: His roots are Jewish," the pope said. "A Christian cannot be anti-Semitic! Let anti-Semitism be banished from the heart and life of every man and every woman!"
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