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‘The great powers should have done more to protect people from the Nazis,’ says Pope Francis

Pope Francis blesses a child as he leaves a gathering with young people in Piazza Vittorio in Turin (CNS)

Pope Francis has criticised the “great powers” of the world for not doing enough to protect Jews, Christians, homosexuals and others who were sent to death camps during the Second World War.

The Pope made his comments in a series of off-the-cuff remarks to a group of young people in Turin, during his two-day visit to the city in northern Italy, according to the Associated Press.

“The great powers had photographs of the railway routes that the trains took to Auschwitz to kill Jews, Christians, homosexuals, everybody,” Francis said, adding, “Why didn’t they bomb (those railroad routes)?”

He also referred to the suffering of Christians in the Russian gulags and said that “the great powers divided up Europe like a cake” after the war.

Pope Francis has repeated his description of the killing of an estimated 1.5 million people, mainly Armenian Christians, by Ottoman forces in 1915 as a genocide.

Referring to the “great tragedy of Armenia,” the Pope said: “In the last century, so many, millions, (of Armenians) died. But where were the great powers then? They were looking the other way.”

According to the National Catholic Reporter, Pope Francis also warned young people against solely putting their trust in politicians.

When an unemployed young woman told the Pope that she had lost faith in society due to the fact she had been out of work many years, Francis responded: “In Europe there is war, in Africa there is war, in Asia there is war. But can I have trust in a world like this? Can I trust the world’s managers? When I go to give my vote for a candidate, can I trust that they will not bring my country to war?”

He added: “If you put trust only in people, you lose.”

On Sunday, Pope Francis also visited the Turin Shroud, which has been on display to the public since April.