Going against comments previously made by Pope Benedict XVI himself, a Vatican spokesman on Tuesday was quoted as saying that the pontiff was never a member of the Hitler Youth.
A Reuters report quoted Rev. Federico Lombardi as saying that the pope was actually involved in an anti-aircraft unit which was drafted between 1944 and 1945. "The pope was never in the Hitler Youth, never, never, never," he was quoted as saying.
The German anti-aircraft units, according to Lombardi, "had absolutely nothing to do with the Hitler Youth and the Nazis and Nazi ideology."
While he failed to address a 1996 book which first state that the pope was automatically enrolled in Hitler Youth, the spokesman stressed, "It is important to say what is true and not to say false things about a very sensitive thing like this."