April 22, 2017 – New York – AJC criticized Pope Francis for calling places in Europe where migrants and refugees are being held “concentration camps.” The Pope made his remarks during a visit to a Rome basilica today where he met migrants and recalled his own visit to the Greek island of Lesbos.

“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,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “The Nazis and their allies erected and used concentration camps for slave labor and the extermination of millions of people during World War II.There is no comparison to the magnitude of that tragedy.”

Referring to the places in Europe where migrants and refugees are being held, the Pope said, “These refugee camps — so many are concentration camps, crowded with people.”

“We respectfully urge the Pope to reconsider his regrettable choice of words,” said Harris. “Precision of language and facts is absolutely essential when making any historical reference, all the more so when coming from such a prominent and admired world figure.”