Pope says Vatican helped Jews during Holocaust

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Pope Benedict XVI has defended the Vatican against accusations of indifference towards the Nazis' annihilation of Europe's Jews in WWII.

On a landmark visit to Rome's main synagogue, the Pope said the Vatican helped Jews and "provided assistance, often in a hidden and discreet way".

The pontiff responded after an Italian Jewish leader spoke of the painful "silence" of wartime Pope Pius XII.

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