Pope was or was not a member of Hitler Youth?

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A row has flared over Pope Benedict XVI's membership as a teenager of the Hitler Youth, as he paid a historic visit to Jerusalem's holy sites.

A Vatican spokesman said the pontiff had "never, never, never" belonged - contradicting the Pope's own admission.

The comments came as he visited the Dome of the Rock - the first pontiff to do so - and then the Western Wall, one of Judaism's holiest places.

Pope Benedict then said Mass for thousands in the Josaphat valley.

It is the second day of his five-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Vatican spokesman Rev Federico Lombardi said: "The Pope was never in the Hitler Youth, never, never, never."

But his remark appeared to contradict the Pope's own words in his 1997 memoirs, Salt of the Earth.

"As a seminarian, I was registered in the HY [Hitler Youth]," he said then. "As soon as I was out of the seminary, I never went back."

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