Pope Francis on Sunday denounced what he called the "great powers" of the world for failing to act when there was intelligence indicating that Jews and others were being transported to death camps in Europe during World War II, according to The Associated Press (AP).
The pope's harsh assessments came in remarks during a visit to Turin in northern Italy, when he told young people he understands how they find it hard to trust the world.
"The great powers had photographs of the railway routes that the trains took to the concentration camps, like Auschwitz, to kill the Jews, and also the Christians, and also the Roma, also the homosexuals," Francis said, according to AP.
"Tell me, why didn't they bomb" those railroad routes?, he added.
Lamenting the cynicism of world players in the 1930s and 1940s, the Pope continued, "The great powers divided up Europe like a cake."
He also cited what he called the "great tragedy of Armenia" in the last century, after already having angered Turkey when describing the killings of Armenians as "the first genocide of the 20th century".
"So many died. I don't know the figure, more than a million, certainly. But where were the great powers then? They were looking the other way," the pope was quoted as having said.
The last time the pope made such remarks about the deaths of Armenians, Turkey summoned the Vatican's ambassador in Ankara over the remarks and recalled the Turkish envoy to the Vatican.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded with anger to the Pope’s remarks, warning him not to repeat such a “mistake” again.