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Arch-Traditionalist Catholics Storm Argentine Holocaust Memorial

The ceremony was a favorite annual inter-faith event of then Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who went on to become Pope Francis.

A priest confronts a protester
A priest confronts a protester
Screen grab/TN Ultima

BUENOS AIRES — Arch-traditionalist Catholics stormed the central Cathedral of Buenos Aires, shouting slogans and praying loudly during an Holocaust memorial service Tuesday night that had long been a ceremony led by the future Pope Francis.

The Argentine daily Clarinreported that a crowd of mostly young people suddenly interrupted a mixed-faith event marking the 75th anniversary of "Kristallnacht," the infamous Night of Broken Glass, which in 1938 initiated the Nazi regime's murderous persecution of Jews.

The demonstrators, including at least one priest, shouted slogans against the presence of Jews in a Catholic church, and began to loudly recite Christian prayers when the Archbishop of Buenos Aires Mario Poli — who succeeded the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio — sought to inaugurate the service, the Argentine news agency Télam reported.

The members of the group spread leaflets, denouncing “the worshippers of false gods” and “wolves parading as shepherds” they said were misleading the congregation about God.

Congregation members including officials, diplomats and members of the Jewish community protested, but members of the Federal Police present did not intervene, Clarin reported.

Archbishop Poli told Jewish members of the congregation, “dear Jewish brothers consider yourselves at home, because that is our desire as Christians, in spite of the traces of intolerance. Your presence here does not demystify God’s temple. Let us undertake this meeting in peace, as desired by Pope Francis.”

During the Kristallnacht rampage, between Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, more than 90 Jews were killed by thugs and paramilitaries marauding the streets in several German and Austrian cities, as bystanders watched thousands of businesses being burned and ransacked. Up to 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Wagner Group 2.0: Why Russia's Mercenary System Is Here To Stay

Many had predicted that the death last month of Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin meant the demise of the mercenary outfit. Yet signs in recent days say the private military outfit is active again in Ukraine, a reminder of the Kremlin's interest in continuing a private fighting formula that has worked all around the world.

Photograph of a Wagner soldier in the city of Artyomovsk, holding a rifle.

Ukraine, Donetsk Region - March 24, 2023: A Wagner Group soldier guards an area in the city of Artyomovsk (Bakhmut).

Cameron Manley


“Let’s not forget that there is no Wagner Group anymore,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had declared. “Such an organization, in our eyes, does not exist.”

The August 25 statement from came less than two days after the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the infamous Russian mercenary outfit, as questions swirled about Wagner's fate after its crucial role in the war in Ukraine and other Russian military missions around the world.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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How could an independent military outfit survive after its charismatic founder's death? It seemed highly unlikely that President Vladimir Putin would allow the survival of a group after had launched a short-lived coup attempt in late June that most outside observers believe led to Prigozhin's private airplane being shot down by Russian forces on August 23.

"Wagner is over,” said the Kremlin critic and Russian political commentator Maksim Katz. “The group can’t keep going. There’s the possibility that they could continue in parts or with Defense Ministry contracts, but the group only worked with an unofficial agreement between Putin and Prigozhin.”

Yet barely a month later, and there are already multiple signs that the Wagner phoenix is rising from the ashes.

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