Berlusconi provokes Vatican ire after cracking Jewish holocaust joke

London, Oct 4 (ANI): Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi is known to often put his foot in his mouth, and this time he has provoked outrage after an ill-judged joke about Jews and the Holocaust.

Berlusconi cracked the joke while speaking to emergency workers dealing with the aftermath of last year's earthquake in central Italy.

"A Jew hides a fellow Jew in his basement at the time of the concentration camps and charges him 3,000 euro a day," The Telegraph quoted him as saying.

He went on: "The Jew paid up because he had the money but do you think he should tell him that Hitler has died and the war is over?"

The Vatican's official newspaper L'Osservatore Romano described the jokes as 'deplorable' adding they "offended the sentiment of believers and the sacred memory of six million Holocaust victims."

Opposition leader Pier Luigi Bersani, also joined the Vatican in condemning Berlusconi and said, "I'm amazed that a person capable of such vulgarities should be running a country like ours."

Berlusconi was unrepentant yesterday and said the jokes were "just a laugh" that were "made in private, not offensive and not a sin." (ANI)

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