Pope, Yad Vashem chief discuss cooperation on Holocaust education

 — June 9, 20229 juin 2022
By La Croix International staff

Dani Dayan, head of the Holocaust center in Jerusalem, describes Pope Francis as a friend and an ally in the mission to defeat antisemitism

Pope Francis met with the chairman of the Yad Vashem (World Holocaust Remembrance Center) and the two discussed ways to prevent antisemitism and increase cooperation on Holocaust education. Dani Dayan, the head of the center in Jerusalem, described Pope Francis as a friend and an ally in the mission to defeat antisemitism. Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, is universally recognized as the ultimate source for Holocaust education, documentation and research.

The meeting that took place on June 9 was also attended by Rafi Schutz, Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See. Pope Francis and Dayan both share Buenos Aires as their birthplace and were able to converse in their native Spanish. The discussion focused on ongoing collaborative efforts by Yad Vashem and the Catholic Church on “Holocaust remembrance, education and documentation, and to discuss efforts to fight antisemitism and racism worldwide,” Yad Vashem said in a statement.

“During our meeting today, along with various issues I raised, I proposed to the pope all of Yad Vashem’s expertise and influence, our abilities, materials and scholarship in order to address these issues related to the Holocaust and the Church in particular, and on the worldwide stage in general,” Dayan said in a statement.

“Never forget you have a friend here”

Dayan said Pope Francis was very clear in condemning the scourge of antisemitism, and he upheld the importance to continue to fight and defeat it. “For Yad Vashem, which is dedicated to the memory of the 6 million Jews that were assassinated by Nazi Germany and by its collaborators, this is a historical moment,” he said.

Dayan said he presented the pope with a gift, and he was gracious enough to present one, too, saying: “Never forget you have a friend here.” Dayan presented Pope Francis with a replica of a painting created by I. Eisikowicz depicting the Ten Commandments from a synagogue in Cernauti, Romania during the war, that is now Chernivtsi, Ukraine. It is all that remains from this once-thriving center of Jewish life before it was destroyed by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

“The Ten Commandments are written on the tablets at the base of flames of fire, topped by a crown adorned with a Star of David. The Tablets of the Covenant represent the eternal Judeo-Christian values, and the plaque model is therefore a poignant gift from a representative of the Jewish people to the pope,” Yad Vashem said in a statement.

The meeting between the two comes amid growing scrutiny regarding the Vatican’s actions during the Holocaust, after Pope Francis opened the church’s archives pertaining to the Second World War and on the pontificate of Pius XII (1939-1958) to researchers for consultation two years ago.

“When I thanked him for opening the archives of the Vatican of the relevant period of the Holocaust for our researchers, he said very clearly that to open the archives is to make justice,” Dayan said. Pope Francis, he said, reiterated “that the Church not only is not afraid of history, the Church loves history.” The pope also said that he is well aware that, as in other organizations, in the Church “there were people who did the right thing, and those who did not.”

This is first meeting of its kind, between the pope and chairman of Yad Vashem. Although three popes have visited Yad Vashem since the center was opened in 1953, including Pope Francis in 2014, this was the first time for its chairman to meet with the pope in the Vatican, according to the center.

During his speech there, Pope Francis prayed that “grant us the grace to be ashamed of what men have done,” and cried out “Never again, Lord, never again!”

Posted: June 9, 2022 • Permanent link: ecumenism.net/?p=11689
Categories: La CroixIn this article: anti-semitism, Catholic, Pope Francis, Shoah
Transmis : 9 juin 2022 • Lien permanente : ecumenism.net/?p=11689
Catégorie : La CroixDans cet article : anti-semitism, Catholic, Pope Francis, Shoah


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