Pope calls for Holocaust remembrance to prevent repeat

Ruth Ellen Gruber

Pope Francis visiting Auschwitz. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Pope Francis visiting Auschwitz in July 2016. (Screenshot from YouTube)

ROME (JTA) – Pope Francis said it is important to remember the Holocaust so that it never happens again.

The pope met on Friday, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, with a delegation from the European Jewish Congress. The Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, Fr. Norbert Hofmann, who also attended the meeting, told Vatican Radio that the pontiff had stressed the need for Christians to recall the Shoah.

The Pope, he said, “began the dialogue by mentioning the importance of this Day for the Jews, but also for us, because remembering the victims of the Holocaust is important so that this human tragedy never happens again.”

On his official Twitter feed, @pontifex, the pope also on Friday recalled the Shoah, tweeting “Today I want to remember in my heart all the victims of the Holocaust. May their sufferings and their tears never be forgotten.”  The tweet did not mention Jews.

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At the same time, the Vatican’s permanent representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, Msgr Janusz Urbanczyk, told an OSCE Permanent Council meeting Friday that “the Holocaust teaches us that utmost vigilance is always needed to be able to take prompt action in defense of human dignity and peace.”

January 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945, is observed as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The pope visited and prayed in silence at the former Nazi death camp, which is now a memorial museum, during a trip to Poland last summer.

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