Yesterday, I got quite a few comments and emails concerning the Pope’s decision to welcome back a Holocaust denier back into the church. There is still public outrage around the world that Pope Benedict XVI has decided to lift the excommunication of a British bishop who denies that Jews were killed in Nazi gas chambers.
There is even more outrage that he would do this the day before International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
January 27, a day that was designated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day by the UN General Assembly on November 1, 2005.
It decided that the United Nations would designate 27 January -– the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp — as an annual International Day of Commemoration to honour the victims of the Holocaust, and urged Member States to develop educational programmes to instil the memory of the tragedy in future generations to prevent genocide from occurring again, and requested the United Nations Secretary-General to establish an outreach programme on the “Holocaust and the United Nations”, as well as measures to mobilize civil society for Holocaust remembrance and education, in order to help prevent future acts of genocide.
Auschwitz survivors and government officials marked the 64th anniversary of the Nazi death camp’s liberation today as part of worldwide Holocaust remembrance ceremonies.
The day commemorated the Soviet army liberating the camp in 1945.
More than 1 million people, mostly Jews, died in the camp’s gas chambers or through forced labor, disease or starvation. I’m wondering if the formerly excommunicated British bishop who denies that Jews were killed in Nazi gas chambers attendend.
The commemorations at Auschwitz included a wreath-laying ceremony and prayers at the foot of the former camp’s main memorial, which stands between the twisted ruins of two crematoria.
In Germany, President Horst Koehler praised young people’s efforts to learn about their nation’s history and honor the victims of the Holocaust.
“Responsibility for the Shoah is part of the German identity,” Koehler in a speech to parliament.
So, what does the Pope have to say about the International Holocaust Remembrance Day? Not much. Maybe he too is in denial.
FYI- Here are some links from the US Holocaust Museum, which indeed does exist.
Latest update: December 2008
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