Liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau: 75th anniversary
Bishops across Europe: “No to antisemitism and political manipulation of the truth”
On the occasion of the 75th anniversary since the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, COMECE and CCEE, on behalf of the bishops of the EU and Europe, express their commitment to fight “all acts that trample on human dignity”, including racism, xenophobia and antisemitism.
In the spirit of the message addressed by Pope Francis to the “Simon Wiesenthal Center” on Monday 20 January 2020, the bishops appeal to the modern world for reconciliation and peace, in a historical moment in which new threats and violence manifest themselves, while the truth is often “ignored or manipulated for immediate political needs”.
“Cruel wars, genocide, persecution and different forms of fanaticism are still taking place but history teaches us – state the bishops - that violence never leads to peace but [to] more violence and death”. In light of past experiences, bishops from the EU and Europe underline the importance and fruitfulness of “building a Europe of reconciled and forgiving nations”.
On Monday 27 January 2020, at 15h00, that is, the hour of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, bishops invite all people of good will to light candles and say a prayer for all those who were murdered in death camps and for their relatives.
H.Em. Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ, president of COMECE, signed the statement together with his CCEE counterpart, H.Em. Card. Angelo Bagnasco, and the two vice presidents, H.Em. Card. Vincent Nichols and H.E. Mgr. Stanisław Gądecki.
Children at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp after its liberation in January 1945. Credit: Polska Agencja Prasowa, via Associated Press