First Joint Judeo-Christian Document on Auschwitz Published in Germany

Contribution to Understanding and Reconciliation

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BERLIN, MAY 30, 2002 ( Christians and Jews have published for the first time a joint document on the Holocaust, entitled «Auschwitz: History and Thought.»

Hans Joachim Meyer, president of the Central Committee of Catholics (ZdK), told the SIR news service that «the document is an attempt to contribute to understanding and reconciliation.»

The text was presented here Tuesday «to sensitize public opinion on the dimension of suffering of the Jewish people in the concentration camp,» Meyer added.

The volume, whose publication was entrusted to the «Jews and Christians» circle of the ZdK, includes contributions from nine Jewish authors and 18 Catholics on the Holocaust and its causes. It also records the testimonies of both Jewish survivors of the camp as well as Catholic figures such as Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stein.

Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich, Jewish historian and co-author of the volume, emphasized that over the past 40 years relations between Jews and Christians have evolved in a positive way.

In this connection, Ehrlich recalled John Paul II´s visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial, and Jerusalem´s Wailing Wall, when he traveled to the Holy Land in March 2000. These events have become for the Church «a way of identification with the Jewish people that is unique in 2,000 years» of history, Ehrlich said.

Moreover, the historian referred to the «radical change» that occurred when the Catholic Church recognized the Jewish Scripture as an autonomous work.

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