Catholic Cardinals & Bishops from Europe, Africa & Asia Speak Out Against Holocaust Denial
Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust - and Touro College Welcome the Delegation to the Museum. Touro College and the Religious Leaders to Partner on Education
NEW YORK - A delegation of Roman Catholic cardinals and bishops from France, joined by colleagues from Korea, Ghana, and Germany, issued their unambiguous opposition to Holocaust denial today during a visit to New York's Museum of Jewish Heritage. The visit to the Museum, and its current special exhibition about the murder of more than 1.5 million Jews in Ukraine during the Holocaust, underscored the commitment of the delegation to the importance of Holocaust education. The delegation, led by Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, was co-hosted by Touro College.
The group viewed the exhibition "The Shooting of Jews in Ukraine: Holocaust by Bullets," which presents physical and testimonial evidence gathered by Paris-based priest Father Patrick Desbois and his team from Yahad-In Unum, which identifies and locates mass graves of Jews murdered by the Nazis in Ukraine. Based on the testimony of Ukrainian witnesses, Desbois and his team, using metal detectors, locate the actual sites of the executions. More than 800 graves have been identified to date.
Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois said, "There is no compatibility between being Catholic and denying the Holocaust. The recent 'Williamson Affair' has provoked suffering in both the Jewish and Catholic communities. We have come to New York now to meet with the Museum of Jewish Heritage, as well as Touro College and other Orthodox Jewish leaders - to focus our attention on the future and address the big question: How best to teach the Holocaust in our Catholic Universities?"
"The goal of the visit is to strengthen the fraternity between Jewish and Catholic communities," said Father Desbois. "We want to see how we can challenge and change the modern relationship. The delegation of cardinals and bishops visited the Museum of Jewish Heritage to raise awareness for the need to teach Holocaust studies to a new generation of Catholic youth."
Father Desbois added, "I am thrilled to be sharing the results of my work - identifying the mass graves of 1.5 million Jews executed by Nazis in Ukraine and interviewing the surviving eyewitnesses - with Catholic leadership. We cannot build a modern world based on Judeo-Christian values if we do not recognize this atrocity and properly bury the Jewish victims of the Holocaust."
"In the wake of alarming and disturbing statements made by Bishop Williamson, we welcome this visit of leaders from the Catholic church who, by coming here, reinforce their commitment to Holocaust education, which is the strongest weapon against deniers and their followers," said Dr. David G. Marwell, Director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.
To commemorate the visit, Touro College and the Catholic delegation launched a partnership to ensure that the history of the holocaust is preserved through education. Touro's extensive degree offerings in the United States and at its campus in Berlin include a Master of Arts degree in Holocaust Communication and Tolerance Studies. Through its Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, Touro College sponsors Holocaust-related events and activities throughout the year.
"Touro is pleased to be partnering on a worldwide program with the Catholic Church and Catholic universities to combat Holocaust denial through joint activities and education with our esteemed partners," said Dr. Bernard Lander, founder and president of Touro College. "As a cornerstone of our mission, Touro College is committed to Holocaust studies and has extensive course offerings taught by leading scholars in the field."
In addition to Cardinal Vingt-Trois, the delegation consisted of: Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, France; Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux, France; Cardinal Peter Turkson, Archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana; His Eminence Robert Le Gall, Archbishop of Toulouse, France; His Eminence Bernard-Nicolas Aubertin, Archbishop of Tours, France; His Eminence Guy Thomazeau, Archbishop of Montpellier, France; His Lordship Beno?t Riviere, Bishop of Autun, Chalon and M?con, France; His Lordship Peter Kang U-Il, Bishop of Jeju, South Korea; His Lordship Heinrich Mussinghoff, Bishop of Aachen, Germany; His Lordship J?r?me Beau, Auxiliary Bishop of Paris, France; Father St?phane Duteurtre, Secretary to Cardinal Vingt-Trois, Paris, France; Father Patrick Desbois, Director of the French Bishops Committee in Charge of Relations with Judaism, Paris, France; and M. Frank Prima, Secretary to Cardinal Ricard, Bordeaux, France.
Father Patrick Desbois/Yahad-In Unum Father Patrick Desbois is the President of Yahad-In Unum and Director of the Episcopal Committee for Relations with Judaism, which is connected with the French Conference of Bishops. His work has been sanctioned by the Pope, recognized and encouraged by the President of France and supported in Western Europe, Russia and the United States. Desbois has been internationally recognized for his extraordinary efforts; his awards include the Medal of Valor by the Simon Wisenthal Center, the Roger E. Joseph Prize by Hebrew Union College, the Humanitarian Award by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Jan Karski Award by the American Jewish Committee, the B'nai B'rith International Award for Outstanding Contribution to Relations with the Jewish People and most recently, the National Jewish Book Award for his 2008 book Holocaust by Bullets (Palgrave-Macmillan). His work is currently on exhibit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York and the Living Forum in Stockholm. Since 2004, Desbois' team has interviewed nearly 900 witnesses and identified more than 800 mass graves in Ukraine and Belarus. To date his team has covered 55% of the Ukrainian territory; they have begun traveling to Belarus and will commence travels to Russia this year.
Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
The Museum's three-floor Core Exhibition educates people of all ages and backgrounds about the rich tapestry of Jewish life over the past century--before, during, and after the Holocaust. The Museum serves more than 50,000 students a year, many of whom learn directly from Holocaust survivors. Other educational initiatives include the Interfaith Living Museum and annual seminars for Catholic educators. Special exhibitions include Woman of Letters: Irene Nemirovsky and Suite Fran?aise, extended through August 30. The Museum receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a founding member of the Museums of Lower Manhattan.
Touro College has experienced phenomenal growth since its founding in 1971, and is currently educating approximately 17,500 students at locations in New York, California, Florida, Nevada, Jerusalem, Moscow, Berlin, and Paris. Touro College continues to have a profound impact on the lives of its students and on the Jewish and general communities. For further information on Touro College, please go to http://www.touro.edu/media/