World Jewish Congress Welcomes Holocaust Comments by Zagreb Archbishop

By 31 January 2019

ZAGREB, January 31, 2019 - The World Jewish Congress (WJC) has praised the Catholic Church in Croatia for having held the commemoration last Thursday in memory of the victims of the Holocaust and underscored that "is emboldened by the strong address delivered by Cardinal Josip Bozanić."

"The World Jewish Congress deeply welcomes the powerful commemoration held by the Catholic Church of Croatia last week in honour of the victims of the Holocaust and is emboldened by the strong address delivered by Cardinal Josip Bozanić, Archbishop of Zagreb, in which he declared it unacceptable to permit the re-emergence of antisemitism,” WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singerwas quoted as saying on the organisation's website.

"In the 74 years since the end of the Holocaust, the Jewish world has been duly concerned by the Catholic Church of Croatia’s glorification of Ustasha nationalists and the horrific crimes that they carried out in collaboration with the Nazis, and by its repeated tendencies to whitewash the tragedy endured by the Jewish community and other minorities during World War II," Singer was quoted as saying.

“In the current climate of rising antisemitism and Holocaust revisionism in Europe, it is essential that the Catholic Church of Croatia lead the way in coming to terms with the crimes of its countrymen and ensure that its perpetrators are not rehabilitated in anyway. It is also imperative that the Church work together with the government, hand-in-hand with the Jewish community, to stop the obfuscation of history and the glorification of Nazi collaborators."

"The official commemoration held on 24 January at the Cathedral of Zagreb is without a doubt an encouraging and almost miraculous step forward by the Church in addressing the darkest moments of its history, something that the Jewish community of Croatia has been waiting for more than seven decades," Singer added.

At the commemoration, Cardinal Bozanić paid tribute to victims of inhumane conduct in the past and condemned attempts aimed at annihilating the Jewish people, while representatives of the local Jewish community welcomed the cardinal's move as a historic event.

The dignitary said that the ideology of racism was directed against God and the human beings and was "created on the untruth about the man and about the Jewish people."

During the prayer, a 60-metre-long and 5-metre-wide banner was displayed on the cathedral's walls with the text from Biblical verses written by Isaiah about the remembrance of victims saying "I will give them – within the walls of my house – a memorial and a name far greater than sons and daughters could give. For the name I give them is an everlasting one. It will never disappear!".

"We thank the Catholic Church of Croatia for this unprecedented move, and hope that it is the start to a new era for Holocaust memory and the fight against antisemitism in the country," Singer added.

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