French Jewish leaders held a special event marking the 80th anniversary of the infamous Wannsee Conference, where Nazi German leaders planned out details of the implementation of the Final Solution during World War II.
In a moving ceremony held at the Yizkor tent at the Holocaust Museum in Paris, led by French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia, Mula Bufar, the President of the Catholic Community said that "Catholics have a 2000-year tradition of being against the Jews," and are thus obliged to fight antisemitism.
The special event was held in cooperation with the Vice President of the Jewish Congress in Russia, Mr. Gabriel German Zakhareev, who initiated the "Day of Liberation and Rescue" which falls on the Hebrew date of Victory Day, and commemorates the quarter of a million Jewish fighters in the Red Army and Allied forces who fell in battle against the Nazis:
The President of the Consistory in France, religious leaders, representatives of Jewish organizations, Holocaust survivors and 100 twelfth-graders from the George Lon Alliance and the Pronkeviza Lahsal schools in Paris, attended. The students lit memorial candles around the Yizkor flame and the military cantor of Strasbourg and the Rhine region Rabbi Jonathan Bloom said the Kaddish.
"Even today there are those who seek to destroy us; the world has a responsibility to fight anti-Semitism," said French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia.
The President of the Archbishops' Conference, Mr. Mula Bufar, said that "Catholics have a heavy responsibility to fight anti-Semitism with great determination - our shame and sorrow is a 2000-year-old tradition against the Jews.
The president of the Protestant Federation, Mr. Francois Caloroli, said that 'we must focus our work mainly on young people with maximum vigilance to immediately cut off any antisemitic activity they encounter.'
The Vice President of the Conference of European Rabbis, the Special Assistant to the Rabbi of France and the Rabbi of the French Gendarmerie, Rabbi Moshe Levin, organized the ceremony for the first time. Rabbi Levin expressed his gratitude to all the organizations that assisted in producing the rare event.
Auschwitz survivor Ms. Esther Snow moved those present, saying that all her life and especially in this ceremony she feels obligated to keep the will of her sister Fanny who was murdered along with her two brothers and parents in the Auschwitz death camp in Birkenau. 'She told me before being transported; "Esther, promise to me that you will do everything to tell the entire world what happened here" - and here I stand before you, telling the story of my family and people and asking to remind you where hatred can take us.
Dr. German Zakhareev said that on this day it is important for us to internalize that the Holocaust left the Jewish people bruised and untrusting towards the world, which remained silent. The fabric of relations between Israel and the nations of the world was dictated by these sentiments that refused to evaporate from their memory.
'This event is in line with the goal of the "Day of Liberation and Rescue", which is to unite the Jewish people with members of all religions and reshape the global collective memory of prayer and thanksgiving. To instill in the heart of the world feelings of gratitude to those who fought against the Nazi monster and paid for it with their lives’.
'We will focus the human lens on distinguishing between good and evil, we will not speak of “Nazis”' but of “Nazism”'. Despite the evil ideologies at the root of the Holocaust, the message is not to dwell on the dark past but on a future that can illuminate. We will turn the paralyzing memory into a constructive memory, and restore human morality, his image of G-d, by the union of hearts, without distinction of religion, race, and gender."