On 27th January each year, the anniversary of the liberation of concentration and death camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945, is commemorated as International Holocaust Memorial Day. Speaking on the 76th anniversary of the liberation, the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rt Rev Dr David Bruce, has said that it is ‘crucially important that we pause for these moments and reflect, not only upon what happened, but the circumstances that led to such outrageous acts of inhumanity.’
“In normal times, on the closest Sunday to the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, I would have represented our Church at Ireland’s annual event at The Mansion House in Dublin, to remember and commemorate the six million Jewish men, women and children, and the millions of other victims of the Holocaust, murdered by the Nazi regime and their collaborators across Europe. This year it was a privileged to watch the special livestream from a hall, filled symbolically, with empty chairs,” Dr Bruce said.
“While we are unable to come together and remember collectively the horror of those times this year, it does not alter our need to remember those events that are still within living memory.”
Dr Bruce continued, “Each year it is important that we pause for these moments and reflect, not only upon what happened, but the circumstances that led to such outrageous acts of inhumanity. At the same time, it is also important that we honour and pay tribute to the memory of those who perished, and to those who survived and continue to bear witness to The Shoa.”
“The Holocaust had its roots in racism born out of a poisonous xenophobic view of ‘the other’. God’s teaching for the world, then and now, is of His love and commitment to all nations. One hundred and eight times that sentiment is repeated in the Old Testament. Reminding us of that love, and God’s command, Jesus quoted his own Hebrew Scriptures ‘… love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD’” (Leviticus 19:18).”
Dr Bruce concluded by saying, “It is so important that we continue to mark and remember this horrific disgrace in human history so that each succeeding generation re-learns the lessons and remains determined not to repeat these horrors. We must be ready to call out loud and courageously, often not an easy thing to do, when the smallest seeds of evil are sown.
“Nothing can compare to the scale of the systematic genocide which took place in Europe between 1933 and 1945, but genocide has taken place in many other places since the end of the Second World War. As we pause and take time to commemorate what took place then, we take this opportunity to pray for those who survived. We also pray for all those who are persecuted on the grounds of religious belief or ethnicity today, recognising that such oppression is never part of God’s plan for humanity.”
You can read more PCI news on their website here.