Pope Francis calls for Holocaust remembrance, so ‘human tragedy never happens again’


ROME (JTA) – Pope Francis said it is important to remember the Holocaust so it never happens again.

The pope met Friday, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, with a delegation from the European Jewish Congress. The secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, Father Norbert Hofmann, who also attended the meeting, told Vatican Radio that the pontiff had stressed the need for Christians to recall the Shoah.

The pope, he said, “began the dialogue by mentioning the importance of this Day for the Jews, but also for us, because remembering the victims of the Holocaust is important so that this human tragedy never happens again.”

On his official Twitter feed, @pontifex, the pope on Friday also recalled the Shoah, tweeting, “Today I want to remember in my heart all the victims of the Holocaust. May their sufferings and their tears never be forgotten.”  The tweet did not mention Jews.

At the same time, the Vatican’s permanent representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, Msgr. Janusz Urbanczyk, told an OSCE Permanent Council meeting Friday that “the Holocaust teaches us that utmost vigilance is always needed to be able to take prompt action in defense of human dignity and peace.”

Jan. 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945, is observed as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The pope visited and prayed in silence at the former Nazi death camp, which is now a memorial museum, during a trip to Poland last summer.

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