International Holocaust Memorial Day



A Note from Maureena

27 January 2018:

International Holocaust Memorial Day


For several years I taught a course on the Holocaust at the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto. It was a time of learning for myself. Perhaps one of the biggest lessons I learned was my own implication in what happened—each Good Friday I participated in the  solemn intercessory prayers, one of which was a prayer for the “perfidies Judaeis” which can mean “treacherous.”  It can also mean “faithless.” After Vatican II, the prayer was changed:


Let us pray

For the Jewish people,

The first to hear the word of God,

That they may continue to grow in the love of his name

And in faithfulness to his covenant.


That was a beginning step.  Other steps have been and continue to be taken. All Holy Scriptures of different faiths have problematic texts. On a day when we remember the murder of millions of Jews in Hitler’s Nazi Germany, let us repent, the first element of which is recognition of sin, of problematic texts in our own scriptures and repair them through reinterpretation.


The following quotations give me food for thought:


“Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.” – Yehuda Bauer


“Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common people, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.” – Primo Levi


“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.” – Elie Wiesel



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