Sixty-seven years ago, 27 January 1945, was the end of the infamy of Auschwitz. Holocaust
Memorial Day was established on this date, as a memorial to this most terrible place
of appalling tragedy. We can not and must not forget. If there were men able to commit
such absurd atrocities, no one can be sure it won’t happen again in the future. These
memories become a painful reminder for today and for all time.
years is a long time ago. The generation who witnessed at first hand the horrors of
the Holocaust is disappearing rapidly. We must share the concerns of those who fear
the risk that people will forget, or even worse, deny the Holocaust, fueled not only
by ignorance, but even – horrible to say! – because of political, ethnic or, religious
hatred. But the memory of the Holocaust is a crucial point of reference in the history
of mankind, when we try to understand what is at stake when we speak of the essential
dignity of every human person, the universality of human rights, and commitment to
their defense . For believers, it is also inevtiably “locus theologicus” – a source
for theology. It is a place for the most radical questions about God and about evil.
It is also the place where we make our last stand before God, a place that addresses
ultimate questions from the depths of silence in the face of a great mystery. For
Christians, it is a place where we look upon the Cross, in the hope that pain and
agony will give rise to life. The Polish Pope and the German Pope, at Auschwitz and
Yad Vashem, remembered. And we too commemorate this day, first in solidarity with
the people of Israel and with all victims of absurd, murderous hatred, whose human
dignity is denied, whatever their race or culture may be.