Fruits of Anti-Semitism Cry out to Visitors at Holocaust Memorial

By Drinan, Robert F. | National Catholic Reporter, April 30, 1993 | Go to article overview

Fruits of Anti-Semitism Cry out to Visitors at Holocaust Memorial


Drinan, Robert F., National Catholic Reporter


When President Jimmy Carter in 1980 appointed me as a founding member of the Holocaust Memorial Council, I accepted the invitation, although I was uncertain what that council should do. Thirteen years later, April 22, the Holocaust Council dedicated on the mall in Washington a stunning monument to the Holocaust. The occasion is melancholic, but also uplifting.

One of my regrets is that the Jewish community that raised $160 million for the memorial did not ask the Christian community for any substantial donations. No one publicly said that the Christian community would not give generously, but I have the embarrassing feeling that the fund-raisers were silently afraid that non-Jewish religious groups would not be generous.

I am reminded of the day I first visited Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. I saw in this Holocaust museum the names of all who perished, some of their books and clothes and replicas of the dreadful places at which they were killed.

When I emerged from Yad Vashem, I literally could not speak. I understood for the first time what Elie Wiesel meant when he said that for 10 years after his family perished in the Holocaust he could not write about it.

Now again, as this Holocaust Memorial is dedicated, words seem banal, futile. After almost 50 years the Holocaust is still unspeakable.

Visitors may obtain, as they enter, an identity card for one of the victims; as they leave they will learn the fate of their adopted victim. This is a creative way of never letting the world forget how it murdered about half of God's chosen people.

The fruits of anti-Semitism cry out to visitors at the Holocaust Memorial. …

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