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Jewish, Christian Faith Leaders to Decry Anti-Semitism in Berlin

A picture taken just after the liberation by the Soviet army in January, 1945 in the Oswiecim (Auschwitz) Nazi concentration camp. (AP Photo/CAF pap, file)
A picture taken just after the liberation by the Soviet army in January, 1945 in the Oswiecim (Auschwitz) Nazi concentration camp. (AP Photo/CAF pap, file)

JERUSALEM, Israel – Faith leaders from around the world on Wednesday will come together in Berlin to mark the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee conference on Jan. 20, 1942 – when Nazis and German government officials discussed Hitler’s final solution and sealed the fate of 6 million Jews.

Wednesday’s event aims to call attention to the rise of global anti-Semitism and build solidarity among Christian and Jewish leaders.

“Anti-Semitism cannot be defeated at a one-day symposium, but this event can become a catalyst for greater understanding and determination as well as better coordination and cooperation among global faith leaders to take on the fight against this deadly virus,” says organizer Tomas Sandell of the European Coalition for Israel (ECI).

The symposium is a joint event between ECI and the Evangelical-Protestant Church of Germany (EKD).

Attendees will hear from theologians, government and religious leaders, and diplomats. Speakers include the Archbishop of Canterbury, Germany’s Deputy Ambassador to Israel, and leaders from the World Jewish Congress and Simon Wiesenthal Center. 

American evangelical leader Rev. Johnnie Moore will represent the US at the symposium.

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“Now is the time for political and religious leaders all around the world to draw a line in the sand to say ´no´ to the dramatic rise in antisemitism around the world, to declare 'not on our watch,’” says Rev. Moore.

“Unfortunately, just days ago outside of Dallas, Texas, we were reminded yet again of the tragic necessity of this meeting,” he says, referring to the gunman who took several people hostage inside a Texas synagogue last weekend.

Sandell says it is important for the world to know that the Wannsee Conference and the resulting murder of millions of Jews started with widespread cultural acceptance of anti-Semitism.

“Without a supportive belief system and deeply rooted antisemitic sentiments in the German culture at the time, there could not have been a Holocaust,” said Sandell.

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