German Christians mark Wannsee anniversary

Wansee conference held in Jerusalem marks meeting of Nazi officials that decided upon the “Final Solution.”

Villa Wannsee outside Berlin 390 (photo credit: (House of the Wannsee Conference Memorial and Educ)
Villa Wannsee outside Berlin 390
(photo credit: (House of the Wannsee Conference Memorial and Educ)
Last month, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem hosted a high-ranking delegation of German and Austrian Christian leaders representing some 30 Protestant denominations and Evangelical ministries for a series of events marking the 70th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, the infamous meeting of Nazi officials that decided upon the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.”
The two-day gathering in Jerusalem was highlighted by a wreath-laying ceremony at Yad Vashem’s Hall of Remembrance to honor the Jewish victims and survivors of the Holocaust. The delegation of 70 prominent pastors and ministry leaders also paid a visit to the Knesset, held a special prayer service at the Western Wall and attended a memorial concert at Mishkenot Sha’ananim featuring performances by the noted German Christian Music Academy.
The Wannsee Conference was held on January 20, 1942 at a lakeside villa outside Berlin and was attended by 15 high-ranking Nazi bureaucrats who set in motion the implementation of a plan to eradicate European Jewry. The meeting was convened by Reinhard Heydrich, assistant to deputy Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler, who led a discussion on methods to be used for the systematic, industrial murder of all Jews within Germany’s reach. A chart compiled by Adolf Eichmann for the Wannsee Conference listed all of the estimated 11 million Jews of Europe and northwest Africa as potential targets.
“The Nazi officials who deliberated at Villa Wannsee over their ghastly plans for exterminating the Jews of Europe were all well-educated, with at least half of them holding doctorate degrees. Some were also the sons of Protestant ministers,” noted Dr. Jürgen Bühler, executive director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. “We are here to continue the repentance of our nation for this enormous crime by those who committed mass murder in the name of a wicked ideology. The Church in Germany still has so much more to do to amend for our deafening silence in those dark days.”
Members of the high-level delegation from Germany and Austria came representing millions of Germans and Austrians from the Protestant, Evangelical, Charismatic and Pentecostal streams of Christianity.
The dignitaries included Rev. Ingolf Ellßel, chairman of the Pentecostal European Fellowship; Rev. Siegfried Tomazsewski, European director of Christ for all Nations; Hannelore Illgen, representative of the Federation of Pentecostal Churches in Germany; Rev. Gerry Klein, director of the Bible College at Bad Gandersheim; Karl Klanner, national director of ICEJ-Austria; and Gottfried Bühler, national director of ICEJ-Germany.