Jews and Christians hold joint Holocaust memorial in Paris

The ceremony was held in commemoration of the 80-year anniversary of the Wannsee conference, in which the 'Final Solution to the Jewish Problem' was decided on.

 A cantor sings the Kaddish at a ceremony in Paris marking 80 years since the Wannsee Conference, on January 20, 2022. (photo credit: ALAIN AZRIA)
A cantor sings the Kaddish at a ceremony in Paris marking 80 years since the Wannsee Conference, on January 20, 2022.
(photo credit: ALAIN AZRIA)

A ceremony attended by religious leaders, representatives of Jewish organizations, Holocaust survivors and 100 twelfth-graders was held on Thursday at the Yizkor tent at Paris' Holocaust Museum commemorating 80 years since the infamous Wannsee conference, Maariv reported.

The event was organized by Rabbi Moshe Levin, Vice President of the Conference of European Rabbis, Special Assistant to the Rabbi of France and the Rabbi of the French Gendarmerie.

It was held in cooperation with the Vice President of the Russian Jewish Congress Gabriel German Zakhareev. Notable Christian dignitaries also participated, including the President of the Consistory in France, Eli Corsia, the President of the Archbishops' Conference, Mula Bufar, and the president of the Protestant Federation, Mr. Francois Caloroli.

Along with the dignitaries' speeches, Auschwitz survivor Esther Snow shared her story. The students, from the George Lon Alliance and the Pronkeviza Lahsal schools in Paris, lit memorial candles around the Yizkor flame, and the military cantor of Strasbourg and the Rhine region Rabbi Jonathan Bloom said kaddish.

"Even today there are those who seek to destroy us; The world has a responsibility to fight anti-Semitism," Levin said.

Memorial candles and a Star of David are displayed at a ceremony in Paris marking 80 years since the Wannsee Conference, on January 20, 2022. (credit: ALAIN AZRIA)Memorial candles and a Star of David are displayed at a ceremony in Paris marking 80 years since the Wannsee Conference, on January 20, 2022. (credit: ALAIN AZRIA)

"Catholics have a heavy responsibility to fight antisemitism with great determination - our shame and sorrow is a  2000-year-old tradition against the Jews," Bufar said.

"We must focus our work mainly on young people with maximum vigilance to immediately cut off any antisemitic activity they encounter," Coloroli added.

Rabbi Moshe Levin at the Yizkor tent at Paris' Holocaust Museum, commemorating 80 years since the infamous Wannsee conference (credit: Alan Azaria)Rabbi Moshe Levin at the Yizkor tent at Paris' Holocaust Museum, commemorating 80 years since the infamous Wannsee conference (credit: Alan Azaria)

Zakhareev spoke about the broader message of the Holocaust.

"We will focus the human lens on distinguishing between good and evil, we will not speak of 'Nazis' but of 'Nazism'. Despite the evil ideologies at the root of the Holocaust, the message is not to dwell on the dark past but on a future that can illuminate. We will turn the paralyzing memory into a constructive memory, and restore human morality, his image of God, by the union of hearts, without distinction of religion, race, and gender," he said.

 Rabbi Chaim Korsia at the Yizkor tent at Paris' Holocaust Museum, commemorating 80 years since the infamous Wannsee conference (credit: Alan Azaria) Rabbi Chaim Korsia at the Yizkor tent at Paris' Holocaust Museum, commemorating 80 years since the infamous Wannsee conference (credit: Alan Azaria)