Ecumenical Christian

Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations

Statement of the Hungarian Roman Catholic Bishops and the Ecumenical Council of the Hungarian Churches

Although within the German sphere of influence throughout World War II, Hungary did not suffer the full brunt of Nazi rule until 1944. The Holocaust began in Hungary only late in that year, and the statement, issued jointly by the Catholic bishops and the Ecumenical Council of Hungarian Churches, was timed to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary.

The Hungarian Roman Catholic bishops and the Hungarian member churches of the Ecumenical Council and leading clergy, in the name of their communities which they represent, remember with reverence that fifty years ago the deportation and cruel killing of Jews in concentration camps took place.

We consider the extinguishing of hundreds of thousands of lives only because of their origin, the twentieth century's disgrace. We respectfully pay tribute to the victims on the anniversary of these painful events. We all consider the Holocaust - on the grounds of the teaching of holy scripture - as a sin crying to heaven and a sin which burdens our history and our communities and, over and above our remembrance of it, urge our expiatory obligation.

On the occasion of this anniversary we have to agree that not only the perpetrators of this senseless wickedness were responsible for this tragedy, but also those who, though professing to be members of our churches, yet out of fear, cowardice and compromise did not raise their voices in protest against the mass humiliation, deportation and murder of their fellow Jewish citizens. Before God we ask pardon for their negligence and omission in the face of this catastrophe fifty years ago. We regard with respect and gratitude those who laid down or risked their lives for their Jewish compatriots in those inhuman, brutal times and protested against the satanic schemes.

It is a duty of conscience for us all to strengthen the service of reconciliation in the life of our communities to ensure that every person is equally esteemed in mutual understanding and affection. In the spirit of the Gospel we must strive for real humane development so that once and for all anti- semitism and all forms of discrimination may cease and the sins of the past never again repeated.