Pope John Paul II

Dialogika Resources

On the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Vatican City

As the fiftieth anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising approaches, together with the whole Church, I wish to remember those terrible days of World War II, days of contempt for the human person, manifested in the horror of the sufferings endured at that time by so many of our Jewish brothers and sisters.

It is with profound grief that we call to mind what happened then, and indeed all that happened then, and indeed all that happened in the long black night of the Shoah. We remember, and we need to remember, but we need to remember with renewed trust in God and in his all-healing blessing.

In their pastoral letter of November 30, 1990, the Polish bishops wrote about what took place in Poland then, but also about the present-day responsibility of Christians and Jews: "The mutual loss of life, a sea of terrible suffering and of wrongs endured should not divide but unite us. The places of execution, and in many cases, the common graves, call for this unity."

As Christians and Jews, following the example of the faith of Abraham, we are called to be a blessing for the world [cf. Gen. 12:2ff]. This is the common task awaiting us. It is therefore necessary for us, Christians and Jews, to be first a blessing to one another. This will effectively occur if we are united in the face of the evils that are still threatening: indifference and prejudice, as well as displays of anti-Semitism.

For what has already been achieved by Catholics and Jews through dialogue and cooperation I give thanks with you to God; for what we are still called to do I offer my ardent prayers. May God further guide us along the paths of his sovereign and loving will for the human family.

From the Vatican

Joannes Paulus II PP.