(Brussels, 22 February 2021), European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor praised Pope Francis who on Saturday visited a Holocaust survivor in her Rome apartment to pay tribute to all those who suffered from what he called “the craziness of Nazi populism.”
“The Pontiff’s message is vital in an age of rising populism and especially at a time of mass appropriation of the Holocaust over the last year,” Dr. Kantor said. “Once again showing leadership and compassion in honouring the memory of the victims of the Shoah, asking for forgiveness again on behalf of humanity, raising awareness of the enduring task of keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive, and fostering Jewish-Christian relations.”
The Pope rarely makes these types of visits, but wanted to meet with Edith Bruck, who survived life in Nazi-run death camps during World War II and later settled in Italy, after reading an interview with her recently in the Vatican newspaper.
“It is precisely during these moments of global crisis and fear that we need to hear from leaders a strong and clear message of hope, compassion and against hate,” Dr. Kantor continued. “I was honoured to hear directly from the Pope last year about his commitment to Holocaust memory and his commitment to combat antisemitism.”
Last February, Dr. Kantor held a private meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican. The two spoke about working together to meet moral and ethical challenges, in particular because of the need to protect younger generations from extremist ideology.
At the meeting, Dr. Kantor bestowed the 2020 Golden Vision award on Pope Francis as a token of appreciation for his message of brotherhood between Jews and Christians that is a living testimony of love and trust in the future of humanity, and his unrelenting commitment to younger generations and promoting solutions to the moral and ethical challenges of our time.
The Golden Vision award is the highest award of the European Jewish Congress that is bestowed annually to two personalities for their outstanding intellectual contribution to a more inclusive world where antisemitism is not tolerated.