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German Christians recall Wannsee

ICEJ hosts repentance ceremonies at Yad Vashem

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20 Jan 2012 (All day)
German Christians recall Wannsee

On Friday, a delegation of prominent German and Austrian Christian leaders gathered under the auspices of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem for remembrance ceremonies at Yad Vashem marking the 70th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, the infamous meeting of Nazi officials which plotted the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.”

The high-ranking Christian delegation included a broad array of 70 pastors and ministry leaders representing all the Protestant and Evangelical movements of Germany and Austria, including Lutherans, Pentecostals, Charismatics, Baptists, Methodists, Mennonites, Pietists, and Adventists.

“We came here to continue the repentance of our nation for the enormous crime of mass murder of Jews committed in the name of a wicked ideology,” said Dr. Jürgen Bühler, the Executive Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. “The Church in Germany still has so much more to do to amend for our deafening silence in those dark days.”


Watch CBN's coverage of the ceremonies

The two-day gathering in Jerusalem culminated on Friday with a wreath-laying ceremony at Yad Vashem’s Warsaw Ghetto Square and observances in the Hall of Remembrance to honor the Jewish victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Delegates from 32 major Christian denominations and ministries in Germany and Austria, representing millions of followers, laid wreaths at today’s event.

“The Christian nation of Germany some two generations ago gives us an example of the evil which can flow when a people turn their back on a God of goodness Who loves all humankind,” said Rev. Ingolf Ellßel, Chairman of the Pentecostal European Fellowship. “To remember this causes a deep shaking in our hearts.”

Hall of Remembrance (Sasson Tiram)Dr. Uwe Graebe, the German Lutheran Probst in Jerusalem, noted that “the Nazi officials who met at Wannsee were all well educated. Some were doctors, some were theologians, and one was even the son of a Protestant pastor. They knew the Bible and what it said about the value of every human life. Yet they blocked out the sacred concept that we are all created in God’s image. Instead, they dealt with human lives as mere statistics.”

“Wannsee was one of the darkest days in the history of the German people,” added Gottfried Bühler, National Director of ICEJ-Germany and the initiator of the event. “Seventy years after, we bow down in deep sorrow. And we also promise to keep this remembrance alive. That is why many of us brought our children along, so the next generation can witness these ceremonies. Yet remembrance alone is not enough; it must go hand-in-hand with responsible deeds of goodness.”

The ICEJ then handed over a $60,000 check to Yad Vashem for its Holocaust studies and education center, to sponsor special seminars for Christian leaders to train them in teaching the universal lessons of the Holocaust.

Expressing gratitude for the support which the Jewish people receive today from millions of Christians worldwide, Dan Diker, Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress issued a call for “vigilance in the face of the next genocidal plot against the collective Jew – the state of Israel.”

“Today’s ceremonies at Yad Vashem are the answer to Wannsee,” Diker stated. “The lesson is to be vigilant. This is about preventing the next Wannsee, which is already here in the Iranian threat to eradicate Israel. Yet we hear once again the silence of the international community. Who will demonstrate? Who will speak out? I believe you will!”

Villa Wannsee outside BerlinThe 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 the Jews of Europe. 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.

During their two days in Jerusalem to mark 70 years since Wannsee, the delegation of German and Austrian Christians also paid a visit to the Knesset, meet with Israel’s Chief Rabbi (Ashkenazi) Yona Metzger, hold special prayer services at the Western Wall and the King of Kings Prayer Tower, and attended a memorial concert at Mishkenot Sha´ananim featuring performances by the noted German Christian Music Academy of Stuttgart. The series of events ended on Friday evening with a reception at the global headquarters of the Christian Embassy in Jerusalem.

To learn more about this historic event, CLICK HERE!


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