President of Top World Jewish Organization Praises Pope for ‘Tremendous Compassion’ After Visit With Holocaust Survivor
The president of the World Jewish Congress praised Pope Francis for meeting over Shabbat with an 89-year-old Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor, saying it “demonstrated a sincere commitment to … the urgency of continuing to draw attention to the inhuman atrocities of genocides including the Holocaust.”
The pope met with Edith Bruck, who lost her entire family in the Holocaust, survived the camps, became a poet, and eventually settled in Rome.
“I have come here to thank you for your testimony and to pay homage to the people martyred by the insanity of Nazi populism,” Francis told Bruck.
France 24 reports that Bruck has spent a lifetime telling the stories of those who died in the Holocaust. She said that when she was in the Bergen-Belsen death camp, two victims told her, “Tell the story. They won’t believe you, but if you survive, tell the story, tell it for us too!”
The Vatican said that Pope Francis and Bruck also discussed the “moments of light that brightened the hellish experience of the camps and the fears and hopes that define our own era.”
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder commented, “I am deeply appreciative of Pope Francis’ tremendous compassion in visiting Edith Bruck. … The pope has demonstrated a sincere commitment to both personal kindness for the experiences of others and to the urgency of continuing to draw attention to the inhuman atrocities of genocides including the Holocaust.”
“At a time when neo-Nazism, antisemitism, and other bigotries are resurgent in many parts of the world, Pope Francis’ moral integrity and sense of history set the standard for other faith, political, and community leaders to follow,” he said.
“My gratitude goes as well to Mrs. Bruck for her courage in telling the world about her trauma, and in dedicating her life to educating people about the horrible truths of the Holocaust,” Lauder added. “As survivors age, their testimonies become increasingly priceless, and we owe our understanding of the very worst of humankind to the individuals who have taken it upon themselves to bear witness to all they have endured.”
“Through such comprehension, we pray that such evil shall never happen again,” he concluded.