Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Holocaust Remembrance Day

German-Jewish children aboard the SS St. Louis

Holocaust Remembrance Day was Friday, January 27. I'm sorry to have missed it. Still, it is important to keep the day (if even late), especially perhaps among Christians, as there are not a few today who are called Holocaust Deniers and others who want to wash the Jews out of the Second World War story. 

Indeed, there are Christians who hate the attention the Jews receive in relating the war's history. I have met them. Many are Catholics living in so-called Catholic Countries which even centuries later, are still Jew-hating. It's all very troubling. Troubling too are indicators today that cause me to ask, have we have learned anything?

Here's what seems to be a good article on the SS St. Louis, the ship laden with nearly 1000 German-Jews fleeing Europe in 1939. Perhaps we have never heard of this piece of history. We might read it and bring the story to our prayer at Mass tomorrow. (Click here) SS St. Louis: The ship of Jewish refugees nobody wanted by Mike Lanchin, BBC Worldservice, May 13, 2014.

I was eight years old when Pope John XXIII removed from the Good Friday prayers the words perfidious Jews. Perfidious means: deliberately faithless, deceitful, dangerous, betraying, even evil.  In March of 1959 Pope John also suppressed an annual pilgrimage to Deggendorf, Bavaria which gathered to celebrate the massacre of the town's Jews in 1338. It's much easier to change words than hearts, isn't it?

"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."  Psalm 95 and Hebrews 3:7


  1. We live in a different world today, with more awareness of the atrocities and events that go on. But it us just as hard to trust our hearts to do the right thing.

    1. The Gospel this weekend for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time is the beginning of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. It opens with the Beatitudes in which we see clearly that Jesus has moved the emphasis of religion from the doing of external things to the inner movement and transformation of our hearts. I fear for all the religion that's around us, we've not really got that Jesus-message.

  2. As time passes and the people who made it through this unthinkable tragedy die, our memories fade. Everyone should visit a Holocaust remembrance site so they can more fully grasp how evil human beings can be to one another. Then maybe we might treat each other a little bit better and with more open hearts. Most Jews didn't have the opportunity to escape. All because people got it into their minds that being different from one's self is bad. This plays out again and again in our lives, still today.

    1. It's called "otherism" - us and then there are all the "others". We see new evidence of it everyday. "A clean heart create in me, O God, put a right spirit within me."