Friends of Yad Vashem-Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust-Dr. Susanna Kokkonen brings the message of responsibility to Christian audiences.
“Although the Holocaust is a particularly Jewish tragedy,” says Kokkonen, “the lessons are universal-how humans behave in a crisis, how genocide happens and how we can commemorate this.” She spoke in Toronto on Nov. 2 at Grace Church-on-the-Hill.
Kokkonen, who holds a PhD in Holocaust history from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, educates Christians about the changing face of antisemitism-Christian-religious, European-social and Nazi-racial-and stresses the responsibility of silent bystanders. “Only the onlookers have the power to change things,” she said.
The Friends organization partners with churches and provides film and educational materials for public events. It also runs training seminars for Christian clergy and community leaders. “Many churches make donations to Friends and many hold events on International Holocaust Day, January 27, or on Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day, which in 2012 will be celebrated on April 19. To learn more, go to www.yadvashem.org.