Primate notes ‘dark legacy’ at Holocaust anniversary

Published March 1, 2005

Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, primate (national bishop) of the Anglican Church of Canada, has urged people to remember the Holocaust saying ongoing conflicts in places like Burundi, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone and Israel and Palestine show that “we live in a world that has not learned the lessons of history well.”

Archbishop Hutchison spoke at Montreal’s McGill University recently at the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz and the memorial for Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who used political and diplomatic intervention to save thousands of Jews from being massacred during the German occupation of Hungary in 1944 and 1945. (The fate of Mr. Wallenberg remains unknown. On Jan. 17, 1945, he and his driver, Vilmos Langfelder, were en route to a meeting with a Soviet general in Debrechen when they disappeared.)

“To remember Raoul Gustav Wallenberg is to remember the events against which his heroism shone,” said the primate in his speech. “Those memories, though painful, are important for us all | Christian and Jew alike | and they will be very different for each.” He lamented how, during Adolf Hitler’s campaign against the Jews, “misguided Christian fanaticism led us to unspeakable crimes against God and against humanity.”

Archbishop Hutchison added: “As a Christian leader I am ashamed of that dark legacy, and the price the Jewish community has paid for it.”

At the same time, Mr. Wallenberg’s legacy offers “a flame of hope,” added the primate.

“Never has it been more important to remember the lessons of Wallenberg, and those who have followed his example, and to learn how to apply those lessons to the needs of our times,” said Archbishop Hutchison. “The recent tsunami that caused such shocking human loss so suddenly has taught us that we are capable of a collective humanitarian response that transcends almost all that divides us.”

Mr. Wallenberg designed the famous Schutz-PaNsse, a document issued to thousands of Jews in Hungary that placed them under the protection of Sweden, and established dozens of safe houses that sheltered thousands more.

The courtyard of Christ Church (Anglican) Cathedral in Montreal is home to a monument to Mr. Wallenberg. “It stands under a Star of David window high in the cathedral wall,” said Archbishop Hutchison, who approved the installation of the monument during his term as bishop of Montreal.


  • Marites N. Sison

    Marites (Tess) Sison was editor of the Anglican Journal from August 2014 to July 2018, and senior staff writer from December 2003 to July 2014. An award-winning journalist, she has more that three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio, and worked as a stringer for The New York Times.

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