Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.
In 2005 the UN General Assembly designated January 27—the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau—as the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Through this commemoration, the UN system and member states of the UN honor the victims of the Nazi era and provide and develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.
This year's 2013 observance is built around the theme “Rescue during the Holocaust: The Courage to Care”. Through exhibits, film, educational activities and the annual memorial ceremony, the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme and the global network of United Nations Information Centres honour those who risked their own lives to save tens of thousands of Jews, Roma and Sinti and others from near certain death under the Nazi regime during the Second World War in Europe.
Christians and the Holocaust, a resource produced by the Working Group on Interfaith Relations of the National Council of Churches in Christ, contains reflections, liturgical resources and more.
A prayer for the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust
Most high God, master of all living, we stand in awe of your work in our world, and marvel your gathering of many from all nations, called from darkness to light by the incarnate word sent in Jesus, your beloved.
Shield of Abraham, faithful God of Israel, we rejoice in the continuing life and witness of their descendants, sons and daughters of the Covenant. We give you thanks for the nurture of Jesus and his apostles in the rich heritage of Israel, and their schooling in the light of your word, the holy Torah.
We ask you to teach us who Jesus was among his people; to teach us that we may learn afresh the meaning and the power of the Torah and the Prophets for our lives; to teach us that we may learn again the solidarity you intend between the descendants of Jacob and the disciples of Christ; to teach us that we may turn away from the dark prejudices of our past.
Living God, we pray that you would forgive us for doubting that there is a God in Israel. We pray that you would forgive us for the hate-filled crimes of Christians against Jews; that you would forgive us for teaching that you have abandoned your holy people to damnation; that you would forgive us for failing to receive your children in love.
Most high God, master of all living, we stand in awe of your work in our world, and marvel your gathering of many from all nations, called from darkness to light by the incarnate word sent in Jesus, your beloved. Amen.
Adapted from “The Celebration of Our Judaic Roots: The Feast of Saint James of Jerusalem, Martyr," prepared by the Jewish-Christian Dialog Task Force of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, 1983, appearing in Christians and the Holocaust, by the Working Group on Interfaith Relations, National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, 1993, p.17-18.
Thanks to Alexander Haines for working on this post.