When the news of Bishop Williamson's Holocaust denial came to light, my colleagues and I were especially dismayed. However, we have had a wonderful relationship with the Archdiocese here in New York since the Museum of Jewish Heritage first opened. In fact, John Cardinal O’Connor spoke at the dedication and stated that it was his desire that every student from every Catholic school visit the Museum. Since then, thousands of Catholic students and their teachers have come here to learn about our shared heritage and our difficult past.
We are also very fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and work with Father Patrick Desbois these past several months. Yesterday was the last day that the exhibition about his research was on view here. On this day, Father Desbois and a delegation of cardinals, bishops, and priests from France, Germany, Africa, and Asia came to the Museum to see the exhibition. Following their tour, Andre Cardinal Vingt-Trois from Paris, Father Desbois, our director Dr. David G. Marwell, and Dr. Bernard Lander from Touro College all offered remarks about the importance of Holocaust education, especially in combating those that would deny the truth. The delegation also got the chance to meet Fanya Gottesfeld Heller, a Ukrainian survivor and one of our trustees. You can read some of David's thoughts on the day on his blog.
I was especially moved by something Cardinal Vingt-Trois said, "Let this be another opportunity to recall -whether the time is right or not- that being a Catholic is radically incompatible with denying the Holocaust..."
We are grateful for their visit and proud to continue working with the dedicated Catholic clergy and educators here and abroad.
Cardinal Vingt-Trois is seen here (second from right) with (l to r) Cardinal Turkson, Archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana, Dr. Lander, and Dr. Marwell. Credit: AP Photo/Museum of Jewish Heritage and Touro College, Diane Bondareff