September 4, 2003

Apostolic Nuncio remembers people murdered during the Holocaust

On 4 September 2003, the Apostolic Nuncio to Argentina, Monsignor Adriano Bernardini, visited the Commemorative Mural of the Holocaust Victims, in the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires. A week before, the President of the Vatican Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Archbishop Renato Martino had done the same.

Accompanied by Baruch Tenembaum, President of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, Monsignor Bernardini expressed his satisfaction when he contemplated the piece of art inaugurated in 1997 by former Primate of Argentina, Cardinal Antonio Quarracino (1923-1998).

The only remembrance to the victims of the Shoah installed within a Christian temple is located inside the Virgin of Lujan Chapel, near Cardinal Quarracino´s grave, as requested by the late Primate in a posthumous letter.

Secretary of Cult of the Nation, Ambassador Guillermo Olivieri, as well as Monsignor Nicola Girasoli of the Apostolic Nunciature, accompanied Monsignor Bernardini during his visit.

The Mural was designed by Architect Norberto Silva and made by the goldsmith Carlos Pallarols. The Mural also pays tribute to the people murdered in the attacks against the Embassy of Israel (1992) and the Argentine Jewish Center (1994).

The IRWF authorities, Dr. Natalio Wengrower and Oscar Vicente participated in the ceremony.

After having heard Tenembaum’s description of the piece of art, and of the valuable documents it exhibited, Monsignor Bernardini placed some flowers over Cardinal Quarracino´s grave.

Following the Jewish tradition for those people who visit cemeteries, Wengrower and Tomás Kertesz, Holocaust survivor saved by Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest in 1944, placed stones over the grave as a sign of grief and pain.

Bernardini is another high prelate who visited the Mural as the Vatican State Secretary, Cardinal Angelo Sodano and the former Primate Cardinal of New York, John O’Connor.

On 2 June 2 2003, at the Apostolic Nunciature in Buenos Aires, the Wallenberg Foundation presented the commemorative Postal Card of Monsignor Roncalli, who was a savior of Jews and other persecuted by nazism during his mission as Apostolic Delegate to Istanbul in 1944. The philatelic piece was issued by the Argentine Postal Service following an idea of the IRWF.

In 1998 the Argentine Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp of the Mural. It is the only postal stamp, in the history of Argentine philately, that bears letters of the Hebrew alphabet.