September 27, 2004

A memorial monument for the victims of the Holocaust and of terrorism was inaugurated in Germany

The event was initiated by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation

In a ceremony of deep inter-religious content on September 26th 2004, a commemorative monument to the victims of the Holocaust was inaugurated in the Vaterunser church in Berlin.

High-ranking political figures as well as representatives of diverse religions were present at the ceremony, initiated by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation (IRWF) with the cooperation of the Evangelic Church of Germany.

In a church filled with hundreds amidst strong security measures, the ceremony opened with organ played Bach music. Following there were speeches by Bishop Wolfgang Huber, Head of the German church EKD, Baruch Tenembaum, the founder of the IRWF, the German minister of internal affairs, Otto Schily; Ilan Mor, Minister of the Embassy of Israel in Berlin, Stephan Kramer representing the Jewish Community of Germany, Mrs. Karin Schubert, the Mayor of Berlin and the Catholic Bishop Wolfgang Weider.

The mural was unveiled by Tenembaum and Huber, who emphasized the importance and the privilege it is for Germany to be the second country in history to host within a Christian church a Holocaust memorial.

Cantor Isaak Scheffer moved the audience with his interpretation of the ”El Maale Rachamim” prayer.

The Argentine Ambassador Enrique Candioti mentioned that the Mural serves also as a memorial to the victims of the terrorist attacks on the Jewish Community Center AMIA (1994) and on the Israeli Embassy (1992).

David Gill, Martin Vogel and Joachim Gärtner, authorities of the EKD in Berlin also attended the ceremony.

Closing the ceremony, the Berlin Choir directed by Heinrich Schutz interpreted ”By the Rivers of Babylon”.

The first version of the Mural was unveiled by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Lech Walesa in April 1997 inside the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires.

Hours after the ceremony, Tenembaum presented a miniature replica of the Mural to the President of Germany in the central offices of the German Government in Berlin.

Among the letters of support received for this unprecedented event in the Jewish -Christian relations it is worth mentioning : Nina Lagergren (Raoul Wallenberg’s sister); Congressman Tom Lantos, Spanish President José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero; President of Chile Mr. Ricardo Lagos; Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark; the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone; Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Comission of relations with the Jews of the Vatican; and the Mayor of Nicosia, Prime Ministers of St. Vincent and of Samoa, among many others.