«Jewish Observer»
January 2002
5762 Tevet

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An international seminar on the Catastrophe problems was held in early December in Yad Vashem. It was organized on the initiative of Doctor Irit Abramsky (from Yad Vashem) and Professor Ster Elizovetinsky (from Kiev). The seminar is a kind of response to the appeal of the Stockholm Holocaust forum. The seminar was planned to develop methodological and systematical principles of studying the Holocaust tragedy. These principles are to be introduced into the programs of the Ukrainian universities and some schools. Alexander Movchan, a responsible member of the Ministry of Science and Education of Ukraine, was the leader of the Ukrainian delegation of 17 professors and teachers from Kiev, Lviv, Chernovtsy and other cities of Ukraine. This fact shows that the attitude to this project is very serious.

The Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, representatives of "Joint" and "Sokhnut" in Kiev, American Fund for the development of Jewish communities sponsor the trip of the mentioned group of Ukrainian professors and teachers to Yad Vashem. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) became the sponsor of the seminar.

Yad Vashem was the natural basis of the seminar. Impressive pictures of the Holocaust made a deep impression on the participants. Such memorial as the dead children memory room is something more than artist's skill, because it shows the endless cosmic darkness in which thousands of lights flame lonely, like symbols of ruined childish souls.

Most of the lectures and practical training well, organized by Dr. Abramsky, were quite informative. Evidence of the witnesses that survived the Catastrophe was very vivid and unforgettable. The seminar participants realized the high level of development of Israeli historical science, because all these investigations were done with a heavy heart.

It appears that the seminar made people realize once again the role of Jews in forming the Jewish-Christian civilization that Hitlerism tried to destroy. We completely agree with Dr. Abramsky who said that we should cooperate with Christian confession and first of all with Catholic church that greatly affects European views. It's useless to prove to a Nazi or pro-Nazi that he's guilty because the biblical truth is just a fantasy for him. On behalf of the Catholic Church, the present Supreme Pontific confessed his neutral attitude towards the Holocaust. Now Catholic Church appeals to reconciliation and we shouldn't refuse at once. That's why some speeches that provoke Christian anti-Semitism seem archaic (the most vivid example is the apocryphal portrait of apostle Pavel, who was compared to ... Hitler in one of the papers).

It appears that the Holocaust clearly showed that Jewry wouldn't survive alone. The Holocaust is a demonstration of neopaganism, meaning the total crisis of European culture.

All people who praise the values of the Jewish Bible have to realize at last the necessity of having a certain united front in today's world, which is full of the New Age philosophy. It does not mean either religious or cultural syncretism, but makes it possible to realize that we, Jews, are not so lonely in this world as it may seem.

A round-table discussion became the final event of the meeting. The seminar participants showed pluralism of opinions and desire to cooperate for the prosperity of the Jewish nation and the people of good will in the whole world.


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