PREAMBLE

The year 1995 was the fiftieth anniversary of the liberation of Europe and the public revelation of the horrors of the death and concentration camps.  The same year marked the thirtieth anniversary of Vatican II’s Nostra Aetate.  That document was the first doctrinally binding pronouncement in the Roman Catholic Church’s two millennia to accept Judaism and the persistence of the Jewish people to the present. It “recalls the spiritual bond linking the people of the New Covenant with Abraham’s stock . . . [and] deplores the hatred, persecutions, and displays of Antisemitism directed against the Jews at any time and from any source.” Accordingly, “this sacred Synod wishes to foster and recommend that mutual understanding which is the fruit above all of biblical and theological studies, and of brotherly dialogues.” 

Since 1965, many good things have occurred including the Guidelines of 1974 and 1985 for implementing Nostra Aetate, which extend it both in letter and in spirit, the meeting of Pope John Paul II and Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff in the central synagogue of Rome in 1986, the pope’s visit to Auschwitz; the inauguration of Vatican-Israel diplomatic relations, the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, "Notes on the Correct Way to Present the Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church," issued in July 1985, and 1998’s “We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah.”  Pope John Paul II’s elocution before the congregation and Rabbi Toaff expressed the bond between the Church and Judaism: “The Jewish religion is not ‘extrinsic’ to us, but in a certain way is ‘intrinsic’ to our own religion.  With Judaism, therefore, we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers, and in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers.” Since then the Vatican has vigorously condemned anti-Semitism as a sin against God and humanity, and has called upon the Church to repent of the anti-Semitism found in past Catholic thought and conduct. 

 

 Center's Mission     

     The Center’s mission is to promote Jewish-Catholic-Muslim “discussion and collaboration” as urged in 1965 by the Vatican’s Nostra Aetate (In Our Time) and seconded in subsequent Papal actions and declarations. “Since Christians and Jews have such a common spiritual heritage, this sacred Council wishes to encourage and further mutual understanding and appreciation.” Nostra Aetate also states that the Church “regards with esteem also the Muslim,” and it urges all “to work sincerely for mutual understanding.”

     As befits Manhattan College, an institution of higher education, the Center’s principal sphere is education. Founded in 1996 as the Holocaust Resource Center, the Center expanded its Mission in 2011 and was renamed the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center. This reflects the spirit of the Center’s Mission and the vision that all the foci are interconnected and are part of the educational outreach of the Center. The Center is committed to understanding and respecting differences and similarities between people of all religions, races, ethnicities and nationalities.

     The Center educates people about the Holocaust, which is essential to current and future generations, in order to combat prejudice, genocidal ideologies, apathy and Holocaust denial. To this end, the Center remains committed to the lessons of the Holocaust, which are essential to educating current and future generations in order to combat prejudice, genocidal ideologies, apathy, and Holocaust denial. To this end, the Center is committed to educating people about the Holocaust and genocide while exphasizing the contemporary significance of these events. The primary audiences are the College community, the local region and teachers but the Center also seeks to affect a broader arena. Through education about human suffering in the absence of tolerance, the Center aims to foster acceptance and understanding among religions, cultures, and communities.

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Calendar of Events

Azeem Ibrahim's compelling lecture delves into the root causes and motivations of the harrowing Rohingya genocide, shedding light on the historical context, human rights violations, and geopolitical complexities surrounding this tragic crisis.

Azeem Ibrahim, Ph.D., is a research professor at the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, and a director at the Center for Global Policy in Washington, D.C. Over the years, he has advised numerous world leaders on strategy and policy development. Ibrahim is also the author of the seminal books Rohingya: Inside Myanmar's Genocide (Hurst, 2016) and Radical Origins: Why We are Losing the Battle against Islamic Extremism (Pegasus, 2017). He is a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine and his writing has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, The Times (UK), Chicago Tribune, Newsweek and many others. Outside academia, Ibrahim has been a reservist in the IV Battalion Parachute Regiment and an award-winning entrepreneur. He was ranked as a Top 100 Global Thinker by the European Social Think Tank and named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, after which he completed fellowships at Oxford and Harvard. In 2019, he received the International Association of Genocide Scholars Engaged Scholar Prize for his research on the Rohingya genocide. In 2022, Ibrahim was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I, on the recommendation of the prime minister, for his services to foreign policy.

Wolf Gruner, Ph.D., discusses the subject of his book Resisters: How Ordinary Jews Fought Persecution in Hitler's Germany (Yale University Press, 2023), which features the life stories of five Jewish men and women who resisted in different ways against persecution in Nazi Germany. By discussing their courageous acts, the book demonstrates the wide range of Jewish resistance in Nazi Germany, challenges the myth of Jewish passivity and illuminates individual Jewish agency during the Holocaust.

Wolf Gruner, Ph.D., holds the Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and is a professor of history at the University of Southern California and founding director of the USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research. He received his Ph.D. in History from the Technical University Berlin and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, Yad Vashem Jerusalem, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Women's Christian University Tokyo, among others. Gruner is the author of o books on the Holocaust, including Jewish Forced Labor under the Nazis: Economic Needs and Nazi Racial Aims. His 2016 prizewinning German book was published in English as The Holocaust in Bohemia and Moravia: Czech Initiatives, German Policies, Jewish Responses. He co-edited four books, including Resisting Persecution: Jews and Their Petitions during the Holocaust and New Perspectives on Kristallnacht: After 80 Years, the Nazi Pogrom in Global Comparison. He is an appointed member of the Academic Committee of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the International Advisory Board of the Journal of Genocide Research, among others.

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