On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) issued a public statement of support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, Israel. The statement was read by EEA President Dr. Frank Hinkelmann (Austria) and Vice President Connie Duarte (Portugal), the designated new Secretary General of the EEA.

Rev Dr Frank Hinkelmann (2nd from the left) and Rev Connie Duarte (middle) read the statement. © Timothy Goropevsek, WEA

Immediately beforehand, representatives of the World Evangelical Alliance and the European Evangelical Alliance together with representatives of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) held a joint memorial ceremony in the Memorial Hall of the Yad Vashem Memorial. A wreath was laid by both the WEA and the EEA with the inscription “In reverence and deep shame, but with the promise of future solidarity – European Evangelical Alliance”. Ekkehart Vetter, 1st Chairman of the Evangelical Alliance in Germany, read out Psalm 23 during the ceremony. Siegfried and Oliver Fietz sang a multilingual version of the well-known song “By Gentle Powers”, including Hebrew. On the part of the World Evangelical Alliance, the commemorative wreath was laid by Secretary General Dr. Thomas Paul Schirrmacher (Germany) and the Chairman of the International Council Bishop Dr. Goodwill Shana (Zimbabwe).

As part of the EEA declaration, Frank Hinkelmann emphasized, among other things:

“In 2022, 80 years after Adolf Hitler declared his ‘final solution’ at the Wannsee Conference in Germany, we declare our adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, including all examples. And we do so without qualification or exemption”.

Connie Duarte underlined:

“Holocaust remembrance is not about recollection, recall, or reporting the events surrounding the extermination of the Jews of Europe. No, it is about engaging in a testimony to the sanctity of the other human being and our infinite responsibility to and for the other human being. This testimony is rooted in the millennial teaching and testimony that comes to the world through the Jewish people.”

Later in the week, the delegation of the Evangelical Alliance and the Jewish Dialogue Group met the Israeli President Isaac Herzog for a personal conversation in which he expressed his gratitude and appreciation of the EEA’s move.

Bishop Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher and Rev. Dr. Goodwill Shana laying a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. © Yoni Reif

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