Pope Francis met with a delegation from the European Jewish Congress Friday on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which occurs annually on 27 January.
The Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, Fr. Norbert Hofmann, was present at the meeting.
In an interview with Vatican Radio (in Italian), he said the Pope “began the dialogue by mentioning the importance of this Day for the Jews, but also for us, because remembering the victims of the Holocaust is important so that this human tragedy never happens again”.
The delegation, he said, represents more than 2 million Jews in Europe.
Fr. Hofmann said the President of the Congress, Moshe Kantor, spoke about “the importance of ethics, that is, of the values which Christians and Jews have in common. He said that in our world we see much progress but also a decline in moral and ethical values. Therefore, we need to strengthen these values which we share. And then he spoke about the importance of education and the family.”
Pope Francis, Fr. Hofmann said, agreed completely with these themes and shared a story from his childhood.
“The Pope said that, in his family, his father often received Jews… and thus, already as a child, our Pope learned to have several Jewish friends.”
Also on Friday, the Vatican’s permanent representative to the OSCE said the Holocaust teaches us that “utmost vigilance is always needed to be able to take prompt action in defense of human dignity and peace”.