For my family, it will be the first Christmas for great-niece Mabel Bessie and although we will be scattered around the globe, we are sure to stay connected via Facebook photos and videos.
When I first saw the photo of Eva Temple as a four-month-old baby in Nazi-occupied Bratislava, I was struck by the way her parents looked at her adoringly as they posed for the camera.
It is hard to imagine what Eva’s parents must have gone through when they were separated from their precious baby daughter. Perhaps they were reassured by the knowledge that Eva would be well looked after by her grandparents…perhaps they assumed they would one day be reunited…perhaps, perhaps.
The photo reminds us that the millions of Jews killed in the Holocaust were real people with real stories. They were ordinary men, women and children – just like us – who happened to live in the wrong place at the wrong time.
When I told my 24-year-old daughter about Eva’s remarkable story, she was surprised to think someone who had experienced the Holocaust could still be living in our midst. For the younger generation, these atrocities are from another time and easily forgotten, which is why it is so important that survivors like Eva keep telling their stories or those of their relatives and ancestors.
In today’s violent and volatile world, the persecution of the Jews should be a constant reminder to us of the need to show compassion and respect for all.
Here in Adelaide, Archbishop Wilson has been passionate about remembering the Shoah (Hebrew word for Holocaust) and has earned the respect of the Jewish and Muslim communities for building bridges between the different faiths.
Similarly, he has been a driving force behind ecumenism, as highlighted by the Archdiocese’s partnership with the Lutheran Church in the recent commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
The significance of these initiatives should not be underestimated. So much of the violence and conflict in our world is a result of hundreds of years of hatred and prejudice.
Christmas is a time to remember that we are all made in the image of God and that Jesus came into the world to save every one of us, not just a select few.
From the team at The Southern Cross, we wish our readers a very happy and peaceful Christmas and we thank you for your loyal support.
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