Post-Auschwitz Catholic-Jewish Dialogue

Mixed Signals and Missed Opportunities
  • Alan L. Berger


There is, perhaps, no better metaphor for Catholic-Jewish relations both during and after the Holocaust than that of mixed signals. Nechama Tec, the distinguished sociologist who as a young girl survived the Shoah by passing as a Polish Christian, describes the nature of these signals. On the one hand, the Church has advocated ‘Jewish hatred’, yet on the other hand, it required its members ‘to reassess their own sins, to love, and to sacrifice for their fellow human beings’. During the Holocaust, and absent any clear message from the Vatican, observes Tec, ‘the clergy and lay Catholics could base their reaction on religious anti-Semitism or on Christian teachings of charity and universal love.’ Three events of the last fifteen years reveal the ongoing impact of the legacy of mixed signals. Indeed, the two major controversies engendered by the Carmelite convent and the planting of crosses at Auschwitz, and by the promulgation of the papal document ‘We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah’, continue — and deepen — this legacy.


Mixed Signal Jewish People Death Camp Christian Teaching Jewish Leader 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan L. Berger

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