Dani Dayan offers Pope Francis a gift during a private audience in the Vatican Dani Dayan offers Pope Francis a gift during a private audience in the Vatican  (Vatican Media)

Yad Vashem Chairman: Pope is friend and ally in fight against anti-Semitism

Pope Francis receives in audience Dani Dayan, Chairman of the Yad Vashem (World Holocaust Remembrance Center) in Jerusalem, and reiterates his commitment to help fight anti-Semitism.

By Cecilia Mutual & Linda Bordoni

Dani Dayan believes that another step forward was taken on Thursday morning in the fight against anti-Semitism.

Speaking to Vatican Radio immediately after meeting in the Vatican with Pope Francis, the Chairman of Yad Vashem described the Pope as a friend and an ally in the mission to defeat anti-Semitism.

Listen to Dani Dayan, Chairman of Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, is universally recognized as the ultimate source for Holocaust education, documentation and research.

Pope Francis visited Yad Vashem in 2014 during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. During his speech there, he implored the Lord to “grant us the grace to be ashamed of what men have done,” and cried out “Never again, Lord, never again!”

Noting that he is the first Yad Vashem chairman to be received in a private audience with the Pope, Dayan revealed that the two men share Buenos Aires as their birthplace and were happy to be able to converse in their native Spanish.

Vatican Archives

Dayan said he thanked the Pope for having opened the Vatican Archives on Pope Pius XII.

In March 2020, the Vatican Apostolic Archives, alongside several other archives of the Holy See on the pontificate of Pius XII (1939-1958) were opened to consultation by scholars.

“When I thanked him for opening the archives of the Vatican of the relevant period of the Holocaust for our researchers, he said very clearly that to open the archives is to make justice,” Dayan said.

The Pope, he said, reiterated “that the Church not only is not afraid of history, the Church loves history.”

The Holy Father went on to say that he is well aware that, as in other organizations, in the Church “there were people who did the right thing, and those who did not.”

Clear condemnation of anti-Semitism

Dayan said Pope Francis was very clear in condemning the scourge of anti-Semitism, and he upheld the importance to continue to fight and defeat it.

“For Yad Vashem, which is dedicated to the memory of the 6 million Jews that were assassinated by Nazi Germany and by its collaborators, this is a historical moment.”

“It is the first time that the Pope receives in a private audience the Chairman of Yad Vashem, and I think that this shows the world the importance that Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, attributes to the remembrance of the Holocaust and the fight against anti-Semitism,” he said.

At the conclusion of the audience, Dayan said he presented the Pope with a gift, and he was gracious enough to present one, too, saying: “Never forget you have a friend here.”

“And I know that when he said a friend, he meant also an ally in the mission that we have embarked on.”

Pope Francis gives Dani Dayan an olive branch
Pope Francis gives Dani Dayan an olive branch
09 June 2022, 13:58