Westminster Abbey commemoration promotes inter-faith respect

On Sunday night I attended a service organised by West London and Belsize Square synagogues at Westminster Abbey a fitting if slightly ironic end to a week of  commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

It was fitting, because to hold a Holocaust commemoration in such glorious surroundings and in such an atmosphere of inter-faith respect and goodwill testifies more eloquently to the message of Holocaust Memorial Day than any speech possibly could . It was ironic also because to hold the service on what is possibly the premier place of Christian worship in this country testifies to the degree to which the Church and the general community understands the enormity of the Holocaust.

While it was happening however this was not the case. Although the Church of England and many other Christian communities in this country made a very determined stand against Nazism from the very beginning, on the continent things were different. The moral compromises made by many may not have caused the Holocaust but they did make its execution much easier.

Now in the atmosphere of the soaring melodies, glorious architecture and moving readings from both testaments illustrating the Jewish roots of Christianity this could all be put on one side. Above all, the testimony of the survivors whose ranks are diminishing by the years, and for many of whom this may be their last significant anniversary, made this a moving evening that will leave a permanent impression on all present.

Keep Informed

Sign up for our weekly briefing, delivered to your inbox every Thursday, giving you up to date news on events and activists of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, as well as the activities of member organisations and partners. 
Subscribe to Community Briefing


The Board of Deputies relies on the generous support of the Jewish community through individual contributions and donations. Help us be the voice of the British Jewish community by donating today. All funds received go to our core charitable mission.