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Archbishop Welby warns against “collusion with evil”

Archbishop Welby warns against “collusion with evil”

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby described a recent visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau and urges people to resist a “post-truth” culture. He gave a speech during a memorial service in Westminster, London, Thursday in advance of Holocaust Memorial Day.

Every January 27th – the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau– the international community reflects on the holocaust and other genocides.


In his speech, Archbishop Welby said: “I have just returned from a visit to Auschwitz – Birkenau, with 60 clergy; its witness is to appalling human suffering caused by the terrible collusion of the silent majority.

“Whilst Jews and others were caricatured and vilified by unscrupulous politicians and venal newspapers, there was an unquestioning acceptance by ordinary people.

“Life goes amid a culture of alternative facts, of post truth, of collusion with deeds which sing the tunes of evil, a culture which needs to be challenged at every level and in every conversation and debate in this country, if it is indeed to be a place of safety and healing for those fleeing tyranny and cruelty, if indeed life is to go on, flourishing and fully.”

In an interview for BBC News, the Archbishop said:

“The most profound thing that struck me was the sheer mechanistic efficiency and the normality for those who did these terrible things: the accountants, the doctors, the architects: they just did their jobs and they never really focused on what those jobs were.

“It was absolute destruction of humanity – and their own humanity, although they didn’t know it.

“That was very powerfully seen; and I think that has to say to us we must be alert and we must speak out.”


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Cynthia Katsarelis

Since I couldn’t post a graphic of a pink triangle, I have to say it.


I can’t bring myself to say what needs to be said. Hopefully you can all envision the pink triangle and know…

Prof Christopher Seitz

I met +Welby in his first week at LP. The Bishop of Aberdeen was in SC for a service of ‘kirking the tartan’ in support of the TEC remnant there. I mentioned it to him and he said he didn’t know what it was. When I replied he was the Brit, he said he was a German Jew — in reference to the father who raised him, Gavin Welby. Then it turned out his biological father was Churchill’s aid and not Jewish in the least. It must be a strange thing for him to have internalized that self-description so that it was reflexive, only to discover otherwise. Auschwitz must have a complicated feel for him, leaving aside how we all react at visiting such horrible places.

Rod Gillis

One hopes that if Christian leaders address remembrance of the Holocaust, they will do so reflecting on the long history of Christian complicity with antisemitism.

From The Good Friday Liturgy, “I grafted you into the tree of my chosen Israel, and you turned on them with persecution and mass murder. I made you joint heirs with them of my covenants, but you made them scapegoats for your own guilt.” [Canadian Book of Alternative Services (1985). Anthem 1. p. 316]

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