Christian Leaders Repent for Holocaust

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- A delegation of high-ranking German and Austrian Christian leaders are in Jerusalem this week for events marking the 70th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, where Nazi leaders decided on the "Final Solution" for the extermination of European Jewry.

Seventy prominent pastors and ministry leaders -- representing some 30 Protestant evangelical, charismatic, and Pentecostal ministry leaders -- are attending the two-day gathering hosted by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

"They made a public declaration that they want to stand up in their churches with their German communities to make a difference in the future, and make sure that future generations will do everything to prevent another Holocaust to take place," ICEJ Executive Director Juergen Buehler told CBN News.

"So we as Christians have a historic responsibility, and we need to own up to it and we need to say that we don't want to repeat [the Holocaust] ever again," added Susanna Kokkonen, director of Christian Friends of Yad Vashem.

Click play to watch an updated report from CBN News Mideast Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell. 

Participants in this week's events will lay a wreath at Yad Vashem's Hall of Remembrance to honor Jewish victims and survivors of the Holocaust. They will also visit the Knesset, meet with the Chief Rabbinate, and attend a special prayer service at the Western Wall.

On January 20, 1942, Reinhard Heydrich convened a meeting of 15 senior Nazi officials at a plush villa on Lake Wannsee outside of Berlin. There he informed them he had been appointed chief executor of the "Final solution to the Jewish question."

In short, the leaders formulated their plans to eliminate the 11 million Jews of Europe and northwest Africa.

Heydrich was quoted as saying that in the course of the "practical execution of the final solution," Europe would be "combed through from west to east."

Though killing is not mentioned in the Wannsee meeting minutes, Adolph Eichman, Heydrich's right-hand man, explained at his trial in 1962 that following the meeting, participants had "minced no words about it at all…they spoke about the methods of killing, about liquidation, about extermination."

--Published Jan. 20, 2012.

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