Faith in Auschwitz. The victim experience and interfaith dialogue today

Faith in Auschwitz. The victim experience and interfaith dialogue today

Source: The Centre for Dialogue and Prayer in Oświęcim,

Webinar, November 5th 2020,

from 16:00 to 19:00 (Warsaw time) / 10am to 1 pm (NY time).

The purpose of this Webinar was to address the faith-based views which framed the experiences of victims of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Faith as a source of inner strength; faith as a source of communal interactions; faith as a source of survival.

The inner and outer expressions of faith for Jews can be understood in Halochic terms, that is to say religious comportments associated with everyday life. Halocha as a way of walking.

The inner and outer expressions of faith for Christian prisoners can be understood as a participation in the Christian understanding of collective suffering.

What are the various ‘presences’ of faith expressions in Auschwitz-Birkenau? How are they described by the witnesses? What is their relevance for Inter-faith Dialogue today?


The Centre for Dialogue and Prayer in Oświęcim, Poland, is a Catholic institution which began in 1992. The aim of the Centre is to create for all those who are moved by what happened in the German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau a place for reflection, education, dialogue and prayer. More:

Amud Aish Memorial Museum, located in Brooklyn, NY, USA, is a living memorial to all the victims of the Holocaust. The museum’s mission is to present the victim experience, with special emphasis on the perspectives of observant Jewish communities. It is the only Holocaust museum to focus on the role of faith and identity within the broader context of the annihilation of European Jewry. More:



Welcome by Father Dr. Manfred Deselaers, Vice President of the board of the KRAKOW FOUNDATION OF THE CENTRE FOR DIALOGUE AND PRAYER IN OSWIECIM

Welcome byRabbi Sholom Friedman, Director of the AMUD AISH MEMORIAL MUSEUM

Short introduction by Father Manfred Deselaers, Moderator of the meeting

Key note lectures:

Dr. Joanna Barcik – Faith Testimonies of Polish Catholic Survivers Philosopher of religion, assistant professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow
Rabbi Sholom Friedman – Survivor Testimony Within Halachic History Director & CEO of the AMUD AISH MEMORIAL MUSEUM in Brooklyn, New York


Dr. Henri Lustiger Thaler
Chief Curator, Amud Aish Memorial Museum, Professor of Historical Sociology Ramapo College USA

Rev. Prof. Łukasz Kamykowski
Pontifical University John Paul II in Cracow, Department for Fundamental Theology, Institute for Ecumenism and Dialogue

Rabbi Yaakov Bleich
Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine, Co-chair of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, Executive Board Member of World Jewish Congress

Rev. Dr. Christian Rutishauser SJ
Provincial of the Jesuits in Switzerland. Lecturer for Jewish Studies and Jewish-Christian Relations at Philosophische Hochschule Munich, Permanent Councilor of the Holy See for the religious relations with Judaism

Rabbi Dr. Israel Singer
Vice President of international affairs at Touro College and a professor of contemporary Jewry. He had been secretary general of the World Jewish Congress for many years and is currently honorary president of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations.

Rev. Dr. Manfred Deselaers
Pastor abroad of the German Bishops' Conference at the Centre for Dialogue and Prayer in Oświęcim