Jewish Journal


January 1, 2011

Amish travel to Israel to apologize for silence during Holocaust


I got distracted in the interim, but here is the second of two stories sent my way by Ben Plonie. It’s from the Jerusalem Post, and it’s about a group of Amish folks who traveled to Israel to ask forgiveness of Jews. I wasn’t aware of what the Amish did to warrant such a public apology. Here’s the skinny:

Representatives of the Amish community from the United States and Switzerland paid a visit to the Western Wall on Saturday night, where they asked the Jewish people’s forgiveness for their group’s silence during the Nazi extermination of Jews in the Holocaust.

Part of what made the visit special was that the Amish, a sect of the Mennonite Church that largely rejects modern technology, do not normally use contemporary forms of transportation such as the aircraft on which they made the journey to the Holy Land. It is likely that this delegation does not represent the Amish at large, rather their faction of the larger church. ...

The delegation members stressed that they were neither seeking any kind of gesture from the Jewish people nor looking to proselytize – only to support Israel for the simple reason that in the past they hadn’t.

Wow, if silence was a sin—and on the Holocaust I’d argue it was—then there are a lot of other people and groups that need to atone—starting with the U.S. federal government.

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