Plaques honoring Monsignor Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli were dedicated at Budapest’s Dohany Street Synagogue complex, the site of Hungary’s national Holocaust memorial, on April 15, 2007. The Commission partnered with the Federation of Jewish Communities of Hungary for this project. Commission Member Ronald Bloom donated the money for the bronze plaques and funded several large-screen projections of the dedication ceremony.
Roncalli, who would later become Pope John XXIII, did not ignore the evils taking place in Europe at the time. From his post in Turkey, he issued false papers to save the lives of Jews of Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Greece, Romania, France, and Bulgaria.
As Pope John XXIII, Roncalli confronted the elements of anti-Semitism in official church theology and liturgy. His action led to Nostra Aetate, a historic declaration that removed the stigma the Church once attached to the Jewish people, greatly improving relations between the two religions.
The plaques honoring Roncalli were dedicated on Hungary’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. The dedication, at which Chairman Miller spoke, was attended by the prime minister, National Assembly speaker, chief justice of the Supreme Court, and other dignitaries. Approximately, 15,000 people participated in a 1.5 mile “March of the Living” ending at the Dohany Street Synagogue Complex.
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