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The Origins of The National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education

The National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE) was established in the fall of 1987, on the 49th anniversary of Kristallnacht. The founding of the Center was one in a long series of Catholic initiatives that began with the publication of the 1965 document of the Second Vatican Council, Nostra Aetate. These initiatives were, of course, motivated by the moral necessity of responding to the virulent antisemitism of the Nazi regime and the mass murders it perpetrated. In Nostra Aetate and in subsequent writings, The Vatican called on Catholic scholars to engage in new research designed to produce a more accurate and objective understanding the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. In keeping with that emphasis, the NCCHE implemented a variety of programs to investigate topics such as the Jewish roots of Christianity, the sources of Christian anti-Judaism, and the history of antisemitism, as well as to articulate a distinctively Catholic perspective on the Holocaust. 

The perspective of the Center was and remains firmly rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition, which emphasizes reason informed by faith. This tradition provides a framework for examining the Holocaust in terms of key principles of moral theology, such as the dignity of the human person. Another aspect of this perspective is the examination of the specific roles played by the Catholic Church, as well as by other Christian churches and individuals, in both abetting and resisting the persecution of Jews. Finally, the Catholic perspective calls us to engage in the study of the Holocaust with the ultimate aim of fostering the creation of a more just world.

History of the Center Timeline

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Timeline of the Center