75TH ANNIVERSARY OF ARCHBISHOP DAMASKINOS’ LETTER OF PROTEST AGAINST THE HOLOCAUST PRESENTATION AT IOWA STATE CAPITOL
HISTORIC LETTER STANDS OUT IN WORLD HISTORY AS THE ONLY FORMAL PROTEST BY A WORLDWIDE LEADER AGAINST THE HOLOCAUST DURING WORLD WAR II
DES MOINES, IA: On March 23, 2018, the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, St George Greek Orthodox Parish of Des Moines, and the University of Northern Iowa Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education hosted an educational presentation at the Rotunda of the Iowa State Capitol recognizing the 75th Anniversary of Greek Orthodox Archbishop Damaskinos’ Letter of Protest Against the Holocaust.
The Keynote Speakers at this highly attended event included the Mayor of Des Moines Frank Cownie, Colonel Timothy Glynn of the Iowa National Guard, Dr Stephen Gaies of the University of Northern Iowa, Director of Media Relations for Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago John Ackerman, Father Basil Hickman and Rabbi Emily Barton.
While living in Nazi occupied Greece, Archbishop Damaskinos stands out as the only worldwide leader to formally protest the Holocaust during World War II. As a result of his letter of protest, Archbishop Damaskinos was called before an SS firing squad. Also as a result of his letter and actions, over 10,000 Greek Jews found safety and survived the Holocaust.
During World War II, Archbishop Damaskinos stood alone in protesting the Holocaust. Today, the lessons within this historic document we can still learn from.