This event will be a celebration of the publication “Auschwitz and Absolution: The Case of the Commandant and the Confessor” (Orbis Books, 2023). Its editor, James Bernauer, S.J., will be joined in a discussion moderated by the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning director Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, with four of the volume’s interfaith authors: Ruth Langer and Marina McCoy of Boston College, Serena Parekh of Northeastern University, and Francis X. Clooney, S.J., of Harvard University.
Few people know that in the face of his 1947 execution, Rudolf Höss, the notorious commandant of Auschwitz, met with a Polish Jesuit priest, Fr. Wladyslaw Lohn. Höss made a confession to Fr. Lohn for approximately four hours, and received absolution. This compelling account of a secret and sacramental meeting not only tells what happened, but, in addition, 17 Jewish and Christian commentators offer reflections that represent a critical challenge to contemporary notions of forgiveness.
James Bernauer, S.J., a Jesuit priest, is the Kraft Family Professor of Philosophy emeritus and former director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College. He is the author, editor, and co-editor of a number of books, including “Auschwitz and Absolution: The Case of the Commandant and the Confessor” (2023), “Jesuit Kaddish: Jesuits, Jews, and Holocaust Remembrance” (2020), and “The Tragic Couple: Encounters Between Jews and Jesuits” (2013). His fields of interest include Holocaust studies, Jesuits and Jews during the Holocaust, German Jewry, and the philosophies of Michel Foucault and Hannah Arendt.
Co-sponsored by the Jesuit Institute at Boston College.
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