New York, NY, July 10, 2015 … Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League and a Holocaust survivor from Poland, today was presented with the Archdiocese of Krakow’s Pope John Paul II Medal of Honor in recognition of his lifetime of work in advancing relations between the Jewish people and the Catholic Church in Poland and at the Vatican.
The award, which is officially bestowed by the Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, was presented to Mr. Foxman at an informal ceremony earlier today at ADL National Headquarters in New York City by his representative, Father Miroslaw Krol, Canon of Krakow. Cardinal Dziwisz was a longtime and influential aide to Pope John Paul II.
“I bring the best wishes and congratulations and words of gratitude from Cardinal Dziwisz,” Father Krol said in presenting the honor to Mr. Foxman. “His Eminence is very grateful for what you have done for the Jewish people, for the Polish people, for his patron and for Catholic-Jewish relations.”
It was ADL and Mr. Foxman who, in 2009, hosted Cardinal Dziwisz and a delegation of Polish Catholic leaders during a visit to Israel, which included a V.I.P. tour of Yad Vashem and a dinner celebration for more than 300 people. The following year, ADL honored Cardinal Dziwisz with the ADL Cardinal Bea Interfaith Award, citing his role in building and deepening the new positive relationship between Catholic and Jews.
Father Krol praised Mr. Foxman for his efforts to keep alive the memory of Pope John Paul II, who “had a good heart, and knew that we were all brothers and sisters.
“Pope John Paul’s historic apology for the pain and suffering the Church caused the Jewish people over two millennia, and his teachings about the need for building positive relations and friendships among faiths, should not be taken for granted,” said Father Krol. “Even today we need to fight in common cause because Jewish people are still under attack, and Christians are under attack.”
Mr. Foxman, in accepting the award, recalled how Cardinal Dziwisz was always at the Pope’s side at times when delegations from the ADL and the American Jewish community visited him at the Vatican. “He was always there by his side, and he always prepared him for our visit. I will never forget his graciousness and his good will.”
Mr. Foxman presented Father Krol and the Archdiocese of Krakow with a copy of “Saint for Shalom,” a treasury of writings by Pope John Paul II published by ADL. The book includes a Foreword by Cardinal Dziwisz, a Preface by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and an appreciation by Cardinal William H. Keeler, Archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore.