ADL Welcomes Mormon Church Apology For Posthumous Baptism On Nazi War Hunter's Family

New York, NY, February 14, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the apology of the Mormon Church over the posthumous baptism of the parents of famed Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, both Holocaust victims.

LDS officials have indicated that an individual member inappropriately submitted the names, an action the LDS said was "clearly against the policy of the church." The church has indefinitely suspended the individual's ability to access their genealogy records.

Abraham Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor, issued the following statement:

We believe the Mormon Church is trying to act in good faith to live up to its agreement to prevent the names of any Jewish Holocaust victims from being submitted for posthumous baptism. They understand that this issue is extremely important to the Jewish people, as Holocaust victims died precisely because they were Jewish. Listing Jews as "Christian" on one of the most researched genealogical sites in the world inadvertently aids and abets denial of the Holocaust.

We will continue to work with Mormon Church leaders to bring greater understanding and respect to both of our faith communities. A lot more needs to be done by the LDS Church to educate its membership about its policy prohibiting names of Holocaust victims to be offered for posthumous baptism. Perhaps the ultimate solution would be for the church to revisit its theological position on posthumously baptizing Jews and believers outside the Mormon Church, just as other religions have reconsidered centuries-old beliefs.

We hope that the Mormon Church will increase its vigilance of its computer system, launch an education program for its members, and appropriately discipline those church members who violate the policy.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.