Dr. Kokkonen who has worked in the European Parliament in Brussels and at the Embassy of Finland in Tel Aviv received her Ph.D from Hebrew University, Jerusalem in Holocaust Studies. Her knowledge of the subject she presented was impressive, her passion obvious; but it was her compassion that moved the audience both Christian and Jew. She presented a detailed history of events that preceded the Holocaust. Pointing to a new wave of antisemitism Dr Kokkonen gave the audience a fresh perspective concerning just how to stand with Israel and the Jewish people in this time of need.
She cited one clergyman's decision to not stand by and do nothing during those dark times of WWII. He was known to have said that most German Christian were "first Germans, then Christians", bowing to the governments pressure to follow Hitlers lead. Dr. Kokkonen used this example to urge the Christians in the audience to be a Christian first, and not go the way of the multitude, caving into public opinion against our spiritual brothers.
A touching poem quoted by our speaker gave us all a glimpse of the Jewish perspective as their world was caving in and they felt alone during the crisis of the Holocaust:(the below is paraphrased )
Our town is burning
You stand looking on while fire spreads
You can still put the fire out
Dont look on with folded arns
as the fire spreads...
Dr. Kokkonen reminded us that the church will need to change if we are to prevent another wide scale persecution of the Jewish population; she compelled us to be vigilant and be part of that change.