150+ Canadians Day 140: Gregory Baum

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Gregory Baum contributes to peace by prompting interfaith dialogue to build understanding among all faith communities. #Canada150.

Gregory Baum was born in Berlin, Germany to a mother who was Jewish and a father who was Protestant. He came to Canada as a war refugee in 1940 and was held in several refugee camps run by the military before ending up in an internment camp in Sherbrooke, Quebec at 17.

After the war, Baum became a professor in the fields of sociology, theology, and ethics at the University of Toronto and then at McGill University in Montreal. He promoted dialogue between Christians and Jews, and argued against preachings that foster contempt for others. He challenged Christians to be moved by anyone who suffered social injustice regardless of their religion.

“After Auschwitz the Christian churches no longer wish to convert the Jews. While they may not be sure of the theological grounds that dispense them from this mission, the churches have become aware that asking the Jews to become Christians is a spiritual way of blotting them out of existence and thus only reinforces the effects of the Holocaust.”

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