Peres to mark Int'l Holocaust Day with address to Bundestag

Peres will be the first Israeli president to address the German parliament since it relocated to Berlin in 1990.

January 25, 2010 03:44
1 minute read.
OECD sec.-gen. Gurria hands Peres a recent report,

peres oecd gurria 311. (photo credit: GPO)

President Shimon Peres is making a three-day state visit to Germany this week, and on Wednesday, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, he will give a speech in Hebrew to the German parliament.

Four Phantom jets will escort Peres's special El-AL flight into Berlin on Monday. He will be met at the airport by an honor guard and numerous government dignitaries.

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He will be accompanied on the flight by Holocaust survivors, Jewish organization leaders and children from various youth movements.

Wednesday, January 27 is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. Peres, whose grandparents were burned alive by the Nazis, will eulogize the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust at the Bundestag in a ceremonial parliament session.

The ceremony will be attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, German President Horst Koehler, Holocaust survivors, Jewish community leaders and top German dignitaries.

Peres will be the first Israeli president to address the Bundestag since it relocated to Berlin in 1990, following the reunification of Germany. Presidents Chaim Herzog and Ezer Weizman spoke at the Bundestag when it was located in Bonn.

Peres will be presented with the Walther Rathenau award, given annually for outstanding lifetime achievement in foreign policy. The award is named after the Jewish industrialist who became German foreign minister. Rathenau, who was considered a nationalist and called for assimilation as a way to fight anti-Semitism, was murdered by right-wing extremists in 1922.

On the evening of his arrival in Berlin on Monday, the president will address a special event organized by the Jewish community.

On Tuesday, Peres will participate in a remembrance ceremony at Platform 17, the train station from where thousands of Berlin Jews were sent to their deaths. Koehler and a delegation of Israeli Holocaust survivors, students and youth, will attend the ceremony.

After the ceremony, Peres will hold a state meeting with Merkel, after which they will hold a joint press conference.

In the afternoon the two presidents will attend a special meeting with 100 Israeli and German youths to discuss the future relationship between the two countries.

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