In First, German Parliament President in Israel for Holocaust Remembrance Day

'Germany's responsibility has not ended. We stand alongside Israel,' says Bundestag President Barbel Bas on her official visit for Holocaust Remembrance Day

Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel
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Knesset speaker Mickey Levy and Bundestag president Barbel Bas in the Knesset on Wednesday.
Knesset speaker Mickey Levy and Bundestag president Barbel Bas in the Knesset on Wednesday.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

The president of the Bundestag, Barbel Bas, arrived in Jerusalem on Wednesday to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, the first time a senior German official takes part in Israel's ceremony.

"The lessons of the Holocaust obligate us to provide no place for antisemitism. Germany’s responsibility has not ended. We stand alongside Israel,” she said in a reception with Knesset speaker Mickey Levy at the parliament plaza.

Bas also laid a wreath at the memorial to fallen soldiers from Israel's wars, adding that “Israel and Germany are true friends, and I am grateful for that. I see honor and trust in my invitation to the Holocaust Remembrance Day events."

She then met with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who thanked her and Germany's chancellor Olaf Scholz for their efforts to preserve the memory of the Holocaust. "In recent years, very significant steps have been taken to commemorate the Holocaust in Germany, and for a deeper connection between the two countries," Bennett said.

The president of Germany's parliament is scheduled to participate in several more events over the next two days, including a ceremony to be held at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Center on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening. After this, she and Mickey Levy will meet with the former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau to hear what happened to him as a child during the Holocaust.

On Thursday, Bas participated in the candle lighting ceremony in the Knesset in memory of Holocaust victims, followed by the official Unto Every Person There is a Name Ceremony.

"I bow my head in humble and shame in face of Holocaust victims. We shouldn't forget and won't forget," Bas said during the candle lighting ceremony.

In late January, Levy visited Germany to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the first time a Knesset speaker addressed the Bundestag.

“This is a place where values were lost and where democracy descended into racist tyranny. So precisely here, between the walls of this house, standing as silent stone and steel witnesses, we are relearning how fragile democracy is, and we are reminded of our duty to protect it at all costs,” Levy said in his Hebrew-language address.

On the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, there are currently 161,400 Holocaust survivors and victims of antisemitism from the period living in Israel, according to data from the Holocaust Survivors' Rights Authority in the Social Equality Ministry.

The body also noted that 15,533 Holocaust survivors died in 2021 in Israel, an average of 42 per day.

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