German Bundestag President Baerbel Bas will attend Knesset events to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day later this week, it was announced on Sunday.
Bas, who is attending at the invitation of Knesset Speaker MK Mickey Levy, will be the first senior German official to attend Holocaust Remembrance Day events in Israel’s parliament.
“This is another important expression of the special relationship between Israel and Germany and of the historic responsibility for the crimes of the Holocaust that Germany has assumed,” Levy said in a statement.
“I am convinced that this visit will also contribute to strengthening relations and parliamentary work between the Knesset and the Bundestag,” he said.
In January, Levy became the first Knesset speaker to address the entire German parliament, when he delivered a moving speech to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
During his speech, Levy recited part of the Kaddish, a traditional Jewish mourning prayer, reading from a prayer book used by a teenager during his bar mitzvah on October 22, 1938, shortly before the Kristallnacht pogrom initiated by the Nazis against the Jews of Germany.
“A moment, before the life they were meant to live – shattered by reality in Germany,” Levy said, unable to contain his emotion as he spoke.
On Thursday, Israel will honor the memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II.
The annual Holocaust Remembrance Day is one of the most solemn days on Israel’s national calendar, with much of the country shut down for two minutes for a siren at 10 a.m. to honor those who suffered under the Nazi killing machine.
The main opening ceremony of the day of remembrance will take place on Wednesday evening.