In a speech in the Bundestag, President of the State of Israel Isaac Herzog acknowledged Germany’s contribution to the memory of the victims of National Socialism and at the same time called for this memory to be kept alive.
The “honorable status that democratic Germany enjoys in the family of nations, which has made it one of the most important leaders of the free world” is based both on the commitment to the past and to the future of mankind.
As an example, Herzog cited the achievements of the welfare state in Germany. Caring for the vulnerable and building an impressive supportive infrastructure for those in need formed a “framework of humanity and human dignity that is exemplary in Europe,” said the President.
“The Jewish nation is a nation of remembrance,” said Herzog. This is part of their identity.
He quoted his father Chaim Herzog, who was one of the liberators of the National Socialist concentration camp Bergen-Belsen in 1945 and was President of Israel from 1983 to 1993, in front of the MPs: “Only the dead have the right to forget. The Jewish people do not forget.”
In her welcome speech, Bundestag President Bärbel Bas said: “Antisemitism is not just a problem of the past. It’s not just a problem for others, for extremists. Antisemitism is among us, in the middle of our society.”
Bas promised to work to promote plans to set up a German-Israeli youth organization.
Afterwards, Herzog and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier laid wreaths at the Holocaust memorial in Berlin.
At the end of his three-day state visit to Germany, Israel’s President visited the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp memorial in Lower Saxony together with Steinmeier.
Herzog also met Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin and he took part in the central commemoration ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the Munich Olympics attack, in which Palestinian terrorists murdered eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team in 1972.