Israeli president evokes horrors, ties at German parliament

Sep 5, 2022, 2:12 PM | Updated: Sep 6, 2022, 10:16 am
Israeli President Isaac Herzog delivers a speech at the German parliament Bundestag at the Reichsta...

Israeli President Isaac Herzog delivers a speech at the German parliament Bundestag at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

BERLIN (AP) — Israel’s president addressed Germany’s parliament on Tuesday about atrocities committed during the Third Reich, while at the same time praising the close and friendly relations that have emerged between the two countries since the end of the Holocaust.

Six million European Jews were murdered by Germany’s Nazis and their henchmen during World War II.

“Never in human history was there a campaign like the one the Nazis and their accomplices conducted to annihilate the Jewish people,” Israeli President Isaac Herzog told lawmakers at the Bundestag.

“Never in history was a state responsible, as Nazi Germany was responsible, for the loss of all semblance of humanity, for the erasure of all mercy, for the pursuit of the worldwide obliteration, with such awful cruelty, of an entire people.”

Herzog also spoke about his father, former Israeli President Chaim Herzog, who was among the liberators of the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen in northern Germany in April 1945, as an officer of the British forces.

“I shall never forget how he described to me the horrors he witnessed. The stench. The human skeletons in striped pajamas, the piles of corpses, the destruction, the hell on earth,” the Israeli president told German lawmakers.

Looking forward, Herzog praised close relations between the two countries and their joint commitment to fight antisemitism.

“The partnership between Israel and Germany has achieved global renown, and we must continue deepening and cultivating it, for the benefit of a brilliant future not only for our countries but for the whole of humanity,” he said in parliament.

After his speech, Herzog and Steinmeier, accompanied by their wives, went to Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews — a field of 2,700 gray concrete slabs near the the city’s landmark Brandenburg Gate — where they laid two wreaths for the victims of the Holocaust.

On Tuesday afternoon, the two presidents visited the former concentration camp Bergen-Belsen.

After a tour of the memorial site where they met survivors and German high school students, Steinmeier said in a speech that “it took a long time for the Germans to understand that they themselves were also liberated at that time, namely from their murderous ideology and an inhuman dictatorship.”

“The fact that we Germans were able to live in freedom and democracy again, at least in the West, is due not least to the allied liberators,” he added.

More than 52,000 mostly Jewish prisoners died at the concentration camp and more than 19,000 prisoners of war, mostly from the Soviet Union, died at the adjacent POW camp.

Menachem Rosensaft, the general counsel of the World Jewish Congress and the son of Bergen-Belsen survivors, met with Herzog and Steinmeier after the official ceremony at the memorial site. Rosensaft was born at the displaced persons camp adjacent to the concentration camp shortly after the end of World War II.

“Both presidents made clear that the remembrance of the evil perpetrated at Bergen-Belsen must be a guidepost for the future of both nations,” he told The Associated Press. “For Herzog especially, the visit was clearly a personal pilgrimage that was rooted in his father’s experience in liberating the camp.”

The Israeli president arrived in Germany earlier this week for a state visit that also included a trip to Munich on Monday where he participated in the 50-year anniversary ceremony for the 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian militants at the 1972 Olympic Games.

Germany is still paying compensation to Holocaust survivors, especially those who are needy and impoverished. The amount paid out each year is decided by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, a nonprofit organization that obtains material compensation for Holocaust survivors around the world.

___

Tia Goldberg contributed to this report from Jerusalem.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Former Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy answers questions after his legal...
Luis Andres Henao, The Associated Press

After Supreme Court backs Bremerton praying coach, no sweeping changes

Three months after the decision, there’s no sign that large numbers of coaches have been newly inspired to follow Joseph Kennedy’s high-profile example.
18 hours ago
(Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

GOP candidate apologizes after antisemitic post surfaces

A GOP candidate for the Washington Legislature has acknowledged that a post he put on social media in 2020 is antisemitic.
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Bodies, most of downed floatplane recovered from Puget Sound

SEATTLE (AP) — The bodies of some of the 10 victims and most of a floatplane that crashed in Washington state’s Puget Sound earlier this month have been recovered. Island County Emergency Management confirmed Thursday that multiple bodies were recovered, but Deputy Director Eric Brooks said he wasn’t yet able to confirm the number, The […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Albuquerque Starbucks votes to unionize, 1st store in state

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is poised to have its first unionized Starbucks store, organizers say. A majority of rank-and-file workers at an Albuquerque location of the Seattle coffee giant voted in favor of unionizing Thursday, said Starbucks Workers United, the group seeking to organize U.S. Starbucks stores. The vote was 10-7 for a […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

2 charged after Michigan trooper shot, critically wounded

DETROIT (AP) — Two Detroit residents face charges in connection with the shooting of a Michigan State Police trooper who was conducting surveillance in the city with other members of a narcotics unit, a prosecutor said Thursday. The undercover trooper was critically wounded early Tuesday on Detroit’s west side when he and other members of […]
18 hours ago
Joey Piscitelli, a member of Northern California SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Pri...
Associated Press

Advocates list 100s of allegedly abusive California priests

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Advocates for victims of clergy sexual abuse delivered a list of more than 300 publicly accused abusers to the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco on Thursday as they urged him to release his “secret” files on credibly accused priests. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests took aim at […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Israeli president evokes horrors, ties at German parliament