Knesset Press Release about EFI / IJC Delegation of Leading European Parliamentarians Attending Auschwitz-Birkenau on Int’l Holocaust Remembrance Day (27th Jan, 2014)
Official Knesset Press Release about the historic delegation to Auschwitz-Birkenau on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day (27th January, 2014), which included an ‘European Friends of Israel’ (EFI) and ‘The Israeli-Jewish Congress’ (IJC) led delegation of leading European Parliamentarians.
Numerous prominent figures from around the world will also take part in the ceremony at Auschwitz, including dozens of Polish MPs; 24 parliamentarians from France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Spain and Britain; seven chairpersons of inter-parliamentary friendship groups with Israel from France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Spain and Britain; and five deputy parliament presidents from Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Lithuania. The foreign dignitaries` trip is made possible through cooperation between the Knesset and the European Friends of Israel (EFI) and the Israeli-Jewish Congress (IJC).
Full Press Release:
MKs Herzog, Levin head delegation to Poland due to death of Speaker Edelstein`s wife
Publicized: January 27, 2014
In light of the mourning over the death of his wife, Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein was not able to leave for Poland on Monday as the head of a delegation of MKs which will be attending a ceremony commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
In light of Edelstein`s absence, the delegation is headed by Opposition Chairman Isaac Herzog (Israel Labor Party) and Coalition Chairman Yariv Levin (Likud-Yisrael Beitenu). The delegation left for Poland on Monday morning, as scheduled, and will adhere to the planned itinerary.
”We are travelling from Jerusalem to the Valley of Tears; to the site of the greatest disaster and pain of our time,” MK Herzog said ahead of the visit. ”There are no words to describe the intensity of our feelings as those who represent the atmosphere and opinions in our democracy. We are travelling (to Poland) in order to remember, remind, learn and teach a lesson; to light a memorial candle and say a small prayer – the Yizkor prayer.”
MK Levin said, ”Seven decades after millions of our people were cruelly murdered by the Nazi machine of destruction, it is my privilege to head the largest ever delegation of the Knesset, the parliament of the independent Jewish state, to the killing valley of Auschwitz-Birkenau. We will arrive at the gates of this terrible place with those who survived the horror in order to honor the memory of the victims and say in a clear voice: Am Yisrael Chai (The Nation of Israel Lives). I wish to express my respect for the Speaker of the Knesset for naming MK Herzog and myself as heads of the delegation, and I also wish to express my condolences for the loss of his wife.”
The delegation consists of 60 Knesset members (including four ministers and four deputy ministers), 24 Holocaust survivors and their families, as well as 250 prominent public figures, including State Comptroller Joseph Shapira, Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev.
Numerous prominent figures from around the world will also take part in the ceremony at Auschwitz, including dozens of Polish MPs; 24 parliamentarians from France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Spain and Britain; seven chairpersons of inter-parliamentary friendship groups with Israel from France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Spain and Britain; and five deputy parliament presidents from Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Lithuania. The foreign dignitaries` trip is made possible through cooperation between the Knesset and the European Friends of Israel (EFI) and the Israeli-Jewish Congress (IJC). Senior officials from the United States and other North American countries, among them US House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), will also travel to Auschwitz-Birkenau on Monday.
The Israeli delegation departed on Monday morning aboard two planes and landed at the military airport in Krakow. From there the delegation members were taken by bus to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where they toured the prisoner blocks and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, which is located in Block 27. Following the tour the delegation was expected to march to the Birkenau death camp, where a memorial ceremony was to be held on behalf of the Polish government. Opposition Chairman Herzog, representatives of the Polish and Russian governments and Holocaust survivors were scheduled to speak at during the ceremony.
Some 1,000 people, including members of the Polish parliament (the ”Sejm”), were expected to take part in this ceremony, after which the delegation was to march to the monument in Birkenau, where the ”El Malei Rachamim” prayer will be recited, kadish will be said and official guests will light candles.
Later, an inter-parliamentary gathering will take place in Krakow with the participation of MPs and prominent figures from Israel, the United States, Poland, Canada and other countries. Coalition Chairman Levin and Deputy Marshal of the Polish Sejm Cezary Grabarczyk will deliver speeches, while MKs and parliament members will deliver a series of one-minute speeches on the Holocaust. The event will be moderated by Knesset Secretary Yardena Meller-Horowitz and Lech Czapla, Secretary General of the Sejm.
The visit will conclude with a dinner sponsored by the World Zionist Organization and the From the Depths non-profit organization, which is behind the scheduled visit of the Israeli delegation to Poland.
The following is a list of MKs and ministers who are taking part in the visit to Poland:
Menachem Eliezer Moses
For additional information please contact:
Knesset Spokesperson Yotam Yakir, 050-6230007
Knesset Speaker`s Spokesman Eran Sidis, 050-6207481
Uri Michael of the Knesset`s Spokesperson`s Office, 050-6230238
Tal Vider of the Knesset`s Spokesperson`s Office, 050-6230076
[Featured image credit: Knesset]