Israeli President Shimon Peres will depart on January 25th on a three-day state visit to Germany. During his visit the President will deliver a historic speech to the Bundestag (German Parliament) on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The President will be joined by a delegation of Holocaust survivors from Germany, all of who experienced firsthand the horrors of Nazi concentration and extermination camps. The trip marks the closing of a personal circle for the President, whose own grandparents and uncle were burned alive in the Vishneva synagogue.
The German government has arranged a warm welcome for President Peres on his visit. In an official ceremony the German military will offer a gun salute to the President and fly four Phantom fighter jets to accompany his plane on its arrival.
The German Parliament will convene for a special session on January 27th, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The session will be hosted by President of the Bundestag Norbert Lammert and attended by German President Horst Koehler, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, German President of the Federal Constitutional Court Hans-Jürgen Papier, and members of the German Parliament.
The session will begin with a historic speech by President Peres in Hebrew. In his speech the President will mourn the six million Jewish lives that perished in the Holocaust including those of his grandparents and his uncle. He will also discuss the underlying nature of anti-Semitism, genocide, and evil, the historical connection between Israel and the Holocaust, and the relationship between Israel and Germany following the war. The President will conclude his speech by presenting his vision and hope for the future of Israel, Germany, and the Middle East.
Throughout his visit the President will also conduct several work meetings with the leaders of Germany's government including President Koehler and Chancellor Merkel. Following the meeting with Chancellor Merkel the two will hold a joint press conference.
In addition, the President will hold a memorial ceremony at Platform 17 of the Grunewald Railway Station, from which Berlin's Jewish community was forcibly expelled by the Nazis to hard labor and death. The service will be attended by several high-ranking German officials and military figures, Holocaust survivors, Righteous Gentiles, and those youth movement leaders from the President’s delegation.
The President will also participate in several official events throughout his visit. He will hold a special meeting alongside German President Koehler with hundreds of Israeli and German youth on the future of German-Israeli relations. He will also take part in an official state dinner hosted by the German President and his wife at the Presidential Palace in honor of his visit. Lastly, he will deliver his remarks at a special ceremony for Berlin's Jewish community.