“I am here today representing the dead and the living,” said President Shimon Peres before the Polish senate Thursday. “I represent the past, the present and I believe the future, too. I have come to recite the Kaddish and sing the Hatikvah.”
Peres, who also gave speeches at the Warsaw Ghetto uprising Memorial and in the Treblinka concentration camp, spoke at length about the history of Polish Jewry.
When mentioning the Holocaust, Peres said that the greatest tragedy occurred in Poland due to the largest concentration of Jews there; hence the focus of the Jewish pain has been directed at Poland, even though Germany bears and should bear the responsibility.
Peres and Polish president, Lech Kaczyński (Photo: AP)
“The remnants of the death camps on Poland’s land will serve as a pillar of fire in our collective historical memory,” Peres said, adding that “the new Poland will bare no resemblance to the occupied one.”
Peres also mentioned the names of great Jewish intellectuals, authors and leaders who were born in Poland, including the president himself.
Upon concluding his speech, the president revealed his vision for peace: “The ultimate victory we aspire to is the victory of peace.”
Regarding the ties between Israel and Poland, Peres said, “We can maintain a positive relationship with the new Poland, and together seek a future of peace, justice and friendship. The new Poland is one of Israel’s best allies in the EU.”