VIDEO – Exactly 69 years after the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, the Knesset is set to hold a special session on the site in January, marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The historic event was initiated by the management of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, which has invited Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and all members of the Israeli parliament to participate in a discussion and memorial ceremony.
Video courtesy of jn1.tv
The delegation will return to Israel the same day after a series of events.
According to the schedule, a special plane will leave Israel for Auschwitz on the morning of the event, carrying Knesset members, dozens of Holocaust survivors and other senior Israeli officials, including IDF generals, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau and his father, former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Israeli Nobel Prize laureates and youth movement representatives.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, a former Auschwitz prisoner, will deliver a speech at the special session.
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"The Knesset's decision to hold a meeting at Auschwitz on the day of the camp's liberation on January 26, is unusual, almost impossible, and of course a very positive and important decision for all of us – Israel, Poland, Jews and non-Jews," Prof. Piotr Cywiński, director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, said Saturday.
"We are very excited and happy that the Israeli parliament has decided to hold a session at our memorial site," he added.
"This is a very moving initiative by the management of the Auschwitz Museum," said Knesset Speaker Edelstein.
Johnny Daniels, chairman of the Mimaamakim organization, who initiated and is producing the event, said: "We are reaching a situation in which we will no longer have Holocaust survivors among us to testify and give us a first-hand account of what happened.
"Holding such international events is highly important as they must serve as a real response to Holocaust deniers. In addition, it is our moral duty to Holocaust survivors."
The event will not be funded by the Knesset, but by a Holocaust surviving Jewish millionaire who made an anonymous donation for the cause.
Noah Klieger contributed to this report