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Visit of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at Yad Vashem

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi studies the Auschwitz Album in the Holocaust History Museum. From the right: Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev, Berlusconi, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, and Dr. Iael Nidam-Orvieto Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi studies the Auschwitz Album in the Holocaust History Museum. From the right: Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev, Berlusconi, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, and Dr. Iael Nidam-Orvieto
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in the Hall of Names. From the right: Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Dr. Iael Nidam-Orvieto, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev, and BerlusconiItalian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in the Hall of Names. From the right: Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Dr. Iael Nidam-Orvieto, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev, and Berlusconi
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi during a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance. From the right: Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev, Berlusconi, and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi during a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance. From the right: Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev, Berlusconi, and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi signs the Visitors’ Book upon exiting the Children’s Memorial  Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi signs the Visitors’ Book upon exiting the Children’s Memorial
Prime Minister Berlusconi studies an exhibit in the Holocaust History Museum of objects taken from Italian Jews before their deportation to Auschwitz Prime Minister Berlusconi studies an exhibit in the Holocaust History Museum of objects taken from Italian Jews before their deportation to Auschwitz

The Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, visited Yad Vashem on February 1, 2010. He was accompanied by six ministers of the Italian Government, Israeli Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev. Prime Minister Berlusconi visited the Holocaust History Museum and the Hall of Names, guided by Dr. Iael Nidam-Orvieto, Editor-in-Chief of Yad Vashem Publications. He participated in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance and visited the Children’s Memorial.

Prime Minister Berlusconi remained in the museum beyond the originally allotted time for the visit. Throughout the visit he asked many questions and stopped to study numerous exhibits, including exhibits dealing with the extermination process. He was particularly interested in the personal aspect of the Holocaust, in the stories of individuals and children emphasized in the Holocaust History Museum.

At the end of the visit Berlusconi said:

“I was here already in 2000, but this time the visit was like a punch to the stomach, a moving visit of particular power.”

Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev said about the visit:

“We saw him dealing with things he was unable to process, with the truth. He did not come simply to pass through the museum – he stopped, looked closely, dictated the pace, took his time. He said that he underwent an overwhelming experience and that it will take a long time to deal with it and process it.”

After visiting the Children’s Memorial Berlusconi signed the Visitors’ Book:

“Our soul screams out: ‘This can’t be correct, this must not be real.' But then, defeated, it screams out ‘Never Again.’
With deep emotion,
Silvio Berlusconi