29 June 2021
President of the Federal Republic of Germany H.E. Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier will visit Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, on Thursday, 1 July 2021. Together with Israel's President H.E. Mr. Reuven "Ruvi" Rivlin, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau and Acting Chairman of Yad Vashem Ronen Plot, the German President will tour the "Flashes of Memory: Photography during the Holocaust" exhibition, view two rare diaries written during the Holocaust, participate in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, and sign the Yad Vashem Guest Book.
There will be photo-ops in the Synagogue, Hall of Remembrance and at the signing of the Guest Book outside the Hall of Remembrance.
The diaries, which will be shown to the German President during his visit to Yad Vashem, were written by victims of the Holocaust. Alfred Zielony was incarcerated in the Warsaw ghetto when he began to write his diary, while Rywka Lipszyc, a 14-year-old Jewish girl from Lodz, recorded her experiences over a period of 11 months while in the Ghetto. Zielony's diary was damaged by fire and water, and eventually reached Yad Vashem thanks to relatives, where it underwent an intensive and remarkable restoration. Lipszyc's diary was found near the crematorium in Auschwitz-Birkenau by one of the physicians of the liberating Red Army in January 1945. Rywka and Alfred both risked their lives to record their experiences during the Holocaust in order to tell the world of the horrors of the Holocaust and of the fate of the Jews of Europe.
These authentic documents are among the few diaries written by Jews during WWII that were not lost or destroyed in the crucible of the Holocaust, and were donated to Yad Vashem for posterity. Both items will be housed in the new Collections Center currently being built at Yad Vashem as part of the Moshal Shoah Legacy Campus, which received support, among others, from the Federal Republic of Germany. Yad Vashem houses the world's largest collections of Holocaust-related documentation, photographs, artifacts and artwork.
Media interested in covering the visit must register in advance with the Communications Division via email@example.com, and arrive to the Hall of Remembrance with a valid GPO card, by 11:00 for security check.
The evening prior to the visit to Yad Vashem, President Steinmeier will present Yad Vashem Chairman Emeritus Avner Shalev with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany honor, one of Germany's highest tributes awarded to individuals, at a ceremony in Tel Aviv. Three other notable Israeli figures will also be receiving this prestigious award: Holocaust survivor Regina Steinitz, author David Grossman and artist Michal Rovner.