Knesset speaker delivers emotional speech to German parliament

A tearful Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy makes history, giving a speech to the German Bundestag in Hebrew to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Levy breaks into sobs as he reads the Kaddish, the Jewish mourners’ prayer, at the end of his address, stepping off the podium and receiving a hug from survivor Inge Auerbacher.

He reads the prayer from a book borrowed from Yad Vashem that had belonged to a Jewish German boy who used it for his bar mitzvah just before Kristallnacht in 1938.

During the speech, which is punctuated by several rounds of applause from German lawmakers, Levy notes that he is speaking from the place where Democracy was subverted for evil under Adolf Hitler.

Inge Auerbacher, Holocaust survivor, is embraced by Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy, next to Baerbel Bas, right, speaker of the Bundestag, during a ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day held in the German Bundestag in Berlin, Jan.27, 2022. (Kay Nietfeld/dpa via AP)

“This is where humanity stretched the boundaries of evil, the place where the loss of values turned a democratic framework into racism and tyranny,” he says.

But he also praises the modern German state for “proving, time after time, its ethical and historic commitment to the existence and security of the Israeli state.”

“But as much as we’ve done, we have an obligation to do more. Alongside memory, we must also build a vision out of it,” he adds. “We must hope and plan together for a future resting on shared values and dreams.”

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