Israeli President Shimon Peres called on Wednesday for the perpetrators of Nazi atrocities to be brought to justice, in an address to the German parliament marking International Holocaust Memorial Day.
“Men and women who took part in the most odious activity on earth — that of genocide — still live on German and European soil, and in other parts of the world,” Mr. Peres said.
“My request is to you: Please do everything to bring them to justice,” the Israeli President said. “This is not revenge in our eyes. This is an educational lesson.” Wednesday is the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp by Soviet soldiers at the end of World War II.
Mr. Peres described the death of his grandfather, his “guide and mentor,” when the Nazis set fire to the synagogue in Vishneva, Belarus.
The Israeli President was joined in his address by Polish Holocaust survivor Feliks Tych, whose parents and siblings were murdered at Treblinka.
Earlier, the speaker of the Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, expressed gratitude that Jewish life had returned to Germany.
“We are thankful for every growing plant of Jewish life and culture,” Mr. Lammert said. Those present included Charlotte Knobloch, the head of the Central Committee of Jews in Germany.
A “youth encounter” will take place after Mr. Peres’ speech, when the president will meet young people actively involved in working against anti-Semitism or in research into the history of Nazism.
In a newspaper interview prior to Mr. Peres’ arrival, the 86-year-old president expressed concern that young Germans were not sufficiently aware of their country’s historical obligation to Israel.