President of the German Bundestag, Bärbel Bas, was in Israel for the event, as the country remembered the 6 million Jewish people murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust on Thursday.
The country held a two-minute silence, marked by sirens, as cars and people came to a standstill to commemorate those killed by national socialism.
There are an estimated 161,400 Holocaust survivors living in Israel, with an average age of 85.5.
on Wednesday, Bas visited a Holocaust commemoration site in Israel, where she called for Germany to counter rising antisemitism.
Bas, a member of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD), was the first high-ranking German representative to take part in the ceremony at the Israeli parliament, where the names of the Holocaust victims were read out.
The parliamentary speaker lit a candle to remember a Jewish woman from her hometown of Duisburg who was murdered by the Nazis.
Irma Nathan was killed 80 years ago in 1942. Her husband and two children were also murdered.
What happened at Yad Vashem?
Bas later laid a wreath at the Yad Vashem memorial in the name of the German Bundestag.
She was joined there by Richard Lutz, the head of the state rail company, Deutsche Bahn, as well as the former editor-in-chief of the German newspaper Bild, Kai Diekmann.
This year’s Holocaust Memorial Day was themed around “Train Rides to Ruin: The Deportation of Jews during the Holocaust.”
“Our predecessor organization was deeply involved in the deportation and murder of Europe’s Jews, Sinti and Roma. Millions of people were taken by train to meet their end,” Lutz told dpa after the ceremony.
He also laid a wreath in the name of the Friends of Yad Vashem, of which he is a member.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke at the Yad Vashem ceremony, warning against making comparisons to the Holocaust.
“Even the worst wars today are not the Holocaust and are not comparable to the Holocaust,” he said, according to a statement. “The Nazis aspired to hunt down all Jews and exterminate every last one of them.”
An address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, himself Jewish, to Israeli lawmakers in March elicited criticism after he compared Russia’s invasion with the Holocaust.