Israeli, U.S., European lawmakers tour Auschwitz to mark liberation

Jan. 27, 2014 at 11:52 AM

KRAKOW, Poland, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Lawmakers from Israel, the United States and Europe toured the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz Monday to mark 69 years since the camp's liberation.

The delegation from Israel was made up of 58 Knesset members -- the largest delegation ever sent by Israel to visit the Auschwitz compound in Poland, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

"When we say 'Never Again,' we can say it because there is a Jewish state and a Jewish army," Johnny Daniels, the event's Israeli organizer, told the news agency. "The presence of half the Israeli Parliament in Auschwitz is a powerful symbol for that reason."

U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., attended the commemoration event with Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., along with 23 lawmakers from 10 European Union member states.

Twenty-four Holocaust survivors also attended the ceremony, Daniels said.

"Holocaust survivors are dying fast and it was important for us to create a platform where their voice will be heard," Daniels said.

Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Danny Dannon told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency the meeting of Israeli lawmakers with their counterparts in Europe is "a chance to raise issues which cannot be ignored -- the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, whose latest examples were a pig's head at a synagogue in Rome and attacks on Jews in Kiev."

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