On arriving in Poland, President Katsav honored in a state military ceremony the Jewish Brigade soldiers who died in German captivity during the Second World War. A guard of honor of IDF soldiers from all the army corps accompanied President Katsav who placed an Israeli flag on the grave of the Brigade soldiers at the Rakowicki cemetery in Krakow. The IDF Chaplain eulogized the thirteen Jewish soldiers from Israel who died in German captivity on Polish soil.
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President Katsav met with Polish President Kwasniewski, who said that he intends to come to Yad Vashem in March this year. In addition, the President of Poland told President Katsav that his government had decided to build a museum on the history of the Jews in Poland. The museum will be built in Warsaw at a cost of 30 million dollars. President Katsav said that he appreciates President Kwasniewski´s dedication to the Jewish issue and added, "You are a friend of the Jewish people and proof of this is the historic event tomorrow in Auschwitz."
President of Ukraine Yushchenko told him that his father, Andre Yushchenko, a soldier in the Soviet army, was a prisoner in Auschwitz and was liberated by the Red Army. He passed through the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps and in February 1944 was taken to Auschwitz. His father had told him that during that time they murdered 25,000 people daily. "My father was one of the few Russian war prisoners who survived out of the tens of thousands who died in German captivity," the President of Ukraine told the President of Israel. President Katsav said: "This is another fact which proves the proximity between the people of Ukraine, the Jewish people and the State of Israel and I clearly understand why you came here."
President Katsav asked the President of Ukraine to deal with the anti-Semitism being manifested by extremist elements in Ukraine. President Yushchenko promised to do so and said that he would deal quickly with every problem that arose and added that "the best way to deal with anti-Semitism is to strengthen the relations between Israel and Ukraine."
President Katsav expressed his appreciation and thanks to the Vice President of the United States of America, Dick Cheney for coming to represent his country at the event marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. President Katsav also expressed his deep sorrow and condolences to the people of America on the death of the 31 American soldiers in Iraq the previous day.
The President of Israel, Mr. Moshe Katsav, met in Krakow with the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Horst Koehler, who participated in the 60th anniversary event of the liberation of Auschwitz. The President of Germany will be coming to Israel next Tuesday, 1st February 2005, on a State Visit as the guest of President Katsav.
During the meeting the two dignitaries discussed education on the awareness and lessons of the Holocaust and the German President promised to continue to increase his efforts to pass on the memory of the Holocaust and to fight against anti-Semitic incidents in his country.