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Gašparovič in Jerusalem for Holocaust musuem opening

SLOVAKIA's President Ivan Gašparovič regards it as his duty - given the darker side of Slovakia's history - to take part in the opening ceremony of the new Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, the TASR news agency wrote.

At the same time he would like to remind Israelis that during World War II many Slovak citizens helped save Jews from persecution.

"I can mention in Israel that Slovaks were among those who, despite risk to their own lives, fixed things so that many Jewish citizens were not transported to concentration camps," the president said, prior to his two-day official visit to Israel starting March 14.

This can be attested to by the fact that Slovakia already has 420 laureates of the Just Among Nations role of honour, which is awarded annually by Israel on Holocaust and Racial Violence Victims' Day to people who, during World War II selflessly helped members of the Jewish nation.

"It is the highest number among all the nations," President Gašparovič said.

He pointed out that, through a declaration adopted by the Slovak Parliament in 1990, Slovakia apologized to the country's former Jewish citizens for events from the period of the wartime Slovak State.

During his two-day official visit to Israel, Slovak President Gašparovič is set to meet his Israeli counterpart Moshe Katsav and discuss the situation
in the Middle East and bilateral relations.

Some 30 representatives of various states, including German Foreign Affairs Minister Joschka Fischer, the presidents of Poland and Switzerland, prime ministers of France, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands and others will take part in the new museum's opening ceremony.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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