Obama to be given Holocaust document at Yad Vashem


President Obama is to be presented with a copy of a poem set to music by a chazan who was killed in the Holocaust when he visits Yad Vashem on Friday.

The president, who landed in Israel earlier today for his first official trip to the Jewish state as US Commander in Chief, is to visit Israel's national Holocaust museum on Friday.

With less than a week to go until Pesach, officials at the museum are to make a special point of showing him a manuscript that features a composition of the poem Chad Gadya, which is traditionally sung during the S eder.

The poem was set to music in 1941 by Israel Eljasz Maroko, who was chief chazan of Amsterdam before the war. Two years later the Nazis deported him to Westerbork, then to Sobibor, where he was murdered along with his wife and three of his children. The manuscript featuring the Chad Gadya composition is the only one of his works that survived the Shoah.

The president, who is to sign Yad Vashem's guest book during his visit, will be presented with a facismile of the sheet music, a photograph of Mr Maroko and a copy of his Page of Testimony by Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev.

He will be accompanied on his tour of the museum – his second visit, having toured it in 2008 when he was still a presidential candidate – by his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres.

Mr Shalev said: "This page is the voice of the individual in the Holocaust, whose essence and spirit we are trying to rebuild with the help of names, photographs, documents, artworks and films that Yad Vashem has been collecting for the past six decades."

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