Israeli President Shimon Peres and the Prince of Belgium have bestowed decorations of Righteous Among the Nations on 11 Belgian families who saved Jews during the Holocaust.
In a ceremony today, Mr Peres said to the families: "On behalf of the state of Israel and the Jewish people, I thank you. The Righteous Among the Nations brought light to the world and exhibited bravery and courage in the face of the atrocities of the Holocaust."
The event in Brussels was attended by Holocaust survivors, descendants of the righteous amongst the nations, the heads of Jewish organisations, government ministers, members of parliament and the leaders of faith communities in Belgium.
In his speech, the Foreign Minister of Belgium, Didier Reynders, expressed Belgium’s commitment to teaching the lessons of the Holocaust and to remember those who perished. This sentiment was in keeping with the apology made last year by the prime minister for Belgium’s role in the Holocaust.
Mr Peres’s visit to Belgium marks the beginning of his tour of the European Union, which will include meetings with the secretary general of Nato, the president of the European Parliament, the president of the European Commission and the president of the European Council.