President Nicolas Sarkozy of France visited Yad Vashem on June 23, 2008. He was accompanied by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev, as well as French government ministers, members of Parliament, and leaders of the French Jewish community. In October 2007 President Sarkozy personally presented Yad Vashem Chairman Shalev with the Legion of Honor for his work on behalf of Holocaust commemoration at a special Elysee ceremony.
President Sarkozy’s visit included a tour of the Holocaust History Museum, including the Hall of Names, a wreath-laying ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, and a visit to the Children’s Memorial, after which he signed the Yad Vashem Guest Book.
Sarkozy last visited Yad Vashem in 2004, a visit which left a deep impression on him, and which he referred to in a speech in January 2007, when he said, “Yad Vashem changed me.”
On 25 October, 2007, President Sarkozy presented the Legion of Honor award to Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev, at the Elysee Palace, Paris. For the press release about the award presentation, click here.
To read President Sarkozy's speech at the award ceremony, click here.