Albrights Yad Vashem visit marked by tears

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JERUSALEM — The visit to Yad Vashem last week by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was a diplomatic ceremony devoid of any public declaration of personal or family meaning.

The secretary of state cried during the recitation of "El Malei Rachamim" at the memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance.

But her two-minute statement following a visit to the children's memorial touched only on the universality of the Holocaust, without mentioning its Jewish content.

"The history remembered here is at odds with all we would like to believe about ourselves and about our world," Albright said. "It is a history of unbearable sadness, unrelieved suffering and unbelievable cruelty…We must never allow ourselves to be at peace with the Holocaust, or to believe we have somehow mastered its lessons."

Albright's visit, lasting just over an hour, began with a walk down the Avenue of the Righteous, where she stopped at the tree memorializing Oskar Schindler.

The secretary of state was then led through the museum by Yad Vashem director, Avner Shalev. Albright told Shalev that she has been researching her Jewish roots, which were first confirmed in February in an investigative story by the Washington Post.

She also told Shalev, according to a source at the museum, that she is further researching the cause of death of her maternal grandmother, Ruzena Spieglova, which has not been established.

"In this museum," Albright said in her prepared remarks, "in every face, in every picture, there is a warning: May God grant us the wisdom and the will to recognize evil whenever we see it, to oppose intolerance whenever we confront it, to fight hate whenever we come into contact with it, and to remember in the name of all who are memorialized here, that no one's blood is less precious than our own. I pay tribute to the people of Israel for remembering at Yad Vashem. I know that I will never forget my visit."