US President Barack Obama is skipping out on the 70th anniversary ceremony of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on Tuesday while other world leaders are slated to attend.
The president, who could have sent Vice President Joe Biden, has chosen to send Treasury Secretary Jack Lew as the representative of the nine person United States delegation.
Vice President Dick Cheney attended the 60th anniversary event in 2005. The White House has failed to explain why the president and vice president will not be attending.
Tuesday’s ceremony is the last expected major anniversary where a large number of Holocaust survivors, specifically those of Auschwitz, will be present.
Some 300 survivors are expected to attend, with most of them in their 90s and even older.
According to the New York Times, François Hollande of France, President Joachim Gauck of Germany and President Heinz Fischer of Austria, as well as King Philippe of Belgium, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark are among some world leaders attending the ceremony.
Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet army in January 1945. The Nazi killing machine murdered 1.1 million Jews alone in the camp.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would not attend the ceremony, citing scheduling conflicts and that he had not received an invitation. While Putin attended the 60th anniversary ceremony in 2005, relations between Russia and Poland have “soured over the conflict in Ukraine.”
Obama came under a barrage of criticism earlier this month after the president and US Secretary of State John Kerry failed to attend a solidarity march in Paris after twin terror attacks in the French capital.