Germany's President Horst Koehler has expressed contrition for the killing of 6 million Jews by the Nazis during World War II. "I bow my head in shame and humility before the victims, and before those who came to their help, at risk to their own lives," Koehler told the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in a ceremony marking 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Koehler surprised the house by beginning the speech in Hebrew, and then switched to German. Five legislators stayed away, saying they could not bear to hear the German language in the Knesset. Koehler said Germany will always stand by Israel and its people.