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to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name
(a "yad vashem")... that shall not be cut off."
(Isaiah, chapter 56, verse 5)
Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, was established in 1953 by an act of the Israeli Knesset. Since its inception, Yad Vashem has been entrusted with documenting the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust period, preserving the memory and story of each of the six million victims, and imparting the legacy of the Holocaust for generations to come through its archives, library, school, museums and recognition of the Righteous Among the Nations.
Located on Har Hazikaron, the Mount of Remembrance, in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem is a vast, sprawling complex of tree-studded walkways leading to museums, exhibits, archives, monuments, sculptures, and memorials.
|Yad Vashem's Information Repositories|
The Archive collection, the largest and most comprehensive repository of material on the Holocaust in the world, comprises 62 million pages of documents, nearly 267,500 photographs along with thousands of films and videotaped testimonies of survivors. These may be accessed by the public and read and viewed in the appropriate rooms.
The Library houses more than 90,000 titles in many languages, thousands of periodicals and a large number of rare and precious items, establishing itself as the most significant Holocaust library in the world. Holdings may be accessed by the public on site, and residents of Israel are entitled to limited borrowing privileges.
The Hall of Names is a tribute to the victims by remembering them not as anonymous numbers but as individual human beings. The "Pages of Testimony" are symbolic gravestones, which record names and biographical data of millions of martyrs, as submitted by family members and friends. To date Yad Vashem has computerized 3.2 million names of Holocaust victims, compiled from approximately 2 million Pages of Testimony and various other lists.
|Education, Research and Publications|
The International School for Holocaust Studies is the only school of its kind in the world. With 17 classrooms, a modern multimedia center, resource and pedagogical center, an auditorium and over 100 educators on its staff, the school caters annually to over 100,000 students and youth, 50,000 soldiers, and thousands of educators from Israel and around the world. Courses for teachers are offered in 8 languages other than Hebrew, and the school also sends its professional staff around the world for the purpose of Holocaust education. The team of experts at the school is developing a variety of educational programmes and study aids on the Holocaust including advanced multimedia programs, maps, books, cassettes and other educational aids.
The International Institute for Holocaust Research coordinates and supports research on national and international levels, organizes conferences and colloquia and publishes a variety of important works on the Holocaust, including memoirs, diaries, historical studies, a scholarly annual and such like.
The Yad Vashem Studies is a series of 32 volumes to date, comprising conference proceedings and scholarly articles on every aspect of the Holocaust.
Yad Vashem Publications has a growing catalogue of Hebrew and English publications including history books, diaries and document collections. Yad Vashem has published over 200 books to date, which constitute the backbone of Holocaust literature in Israeli society. In recent years, 24 books have been published annually
The new Holocaust History Museum occupies over 4,200 square meters, mainly underground. Both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary, it presents the story of the Shoah from a unique Jewish perspective, emphasizing the experiences of the individual victims through original artifacts, survivor testimonies and personal possessions.
The Art Museum is a testimony to the strength of the human spirit and holds the world's largest and most important collection of Holocaust art. It includes works of art that were created under the inconceivably adverse conditions of the Holocaust and a selection of works done after the war by Holocaust survivors and by other artists.
|Unique Memorial Sites|
|The Hall of
Remembrance is a solemn tent-like structure which allows visitors to pay
their respects to the memories of the martyred dead. On the floor are the
names of the six death camps and some of the concentration camps and
killing sites throughout Europe. In front of the memorial flame lies a
crypt containing ashes of victims. Memorial ceremonies for official
visitors are held here.
The Children's Memorial is hollowed out from an underground cavern, where memorial candles, a customary Jewish tradition to remember the dead, are reflected infinitely in a dark and somber space. This memorial is a tribute to the approximately one and a half million Jewish children who perished during the Holocaust.
The Valley of the Communities is a 2.5 acre monument that was dug out from the natural bedrock. Engraved on the massive stone walls of the memorial are the names of over five thousand Jewish communities that were destroyed and of the few that suffered but survived in the shadow of the Holocaust.
The Avenue and Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations honor the non-Jews who acted according to the most noble principles of humanity and risked their lives to help Jews during the Holocaust. 2000 trees, symbolic of the renewal of life, have been planted in and around the avenue. Plaques adjacent to each tree give the names of those being honored along with their country of residence during the war. A further 18,000 names of non-Jews recognized to date by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations, are engraved on walls according to country, in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations.
The Memorial to the Deportees is an original cattle-car which was used to transport thousands of Jews to the death camps. Perched on the edge of an abyss facing the Jerusalem forest, the monument symbolizes both the impending horror, and the rebirth which followed the Holocaust.
Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day: In 1953, the Israeli Knesset passed a law that provided for the commemoration of the Holocaust on the 27th Nissan, a date that usually falls towards the end of April or the beginning of May. It is marked at Yad Vashem by a solemn state ceremony at Warsaw Ghetto Square, attended by many dignitaries, in which the President and the Prime Minister of the State of Israel participate. The public is invited to attend, however tickets must be obtained in advance. These are available from Yad Vashem free of charge. The next morning, a wreath-laying ceremony is held in Warsaw Ghetto Square followed by the "Unto Every Person There is a Name" ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance where the public is invited to read out the names of Jewish Holocaust victims. The main traditional memorial ceremony is held in the Hall of Remembrance and the day concludes with a youth movement ceremony.
Victory in Europe (VE) day: The Allied victory over Nazi Germany on May 8/9, 1945 is observed annually in a commemorative state ceremony held at the Memorial to the Jewish Soldiers at Yad Vashem. The special guests of the ceremony are the war veterans themselves. The public is cordially invited to attend.
|Yad Vashem Development Plan|
sixty years have passed since the end of the Holocaust. Today we live in
an age of information, instant communication and progressive technology.
Having entered the 21st century, Yad Vashem faces such basic questions as:
what will be the fate of Holocaust commemoration amongst members of the
fourth generation, both Jewish and non-Jewish? What place will it occupy
in the midst of the currents that are sweeping us into the third
millenium? Will remembrance be meaningful in the context of contemporary
events? How should we prepare ourselves at this historic juncture? Yad
Vashem launched a major Development Plan with six central components to
meet these challenges:
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