International Holocaust Remembrance Day – UNESCO

January 27, 2014 Agencies
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Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day,  Yad Vashem has been presented with a Certificate of Recognition by UNESCO marking the inclusion of the Pages of Testimony Memorial Collection in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

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Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev, and Dr. Dalit Atrakchi, Secretary General of the Israeli Commission for UNESCO in the Hall of Names today at Yad Vashem.  Photo: Isaac Harari

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said, “There is special significance in the fact that on International Holocaust Remembrance Day itself, Yad Vashem’s collection of the names of the Jews murdered in the Shoah received recognition of its universal importance, granted by UNESCO.”

Taking place in advance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the presentation began in the Hall of Names on the Mount of Remembrance during which Dr. Dalit Atrakchi, Secretary General of the Israeli Commission for UNESCO presented Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev and Dr. Alexander Avram, Director of the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem with the Certificate of Recognition. Addresses in the Yad Vashem Synagogue followed the presentation of the certificate. 

“For many Holocaust survivors and their families, Pages of Testimony are the only tangible evidence that their murdered loved ones once lived,” said Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem. “The Nazis and their collaborators strove to murder each and every Jewish man, woman and child and to erase any vestige of their existence. These pages, together with information gathered from around the world as part of our names recovery efforts, restore to them their names – their identities.  We will continue our efforts to bring the names and identities of the victims back from oblivion as long as we are able to do so.  I urge anyone who has not yet submitted Pages of Testimony to do so now.”

Pages of Testimony are specially designed forms filled out in memory of Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Yad Vashem, which literally means ‘a memorial and a name’, has for the past 6 decades been working to recover the names and identities of the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Since 1954, Yad Vashem has been collecting Pages of Testimony from Holocaust survivors and those who remember the victims, so far documenting 2.6 million names on Pages of Testimony. Together with other documentation Yad Vashem has thus far identified by name 4.3 million out of the 6 million victims. The Pages of Testimony Memorial Collection is housed in the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem and has no precedent in history in both its dimensions and its intent to preserve the names as symbols of the victims’ humanity.

Pages of Testimony are available in some 12 languages, and continue to be filled out by friends and family of the victims, as Yad Vashem continues the historic effort to record the names of the victims. The entire collection has been uploaded to the Yad Vashem website as part of the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names and is available in English, Hebrew, Russian, German and Spanish.

UNESCO’s Memory of the World Program raises to a global level the awareness and the imperative of preservation of, and access to, unique and irreplaceable documentary heritage in various parts of the world. The Memory of the World Register, founded in 1995, includes so far only 299 items worldwide endorsed by the Director-General of UNESCO.

To submit Pages of Testimony: <names.outreach@yadvashem.org.il>

From Jerusalem to Paris, Ghana to Singapore, Yad Vashem educators, researchers and historians will be traveling throughout the world on Monday, January 27, for various events, lectures, seminars and ceremonies commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

On the Web

A great deal of new material is available on Yad Vashem’s website, including special new mini-sites, as well as new exhibitions, material for educators and more.  The Shoah new permanent exhibition in block 27, curated by Yad Vashem, at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum mini-site is now available in German andSpanish.  Among the new exhibitions is an in-depth look at the Valley of Communities, featuring rare footage of prewar Jewish life in Europe, testimonies, photos and information about the destruction of various communities, and a new Holocaust Education Video Toolbox featuring short presentation from experts on a variety of issues including teaching the Holocaust, everyday life in the Warsaw Ghetto and basic information about the Holocaust, as well as special new exhibition exploring the Yad Vashem artifacts collection.   A special new app has been launched with resources related to International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

On Facebook, the IRemember Wall, offers users an opportunity to personally remember individual victims of the Holocaust, by linking with names of victims from the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names.  Yad Vashem has thus far documented the names of 4.3 million of the 6 million men, women and children murdered in the Holocaust.  Efforts continue to recover the missing names. You can view a new short clip about the efforts to recover the names here.   (To submit names, please e-mail:names.outreach@yadvashem.org.il).

Israel

On Sunday, January 26, Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev and Chief Historian Prof. Dina Porat will speak at the Israeli government cabinet meeting marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  On Monday evening, in cooperation with the Yad Vashem Visual Center, Claude Lanzmann’s new film “The Last of the Unjust” will premiere in 12 cities across Israel with the director attending the premiere at the Jerusalem Theatre.

Poland

On January 27, Shalev will be joining the Israeli delegation of some 60 Members of Knesset, 6 ministers and 24 Holocaust survivors, guiding them through the New Permanent Exhibition SHOAH, curated by Yad Vashem, in Block 27 at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. He will then address the joint Israeli-Polish parliamentary “Reflections on Auschwitz: Remembering the past, looking to the future.”

Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Executve of the Jewish Agency, said: “As anti-Semitism – in both its traditional form and its newer mutations – continues to poison minds around the world, it is important that we strengthen those whom it targets and who are at the frontlines of the battle against it:  Jewish communities around the world.

“We at The Jewish Agency have helped 52 communities across Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America ensure their own safety and that of their members through our Fund for Emergency Assistance to Communities.

“At the same time, our Israel Fellows to Hillel—young Israeli shlichim (emissaries) posted on college campuses in North America and elsewhere—are working with more than 100,000 Jewish students on 90 campuses to strengthen their connections to Israel and to Jewish life.

“Anti-Semitism is a threat to us all – to Jews, to the societies in which they live, and to Israel. We will continue to work with the Government of Israel, with our partner organizations, and with the communities themselves to ensure that Jewish life around the world remains robust and free.”

 

 

 

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