Yad Vashem 60th Anniversary Mission

June 27, 2014 by Estee Yaari
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Yad Vashem’s International 60th Anniversary Mission concluded eight exceptional days with a moving event in the Valley of Communities last week. 

Closing speeches

Closing speeches

 

The Mission’s members, three generations of Yad Vashem partners and worldwide supporters from Australia to South America, had set aside time to travel to Jerusalem in order to rededicate themselves to meaningful Shoah remembrance.  Participants started their itinerary in Poland, where they visited places of pre-Holocaust historical significance in Krakow and Warsaw as well as central sites of Shoah atrocities such as Auschwitz-Birkenau and Treblinka, and also participated in an exceptional memorial ceremony at Birkenau together with an Israeli Army ‘Witnesses in Uniform’ delegation. The ceremony concluded with survivor and Yad Vashem Benefactor Ed Mosberg donating a new sefer torah for use by the Israel Defense Forces.

Upon arrival in Israel, the Mission’s participants were immersed in rare, first-hand experiences of Yad Vashem’s range of remembrance activities, receiving behind-the-scenes, expertly guided glimpses into the educational and archival work and plans. The Mission also included meetings with Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Speaker of the Knesset Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein and other notable Israeli figures. At several junctures during the Mission, Benefactors of Yad Vashem, such as Ed Sonshine from Canada, Paul Baan of the Netherlands, Joe Gottdenker of Canada, and Yossie Hollander of Israel as well as Canadian Minister of State for Multiculturalism Tim Uppal, a mission participant, addressed the group.

At the Mission’s closing event in the Valley of the Communities, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, eloquently outlined how the dramatic Holocaust-era experiences of his distinguished late father Joseph (Tommy) Lapid influenced and inspired him as a Jew, and as a leader, and offered “the thanks of a grateful nation,” and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a special recorded video message, noting Yad Vashem’s “seminal role in the history of our people during the last six decades.”  Executive Committee Member of the Board of the American Society for Yad Vashem and Yad Vashem Benefactor Mark Moskowitz summed up the mission saying, “The bits and pieces of information I gleaned growing up truly came to light, in its horrific truth, in Yad Vashem’s Holocaust History Museum; like so many individual links coming together, connecting the past with the present…. Collectively, we must safeguard the memories and be the sentinels for these crucial vaults of history, so that they are never forgotten and never repeated; and that others’ denials are recogn

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