Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Meaningful Connection for Zach Emanuel

White house Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and his family visited Yad Vashem last week during their trip to Israel marking his son Zach's bar mitzvah. Following a guided tour of the Holocaust History Museum, Zach was "twinned" with a child victim of the Holocaust. Bar/bat mitzvah twinning projects are unqiue way for Jewish children and their families to strengthen their identification with the Jewish people by forging bonds with individual children murdered in the Holocaust.

By searching Yad Vashem's online Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names, bar and bat mitzvah kids can review Pages of Testimony containing the names, biographies and (when available) photographs submitted in their memory by relatives or friends who survived them. For a meaningful connection, the bar or bat mitzvah often chooses to twin with a child with the same Jewish name, birth month or other family connection.

Researchers from Yad Vashem's Hall of Names searched for a child with the same name as Zach and he was twinned with a boy named Zecharia Kanonitz who was shot dead by the Nazis at only 10 years old. Zach's cousin Noah Emanuel, also celebrating his bar mitzvah, was twinned with a toddler named Noah Norman, who was murded by the Nazis in Wilejka, Poland in 1942. When the group arrived in the Hall of Names, Zach and the two bnei mitzvah were each presented with a certificate acknowledging their committment to Holocaust remembrance. The Emanuels also asked for a copy of the Page of Testimony so that Zecharia Kanonitz's name could be remembered in their synagogue when they return to the United States.

A conversation with Dan Michman, Yad Vashem's Chief Historian

From Haaretz Books, June 2010, by David B. Green

Last month marked the publication of the new two-volume “Yad Vashem Encyclopedia of the Ghettos During the Holocaust."” ‏(Guy Miron, editor in chief, and Shlomit Shulhani, co-editor; published by Yad Vashem and distributed by NYU 67 pages, $199‏).

Though not a book that even a Shoah scholar would be likely to read through from start to finish, the encyclopedia offers a new and comprehensive look at a subject that has until now been largely misunderstood, according to Prof. Dan Michman, the chief historian of Yad Vashem and the author of a fascinating introduction to the book. For those of us who may have thought that the Nazis established ghettos mainly in the big cities and that they were an integral part of a well-thought out “final solution,” Michman’s foreword will come as a surprise. For one, the encyclopedia includes entries on more than 1,100 cities, towns and villages where the occupying Germans forced the Jews to live in concentrated areas. And, despite the widespread existence of the phenomenon across occupied Eastern Europe, Michman states that a policy of “ghettoization” was never decided on conclusively in Berlin, and that implementation varied from town to town.

See the complete Q&A with Prof. Michman here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why didn't the Allies bomb Auschwitz?

Could the Allies have done more during the Holocaust to stop the murders in the extermination camps? The issue of what the Allies could of, or should of done to try to prevent, or slow down the Holocaust and save Jews has been widely discussed and debated. Here, Dr. David Silberklang, Senior Historian at the International Institute for Holocaust Research and Editor-in-Chief of Yad Vashem Studies, offers a insightful look into this question.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yad Vashem Launches Groundbreaking Encyclopedia of the Ghettos

"This encyclopedia presents scholars and layment for the first time with a comprehensive view of the ghetto phenomenon" Prof. Omer Bartov

After six years of research, this groundbreaking publication was launched in New York on May 13, 2010. Dozens of professors and researchers of the Holocaust were on hand for the event.

Seventy years after the Nazi regime established the first Jewish ghetto РPiotrków Trybunalski in Poland РYad Vashem has released a new publication: the Yad Vashem Encyclopedia of the Ghettos During the Holocaust. The encyclopedia includes entries on close to 1,100 ghettos established in the areas occupied by the Germans: Greater Poland, the Russian Republic, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Transnistria, Romania and Greece.

As the first and only comprehensive collection of the ghettos established by the Nazi regime, the encyclopedia marks an important milestone in the history of Holocaust research and historiography. While some ghettos are quite familiar to the general public – Warsaw, Lodz, Lvov, Vilna and Bialystok – this epic chronicle includes the vast majority of ghettos, large and small, that existed for a few weeks or years throughout the Soviet Union and Hungary.

The encyclopedia is available for purchase online

Monday, May 10, 2010

VE Day Remembered at Yad Vashem

Close to 1,000 Veterans, many from the FSU, brushed off their uniforms and metals, donning them in the sweltering Jerusalem heat, to attend a special VE Day commemoration at Yad Vashem. This year is 65 years since the Allied victory over Nazi Germany. The Israeli Police Orchestra performed traditional band music - remember "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean"?, while former servicemen and women, fighters and partisan groups hummed and sang along. During an exceptional moment, the crowd spontaneously rose to its feet as the band played a moving rendition of the Partisans' Song.

Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, Minister of Immigrant Abosrption Sofa Landver and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev saluted the fighters for their bravery and extolled them for their role in vanquishing Nazi Germany. Representatives of the Israeli government, allied countries, veteran's and partisan associations and decorated fighters laid wreaths at the base of the Monument to the Jewish Solders and Partisans who fought against Nazi Germany.