Thursday, January 27, 2011

Marking Int'l Holocaust Remembrance Day

Myriad events and endeavors have been taking place this week to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Here's a brief wrap up of some of our most prominent events:

Yad Vashem and Google partner to preserve and share Holocaust archives

Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yad Vashem and Google announced a partnership that will greatly facilitate preservation of and access to the world’s largest historical collection on the Holocaust.

The collections are visible at

New YouTube Channel in Farsi Launched
In keeping with its commitment to raise Holocaust awareness worldwide, on Sunday January 23, Yad Vashem launched a YouTube channel in Farsi and substantially expanded its Farsi website. The YouTube channel contains survivor testimonies, archival footage, and mini-lectures by Holocaust historians. The comprehensive updated website includes frequently asked questions about the Holocaust, online exhibitions, stories of Righteous Among the Nations, a multi-media presentation of the Auschwitz Album and more.

Among today's visitors to Yad Vashem:

Under Secretary General Robert Serry, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, today visted Yad Vashem, leading a delegation of heads and representatives of UN agencies, including: UNOPS, UNDP, UN-OCHA, UNODC, UNRWA, UNFPA, OHCHR, UNTSO, UNESCO and the World Bank. Deputy The grouped visited the Holocaust History Museum, participated in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, visited the Children’s Memorial and signed the Yad Vashem Guest Book. Danny Ayalon, Deputy Foreign Minister for the State of Israel, participated in the memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance.

Serry remarked at the close of the visit:
"The visit to Yad Vashem today left a strong impression on me today, as I'm sure it did on all my colleagues. It is one thing to read about the Holocaust and see films about it, but it is another to look at the luggage, the shoes, and the photos of those individuals sent to their deaths. Moments ago we visited the Children's Memorial for the 1.5 million Jewish children slaughtered in the Holocaust. It is incomprehensible."

"The United Nations condemns and rejects any form of Holocaust denial without reservation. Such denial desecrates the memory of the six million Jews and the many others murdered and opens the door to future atrocities."

New Mini-site on

A special mini-site marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day is now available on Yad Vashem's website.

Some other events that took place internationally:
A special concert took place in Berlin’s Rykestreet Synagogue on January 24, 2011 in the presence of Germany’s President Christian Wulff and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. The concert was organized by the German Society for Yad Vashem, chaired by Hildegard MĪ‹ller.

The UN General Asssemby in NY will hold its memorial ceremony on Thursday January 27, on the theme of “Women in the Holocaust.” After the ceremony, all attendees will receive an educational DVD on the topic, produced in conjunction with Yad Vashem’s International School of Holocaust Studies.

At the official ceremony at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on January 27, Israel’s Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar will address diplomats who will then attend a seminar run by Yad Vashem’s International School.

A memorial ceremony will take place at the Headquarters of the European Parliament in Brussels, in cooperation with the European Jewish Congress and the Israel Ministry of Public Affairs and the Diaspora. Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, will open Yad Vashem’s “Architecture of Murder” exhibition which displays the plans of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp complex, as well as aerial photos of the complex, photographs of the camp’s construction and quotes from its SS staff and Jewish inmates.

Traveling Exhibitions Worldwide
The photographic exhibition "BESA – A Code of Honor: Albanian Muslims who Rescued Jews in the Holocaust" opened on January17 in the British House of Commons and the "No Child's Play" exhibition will open in German at Landhaus Innsbruck, Austria on January 27 in the presence of the Governor of Tirol Gunther Platter.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Attend a Unique Virtual Event Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Join Yad Vashem and our Facebook friends for a unique virtual event the week of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. You are invited to a special Facebook event - the “Yad Vashem I Remember Wall” where you can personally remember one of the six million by being matched with a name from the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names. The event will be open through January 30th.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A New Stage at Yad Vashem

As we were standing in the construction site of a 330-seat Edmond J. Safra Lecture Hall being built as part of the new wing of the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem, I began to reflect on Brundibar, a theatrical event performed by Jewish children in Terezin as well as productions in other ghettos during the Shoah. Despite hunger, disease and despair, by acting on stage these thespians attempted to retain their own humanity as well as that of their audiences. Many of them would never have believed that their names and personal stories would be remembered within the framework of lectures and workshops given by School staff on the Mountain of Remembrance in Jerusalem.
The new, modern lecture hall, to be opened in 2012, is nestled in the Jerusalem forest, surrounded by trees that commemorate the rare actions of Righteous among the Nations who dared to help Jewish people during the Holocaust period.
The destruction of Jewish theater under Nazi occupation, a loss to western civilization, can never be repaired. However, I believe that future events in the new School auditorium will not only uphold the power of culture, but also contribute to mending the world (tikun olam).
Richelle Budd Caplan

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Creative Expression Under Occupation

Clairette Vigder, a seven-year-old girl living in Nazi-occupied Paris, devoted hours to drawing what she was not permitted to go out and see in person – brightly colored birds and the sun. With arrests of Jews commonplace in Paris, Clairette was confined indoors by her parents, where she devoted hours of her time to drawing. With paper scarce, Clairette drew colorful images on materials immediately available – including the covers from packages of Camembert cheese.

Soon after her father was deported, Clairette’s mother decided they had to leave their home, and arranged for Clairette and her younger brother to go into hiding. Her mother gave the family's personal belongings, including Clairette’s drawings, to a neighbor for safekeeping, but fearing discovery, the neighbor disposed of everything – except for Clairette’s artwork. The children were reunited with their mother at the end of the war. Their father was murdered in Auschwitz in 1943. In 2009, Clairette gave a number of the colorful paintings, along with several other personal items, to Yad Vashem for safekeeping and preservation.

Clairette's drawings are among the thousands of items contained in Yad Vashem's collections. The professional staff of Yad Vashem ensures that the items are properly preserved and maintained. Yad Vashem urges the public that may have artifacts and documents from the Holocaust to give them to Yad Vashem for preservation and safekeeping. (Contact: +972-2-644-3249,