Sunday, June 23, 2013

Yad Vashem Pages of Testimony Memorial Repository Now Part of UNESCO Memory of the World Register

The Hall of Names at Yad Vashem houses the Pages of
Testimony Memorial Repository
The Yad Vashem Pages of Testimony Memorial Repository has been included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, marking the first time that Israeli collections have been included in the registry. 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, endeavored to recover the names and identities of the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust and has been collecting Pages of Testimony from Holocaust survivors and those who remember the victims since 1954. Thus far, 2.6 million names have been documented on Pages of Testimony, which together with other documentation have allowed Yad Vashem to identify by name 4.2 million out of the 6 million victims. The Pages of Testimony Memorial  Repository is housed in the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem.

“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.”

Filling out a Page of Testimony

“The Pages of Testimony Repository represents a huge-scale collective memorial to Holocaust victims, unprecedented in history in both its dimensions and its intent to preserve the names as symbols of their humanity. Comprised of invaluable personal hand-signed testimonies, it is unique in the world," said Dr. Alexander Avram, Director of the Hall of Names.



Pages of Testimony are available in some 15 languages, and continue to be filled out by friends and family of the victims, as Yad Vashem continues this historic effort. 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.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Keeping the Memory of 8-year-old Ruda Chaya Alive

Page of Testimony submitted to Yad
Vashem  in memory of Ruda Huberband
Ruda Chaya Huberband was only eight-years-old when she was murdered by the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942. She was a child, an innocent who had not yet experienced and lived life. Having died before reaching the age of 12, Ruda Chaya did not get to celebrate her Bat Mitzvah, which signifies the rite of passage into Jewish womanhood.

Ruda Chaya’s cousin, Joyce Kahn from Israel, commemorated her by submitting a Page of Testimony, including a haunting photograph of the young girl with ribbons in her hair, to Yad Vashem in 2008. Joyce serves as a dedicated volunteer for the Shoah Victims’ Names Recovery Project, assisting Holocaust survivors and others with commemorating the names of Shoah victims.

In March 2013, Joyce was surprised when she was contacted by a young girl named Nicolette Cure who sent her an invitation to her bat mitzvah, explaining that she would be honoring the memory of Ruda Chaya in her upcoming celebration. Nicolette found Joyce thanks to information on the Page of Testimony for her cousin Ruda Chaya.

Ruda Chaya Huberband
Joyce related the following via e-mail:
“...On Erev Pesach of this year, I received an invitation to a Bat Mitzva in New York from someone whom I have never heard of before. On reading the invitation properly I could see that during the synagogue service Kaddish was to be said by the Bat Mitzva girl, in the name of Ruda Chaya Huberband a second cousin of mine, who was killed in the Warsaw Ghetto, in 1942. The Bat Mitzva was that of Nicolette Cure. Inside the invitation was a letter explaining that she had taken upon herself to remember someone who had died in the Holocaust in order to make her Bat Mitzva more meaningful. This project of remembrance is coordinated by an American based organization called Remember Us, a group that twins children preparing for their Bar/Bat mitzvahs with the memory of children lost in the Holocaust. For me, this took on special meaning because - I thought it interesting that out of 1.5 million children just Ruda Chaya was chosen, and also Ruda's Mother Chava was my Grandfather's youngest sister. Ruda was one of five children who all perished, together with both parents. My Aunt Chava even traveled to London June 1938 for my parents' wedding and I still have the gift she brought. When the family was alive they were all very close. The interesting thing is of all the Huberband children Ruda resembles my sister when my sister was the same age.
May the memory of Ruda Chaya and all the other 6 million Jews be blessed.”

For more information on Yad Vashem's Shoah Victims' Names Recovery Project please contact: names.outreach@yadvashem.org.il

For more information on Remember Us please contact: info@remember-us.org