Marking Israel’s 70th anniversary, Yad Vashem brought friends and supporters from around the world on a mission to explore Holocaust commemoration and education in the 21st century. In collaboration with the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, the international mission, entitled “Generation to Generation: Israel at 70,” began in Vienna Austria for the European portion of the program.
Participants hailing from the US, Mexico, Israel, United Kingdom and Australia explored the history of the vibrant Jewish life of pre-war Vienna, met leaders from the Jewish-Austrian community and toured the Mauthausen concentration camp.
After arriving in Israel for a four-day tour of Yad Vashem, the museum’s friends and supporters received a behind-the-scenes view of its activities and projects and a deeper understanding of its long-term goals, including connecting younger generations to the important work of Yad Vashem in Israel and abroad.
The mission visited the ICEJ (International Christian Embassy Jerusalem), a Christian Zionist organization whose mission includes recognizing the biblical significance of all of Jerusalem and its unique connection with the Jewish people. Participants in the Yad Vashem mission heard about ICEJ-Yad Vashem collaborations that have occurred over the last six decades and according to a Yad Vashem spokesperson, will continue into the future.
On the importance of Holocaust remembrance today, Simmy Allen, Head of International Media for Yad Vashem, posed to Breaking Israel News, “What will Holocaust remembrance be like when there are no more survivors?” Toward that end, he maintained, “we are trying to get as much info in Yad Vashem’s archives as possible – everything under one roof – including different exhibitions and rescuing documents and artifacts from the public at large.”
During the Mission, Yad Vashem kicked-off a major support campaign for the newly proposed Shoah Heritage Campus. As part of the new campus, the Shoah Heritage Collections Center will ensure the continued storage and preservation of the world’s largest collection of Holocaust art, artifacts and archival documentation currently housed on the Mount of Remembrance.
“The Shoah Heritage Campus for Art & Artifacts Collection is the world’s premier location for Holocaust-related items. There, we will be able to store them in a state-of-the-art facility,” Allen told Breaking Israel News.
Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev greeted the participants and accompanied them through personalized tours of Yad Vashem, both in Jerusalem and at its newly established Holocaust Remembrance and Heroism Educational Center located at the IDF Training Campus in the Negev – a training base that was opened as a partnership between Yad Vashem and the Israel Defense Forces.
Allen noted that Yad Vashem is able to accomplish its goals and facilitate its programs thanks to the generosity of donors, including many who participated in the mission.
Participants learned of the myriad of Yad Vashem’s activities in the fields of Holocaust remembrance, documentation, research and education. They met experts on such issues as archives preservation and collection and heard how Yad Vashem disseminates the wide-ranging material and knowledge gathered on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem. They participated in educational workshops on current topics of interest, including the history and present-day forms of anti-Semitism.
The Israel portion concluded with a special Shabbat program with Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council and both former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel and Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, and later, a special ceremony and event with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin.