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Inauguration of the new International Seminars Wing and the Edmond J. Safra Lecture Hall of the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem

January 30, 2012

The Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau affixing the mezuzahThe Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau affixing the mezuzah
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The Inauguration of the new International Seminars Wing and the Edmond J. Safra Lecture Hall of the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem was held on Monday the 30th of January 2012.

The event was opened by the Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau who affixed the mezuzah, the Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar who cut the ribbon and donor Joseph Gottdenker who unveiled the plaque.

The ceremony was held in the presence of the Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, the Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, the Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, the Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev, the Canadian Ambassador to Israel Paul Hunt, the German Ambassador to Israel Andreas Michaelis, the Mexican Ambassador to Israel Federico Salas, the French Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot, the donor Joseph Gottdenker from Canada and his family, donors to the building of the new wing from Israel and abroad, the Chairwoman of the German Friends of Yad Vashem Hildegard Muller, members of the Canadian Friends of Yad Vashem delegation led by the Chairwoman Fran Sonshine, representatives of the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation Yair Torenheim and Ariel Greenberg, Friends of Yad Vashem from Israel and abroad, Holocaust survivors, Director General of Yad Vashem Nathan Eitan, members of the Yad Vashem Directorate and Council, the architects David and Irit Guggenheim, Daniel Mintz and the staff of Guggenheim/Bloch Architects and Urbanists, Shaya Ben Yehuda, Managing Director of Yad Vashemג€™s International Relations division, employees of Tafnit-Wind, staff of the International School for Holocaust Studies and participants in the seminars for educators from Taiwan and Latin America.

In honor of the event the Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent the following message:

"I bless everyone who is involved in the holy task of preserving the memory of the Holocaust and transmitting it to future generations. The expansion of the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem is a further stage in the national effort by the Jewish people to preserve the memory of the Holocaust victims.

Today, nearly 70 years after the Allied victory and the defeat of the Nazi regime, there are a decreasing number of Holocaust survivors who live among us and who directly experienced the horrors of the Nazis in the valleys of death. The State of Israel, the sole official representative of the Jewish people, is obliged to preserve the memory of those who were murdered and to bring their legacy to the rest of our nation throughout the world. But this is not enough. The fulfillment of the witness' pledge "Never Again" will only be assured if all people, across the world, are exposed to and learn the lessons of the events of the Holocaust. The opening of the new Seminars Wing in the International School for Holocaust Studies will contribute to this national and global effort.

I join hands with the members of the Yad Vashem directorate, staff of the institution and the many donors and bodies that help with instilling the memory of the Holocaust among the young. Only a nation that knows how to remember the horrors of the past will be able to deal with the challenges of the future.

The International School for Holocaust Studies is memory, but it is also the promise of cultivating the fortitude of the Jewish people.

With blessings,

Binyamin Netanyahu"

During the ceremony speeches were given by Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, the Chairman of Yad Vashem Avner Shalev, the Foreign Minister of Canada John Baird, the Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau and the donor Joseph Gottdenker.

The Meitar Ensemble under the musical direction of Amit Dolberg performed "Hebrew Sketches, Suite no. 2 for clarinet and string quartet" by the Jewish composer Alexander Krein. The young singer Hagit Yaso performed "Ki HaAdam Etz HaSadeh" by Natan Zach and "Jerusalem of Gold" by Naomi Shemer.

Following the ceremony the donors and their guests unveiled the plaques in the classrooms.