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The International School for Holocaust Studies

New Guiding Policy at Yad Vashem


On Tuesday, March 15, 2005, the new museum complex at Yad Vashem will be opened to the public. The opening of the new museum has attracted great interest in Israel and abroad. Together with the new museum complex, Yad Vashem plans to offer a variety of improved services to the public.

The administration of Yad Vashem has decided that as of Sunday, March 20, 2005, only guides who have been trained and certified by the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem will be permitted to guide educational groups visiting Yad Vashem. All educational groups visiting Yad Vashem can arrange for a tour through the Study Seminars Department at the International School for Holocaust Studies.

Background to the Decision
Since its founding, Yad Vashem has been open to the general public, at no charge, and without booking visits in advance. The administrators of Yad Vashem believe that the site should be easily accessible to anyone who wishes to visit.

For over thirty years, Yad Vashem has offered tours and study seminars for youth groups and other visitors. Although Yad Vashem permitted anyone who wished to guide their own group at the site, the following reasons contributed to the decision to restrict guiding at Yad Vashem, as of March 20, 2005:

1. Content
a. Guides who do not have adequate training, and who do not know the site and its contents, have been permitted to guide at Yad Vashem. Yad Vashem’s administration has received indication that guides who have accompanied certain groups have made serious mistakes in relaying important content to their groups.

b. Yad Vashem is responsible for its site and for the educational experiences of those who visit it. It has therefore become necessary for Yad Vashem to change this problematic situation.

c. The International School for Holocaust Studies was established with the support and assistance of Israel’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. The School was established in order to ensure quality educational programming about the Holocaust in general, and at Yad Vashem in particular. The seminars at the School offer an interdisciplinary approach, for an enriching learning experience.

d. As a result of the above, Yad Vashem’s decision has been supported by Israel’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.

2. Administration
a. Groups that visit Yad Vashem without advance notice create intolerable and impossible crowding. Unannounced groups have, on numerous occasions, made it impossible for other groups to visit the museum.

b. Yad Vashem’s decision to require advance booking for groups is in accordance with the policies of other museums and preservation sites in Israel and around the world.

This decision applies to the following groups:

  1. Schools and other institutions for formal education
  2. Youth movements
  3. Any group of youth that is under army age
  4. Groups of teachers
  5. Groups of youth leaders
  6. Groups of youth up to the age of 22 that are visiting Israel in some kind of educational framework, including Birthright, groups associated with the Jewish Agency, the Israel Experience, and others
  7. Soldiers and officers in the Israeli army

How to Arrange Visits

  1. All groups in the above categories should approach the Study Seminars Department at the International School for Holocaust Studies, to arrange a visit.
  2. Booking requests should be sent in writing, on the letterhead of the visiting institution, to the following fax number: +972-2-644-3634.
  3. If you have questions only, telephone inquiries can be made to +972-2-644-3633 (no bookings by telephone).

We emphasize that it is important to book well in advance. We expect the site to attract a great deal of interest when the new museum complex opens. Yad Vashem will not necessarily be able to offer visits to all groups on the dates that they request. We anticipate that once the new museum complex opens there will be a need for a waiting list for groups that wish to visit.