Newsletter No. 26, July 2012
Educators from 54 Countries attend Conference
370 Educators from across the globe, including Japan, Venezuela, South Africa, Germany, Poland, India, the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico, China, and Great Britain, attended the 8th International Conference on teaching the Holocaust of the International School for Holocaust Studies. They gathered in June for three days of lectures, discussions, presentations and information sharing about the core issues of the Holocaust and how to meaningfully transmit them in the classroom and beyond. "Telling the Story, Teaching the Core," included lectures on the core topics of the Holocaust and workshops with a pedagogic emphasis. More than half of the participants of the conference were graduates of educational seminars at the International School. The conference took place with the participation of Israeli Minister of Education Gideon Sa'ar and was generously supported by the Asper Foundation, the Adelson family Foundation and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against German.
Agreement Furthers Research into Deportations
In May, the National Society of French Railways (SNCF) signed an agreement with Yad Vashem to increase research into the scope of deportations of Jews from France during the Holocaust. The SNCF’s contribution will support research into the French section of Yad Vashem’s “Transports to Extinction: Shoah (Holocaust) Deportation Database.” The Deportation Database is a long-term research project which maps the deportations of Jews to concentration and extermination camps and killing sites in Europe. So far, the project has mapped some 400 transports from Vienna to various destinations, amon them Minsk, Riga, Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, as well as from Berlin, Cologne, Breslau and several Czech cities to Terezin. Using all the resources available, Yad Vashem researchers have reconstructed each transport’s route, including information on the persons involved in organizing the transport, the socio-economic characteristics of the Jewish deportees, and recollections of survivors, to build a complete picture. The findings are available in English, German and Hebrew on the Yad Vashem website. Those relating to transports in and from France will also be available in French.
Spotlight on the Web
Online Exhibitions Pay Tribute to Jewish Athletes & Rescuers
Jewish life before the Holocaust flourished with creativity and culture, religion and tradition, social life and politics. A new online exhibition, "Jews and Sport Before the Holocaust," gives visual expression to one facet of what was a very diverse Jewish culture – Jews who engaged in sports. For all over Europe, Jews took part in and competed in many different types of athletic activities. Many of the individuals in these photos were murdered during the Holocaust. In certain instances, when they had Pages of Testimony submitted in their memory, there are links to those pages as well.
An award-winning diver and gymnastics instructor, a competitive table tennis player, a sports reporter, the president of a sports club, and a soccer player are all paid special tribute in "The Game of their Lives." This special group of Righteous Among the Nations, non-Jewish men and women that risked their lives to rescue Jews, were competitive, driven, talented individuals who shared not only a love of athletics and drive to succeed, but the moral courage to do what was right. They embodied the Olympic spirit by dedicating their lives to "social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles." (taken from the Olympic Charter). Their inspiring stories are shared here in a unique online exhibition.
Symposium Marking 100 Years Since Raoul Wallenberg's Birth
On June 26, 2012, marking 100 years since the birth of Raoul Wallenberg, Yad Vashem's International Institute for Holocaust Research conducted a symposium on Rescue Operations During the Holocaust. The symposium took place with the participation of Swedish Minister for Integration the Hon. Mr. Erik Ullenhag who discussed The Living Legacy of Raoul Wallenberg and Prof. Irwin Cotler, MP, former Canadian Minister of Justice, who spoke about the legacy of Raoul Wallenberg and what we have learned from it. A special session of the symposium was dedicated to Rescuers and Survivors. During the symposium, David Gradel presented Yad Vashem with the Wallenberg maquette of the monument created by British sculptor Philip Jackson erected in London’s Great Cumberland Place. The maquette was generously donated to Yad Vashem by Milla Gradel and Maurice Djanogly OBE.
The Voice of a Young Girl in the Ghetto
"I am just a tiny spot, even under a microscope I would be very hard to see – but I can laugh at the whole world because I am a Jew. I am poor and in the ghetto, I do not know what will happen to me tomorrow, and yet I can laugh at the whole world because I have something very strong supporting me – my faith." So wrote 14-year-old Rywka Lipszyc in a diary she kept in the Lodz ghetto from October 1943 until April 1944. After losing her parents and siblings to disease and deportation, Rywka spent the remainder of the war with her cousins, Mina and Esther Lipszyc. After surviving the hunger of the Lodz ghetto, the horrors of Auschwitz and a grueling death march, the three cousins arrived at Bergen Belsen, weak and very sick. Esther last saw Rywka on her deathbed in the hospital ward. She and Mina slowly recuperated in Sweden, but they never again heard any news of their cousin until last summer, when they were told about the discovery of the diary, thanks to a Page of Testimony Mina submitted to Yad Vashem in Rywka's memory.
Visit our Connections and Discoveries section to read additional stories about families discovering items that belonged to their lost relatives.
Yad Vashem Studies (40:1)
editor: Dr. David Silberklang
Yad Vashem Studies 40:1 is dedicated to the memory of Leon Volovici, an important scholar and Editorial Board member, and opens with Raphael Vago’s analysis of his contribution to scholarship. The volume's six research articles help answer some of the questions about personal and societal motivations regarding Jews seeking aid and asylum and show that a complex mix of radical nationalism, racism, antisemitism, sovereignty, greed, and ideals — or their abandonment — were among the factors that came into play in influencing attitudes and behavior toward Jews in need. The analyses include: Rachel Feldhay Brenner on the diary of a liberal Polish rescuer; Jan Grabowski on rural Poles; Joanna Tokarska-Bakir on the Armia Ludowa Polish underground; László Karsai on the Hungarian regime under Ferenc Szálasi; Ronit Fisher on Ion Anonescu’s regime and Romanian society; and Susanne Urban on German attitudes toward the death marches. Click here to order from our online store.
Locked in the Darkness
by Sabina Heller, in association with the Holocaust Survivors' Memoirs Project
This is a dramatic and moving story of rescue, separation, and rediscovery of a lost identity. As an infant, Sabina (Inka) Kagan was given to the care of a local Christian family by her parents, who were desperate to save her from the impending Nazi liquidation of their Jewish community. The foster family neglected the infant, leaving her to starve to death in a cellar, but the neighboring Roztropowicz family discovered her and took her in. Sabine's parents did not survive and after the war, Jewish representatives persuaded the Rostropowiczes to allow Sabina be taken to a Jewish orphanage in Lodz. There a staff physician, Dr. Goszczewski, and her husband decided to adopt her and move to Israel. Sabina lost contact with her Polish family and gradually forgot them as she settled into life in Israel. Sabina discovered the truth only in 1999, after her mother’s death, and was then able to reconstruct her past. To order mail firstname.lastname@example.org
A monument to millions, in the face of Holocaust denial, in The Irish Times
Turkey to Boost Holocaust Studies?, on Ynet
Holocaust education must never be taken for granted, in The Ottawa Citizen
Yad Vashem to host symposium in memory of Raoul Wallenberg, in the Times of Israel
Yad Vashem to Promote Holocaust Education, in The Forward
With Your Support
Ensuring the Security of Yad Vashem
On Monday, June 11 2012, Yad Vashem's staff were stunned to see hate-filled graffiti spray painted in several areas of Yad Vashem's outdoor campus. The offensive and abusive comments attacked Zionism and accused Zionists of bringing about the Holocaust. This heartless expression of loathing was an attack on the core values of unity and tolerance that Yad Vashem represents and an affront to the memory of the victims of the Shoah. We are pleased to share with you that the perpetrators have been arrested. This alarming incident highlights the importance of our work at Yad Vashem and reinforces our resolve to continue our critical educational activities in order to spread the message of tolerance today and for future generations.
Yad Vashem's security policy is determined in coordination with the Israel Police Force and other security services in order to reach the necessary balance between an open campus and a high measure of security for its visitors, staff and collections. As a result of the recent shocking act of vandalism, the police recommended that Yad Vashem supplement its current security measures and add more surveillance cameras.
Yad Vashem is asking for your help to purchase this surveillance equipment to protect the Yad Vashem Campus. To learn more about how you can help ensure the security of Yad Vashem, please contact the International Relations department.
The summer edition of Yad Vashem's Jerusalem Magazine is now available online. Included in the quarterly magazine is an in-depth article focusing on the Holocaust of Greek Jewry, information about recent seminars at the International School for Holocaust Studies, including a group of Arab history teachers, an article describing new items added to the Art collection, an overview of some of the remembrance day events that took place on the Yad Vashem campus, news from the Research Institute and more.