Newsletter No. 23,  November  2011

What's New  |  Spotlight on the Web  |  Recent Events  |  Names Recovery  |  New Publications  |  News Highlights  |  With Your Support

What's New

Breakthrough in Access toFSU Archives

Yad Vashem Archives Photo: Baz Ratner/Reuters

Recently Yad Vashem signed a breakthrough agreements with the archival authorities of Lithuania and Belarus and will soon sign a new agreement with the archival authority of Ukraine. Under the agreements, Yad Vashem will copy numerous documents related to the Holocaust period located in the state archives of Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus. A similar agreement was signed earlier this year with the Ukrainian SBU (secret service) archives. Bringing copies of these archives to Yad Vashem will make them available to researchers in Israel and around the world. The state archives contain official documentation of the occupying Nazi regime, as well as that of the local authorities, which sheds light on the Holocaust period, in particular the critical years of 1941-43. The project to copy the archival documentation in the former Soviet Union is made possible thanks to the Genesis Philanthropy Group and the European Jewish Fund.

Gathering the Fragments

Gathering the Fragments

"Gathering the Fragments," a National campaign to rescue personal Items from the Holocaust period, that began earlier in April 2011 continues unabated.  In some 35 collections days held throughout Israel since the project's inception, about 2,000 people donated over 33,000 items to Yad Vashem, including 93 diaries, 245 works of art, 759 personal artifacts, 6,565 letters and 13,220 photographs. The campaign is conducted by Yad Vashem in partnership with the National Heritage Project at the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Senior Citizens Affair. Some of the items, along with the moving stories that accompany them, have been uploaded to a special online exhibition.

Spotlight on the Web

Website Receives Industry Recognition

Yad Vashem's website has won the "People and Computers" WebiAward in the Special Category for outstanding websites.  Among the judge's remarks:  "Yad Vashem's website serves as a shining example for Internet sites in Israel. It comprises vast amounts of content, organized in an exemplary fashion."

The Jerusalem of Lithuania - New Online Exhibition

Vilna Online Exhibition

On the eve of the Holocaust, the Jewish community of Vilna was the spiritual center of Eastern European Jewry, the center of enlightenment and Jewish political life, of Jewish creativity and the experience of daily Jewish life. It was a community bursting with cultural and religious life, movements and parties, educational institutions, libraries and theaters; a community of rabbis and gifted Talmudic scholars, intellectuals, poets, authors, artists, craftspeople and educators. Known as "The Jerusalem of Lithuania," some 60,000 Jews lived in Vilna where they constituted 30% of the total population. The Jewish community of Vilna which had flourished for hundreds of years was decimated during WWII. This online exhibition utilizes texts, video testimonies, photos and more to present episodes from Vilna's illustrious history. The exhibition was made possible through the generous support of Mr. Nehemia Burgin in memory of his parents, Holocaust survivors Zlata (Zehava) Burgin and the late Yehiel Burgin.

German YouTube Channel Launched

German YouTubeChannel

In September 2011, Yad Vashem's YouTube channel in German was inaugurated, joining the existing channels in English, Hebrew, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Farsi. The German channel contains over 100 videos, including survivor testimonies, video lectures by German-speaking historians and archival footage, as well as a multimedia presentation on the Auschwitz Album. All of the videos are linked to related texts and resources about the Holocaust in German on Yad Vashem’s website, providing important historical context and background. It is anticipated that the German channel will be of great interest to the general public and will provide an invaluable resource for German educators. The Channel was developed with the support of the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria, Friends of Yad Vashem in Austria and the Swiss Society for Yad Vashem

Recent Events

Chinese Educators Inspired at Yad Vashem

Chinese Educators at Yad Vashem

Earlier this month, 29 educators from Macau, Shanghai, Shangdong, Nanjing and Kaifeng, Xian, and Zhengzhou took part in the second Chinese seminar for Educators at Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies.  MA and Doctoral students, university department heads and professors as well as a participant from the Nanjiing Massacre Memorial Museum, all came for in-depth study of the Holocaust and how to teach it in the classroom. The group also an opportunity to tour in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other areas in Israel and experience a singular communal Shabbat Jerusalem. The special 2-week seminar included academic lectures, presentations of educational resources and meetings with survivors. The seminar was sponsored by the Adelson Family Charitable Foundation.

Survivor Recounts Rescue by Polish Righteous Among the Nations

Survivor and Daughter of Righteous Among the Nations who rescued her

In October, a special ceremony posthumously honoring Jadwiga Waszczuk, of Poland, as Righteous Among the Nations was held at Yad Vashem.  Survivor Bina Spielman Hacohen was there to tell the story of her rescue by this courageous woman.  Bina and her mother Chava were returning from Yom Kippur services at the synagogue when they were targeted in a roundup by the Germans and their collaborators. The women desperately sought shelter at their Chrisitian neighbors, but were refused entry by their terrified owners. Finally, Jadwiga Waszczuk, a devote Christian, unhesitatingly agreed to hide Chava and Bina in her home, stating "Whatever becomes of you, will become of me."

Thousands of Moving Rescue Stories now Online

Thousands of inspirational rescue stories by the Righteous Among the Nations have now been uploaded to the Yad Vashem website.  A comprehensive project has begun to make the database of the Righteous available online. This user-friendly resource includes information about the Righteous, rescue stories and photos. A sophisticated search system allows for searches by place, name, profession, nationality or other keywords, irrespective of spelling or language.  As the first step of this long-term project, the Archives of the Righteous from the Netherlands and the Ukraine are now available on the Yad Vashem website.  More countries will be added throughout the coming year.  The digitization of the Rigtheous Among the Nations archives is supported by the genesis Philanthropy Group, the European Jewish Fund, the Fondation pour la Memoire de la Shoah, the Claims Conference, the Maror Fund,the Levi Lassen Foundation and the Dutch Friends of Yad Vashem.

Names Recovery

Yad Vashem Jerusalem Magazine

Yad Vashem's quarterly magazine is now available online.  Included is a special item about personal letters donated to Yad Vashem as part of the "Gathering the Fragments Campaign," a look at the new Visual Center's Online Film Database, a salute to Yad Vashem's American Society at 30 years, news from the International School, conferences and special visits.  Also highlighted is a unique event that took place this fall – the premier Israeli performance of "Kaddish – I am Here" in Yad Vashem's Warsaw Ghetto Square together with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, IBA.

New Publications

Anna, A Teenager on the Run

Anna Podgajecki | Translator: Sandy Bloom

Anna Podgajecki was born in Korzec, Poland. She was very beautiful, and also possessed the unique skill of predicting events, yet none of the Jews of Korzec listened to her warnings. Alone, wandering from place to place, everyone looked at her and admired her, although unscrupulous people took advantage of her goodness and innocence. Anna survived the war as a Russian-German translator in a tire factory, as a housekeeper, on the roads, under house arrest by secret police, and finally, by working as a nurse at the front. In 1958, she and her husband were allowed back to Poland, and in 1960 they immigrated to Israel. The book, is $36.00 including shipping and handling. Please contact the Publications Department for details.

Yad Vashem Studies 39:2

Yad Vashem Studies

Articles in Yad Vashem Studies 39:2 address questions of motivations and reactions during the Shoah. Scholars from eight countries provide a wide variety of answers and insights to the questions of motivation, participation, reactions, and remembrance.The motivations of the perpetrators and their partners were many and complex, as were the motivations behind the postwar relations between non-Jewish rescuers of Jews and their erstwhile charges. There has been much research on the reactions of Jews to Nazi persecution, yet presented here is an article that  analyzes heretofore-unknown German Jewish responses to the Nazi regime’s policies from a fresh and surprising perspective. Research articles  by Wolf Gruner, Geraldien von Frijtag Drabbe Kunzel, Hermann Weiss, Mordechai Altshuler, and Joanna Michlic. David Cesarani, Christoph Dieckmann, Erich Haberer, Konrad Kwiet, Jochen Böhler, and Yechiam Weitz contribute in-depth review articles on recent and important books.

News Highlights

Yad Vashem Holocaust Database Reunites Lost Cousins, in the Washington Post

Yad Vashem honors Mother Marie-Veronique, Righteous Among the Nations from Belgium, on EJP

EU human rights body and Yad Vashem launch educators’ toolkit, on EJP

Quietly, Google Puts History Online, in the New York Times

Why Did Israel Trade 1,000 Prisoners for Gilad Shalit? I Learned the Powerful Lesson in Jerusalem, in the Huffington Post

 Ensuring that the Survivors' Stories are Heard, in Haaretz

With Your Support

Planned Giving to Yad Vashem - A Lasting Legacy

Legacy donations are a personal way to make a difference beyond your lifetime.

In a world that too often promotes collective amnesia in order to shirk its responsibility, it is more important than ever to be faithful to the memory of those who are no more, to learn from the past and make a better world to entrust to future generations.

Designating your planned gift to Yad Vashem is one of the most powerful ways to make certain that the torch of Holocaust remembrance is passed on to future generations. You can make a bequest by simply directing in your will that a gift of money or property be transferred from your estate to Yad Vashem, thus helping secure the legacy of both the victims and survivors of the Holocaust.

Through your generous planned gift to Yad Vashem, you will ensure that the lessons of the Shoah remain a moral compass for humanity. Your legacy will help guarantee a future that challenges indifference and ensures the accurate presentation of the facts, causes and consequences of the Holocaust in the face of assaults against the truth. Your legacy will teach future generations the fragile nature of freedom and instill in them a sense of personal responsibility for safeguarding human values.

Each and every gift, no matter what its size, makes a difference.

To learn more about planned giving options at Yad Vashem, please contact the International Relations Department.