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New Visual Center to Open at Yad Vashem. Portal to Holocaust-Related Film and Testimony to be Inaugurated Tuesday

30 October 2005

Completing the new Museum Complex, Yad Vashem will inaugurate its new Visual Center on November 1, 2005, at 17:00 in the Yad Vashem Auditorium.

Established through the generosity of Daniella and Daniel Steinmetz (Israel) and The Righteous Persons Foundation headed by Steven Spielberg (USA), the Visual Center is dedicated to creating the worlds most comprehensive resource center of film related to the Holocaust, adding a unique dimension to Holocaust remembrance. The Center collects, catalogues and offers viewing facilities for Holocaust-related film of all genres, and provides access to testimonies and Yad Vashems extensive online resources. It will also hold seminars, conferences, symposia and special events focused on the role that film plays in memorializing the Holocaust and exploring its role in Holocaust awareness. As such, the new annual Yad Vashem Chairmans Award, endowed by Michaela and Leon Constantiner (USA), will be granted by the Visual Center for a cinematic work related to the Holocaust.

Visual images have become the international language of our generation and this phenomenon will only strengthen among future generations. Recognizing the biological reality that the survivor generation is waning, only reinforces the importance of this language in Holocaust remembrance, said Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev. The new Visual Center will encourage research about cinematic representations of the Holocaust and its integration into educational projects.

In remarks taped especially for the inauguration, Steven Spielberg said: The new Visual Center compliments the remarkable new Museum and all the various components at Yad Vashem that provide a complete picture of the Holocaust and remembrance. The Center has an ambitious and remarkable goal that inspired my own support of this project: to be the primary portal for viewing films and testimonies related to the Holocaust.

Through cutting-edge technology, all films made on the Holocaust will be available for viewing. In addition, all survivor testimonies filmed by Yad Vashem over the years, as well as those recorded by other organizations around the world including the Shoah Foundation, will also be accessible through the Center. Visitors to the Center will be able to search the database by title, topic or location, and then watch the chosen work at one of the 50 personal screens available and at a small theater.

The inauguration ceremony will take place in the presence of Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Minister of Industry, Trade and Employment Ehud Olmert, Benefactors Daniella and Daniel Steinmetz, President and CEO of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation (established by Steven Spielberg) Douglas Greenberg, Chairman of the American Society for Yad Vashem Eli Zborowski, and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev. The Visual Center operates under the direction of Liat Ben Habib in coordination with the Yad Vashem Library.

The Visual Center is an ongoing project and invites filmmakers to contact visual.center@yadvashem.org.il to ensure that their films are included. More information about the Visual Center is available here.