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Historic Agreement Signed Between Yad Vashem and Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation

24 August 2004

Douglas Greenberg, (left) president and CEO of the Shoah Foundation, and Avner Shalev, chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, after signing the agreement at Yad Vashem. Credit: Yad Vashem Douglas Greenberg, (left) president and CEO of the Shoah Foundation, and Avner Shalev, chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, after signing the agreement at Yad Vashem. Credit: Yad Vashem

Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, and Douglas Greenberg, president and CEO of Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, have signed a comprehensive agreement that reflects a landmark partnership between the two organizations. The agreement was signed at Yad Vashem during Mr. Greenbergs recent trip to Israel. The goal is for the Shoah Foundation to provide Yad Vashem access to all 52,000 testimonies in the Shoah Foundation archive and all associated metadata. This includes the collection of 8,500 testimonies recorded in Israel or in Hebrew outside of Israel. The partnership will create worldwide cooperative educational activities, place Shoah Foundation testimonies in the exhibits of the landmark new museum and visual center opening at Yad Vashem next year, and generate other cooperative activities over the long term.

Yad Vashem is in the final stage of a campus-wide redevelopment program, which includes a new Visual Center adjacent to the new Holocaust History Museum, scheduled to open in March 2005. The Center, housing Holocaust-related feature and documentary films from around the world as well as visual survivor testimonies taken by Yad Vashem and other organizations, will be accessible to private visitors and groups. Yad Vashem sees access to the Shoah Foundation archive as an important component of the Visual Center. Yad Vashem intends to provide access to the Shoah Foundation Visual History Collection using a digitized version of the Shoah Foundation archive.

The Shoah Foundation interviewed more than 8,500 Holocaust survivors and other witnesses in Israel from August 1995 until November 2001. These testimonies of men and women from Israel are life histories, including information about the pre-war years, the turmoil of the Holocaust, and the efforts to re-establish families and lives in the post-war years. They are the stories of Jewish survivors, rescuers who risked their lives to save others, as well as the experiences of liberators and liberation witnesses.

This partnership between Yad Vashem and the Shoah Foundation will bring the story of the Holocaust and its impact on individuals to people around the world for generations to come. In addition to documentary evidence and historical research, the personal testimonies of survivors add the personal and human aspect to the legacy of the Shoah, said Shalev.

Greenberg agreed: Yad Vashem and the Shoah Foundation share a fundamental commitment to ensuring that the faces and voices of survivors and victims of historys greatest crime are seen and heard not only collectively, but individually. This partnership joins the Shoah Foundations unrivalled collection of video testimonies to the incomparable work of Yad Vashem-the leading institution in the world focused on Holocaust documentation and education. In so doing, the agreement reaffirms and strengthens our shared commitment to understanding the Holocaust in fundamentally human and moral terms.

About Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation

Filmmaker Steven Spielberg established Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation in 1994. Since then, the Foundation has videotaped testimonies in 56 countries and in 32 languages. Today, the Shoah Foundation endeavors to overcome prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry-and the suffering they cause-through the educational use of the Foundations visual history testimonies. To this end, the Foundation partners with organizations around the world to incorporate testimonies into classroom lessons and museum exhibits, to create educational products, and to preserve, and provide access to, the entire archive.

Individuals interested in supporting the Shoah Foundation are encouraged to call 818/777-4673 or write to PO Box 3168, Los Angeles, California, 90078-3168. For more information, visit the Foundations homepage at www.vhf.org.

About Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority, was created by the Knesset in 1953. Located in Jerusalem, it is dedicated to Holocaust remembrance, documentation, research and education. Through the International School for Holocaust Studies, the International Institute for Holocaust Research, the Archives, the Library, the Hall of Names, and its museums and memorials, Yad Vashem seeks to meaningfully impart the legacy of the Shoah for generations to come. Drawing on the memories of the past, Yad Vashem aims to strengthen commitment to Jewish continuity and protect basic human values. Yad Vashem is currently completing a 10-year campus and program development initiative that will culminate in the opening of the new Holocaust History museum in 2005. For more information please visit www.yadvashem.org.

Individuals interested in supporting Yad Vashem are encouraged to contact Yad Vashem in Israel, tel: 972-2-644 3420, e-mail: international.relations@yadvashem.org.il or in New York, American Society for Yad Vashem: tel: 212-220-4304, e-mail: info@yadvashemusa.org.