On Wednesday, July 27, 2011, an event will be held to launch the Online Film Database of Yad Vashem’s Visual Center. The Database of over 6,500 Holocaust related film titles is being uploaded through the generosity of Avraham Harshalom-Fridberg in memory of his parents and brother. The database, the largest catalogue of Holocaust related films, is a work in progress, and film titles from around the world are added on a regular basis. The launch event will take place at Yad Vashem tomorrow, at 16:30, with the participation of Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem, the donor, and Liat Ben Habib, Director of the Visual Center.
Yad Vashem’s Visual Center Database of Holocaust related film currently consists of 6,682 titles. Among them there are about 4,000 documentaries, 1,000 full length feature films, 400 television series, 250 personal commemoration and home videos, as well as other visual media such as video art, video dance, news items, war diaries, short films and more. The online catalogue contains detailed information about the films, including commercial, artistic, historical and geographical data. The Database can be easily searched by using keywords.
The Visual Center Collection contains many unique pieces from important directors. There are rare feature films from pre-WWII Russia, movies from DEFA, the former East German film studio, movies by Hungarian directors Peter Forgacs and István Szabó, a variety of quality Israeli, American and European documentaries, and many other relevant films.
The uploading to the internet of the Visual Center’s Database is made possible through the support of Avraham Harshalom-Fridberg, in memory of his parents Moshe and Cyra Fridberg and his brother, Sioma Fridberg who were murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau early in 1943. Avraham Harshalom (Adam Fridberg) was born in 1925 in the village of Pruzhany (Prużana), Poland (now Belarus), to Cyra and Moshe Fridberg. In June 1941, Pruzhany was occupied by the Germans. In January 1943 Avraham and his family were deportated to Auschwitz. In June 1944, Avraham attempted to escape from Auschwitz, but was recaptured after several days, returned to the camp, and marked as criminal. Later that year, Avraham, along with 10,000 other prisoners, was evacuated from Auschwitz and was sent to several other camps in the following months. He managed to escape from a transport to one of the camps. He reached Prague, where he was rescued by Irina Sobotkova, who was later recognized by Yad Vashem as a "Righteous Among the Nations”. In April 1945, he joined the fighting in Prague against the retreating Germans, and was later honored by the Czechoslovakian government. With the outbreak of the Israeli War of Independence, Avraham was recruited by the Hagana to participate in a pilots' course in Czehcoslovakia, and then served in the Israeli Air Force. In 1951, he established Ariel, which developed into a successful group of companies active both in Israel and abroad. His life story can be read in his autobiography, Alive from the Ashes.