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New Yad Vashem Square to be dedicated on Wednesday

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat to attend event

30 April 2013

On Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 14:00 a dedication ceremony will be held to mark the unveiling of the new Yad Vashem Square at the entrance to the Mount of Remembrance, Yad Vashem. Participants in the ceremony will include Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev, the newly appointed Chairman of the American Society for Yad Vashem Leonard Wilf and Trustee and Secretary General of the Board of the American Society for Yad Vashem Zygmunt Wilf on behalf of the Wilf Families from the United States that generously aided in the construction of the Square.

The new Yad Vashem Square was designed by the office of Shlomo Aronson Architects together with Israel Prize in Design recipient Prof. Yarom Vardimon, Dean of the Faculty of Design at Shenkar College. Their unique proposal was chosen by a special committee comprised of architect Ada Karmi-Melamede, former director of the Israel Museum Dr. Martin Weyl, head of the Multidisciplinary Art Department at Shenkar College Prof. Michael (Micha) Levin and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev.

The Yad Vashem Square, located adjacent to Herzl Boulevard, will be engraved with the words Yad Vashem in Hebrew on natural Hebron stone. Not only does the Square function as a directional guide for the thousands of daily visitors to Yad Vashem, but also adds an aesthetic element to the Jerusalem cityscape. Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said, “It was important that the Square, which will be used as the main entrance to Yad Vashem, be designed in a modest and minimalist fashion. The Square serves as a gradual transition between the daily reality of the Jerusalem city streets to the Mount of Remembrance, Yad Vashem, a visit which for many is a very meaningful and emotional experience.”

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said, "Yad Vashem is a central site that serves as the foundation for the commemoration of the Holocaust in Israel, with about a million visitors every year who come in order to remember and not forget. The city of Jerusalem has tremendous cultural, social and historic importance for the composition of Jewish heritage and in preserving the memory of the Holocaust, which from this point on will also find expression in the public sphere.”

The Yad Vashem Square was established thanks to the generous contribution of Yad Vashem’s long standing supporters the Wilf Families in the USA: Harry and Judith Wilf z”l, Joseph and Elizabeth Wilf, Leonard and Beth Wilf, Zygmunt and Audrey Wilf, and Mark and Jane Wilf. Holocaust survivors Judith and Harry Wilf z”l and Elizabeth and Joseph Wilf were among the original founders of the American Society for Yad Vashem (ASYV), which was established in 1981. Judith and Harry’s son, Leonard Wilf, served on the Board of the American Society for Yad Vashem for many years and was appointed Chairman of the ASYV in September this year after the sad passing of Eli Zborowski z”l, Founder of the ASYV.

In addition to the Yad Vashem Square being unveiled today, the establishment of which was decided upon while Ehud Olmert was Mayor of Jerusalem, the Wilf Families were among the major supporters of Yad Vashem’s Valley of the Communities. They also endowed the new Holocaust History Museum as well as the Entrance Plaza in front of the Visitors’ Center, and underwrote Yad Vashem’s ongoing project to record testimonies of Holocaust survivors.

Contact: Estee Yaari / Foreign Media Liaison / Yad Vashem/ +972 2 644 3412/10 / estee.yaari@yadvashem.org.il