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New Exhibition at Yad Vashem Marking 50 Years of Honoring Righteous Among the Nations Opens Wednesday

Media preview tour at 9:00 Wednesday

24 June 2013

On Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 11:00 the new exhibition "I Am My Brother's Keeper" will open at Yad Vashem’s Exhibitions Pavilion in the presence of members of the Diplomatic Corps and Holocaust survivors. Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev, Holocaust survivor Prof. Shlomo Breznitz, and Chairman of the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous, Justice Jacob Turkel will speak at the opening. The event will take place in the Yad Vashem Auditorium in Hebrew with translation to English.

A special media preview tour with exhibition curator Yehudit Shendar and with the participation of Director of the Righteous among the Nations Department Irena Steinfeldt will take place on Wednesday June 26, 2013 at 9:00 in the Exhibitions Pavilion.

Media who are interested in attending the preview tour and/or the opening event should RSVP to the Media Relations Department: 02 644 3410, media.relations@yadvashem.org.il

The new exhibition, curated by Yehudit Shendar, in cooperation with Irena Steinfeldt, content development and research for the exhibition, depicts through films the varying efforts taken by non-Jewish rescuers who came to the aid of persecuted Jews during the Holocaust and is divided into five rescue themes, each highlighting the complex human situations involved in the rescue. Each of the categories presents a unique account through films produced by Shula Speigel and Dana Eden, providing an artistic visualization that succeeds in characterizing the different types of rescue stories and highlights the risky decisions with which the rescuers were confronted. Director Gabi Biliovitz, and scriptwriter Oren Neeman dealt with a scarcity of material and through cinematography were able to present the complex reality that the rescuers and Jews had to confront. The exhibition, designed by Chanan DeLange, succeeds in orchestrating a broad, yet intimate, experience. The films, along with the space design created by Udi Morag, give a sense of the drama and complexity of rescue activity in a dynamic display.

Chairman of Yad Vashem Avner Shalev said, “The exhibition presents a fascinating historical phenomenon where the individual decided to go against the stream and through great risks saves lives. The visitor to ‘I Am My Brother's Keeper’ will not only be exposed to the courageous actions and moral choices made by the Righteous Among the Nations amidst a sea of indifference and hostility, but will also allow the visitor the opportunity to internalize the defining moral choices they faced, perhaps positively affecting their future decisions in life.”

The exhibition is built from five main rescue stories: “In the cellars, pits and attics” provides the narrative of Jews on the run who were offered shelter for indefinite periods of time in crowded hideouts, totally dependent on their benefactors. “Parting once again” tells of the fate of hidden children and lost identities, while the exhibition also pays tribute to rescuers who were members of the clergy from all Christian denominations in “Under the benefaction of the cross.” “Paying the ultimate price” narrates the tragic stories of those who paid for their rescue attempts with their lives, and “The courage to defy” tells about the few who refused to simply follow their bureaucratic orders and decided to defy their superiors.

Over the past five decades Yad Vashem has recognized over 24,800 Righteous among the Nations from 47 different countries. An online exhibition complementing the new exhibition will be available at www.yadvashem.org on Wednesday, June 26, 2013.

The exhibition was made possible by the generosity of Jan and Rick Cohen (USA) and the support of Jonathan Ferster (UK) and The Lauffer Family Charitable Trust (UK).