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Pope Francis at Yad Vashem

Special Media Briefing on Thursday, May 22, 2014

19 May 2014

On Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 14:00 a special briefing with Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev will be held in advance of Pope Francis’ visit to Yad Vashem. At the briefing, the painting that will be presented to the Pope at the conclusion of his visit to Yad Vashem will also be revealed. Pope Francis will visit Yad Vashem on May 26, 2014.

Like the visits of his predecessors Benedict XVI and John Paul II, the Pope’s visit to Yad Vashem will take place in the Hall of Remembrance, where he will participate in a memorial ceremony, deliver an address, and greet six Holocaust survivors. He will be accompanied by President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau. During the memorial ceremony, the Pope will be invited to rekindle the eternal flame and lay a wreath in memory of the victims of the Shoah. At the conclusion of the visit, he will be presented with a replica of a Holocaust-era drawing. Coverage of the Pope’s visit on May 26, will be by pre-arranged POOL for stills, live TV feed, and limited space for print journalists. Yad Vashem will be closed until 12 noon due to security arrangements.

Media interested in attending the briefing on Thursday, May 22, should arrive at Yad Vashem by 13:45 and RSVP to 02 644 3410.

Yad Vashem was established in 1953. Located in Jerusalem, it is dedicated to Holocaust remembrance, documentation, research and education. The Hall of Remembrance is an imposing structure, with walls made of basalt boulders brought from the area surrounding the Sea of Galilee, and an angular roof that gives it a tent-like shape. Engraved on the mosaic floor are the names of 22 of the most infamous Nazi camps and murder sites, symbolic of the hundreds of extermination and concentration camps, transit camps and killing sites that existed throughout Europe. The Eternal Flame, burning from a base fashioned like a broken bronze goblet, continuously illuminates the Hall, its smoke exiting the building through an opening at the highest point of the ceiling. Before it stands a stone crypt containing the ashes of Holocaust victims, brought to Israel from the extermination camps. A focal point of commemoration to this day, the Hall of Remembrance serves as Yad Vashem’s premier site for memorial ceremonies.