Dozens of friends and supporters of Yad Vashem from across the globe are joining together this week in Israel to mark Yad Vashem’s 60th year. Established by the Knesset in 1953, Yad Vashem, on the Mount of Remembrance, is dedicated to Holocaust commemoration, documentation, research and education. Its work is made possible by friends and supporters in Israel and throughout the world. Last week, as part of the European portion of the program, some participants were in Poland, visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau, including the new Yad Vashem exhibition, SHOAH, in Block 27, as well as sites in Krakow, Warsaw and Treblinka. Today, Monday, the Israel part of the mission begins, led by Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev, and featuring behind-the-scenes tours of Yad Vashem, visits to off the beaten track sites in Israel, and discussions with experts on such issues as archives preservation and collection, effectively teaching the Holocaust, and disseminating worldwide the authentic and wide ranging material and knowledge gathered on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem.
Among those who the participants will meet over the course of the next few days are Speaker of the Knesset Yoel-Yuli Edelstein, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Commander of the Israeli Air Force Major-General Amir Eshel, and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau.
One of the highlights of the visit will be the replacing of trees that had been planted in honor of Righteous among the Nations over the years and were destroyed or damaged during this year’s December 2013 snow storm.
Among the participants of the 60th Anniversary Mission are the Honorable Tim Uppal, Canadian Minister of State for Multiculturalism, who will address the gathering, Canadian Holocaust survivor and Yad Vashem Benefactor Joseph Gottdenker, and Canadian Friends of Yad Vashem Chair Fran Sonshine, as well as French Holocaust survivor and Yad Vashem Benefactor Maxi Librati, accompanied by his son Thierry, Pierre Francois Veil, son of prominent French Holocaust survivor Simone Veil, Mark Moskowitz, Executive Committee Board Member of the American Society for Yad Vashem, Yossie Hollander, a longtime friend of Yad Vashem who supports the collection of the names of Shoah victims and Holocaust multimedia education, Colin Halpern, Yad Vashem Benefactor who supports the Archive’s Virtual Personal Files, David Feuerstein, the President of the Chile Association for Yad Vashem, accompanied by his daughter and granddaughter Elena Puppi Gaon and Rosalyn Gaon, and Paul and Mineke Baan, who support Yad Vashem’s utilization of information technology in the service of Shoah remembrance.