During Avner Shalev's 27-year career at the helm of the Yad Vashem Directorate, he oversaw a complete transformation of global Holocaust remembrance, education, research and documentation. He created a new Museum Complex on the Mount of Remembrance, including the world-class Holocaust History Museum and Museum of Holocaust Art; he invested resources is expanding Yad Vashem's Archives; and he brought Yad Vashem into the 21st century, creating an online presence in eight languages and a social media network spanning multiple platforms in order to make Yad Vashem's unrivalled assets available to interested parties around the world.
In addition to the commemorative aspects Shalev instituted, he understood the need for a central location for Holocaust education and study, and therefore he also established Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies and International Institute for Holocaust Research, in order to ensure that memory and meanings of the Holocaust, of both its victims and its survivors, will be transmitted to the next generations for decades to come.
Throughout his tenure, Avner Shalev has received recognition by international governments and heads of state including the Spanish "Prince of Asturias" Award, the French "Legion of Honor," and Israel's "Presidential Medal of Distinction."
This past winter marked the conclusion of his illustrious career as Yad Vashem Chairman, but his contributions to disseminating the relevance of the Holocaust will continue to have a significant impact for generations to come. Just last week, Shalev received the "Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany," Germany's highest tribute awarded to an individual. Additionally, on Monday 5 July 2021, a square in the coastal town Torremolinos (located in the southeastern Andalusian region of Spain) was dedicated in honor of Avner Shalev. The "Avner Shalev Yad Vashem Jerusalem" square includes a 7-meter-tall sculpture of the Yad Vashem "Menorah," a six-branched candelabra symbolizing the six million Jewish men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust.
At the events, Shalev thanked both the President of Germany and the Mayor of Torremolinos for these latest honors, and stated: "I see this as a recognition of the outstanding efforts of Yad Vashem on the global stage and another example of the importance these countries consign to its ongoing efforts in the fields of Holocaust remembrance and education."