This week 40 new volunteers from across Israel participated in a training day at Yad Vashem, joining the ranks of the global network of volunteers assisting Shoah survivors and members of their generation with the task of commemorating family and friends killed in the Holocaust. The volunteers began the day by sharing their personal connection to the Shoah as well as what motivated them to joining the project.
The program included an historical overview of Yad Vashem's efforts to commemorate each individual Jew who perished in the Shoah on Pages of Testimony, special forms where the names, biographical details and, when available, photographs of Shoah victims, are recorded for posterity. To date, 3.8 million names have been entered into the Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names.
Project staff conducted hands-on training highlighting guidelines for submitting a Page of Testimony. One volunteer was moved to tears when she found a Page of Testimony for her uncle who perished in the Shoah submitted by her mother, who she explained had never spoken about her wartime experiences.
The group continued on to a guided tour of the Holocaust History Museum, including a visit to the Hall of Names, where the Pages of Testimony are archived. At the end of the day, each volunteer received a referral for a home visit with individuals who contacted Yad Vashem and requested assistance completing Pages of Testimony, commemorating Shoah victims that they had knowledge of.