The Yad Vashem Pages of Testimony Memorial Repository has been included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, marking the first time that Israeli collections have been included in the registry. Pages of Testimony are specially designed forms filled out in memory of Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Yad Vashem, which literally means a memorial and a name, has for the past 6 decades, endeavored to recover the names and identities of the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust and has been collecting Pages of Testimony from Holocaust survivors and those who remember the victims since 1954. Thus far, 2.6 million names have been documented on Pages of Testimony, which together with other documentation have allowed Yad Vashem to identify by name 4.2 million out of the 6 million victims. The Pages of Testimony Memorial Repository is housed in the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem.
“For many Holocaust survivors and their families, Pages of Testimony are the only tangible evidence that their murdered loved ones once lived,” said Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem. “The Nazis and their collaborators strove to murder each and every Jewish man, woman and child and to erase any vestige of their existence. These pages, together with information gathered from around the world as part of our names recovery efforts, restore to them their names – their identities. We will continue our efforts to bring the names and identities of the victims back from oblivion as long as we are able to do so. I urge anyone who has not yet submitted Pages of Testimony to do so now.”
“The Pages of Testimony Repository represents a huge-scale collective memorial to Holocaust victims, unprecedented in history in both its dimensions and its intent to preserve the names as symbols of their humanity. Comprised of invaluable personal hand-signed testimonies, it is unique in the world," said Dr. Alexander Avram, Director of the Hall of Names.
Pages of Testimony are available in some 15 languages, and continue to be filled out by friends and family of the victims, as Yad Vashem continues this historic effort. The entire collection has been uploaded to the Yad Vashem website as part of the Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names and is available in English, Hebrew, Russian, German and Spanish.
UNESCO's Memory of the World Program raises to a global level the awareness and the imperative of preservation of, and access to, unique and irreplaceable documentary heritage in various parts of the world. The Memory of the World Register, founded in 1995, includes so far only 299 items worldwide endorsed by the Director-General of UNESCO.