21 September 2022
President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach visited Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, today. President Bach was joined by Israel's Olympian and Chairperson of the Olympic Committee of Israel Yael Arad. Together with Yad Vashem Chairman they toured the Holocaust History Museum, participated in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, visited the Children's Memorial and signed the Yad Vashem Guestbook.
During this emotional visit, Bach wrote the following message in Yad Vashem's Guestbook:
"Words cannot capture the unspeakable horror of the Shoah. It is here in Yad Vashem, that I solemnly reaffirm the commitment of the entire Olympic Movement to non-discrimination and peace."
He further elaborated:
"Every human being must do everything in their power that such a heinous crime against humanity can never happen again."
After visiting the Children's Memorial, dedicated to the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered during the Holocaust. Chairman Dayan presented President Bach with a Token of Remembrance, the book To Bear Witness: Holocaust Remembrance at Yad Vashem, marking his first official visit to the Mount of Remembrance.
"Part of learning about the Holocaust is knowing what Jewish life was like before the atrocities; understanding what role competitive sports and culture played in Jewish life," relates Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan. "Many are surprised to learn about the Jewish world-class athletes who competed in international games like the Olympics. We must remember these individuals not as faceless and nameless victims, as the Nazis viewed them, but as individuals with unique life stories just like us today. Yad Vashem dedicates itself to telling those stories, alongside the history of how they were brutally persecuted, ostracized and ultimately murdered at the hands of the German Nazis and their collaborators. We owe it to them to remember who they were and not just how they were murdered."
At the conclusion of the visit, Dayan and Bach visited a tree planted at Yad Vashem in memory of Righteous Among the Nations Berthold and Elsa Beitz. Berthold and his wife, Elsa, were awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations in 1973. Berthold Beitz was an honorary member of the German Olympic Committee. During the Holocaust the couple helped rescue Jews during the Holocaust despite the grave risk to themselves, his position and their family. For more about their courageous story click here.