Delegation of Yad Vashem leadership meeting with NYC Mayor Eric Adams
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23 May 2022
Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan attended today's "Celebrate Israel" Parade in New York City, joining thousands of participants in support of Israel and the parade's theme "Together Again." Later he spoke at the Jerusalem Conference, which took place in Manhattan's Intercontinental Hotel together with other Jewish and Israeli leaders.
In a one-on-one interview with journalist Carrie Rubenstein, Dayan discussed the mission of Yad Vashem, the challenges to Holocaust education and remembrance at a time when Holocaust survivors are dwindling, the war in Ukraine, and the rise of antisemitism.
"When dignitaries come to Yad Vashem I tell them that we are not in Europe of the thirties regarding antisemitism; we are far from it. However, we have the experience they lacked. We know what can happen if antisemitism is left unchecked. And that is why, I tell them, we must confront antisemitism forcibly, decisively, immediately, before it has a chance to metastasize into something of monstrous dimensions. This is your obligation. It’s not a Jewish obligation."
Additionally, during Dayan's visit to New York, he met last week with New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Governor of New York Kathy Hochul.
At the two private meetings, Dayan spoke about the importance of securing Holocaust remembrance, education, documentation and research for future generations. He also discussed the need to buttress efforts to combat the alarming rise of antisemitism, as well as Holocaust denial, distortion and trivialization in the public sphere.
During the meeting in City Hall with Mayor Eric Adams, also attended by Co-Chair of the American Society for Yad Vashem Adina Burian, the Mayor expressed an interest in Yad Vashem's cooperation for Holocaust remembrance and educational programs in the City of New York. Mayor Adams indicated that he plans on visiting Israel and Yad Vashem this year.
Dayan mentioned the plan to exhibit a new version of The Book of Names, a unique memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, in New York City to raise global awareness of the murder of some six million Jews during the Shoah.
Yad Vashem first created the Book of Names for the permanent exhibition SHOAH at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Museum, Block 27 Pavilion, inaugurated in 2013. The updated configuration of the Book of Names will serve as a tangible memorial both to the individual identities of the Jewish men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust, and to the inconceivable scale of the Nazis' attempted annihilation of the Jewish people. The Book will list the names of more than 4,800,000 Shoah victims collected by Yad Vashem over the past seven decades in alphabetic order, and where the information is known, provides their birth dates, hometowns and places of death. Reminiscent of the iconic empty shelves in the Hall of Names, the Book of Names will also include blank pages, signifying those whose names remain unknown.
The following day, Dayan met with New York Governor Kathy Hochul. The two discussed the importance of dedicated Holocaust education reflecting its historical uniqueness. Governor Hochul also expressed her hope to visit Yad Vashem in the near future.
Dayan told both the Governor and Mayor:
"Having a deep understanding of the cataclysmic events that took place less than a century ago is vital for the future of our society. Yad Vashem leads the documentation, research, teaching and commemoration of the Holocaust, and is dedicated to bringing the unique Jewish and human story of the Holocaust to every significant and relevant setting worldwide."