"Before My Very Eyes" Yad Vashem's new Educational Center in the Negev
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26 April 2022
This week Yad Vashem inaugurated "Before My Very Eyes," the Yad Vashem Educational Center for Holocaust Remembrance at the Ariel Sharon IDF Training Campus in the Negev. The new Center comprises a specially curated overview of the Shoah, as well as interactive exhibition areas that present value-based exhibits connected to the Jewish experience during those terrible years, in order to encourage soldiers and other visitors to reflect on their role in society today.
The establishment of the Center allows teams from Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies to develop and carry out educational programs as an inherent part of IDF training activities, with respect to the preparation and as part of the service of the individual soldiers. The Center, the fruit of cooperative endeavors and long-standing dialogue between educators at Yad Vashem and the IDF's Educational Corps, aims to deal with the subject of the Shoah in a comprehensive and enduring manner. Dealing with the story of the Holocaust as a pivotal event in the history of the Jewish people, alongside examining values such as Jewish identity, mutual responsibility, leadership, heroism and attachment to the Land of Israel, will allow the next generations of soldiers and commanders to commit to passing on the torch of remembrance and becoming constructive contributors to an ethical global society.
Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan said:
"As the years pass from the events of the Shoah and fewer survivors remain among us, Yad Vashem has developed this new interactive Educational Center to inspire young men and women at different stages of their military service through an in-depth study of the Holocaust. Against the backdrop of rising global antisemitism and growing Holocaust distortion and trivialization, our responsibility is to provide the youth today with historically accurate accounts of the Holocaust. In addition, the new Center highlights several individuals who can serve as role models to the leaders of tomorrow. The Center will be a platform for the discussion of authority and ethics arising from Holocaust commemoration, as well as the importance of Jewish continuity – which will in turn bring to the fore the many meanings that can be taken from Holocaust remembrance vis-à-vis the identity of IDF soldiers as both Israelis and citizens of the world."
Head of the IDF's Technological and Logistics Directorate Maj. General Michel Yanko remarked:
"This Center is not only a commemoration to those who were murdered, it is also a promise to the survivors - to carry the torch, and to pass it on. The fact that the Israel Defense Forces has chosen to have this Educational Center on the Ariel Sharon IDF Training Base in the Negev is a symbol of the transition from the Shoah to Rebirth. For me, the son of Panel Yanko, a survivor of the deportations and of the Holocaust, it not only connects with my family's legacy, but it is also the closing of a circle. There are no words to describe the importance of this Center and the contribution it will have to educating generations of soldiers and military personnel."