Director of the International Institute for Holocaust Research Dr. Iael Nidam-Orvieto spoke at the ceremony
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29 June 2016
On 27 June 2016, Yad Vashem's International Institute for Holocaust Research held its annual award ceremony granting scholarships to MA and PhD students who have chosen a Holocaust-related topic for their Masters or Doctoral theses. The scholarships, generously donated by Yad Vashem supporters in memory of their loved ones, as well as one grant supported by the Hebrew University's Institute of Contemporary Judaism, encourage research into the Holocaust period and the commemoration of its victims for generations to come.
Research topics this year were varied and original. Doctoral student Nava-Tova Barazani of the Hebrew University is tackling wartime childhood memories among the Jewish community of Libya; Sheera Hokman of Tel Aviv University is working on a Master's paper that examines the concept of Righteous Among the Nations and other forms of rescue using categories and key ideas in Nietzsche's thought; and Bar Ilan University Doctoral candidate Tirza Markovitz is investigating memoirs of Orthodox Holocaust survivors in Israel. Other topics of study to benefit from the scholarships include Yitzhak (Antek) Zuckermann's testimony on the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising; the distribution and impact of the Vrba Wetzler Report - firsthand testimony of two escapees from Auschwitz; daily life among the hidden Jews on the Aryan side of Warsaw during the war; and Holocaust remembrance amongst the ultra-orthodox anti-Zionist Neturei Karta movement from 1944-1961.
The award ceremony was held in Yad Vashem's Constantiner Auditorium, in the presence of Director General Dorit Novak; Director of the International Institute for Holocaust Research Dr. Iael Nidam-Orvieto; Head of the International Institute and John Najmann Chair for Holocaust Studies Prof. Dan Michman; Yad Vashem Chief Historian Prof. Dina Porat; and the scholarship recipients and their families.
In her opening remarks, Prof. Porat recalled the commitment by Yad Vashem to "collect, examine and publish testimony" about the Holocaust and its victims. While most of the topics researched took place at the "heart" of the events from 1933-1948, Prof. Porat pointed out that sometimes the Academic Committee chooses Holocaust-related research from a more modern perspective. However, she warned, in light of current trends to equate the Shoah with other genocides or reduce its importance and relevance to the next generations, "students must, first and foremost, try to research what actually happened."
Moshe Ha-Elion, member of the Yad Vashem Directorate and Holocaust survivor from Greece, awarded three scholarships this year in memory of his late wife Chana Ha-Elion (nee Valdman), and the Ha-Elion and Brudo families who were murdered during the Holocaust. Representing the donors, Ha-Elion read from a moving poem he wrote about his younger sister Nina, who was murdered at Auschwitz.
After the 16 scholarships were presented, Hebrew University doctoral student Rebekka Grossmann spoke on behalf of the recipients on the topic, "A Political View: The Land of Israel Photographed by the Nazi Journalist."