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Yad Vashem to Inaugurate the Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Research on the Holocaust in the Soviet Union on Monday, 9 May 2016

05 May 2016

On Monday, 9 May 2016, Yad Vashem will inaugurate the Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Research on the Holocaust in the Soviet Union, under the auspices of its world-renowned International Institute for Holocaust Research. The Center is endowed by Michael and Laura Mirilashvili in memory of Michael's father Moshe z"l.

Alongside Michael and Laura Miriliashvili and their family, honored guests at the dedication ceremony will include Yuli (Yoel) Edelstein, Speaker of the Knesset; Ze’ev Elkin, Minister of Immigration and Absorption and Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage; Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council; and Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate.

The event will commence with a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance at 14:00, followed by the unveiling of a plaque in the Square of Hope. The inauguration ceremony will take place at 14:30 in the Yad Vashem Synagogue.

Following the opening of major and local archives in the Former Soviet Union in the early 1990s, multi-disciplinary research into the wartime fate of the Jews in the USSR began to flourish. With the generous support of the Genesis Philanthropy Group, the European Jewish Fund and other donors, for the past several years Yad Vashem has invested efforts into researching the history of the Jews living in the Soviet Union before, during and after the Holocaust.

The Mirilashvili Center is set to consolidate and augment these endeavors of Yad Vashem and lead groundbreaking global academic discourse in this field, strengthening ties with relevant researchers and organizations, encouraging international scholarly cooperation and advancing pioneering research in all related areas for many years to come. The Center will support new research projects, publications and testimonies, and organize workshops, seminars and conference for senior and young scholars alike.

Headed by Dr. Arkadi Zeltser, a world-renowned scholar of the Holocaust in the FSU, the Center will launch new areas of investigation, such as inter-ethnic relations between Jews and non-Jews in the Soviet Union during the Holocaust, and continue the Research Institute's ongoing projects in the field, such as "The Untold Stories" – an online investigation of the murder sites of the Jews in the Nazi-occupied territories of the FSU.

"The extremely generous support of Michael and Laura Mirilashvili in establishing the Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Research on the Holocaust in the Soviet Union at Yad Vashem will significantly facilitate the developing research on the fate of the Jews in the Former Soviet Union during WWII," said Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. "This is an area that, despite its great importance in Holocaust history and commemoration, was until relatively recently largely inaccessible to serious scholars. Today, with the profusion of newly-accessible documents and testimonies emerging from public and personal archives across the region, much of that thanks to the activity of the Yad Vashem Archives, the work of the Mirilashvili Center is vital in uncovering the stories of the victims – as well as the crimes of the perpetrators – in the FSU during this darkest of periods in human history."

For more information regarding this event, please contact: Simmy Allen / Head, International Media Section / Communications Division/ Yad Vashem +972-(0)2-644-3412/ simmy.allen@yadvashem.org.il

Yad Vashem's International Institute for Holocaust Research stands at the forefront of scholarly study on the Holocaust, providing comprehensive infrastructure for further investigation into this calamitous period in human history. The Research Institute is dedicated to advancing international research regarding the Shoah and fostering cooperative projects among academic institutions, as well as encouraging young scholars in their studies.