13 November 2016
The proposed amendment to the Yad Vashem Law specifically recognizing acts of bravery of Jews who saved Jews will not benefit the memory of these heroic acts, but instead could erroneously indicate that they were rare occurrences and therefore merit special mention. The phenomenon of Jewish solidarity during WWII is an inseparable part of the history of the Holocaust and is a pertinent example of national struggle and survival of the Jewish people during the Shoah.
Mutual assistance between fellow Jews during the Holocaust is an integral part of the history of the Holocaust and a core tenet on which the Yad Vashem Law and Yad Vashem – the World Holocaust Remembrance Center – are based. Throughout the almost 70 years since its inception, Yad Vashem has dedicated itself to remember, commemorate, document and educate the world about the Holocaust. The story of how Jews rescued fellow Jews during the Holocaust is at the heart of the narrative of the history of the Shoah, recounted in the Holocaust History Museum at Yad Vashem and in dozens of memoirs, research books and articles published over the years by Yad Vashem's International Institute for Holocaust Research. Additionally, there is a wealth of educational material and curricula produced by the International School for Holocaust Studies on this subject. Moreover, this topic is highlighted during the official Holocaust Remembrance Day opening ceremonies and other events held at Yad Vashem. A wide range of materials telling the individual stories of Jews helping other Jews are also featured on the Yad Vashem website, including online exhibitions.
Various studies and testimonies have shown that mutual aid during the Holocaust was a common occurrence, and most of the Jews who survived the Holocaust received help from another Jew at some point during the Shoah.
Therefore Yad Vashem believes that this initiative is superfluous, and moreover, seemingly aimed at creating an infrastructure in which Jews who helped Jews during the Holocaust would receive official recognition. Such a move would be an injustice and is liable to offend the Holocaust survivors themselves.