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Yad Vashem to Unveil "The Book of Names" in the UN Headquarters, 26 January 2023

The opening event will be broadcast live via Yad Vashem's website and Facebook Page (via UNTV)

19 January 2023

Coinciding with the 2023 International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, and Israel's Permanent Mission to the United Nations will be inaugurating a new installation developed by Yad Vashem, entitled "The Book of Names of Holocaust Victims." This exhibition is being installed at the United Nations Headquarters as part of the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme on the Holocaust activities for International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The opening event will take place on 26 January 2023 in the presence of United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, Yad Vashem Chairman Amb. Dani Dayan and Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations Amb. Gilad Erdan.

This monumental installation features the alphabetically arranged names of 4,800,000 Holocaust victims currently documented and included in Yad Vashem's Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names. The total length of The Book of Names is 26.45 feet (8 meters). It stands 6.56 feet (2 meters) high, and is 3.3 feet (one meter) wide. A strip of light runs the length of the inside of The Book of Names, illuminating the memory of the Jewish men, women children murdered during the Holocaust for all to remember. At the end of the Book of Names there are blank pages symbolizing more than one million identities yet recovered from the nameless murdered.

Accompanying the installation will be a video clip about the importance of remembering the names of Holocaust victims and rationale behind the Names Recovery Project, as well as an explanatory panel with information about the Holocaust – the anti-Jewish campaign initiated and implemented by Nazi Germany during the years 1933-1945 that culminated in the unprecedented and systematic genocide that aimed to totally eradicate Judaism and annihilate the Jewish people.

Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan remarked:

"The Book of Names serves as a living memorial to millions of Holocaust victims, and provides the public with the ability to physically touch and connect with the identities of the individuals the Nazis tried so hard to erase. Inaugurating The Book of Names at the United Nations Headquarters on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day is extremely significant and poignant, especially in light of the alarming growing global trends of Holocaust trivialization and distortion as well as antisemitism. We must remember these individuals not as faceless and nameless victims, as the Nazis viewed them, but as individuals with unique life stories just like us today."

United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres stated:

“This important exhibition is a call to remembrance: to remember each child, woman and man who perished in the Holocaust as a human being with a name and a future that was stolen away. And it is a call to action: to always be vigilant and never stay silent when human rights and human dignity are under threat.”

Whenever possible, the listings in The Book of Names also contain the birth dates, home towns, and circumstances and places of death of the respective victims. The names in the exhibit are taken from many sources, including Pages of Testimony collected by Yad Vashem, as well as various lists compiled during and following the Shoah, meticulously gathered over the past seven decades and carefully reviewed by Yad Vashem experts. In June 2013, The Yad Vashem Pages of Testimony Memorial Repository were included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Amb. Gilad Erdan said:

"The United Nations was established to ensure that the Holocaust – humanities’ darkest hour – would never be repeated. Nevertheless, rampant antisemitism is once again on the rise and Holocaust denial is increasing in volume and intensity. Even at the UN, a Member State openly calls to wipe the Jewish State off the map, while openly denying the horrors of the Holocaust. As Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, and as the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I have made it my personal mission to lead the fight against antisemitism and Holocaust denial. 

Exhibitions such as this one are weapons in the fight against the twisted phenomenon of Holocaust denial and distortion as they turn the six million victims from a mere number to individuals – individuals who had names, lives, and families. Included among the 4.8 million names are members of my own family – my grandfather’s wife and their seven children who were murdered in Auschwitz. May the memories of all the victims be a blessing."

An earlier installation of the Book of Names is on permanent display at Yad Vashem's SHOAH exhibit at Block 27 of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland.

The Book of Names will be on display in the UN Headquarters in New York through 17 February 2023. At the conclusion of its display at the United Nations, The Book of Names installation will be brought to Israel to be permanently included in Yad Vashem's Museum's Complex on the Mount of Remembrance, and will open to public viewing in time for Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed this year on 17-18 April 2023.

The Book of Names was produced with the generous support of Yad Vashem Visionaries Marilyn and Barry Rubenstein from the United States.


Special Information for Media:

On Thursday, 26 January 2023 at 1:00 p.m., just prior to the opening event at the United Nations, there will be a photo-op, open to the media, adjacent to The Book of Names installation together with the UN Secretary General Guterres, Amb. Dani Dayan and Amb. Gilad Erdan. Media interested in covering the photo-op and the opening event must register. Press must arrive at 1:00 p.m. for the photo-op.

In addition to the above link, all press attending the events on Thursday, 26 January 2023 at the UN  must register for security passes with the UN.

There will be two preview tours of The Book of Names UN installation for journalists:

  • 24 January 2023 at 2-4 p.m. – Holocaust survivor Bronia Brandman, whose family members were murdered during the Holocaust and are commemorated in The Book of Names, as well as Yad Vashem Hall of Names Director Dr. Alexander Avram will be on hand for interviews.
  • 25 January 2023 at 10 a.m. to midday – with Dr. Alexander Avram and Holocaust survivors.

Media interested in attending either one of the preview tours must register for security passes with the UN.