19 October 2003
Yad Vashem will hold an inauguration ceremony for its new Visitors Center on Monday, October 20 at 6:00 PM. The Center is the latest upgrade to Yad Vashem under its development master plan. The ceremony will also mark the completion of the new Entrance Complex, of which the Visitors Center is a part. Attending the ceremony will be Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, donors David and Fela Shapell and family; Director-General of the Ministry of Tourism, Aharon Domb; Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, Avner Shalev; and Principle Architect Mrs. Irit Kohavi of Moshe Safdie Architects.
The Visitors Center was built through the generosity of the David Shapell family of Los Angeles. Survivors of the Holocaust, David and Fela Shapell are longtime supporters of the State of Israel and Yad Vashem. The Ministry of Tourism provided further assistance for the structure. The new Entrance Complex was built with the assistance of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which is a strategic partner in Yad Vashem’s development master plan.
All visitors to Yad Vashem will now enter and exit through the new Entrance Complex, in which the Visitors Center is centrally located. The Center is an ideal starting point for visitors to the highly unique Yad Vashem campus, as it serves as a resource station. In it, visitors are supplied with explanatory material about the many memorial sites on the campus, and they can receive assistance in planning their itineraries.
As with the other structures on the Yad Vashem campus, the architectural design of the Visitors Center preserves the balance between the surrounding environment and man-made edifices. Its square-shaped, concrete outer facade comprises six oblong columns on each side. The split-level interior is enclosed by glass and aluminum-curtain walls, and a glass-paned ceiling. This design prepares the visitor for the Yad Vashem experience, serving as a bridge between the everyday world and the unique, solemn atmosphere of the memorial site. The exit is inscribed with a passage from the Bible: “Has the like of this happened in your days or in the days of your fathers? Tell your children about it, and let your children tell theirs, and their children the next generation.” (I Joel, 2-3) This serves as a reminder to visitors of the need to perpetuate the memory of the Holocaust.
In keeping with Yad Vashem’s broadened approach to visitor relations and service to the millions of people who visit each year, the Visitors Center features modern amenities and services. These include an information desk, a cafeteria, and a balcony which overlooks a pastoral view of the Jerusalem mountains - this provides an ideal setting for the quiet contemplation often desired by visitors.
The Entrance Complex enables access to all parts of Yad Vashem, including the Visitors Center; Historical Museum; Hall of Remembrance; Children’s Memorial; Art Museum; Valley of the Communities; Avenue and Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations; International School for Holocaust Studies; Library; Archives; Research Institute; and all other parts of Yad Vashem.
More information about Yad Vashem is available on the Yad Vashem Web site.