21 May 2017
The President of the United States of America, Mr. Donald J. Trump, will participate in a memorial ceremony at Yad Vashem on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 at 13:00. Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev will accompany President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump while at Yad Vashem. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Mrs. Sara Netanyahu, and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau will also join the President during his visit to Yad Vashem.
While the President’s visit to Israel is brief, he requested to commemorate the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust by participating in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance. During the ceremony, the President will rekindle the eternal flame and lay a wreath on a stone slab under which ashes from extermination camps are buried. El Maleh Rachamim, a Jewish prayer for the souls of the martyrs' of the Holocaust, will be sung by a cantor.
President Trump will be invited to sign the Yad Vashem guest book and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev will present the President with a token of remembrance, an exact replica of the original Holocaust-era personal album that belonged to Ester Goldstein who was murdered during the Holocaust at the age of 16. Ester's sister Margot Herschenbaum, the sole survivor of her immediate family, will attend the Presidential event at Yad Vashem. Ms. Colette Avital, Chairperson of the Center Organization of Holocaust Survivors in Israel will be present at the ceremony at Yad Vashem.
For media arrangements please see Page 4 of the press release.
About the Token of Remembrance:
Don't Forget Me: Ester Goldstein's Personal Album
“Love life, and don’t be afraid of death.
Believe in God and a better future”
written in the album by Ester’s classmate Bella Lassore. Bella was deported to Auschwitz in 1943 where she was murdered.
The personal album of Ester Goldstein is one of hundreds of thousands of personal items preserved for posterity in the Yad Vashem Archives.
The album is comprised of messages of hope and everlasting friendship inscribed by Ester’s family and friends. Some of the pages are embellished with optimistic and innocent illustrations, while others include photographs of those dearest to her.
The dedications in the album express familial devotion and steadfast connection to Judaism. The first entry is from 1937, when Ester was eleven years old, and the final one is dated September 16, 1942, about a month before Ester was deported to Riga (Latvia) and subsequently murdered.
This personal album is one of several included in an online exhibition available via Yad Vashem's website in four languages: English, Hebrew, Spanish and German.
Approximately 1.5 million Jewish children were murdered in the Holocaust, most of them leaving behind almost no trace – a handful of photographs and some personal belongings. This precious album offers insight into the life of a young girl that was cut brutally short.
Background on Margot Herschenbaum:
Margot Herschenbaum, was born in 1929. In 1939, she was sent to Australia as part of the Kindertransport (organized rescue efforts of Jewish children between 1938-1940) and is the sole survivor of her immediate family. In 1999 Margot filled out a Page of Testimony commemorating her family murdered in the Holocaust.
Background on Ester Goldstein:
Ester was born in 1926 in Joachimstrasse, Berlin to Blima and David Goldstein, who moved to Germany from Poland two years before she was born. She had a sister Margot and a brother Heinz (Haim). In 1938, in the shadow of the increasing Nazi persecution of Jews, the family unsuccessfully attempted to flee Germany. However Ester was deported on 26 October 1942 to Riga and subsequently murdered at the age of 16. Details of this transport can be found on Yad Vashem's online database documenting the deportation of Jews from western European countries to ghettos, concentration and death camps in the east.
After liberation, Ester’s cousin David Werner returned to the Goldstein family home in Berlin, where a neighbor gave him a box of papers that she had kept safe throughout the war. Among the papers was the album, which he gave to Margot, and in 2006, Margot donated it to Yad Vashem for safekeeping.
"Do not forget me" was a dedication written in the album by Ester's classmate Sonja Strenger who was deported to Auschwitz in 1943.
About Yad Vashem:
Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, was established by the Israeli Parliament in 1953. Located in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem is dedicated to Holocaust remembrance, documentation, research and education. Through its International School for Holocaust Studies, International Institute for Holocaust Research, Archives, Museums and Library, Yad Vashem has become the global center for gathering and disseminating information about the Holocaust and seeks to meaningfully impart the legacy of the Shoah for generations to come.
The Hall of Remembrance was the first commemoration site established at Yad Vashem on the Mount of Remembrance. Its walls are made of basalt boulders brought from the area surrounding the Sea of Galilee, and its angular roof gives it a tent-like shape. Engraved on the mosaic floor are the names of 22 Nazi murder sites, symbolic of the hundreds of extermination and concentration camps, transit camps and killing sites that existed throughout Europe. The Eternal Flame continuously illuminates the Hall, its smoke exiting the building through an opening at the highest point of the ceiling. Before it stands a stone crypt containing the ashes of Holocaust victims.