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European Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi Visits Yad Vashem and Signs Agreement for New Immersive Audio-Visual Experience in Yad Vashem's Valley of the Communities

28 May 2024

Today, Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, hosted the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Mr. Olivér Várhelyi. During his visit, Commissioner Várhelyi and Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan signed an agreement officially cementing the European Union's co-sponsorship of the creation of a new immersive audio-visual experience in the Valley of the Communities at Yad Vashem. This significant project was first announced in July 2023.

The Valley of the Communities on the Mount of Remembrance at Yad Vashem, stands as a testament to the thousands of communities throughout Europe and North Africa that were decimated during the Holocaust—villages, towns, and cities where Jewish culture and tradition once flourished.

With the agreement in place, Yad Vashem is poised to embark on a transformative journey, revitalizing the Valley of the Communities into a pioneering project aimed at resurrecting these communities and their narratives in vivid detail. The new immersive experience will animate the towering stone walls of the Valley using state-of-the-art technology, combining into a spectacular sound and light experience. This family-oriented experience aims to inspire visitors of all ages, ensuring that the memories of these communities, families, and individuals are vividly preserved. This new installation is slated to open to the public in Summer 2024.

Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan expressed his gratitude, stating:

"It is only by telling the story of the vibrant Jewish life that existed before the Holocaust that we can fully understand the enormity and magnitude of that which was tragically lost during the devastation of the Shoah. Yad Vashem thanks President Ursula von der Leyen and Commissioner Várhelyi for their dedication and commitment to remembrance and for their support for this unique project. This initiative will not only honor the six million Jewish men, women and children who were murdered by the German Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust, but also educate future generations about the rich Jewish heritage that was nearly obliterated."

Commissioner Várhelyi also shared his reflections on the partnership, emphasizing the importance of remembrance and education in fostering further inclusivity and social awareness. Dayan and Varhelyi signed a joint declaration that stated,

"Today, we reiterate the importance of our common objective of continuing Holocaust remembrance and fighting antisemitism worldwide by co-funding this new Yad Vashem project in the Valley of the Communities."

During his visit, Commissioner Várhelyi also viewed Yad Vashem's Book of Names, a solemn and poignant memorial that the 4,800,000 names of Holocaust victims that Yad Vashem painstakingly gathered and rescued from the abyss that was the Holocaust. In addition, he participated in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance and signed the Yad Vashem Guestbook.