The Yad Vashem Publications was formally established in the 1990s. It inherited a publication legacy dating back to the establishment of Yad Vashem. In 1953, the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) unanimously passed the Yad Vashem Law, establishing the Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority. This law states that the authority is established to commemorate the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their helpers; the Jewish communities and their institutions that had been liquidated and destroyed; the valor and heroism of the soldiers, the fighters of the underground, and the prisoners in the ghettos; the sons and daughters of the Jewish people who had struggled for their human dignity; and the "Righteous among the Nations" who had risked their lives in order to save Jews. Among the tasks that the law assigns to Yad Vashem are to establish memorial projects; to gather, research, and publish testimony of the Shoah and its heroism and to impart its lessons; to grant commemorative citizenship to the victims; and to represent Israel on international projects aiming at perpetuating the memory of the victims of the Shoah and of World War II.
Thus, since its inception, Yad Vashem has among its many tasks to inform and remember those who suffered. One of the ways in which it fulfills this directive is by publishing about the Shoah. Even before Yad Vashem had a permanent memorial site, it had embarked on several major projects: collecting Pages of Testimony to commemorate individuals killed in the Shoah; acquiring Shoah documentation and personal testimonies of survivors for the Archives and Library; and developing research and publications.
By the time, Yad Vashem moved to the Mount of Remembrance (Har HaZikaron) in 1957, it had already collected several hundred thousand names of victims, was planning its first historical exhibition, and had its first scientific publication, Yad Vashem Studies, Volume I, edited by the authority’s first chairman, Prof. Ben-Zion Dinur. In April of that year, another publication appeared from the authority, the Yad Vashem Bulletin, which in addition to relating information about victims, survivors, and rescuers, it also mentioned forthcoming Yad Vashem publications and documents such as the Shavli Ghetto Diary by Dr. A. Yerusalmi, and also listed publications received by the Yad Vashem library. The authority began disseminating research on the Shoah, documentation, conference anthologies, and scores of diaries and memoirs.
After the Eichmann trial in the 1960s, Yad Vashem conferences and its publications began to address a wider range of Shoah-related subjects than what had been published previously. In order to reach a general public that was requesting more information about the Shoah, Yad Vashem initiated specific research publications, which include: The Comprehensive History of the Holocaust, a multivolume series that summarizes the present state of Shoah research on each European country and expounds upon major topics such as the development and implementation of the Final Solution, and the multivolume Encyclopedia of the Jewish Communities, which provides information about the history of the Jewish communities from their foundation to the Shoah’s aftermath.
Yad Vashem Publications is part of the International Institute for Holocaust Research and publishes books in a variety of genres in many languages. Its publications seek to promote the study of the Shoah and to perpetuate its memory.
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