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October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Yad Vashem’

Personal Holocaust, Central Data Base

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

As the population of Holocaust survivors ages, Yad Vashem is turning more of its energies into identifying and memorializing individual victims and archiving stories which show the human side of the Holocaust era. As author Judith Miller has said, we must remind ourselves that the Holocaust was not six million. It was one plus one plus one. Today Yad Vashem is reinventing itself to perpetuate the memory of the Holocaust victims without the first-person presence of the survivors.

In 2000 Yad Vashem opened the Central Database of Shoah Victims Names. There were two goals of this database. Yad Vashem wanted to take the opportunity, while survivors and their children are still alive, to collect as many names of Holocaust victims as possible. In addition to memorializing these people by name the Shoah Victims Names project would enable survivors and their families to view other testimonies and, perhaps, identify family members who had either died at the hands of the Nazis or survived. To date a number of family reunifications have take place due to the database and the attention of the staff members who carefully review all inquiries.

Individuals are invited to submit a page of testimony, based either on their own first-person knowledge or information that was passed on to them by a family member. Pages of Testimony aim to identify people, by name, who were killed during the Holocaust. To review the pages of testimony (for free) a user logs into the database and enters whatever information he knows about the people for whom he’s searching. The database is searchable in different languages and with varying spellings and pronunciations to help zero in on names of people and places.

Yad Vashem has been putting more focus on developing relationships with the Haredi community. The new Yad Vashem museum, opened in 2005, differs from the old museum by including personal testimonies that focus on the experiences of a diverse group of people, many of whom express the fact that they were able to survive the Holocaust — physically, spiritually or both — because of their adherence to religious observance. Whereas in the old museum, the focus was on the scale of the Holocaust, the new museum includes 90 personal stories including stories that detail the challenge of religious observance during the Holocaust. In the words of Mooli Brog, chief knowledge officer at Birthright Israel, “The collectiveness and concentration on symbols in the old exhibition has been exchanged for more individual and personal narratives.”

In addition to the exhibit Yad Vashem now offers special courses for Haredi educators on teaching the Holocaust in their classrooms and gender-separate classes.

At one time Yad Vashem’s Righteous Among the Nations section was mainly concerned with identifying and honoring individuals who had helped Jews survive during the years of WWII. The Righteous Among the Nations distinction was established by Yad Vashem in 1963 as a mechanism by which the State of Israel would recognize individuals who had risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. These included people such as Irena Sendler who sheltered Jews who were hiding from the nazis , provided false papers and false identities, helped Jews to escape and helped Jewish children.

Yad Vashem believes that most of the Righteous Gentiles have been identified and honored, but many of the stories have yet to be properly documented. As part of their personal testimonies project Yad VaShem is putting more effort into recording the stories of the Righteous Among the Nations and publicizing them.

Yad Vashem continues to publish its peer-reviewed semi-annual journal, Yad Vashem Studies, which features thought-provoking articles about the Shoah by leading thinkers and researchers from around the world. The journal aims to engage scholars and encourage multi-disciplinary discussion about a wide range of topics on all aspects of the Shoah with articles, documentary compendia, research reviews and new encyclopedias.

Pope Francis to Visit in Israel in May

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Pope Francis will make his first official visit to Israel for only 48 hours in late May, Israel media reported Thursday.

The trip is scheduled for May 25-26 and the pope reportedly will conduct mass only in Bethlehem, in the Palestinian Authority, and not in Jerusalem. He probably will probably visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust

The Vatican did not confirm or deny the report, and is spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told the French news agency AFP, “It is in the first instance up to the pope himself to decide upon and to announce such a visit.” He admitted that official have made a preparatory visit to Israel last week.

Relatives of Egyptian Righteous Gentile Refusing Yad Vashem Award

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

The relative of the first Arab to have been recognized as a Righteous Gentile says that his family is not interested in receiving the award in his name posthumously, blaming the murky relationship between Egypt and Israel.

The Egyptian doctor Mohamed Helmy was honored posthumously last month by Israel’s Holocaust Memorial for hiding Jews in Berlin during the Nazis’ genocide. In cases like these, when the recipient is already departed, the museum attempts to locate their living relatives, so they can be honored in a special ceremony. But a family member tracked down by The Associated Press last week in Cairo said her relatives wouldn’t accept the award, one of Israel’s most prestigious.

“If any other country offered to honor Helmy, we would have been happy with it,” Mervat Hassan, the wife of Helmy’s great-nephew, 66, dressed in a veil, told The Associated.

Or, in other words, why didn’t uncle know better than to go crazy and save those Jews?

I know it must be very scary for the poor woman to realize that she and her family could be penalized by their neighbors, if not by someone in authority, for the bravery of their uncle. So I don’t blame her, but, still, this looks and sounds so pathetic. One wonders what would be the chances of a Jew in today’s Cairo to find shelter with the local gentiles.

A German historian has assisted the Associated Press in obtaining Helmy’s wife’s death certificate—she passed away in Cairo, in 1998. The documentation has revealed that three of the Helmys’ relatives are living in Cairo.

Mervat Hassan said the family didn’t want an award from Israel, but she quickly added: “I respect Judaism as a religion and I respect Jews. Islam recognizes Judaism as a heavenly religion.”

It’s down here, on the planet, that they seem to have most of the trouble with us, most notably our embarrassing tendency not to agree to get killed by the trainloads, a fine Jewish tradition that we no longer practice.

“Helmy was not picking a certain nationality, race or religion to help,” Hassan insisted. “He treated patients regardless of who they were.”

Possibly, except for the facts as they were recorded by those pesky, grateful Jews at Yad Vashem:

When the Nazis began deporting Jews, Dr. Helmy hid 21-year-old Anna Boros, a family friend, at a cabin on the outskirts of the city, and provided her relatives with medical care. After Boros’ relatives admitted to Nazi interrogators that he was hiding her, he arranged for her to hide at an acquaintance’s house before authorities could inspect the cabin. The four family members survived the war and immigrated to the U.S.

He not only saved four Jewish lives, but very much risked his own.

Yad Vashem has the names of other relatives of Helmy that appeared in his will as his heirs, and forwarded this information to the Egyptian ambassador in Israel. Hopefully, when the authorities in Egypt will find them they won’t punish them for the “sins” of their brave uncle.

Holocaust Researcher Yisrael Gutman Dies at 90 in Jerusalem

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Warsaw Ghetto survivor and researcher Israel Gutman has died in Jerusalem at the age of 90. He was born in Warsaw, where he was wounded in the Jewish uprising against the Nazis in 1943. He is survived by two daughters and three grandchildren.

Gutman survived three concentration and death camps, including Auschwitz, but his parents and all of his brothers and sisters died or were killed in the Ghetto. He survived the January 1945 death march from Auschwitz to Mauthausen, where he was liberated by U.S. forces.

Gutman moved to Israel after the war and spent the rest of his life researching the Holocaust. He was the chief historian at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and was a professor of history at Hebrew University.

A few Questions to Lover of Pope Pius XII

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Thanks to Twitter, I am in correspondence with an Italian historian who is trying mightily to convince me that Pius 12 was an all around good guy and lover of the Jewish people. By way of evidence he has supplied the fact that a few famous Jews, who were not historians, said some nice words about the Pope back in the 50s and a report compiled by some Yad Vashem historians that I have not read because it costs $50.

Meanwhile, I keep asking the following questions. Should he answer them (holding breath) I will report back.

#1: Why did the Pope excommunicate every single Communist in the world, but never excommunicate a single Nazi?

#2 Why did he cancel and suppress his predecessors’ anti Nazi encyclical? 

#3 Why did he protest the Nazi euthanasia program but not Final Solution? (The Nazis backed down)

#4 Why did he protest Nazi round ups of converted Jews, but not round ups of non converted Jews?

#5 Why did he protest invasion of Scandinavia (full page headline on the front page of the Vatican newspaper!) but not the Final Solution?

#6 Why didn’t he protest or quit  when Civiltà Cattolica ran a series of editorials accusing Jews of ritual murder, notably in 1915 following the Bellis case? His direct superior, the monster Cardinal Rafael Merry Del Val personally approved those editorials. Why didn’t he complain?

#7: Why did he permit the German Churches to hold a Requiem Mass upon Hitler’s death? Meanwhile, three there was no papal prayer or Mass celebrated in solidarity with the Jews.

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Yad Vashem Cites Egyptian Doctor as Righteous Among the Nations

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Yad Vashem recently recognized Dr. Mohamed Helmy and Frieda Szturmann as Righteous Among the Nations, an honorary title bestowed by Yad Vashem on behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish people to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Dr. Helmy, an Egyptian physician living in Berlin and Szturmann, a local German woman, worked together in the heart of Nazi Germany to help save a Jewish family during the height of the Holocaust.

Dr. Helmy is the first Egyptian to be recognized as Righteous Among the Nations. Yad Vashem is currently searching for the rescuers’ next of kin to posthumously honor their relatives in a ceremony and present them with the certificate and medal of the Righteous.

Dr. Mohamed Helmy was born in Khartoum in 1901 to Egyptian parents. In 1922, Helmy went to Germany to study medicine and settled in Berlin., where, he went to work at the Robert Koch Institute.

According to Nazi racial theory, Dr. Helmy was not being of the Aryan race and was discriminated against.

Despite being targeted by the regime, Helmy spoke out against Nazi policies, and notwithstanding the great danger, risked his life by helping his Jewish friends.

Yad Vashem Ranked a Top Museum by Travel Website

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum, was ranked fourth in the top 25 museums in the world by the travel website TripAdvisor.

Yad Vashem also was awarded the websites 2013 Certificate of Excellence award, given to sites that consistently receive outstanding traveler reviews. Approximately one million people visit Yad Vashem annually.

TripAdvisor is a popular travel website driven by reviews and comments of tourists and travelers. To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, tourist sites must maintain an overall rating of four or higher out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor. Yad Vashem is currently listed as first among 146 recommended sites to visit in Jerusalem.

Visitors who commented on the site applauded the “moving and informative displays,” the “incredible use of architecture, audio visual, photos, and actual items to recreate a time in history that should never happen again” calling it an “emotional, educational and inspiring experience” an “unbelievably moving experience” that is a “must-see” for any traveler to Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/yad-vashem-ranked-a-top-museum-by-travel-website/2013/07/14/

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