The Significance of  Yad Vashem

David Silberklang

Yad Vashem - The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, stands as a unifying symbol for Jews all over the world, and as a global warning against antisemitism, prejudice and genocide. It represents the memory, voice and conscience of the Jewish people – strengthening their commitment to the State of Israel, Jewish continuity and the protection of basic human rights and values worldwide. The strength and significance of Yad Vashem is that it transcends national boundaries, receiving worldwide respect and support.

For more information about Yad Vashem

To search the online database of names To submit the name of a victim for our pages of testimony

To download or submit survivor registration forms To read highlights of Yad Vashem’s activities in 2016 yad-vashem-yad-vashem-annual-report-2016 (1)

Yom Hashoah 2020

Due to coronavirus this year’s Yom Hashoah was unlike any other year. The usually packed event at Yad Vashem was held with no audience,  against the backdrop of the Wall of Remembrance in the Warsaw Ghetto Square and proved as moving as any other year, the emptiness adding to the emotion of the 75th anniversary of Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

For more information and to watch the ceremony

Yad Vashem UK Sponsored Seminar for Teachers 2020

How do we teach the Holocaust? This was the question grappled with by  21 educators and teachers, from JFS, Hasmonean High school,  JCoss,  King David High, Manchester, The Jewish Museum, The Fed, Manchester who spent a week in February at Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies.  “This was the experience of a lifetime, and I am coming back to the UK with a strong commitment to teach my students about the Holocaust. For the first time I feel confident about tackling this as I have been given the tools to teach this very difficult subject.” For another teacher the ethical dilemmas with which people struggled during the Holocaust is something he plans to use in class, and there are lessons we can learn from these dilemmas that are relevant to today’s students. Even teachers with years of Holocaust education felt they gained a huge amount from the diverse approaches of the different sessions, and the outstanding quality of the lecturers, including Professor Yehuda Bauer. Discussions among the group were meaningful, lively, thought-provoking and gave everyone plenty of different ideas to consider. As one teacher put it, “Bringing together 21 educators from diverse backgrounds and organisations, with hugely varying levels of experience and knowledge made for a challenging and stimulating week that I feel very privileged to have been part of. Not only have I have broadened my knowledge about what happened during the Holocaust, and the lessons we can learn for today’s students, but I have been given different and inspirational methods of teaching.”

To find out about the next UK sponsored teachers seminar and other seminars  at Yad Vashem  email:

Group Photo 2020 UK


A standing ovation for Luciana Berger MP at Yad Vashem UK Gala Dinner 

Lord Eric Pickles gave an introduction full of respect and admiration for his colleague, Luciana Berger MP, and praised her for her principled stand against the abuse and bullying she has suffered at the hands of certain elements of the Labour Party and its supporters.  Luciana, who has repeatedly been a target of antisemitic abuse on social media, has bravely and publicly spoken out in Westminster against these injustices and since the Dinner has left the Labour Party. She spoke about her dismay at the direction the Labour Party she once loved is taking and how it feels to be a target of antisemitism. After what she has experienced, and is still experiencing, she pledged to do whatever she can to support the work of Yad Vashem UK Foundation and Yad Vashem  to fight racism, to tackle myths, to promote the truth, to honour the survivors, and to remember the six million who perished.


L-r, Lord Eric Pickles, Luciana Berger MP, Israeli Ambassador to the UK,  Mark Regev, and Yad Vashem UK Chairman Simon Bentley at the Gala Dinner, 31 January 2019



Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl reacts to Labour MP’s leaving the Labour Party because of institutional antisemitism

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has reacted to the decision of a group of Labour MPs to quit the Party and set up an independent group.

Marie said: “A group of Labour MPs have announced their decision to leave the Labour Party and sit as an independent group in Parliament. In a searing indictment of the Labour leadership, both Luciana Berger MP, Mike Gapes MP and Joan Ryan MP accused the party of being institutionally antisemitic.

“In the light of the horrific abuse aimed at Jewish MPs, we stand in solidarity with all those who have been targeted. Labour has failed to deal with antisemitism since the Jewish community’s Enough is Enough demonstration called on the Labour leadership to act against this racism. This is a moment of great shame for the Labour Party, and a tragedy for the thousands of Jews who have supported the Party for generations.”

Board of Deputies hosts Yad Vashem exhibition which honours Muslims who saved Jews during the Holocaust

Besa albanian muslims

Photo: Albanian Jews with their rescuers

An exhibition which focuses on Albanian Muslims’ efforts to save Jews during the Holocaust was on display at the Board of Deputies meeting in February.

The Yad Vashem exhibition, entitled ‘Love Your Neighbour’, was shown in the presence of Albanian Ambassador Qirjako Qirko, giving Deputies from around the UK an opportunity to learn about the acts of bravery by Muslim Albanians during the Nazi Occupation. In his speech, Mr Qirko told the meeting: “The history of protection of the Jewish population in Albania is exceptional an excellent example of humanity and a lesson for the future generations.” He added: “Albanians chose not to stay indifferent during the unprecedented atrocities of the Holocaust. They chose the right side, the side of life.”

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: “This is an important exhibition which celebrates the heroism of Muslim Albanians who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. It is a little-known history, and one which we are happy to be able to share with our Deputies, who can take these stories back to their communities all around the country. These acts of heroism are a model for how Muslims and Jews ought to coexist today, challenging antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred together.”

Yad Vashem UK Foundation Chairman Simon Bentley said: “Yad Vashem, as the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre, is committed to honouring non-Jews who have risked their lives to save Jews during the Shoah. The BESA exhibition highlights these Righteous Among the Nations by focusing on the Albanian Muslims who saved hundreds of Jewish lives during the Holocaust.”


Prince William visits Yad Vashem

prince william 2 yad vashem

Prince William was visibly moved during his visit to YadVashem as part of his first visit to Israel in June. He was accompanied on a tour of the Yad Vashem Museum by Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

“It is almost impossible to comprehend this appalling event in history. Every name, photograph and memory recorded her is a tragic reminder of the unimaginable human cost of the Holocaust and the immense loss suffered by the Jewish people,” he wrote.
“The story of the Holocaust is one of darkness and despair, questioning humanity itself. But the actions of those few who took great risks to help others are a reminder of the human capacity for love and hope. I am honoured that my own great grandmother is one of these Righteous Among the Nations.”

“We must not forget the Holocaust – the murder of 6 million men, women and children, simply because they were Jewish,” William wrote. “We all have a responsibility to remember and teach future generations about the horror of the past so that they can never reoccur. May the millions of Jewish people remembered by Yad Vashem never be forgotten.”

William’s great-grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece, saved Jews in Greece during the Holocaust. She is buried in Jerusalem, and William visited her grave on the Mount of Olives.

Gena Turgel MBE 1923-2018

Known as the ‘Bride of Belsen’, Gena survived the Krakow ghetto, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen, and went on to marry her British liberator Norman Turgel. Gena’s strength, determination and resilience were unwavering as she dedicated her life to sharing her testimony with hundreds of thousands of students in schools across the country over many years. The sad news of Gena’s passing was reported nationally, and globally, and tributes were made from politicians and religious leaders including Home Secretary, Sajid Javid MP, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Rabbi Lord Sacks and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis to the woman we knew simply as Gena.  

Thursday 7 June, Sir Ben Helfgott and International Sculptor, Frances Segelman

At a unique Yad Vashem UK event in Central London, watched by about 100 people, international celebrity sculptor Frances Segelman sculpted  Yad Vashem UK’s newly-knighted President, Sir Ben Helfgott MBE in honour of his tireless dedication to Holocaust education. In his recently published book, part of which was read by his son, he describes his moving story, including his experiences in several camps, how he survived and came to London as part of the group known as “The Boys”, how he subsequently became an Olympic weightlifter, and how he brought up his family and recreated a life for himself. He said: “It is an honour to have a sculpture made of me… I hope it will be made use of to tell my story and as a memorial to those that were murdered in the Holocaust.” Frances segelman event r-l, Sir Ben Helfgott, Simon Bentley, Chairman Yad Vashem UK and France Segelman with the sculpture she produced on the evening

Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 2018

70 Years of Remembering and Building: Holocaust Survivors and the State of Israel To listen to the ceremony Simon Bentley Chairman of Yad Vashem UK Foundation lays a wreath at Yad Vashem’s 2018 Yom Hashoah Ceremony simonbentleyYomHashoah2018

NEW SEMINAR  for Educators leading Trips to Poland 24-31 July 2018

The Jewish World Section of the International School for Holocaust Studies in Yad Vashem is pleased to introduce a new seminar for Educators in Jewish Informal Programs.  This new seminar is an eight day, creative program focusing on helping educators  develop the skills needed to create programs and content for Shoah studies that can be used in a variety of settings and to deliver those programs in the most compelling way possible.  There will be an emphasis on trips to Poland featuring special programming that has been developed for trips to Poland, and other Holocaust memorial sites. For more details contact:

10th International Conference on Holocaust Education 25-28 June 2018

The International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem is holding an international  conference in June for anyone involved in Holocaust education. It is suitable for graduates of Yad Vashem seminars and it is also open to anyone working in either Jewish or non-Jewish education.  Subsidies are available. For more information or to register: ttps://  

To find out about the next sponsored teachers seminar seminars  at Yad Vashem  email:


London Borough of Barnet Holocaust Memorial Day

On Sunday 28th January, Simon Bentley, Chair of Yad Vashem UK Foundation spoke at the London Borough of Barnet’s Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony at Middlesex University.  He spoke about the work of Yad Vashem in the light of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day  theme, ‘The Power of Words’.  Simon spoke alongside Tim Blackman, Vice Chancellor of Middlesex University and Richard Cornelius, Leader of Barnet Council.  The ceremony was conducted by Reverend Bernard Koschland and Rabbi Mark Goldsmith.

NEW: Yad Vashem Mobile Exhibitions

Yad Vashem UK is committed to promoting Holocaust education to schools and organisations  throughout the UK. Three new exhibitions are available to rent or buy.

No Child’s Play

This exhibition opens a window into the world of children during the Shoah. Unlike other Holocaust exhibitions, it does not focus on history, statistics or descriptions of physical violence. Instead, the toys, games, artwork, diaries, and poems displayed here highlight some of the personal stories of the children, providing a glimpse into their lives during the Holocaust. After a successful exhibition in Belfast, Yad Vashem’s temporary exhibition No Child’s Play has been reproduced as a mobile exhibition and is currently on display at Basildon Towngate Theatre as part of Holocaust Memorial Day events in Basildon. Photo below. During the exhibition, Holocaust survivor Leslie Kleinman held an audience of schoolchildren rapt while talking about his experience during the Holocaust. The exhibition has been displayed around the country, in St Helens, Bootle, Cheshire and Wigan. No Child's Play at Basildon The ‘No Child’s Play’ travelling exhibition was also exhibited at Brentwood Library and Brentwood Theatre in Brentwood, Essex.  It was accompanied by a talk by Herman Rothman, who escaped Nazi Germany in 1939. No Child's Play at Brentwood

BESA: A Code of Honour, Albanian Moslems who Saved Jews

This exhibition features photographs taken by the American photographer Norman Gershman and personal rescue stories of Muslim-Albanian families who saved Jews and were recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem. Yad Vashem UK Foundation Middlesex University joined together for Interfaith week to put on the moving Norman Gershmann exhibition A Code of Honour - the story of Albanian Muslims who saved Jews during the Holocaust. The launch on 13 November, at Middlesex University, was well-attended by members of  both the Jewish and Muslim communities, as well as the Albanian community. It was also on display at Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue for an interfaith evening with the local Moslem community, followed by a talk on “The importance of bringing an Interfaith dimension to Holocaust commemoration”. It has also been on display at  several libraries in Barnet, as well as Barnet and Hendon Town Halls as well as at The Forum, Southend-on-Sea.  On Holocaust Memorial Day it was moved to the Council Chamber at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council for the official commemorative ceremony. Love thy neighbour - Simon Bentley, Chair of Yad Vahsem UK with Mehmet, from the UK Albanian Community Simon Bentley, (left) Chair of Yad Vashem UK Foundation with Imam Mehmed Stublla of the British Albanian community photo: Anthony Deacon British Albanians with Stephen Derby, Golders Green Jewish Community Stephen Derby, of the Hendon interfaith group,  left, with members of the British Albanian community photo: Anthony Deacon BESA barnet town hallBESA exhibition at Barnet Town Hall

The Holocaust and Jewish Identity

In December this new Yad Vashem Learning Resource, consisting of ten roll-up screens, funded and designed specially for the UK, was displayed at Hendon Synagogue, Raleigh Close, as part of their Winter Learning sessions, with a video link-up with an educator from Yad Vashem. Yad Vashem mobile learning Jewish Identity3 Two of the  screens from the Holocaust and Jewish Identity mobile learning resource produced by Yad Vashem UK. If you would like to find out more about renting or buying these exhibitions, all available in a lightweight roll-up format, please contact:

Yad Vashem UK Business Breakfast 8 November 2017

Sir Eric Pickles, British Government Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues spoke to an audience of over 100 people at a venue in central London about the commitment of the UK government to Holocaust remembrance and education and the need to combat Holocaust denial and distortion. Yad Vashem Breakfast 13351 Photo John Rifkin r-l, Simon Bentley, Chair of Yad Vashem UK Foundation, Sir Eric Pickles and Ben Helgfott, Honorary President of Yad Vashem UK Foundation Photo: John Rifkin

Maccabiah UK Masters football team visit Yad Vashem, July 2017



Simon Bentley, Chairman of Yad Vashem UK Foundation with the Maccabiah Games 2017 UK Masters football team at Yad Vashem

Pianist of Willesden Lane  – Gala Dinner 2 February 2017

Mona Golabek, the Los Angeles-based pianist, told her mother’s story through music at a fundraising dinner organised by Yad Vashem UK Foundation. She had been taught the piano by her Austrian mother, Lisa Jura, who fled the Nazis on the Kindertransport to London at the age of 14 in 1938. Her mother’s parents were killed in Auschwitz. She recalled her mother saying “that each piece of music tells a story. She also told me about her youth in Vienna, taking a train ride, fleeing from the Nazis, making her way to a street called Willesden Lane where she grew up with other refugee children. So it became my destiny to tell the story.” The pianist performed a sell-out one-woman show based on her mother’s life, The Pianist of Willesden Lane, at the St James Theatre in London last year. Her book, The Children of Willesden Lane, is set to be developed into a feature film by the BBC. Looking to the future, Ruth Bergman, director of Hewlett Packard Labs in Israel, explained how digital techniques were revolutionising the way Holocaust memories can be preserved. Simon Bentley, chairman of Yad Vashem UK Foundation, stressed the importance of “Holocaust education in the UK to help expose and confront the current extremism and antisemitism based on anti-Zionism, both from the right and the left, by guarding the memory of both victims and survivors”. monayadvashem