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 warning against anti-Semitism, 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.
Yad Vashem is interested in receiving photographs of Holocaust survivors together with one or more family members. The photographs are needed for the permanent exhibition opening in the Jewish Block at the Auschwitz Memorial, for the section depicting the survivors’ return to life.
Contact http://www.yadvashem.org/for more details
Yad Vashem -UK Foundation launched their book sponsoring project at the LJCC on Tuesday 23 April. More than 80 people heard Yad Vashem Publications editor-in-chief, Dr Iael Nadim-Orvieto discuss the importance of the project and the special interest these two very different new books have created.
Das Ende, is a powerful photographic document that illustrates the end of two Jewish communities,Radom and Szydlowiec, and reflects the fate of many other Jewish towns and villages inPoland. The photos were probably taken by a German soldier stationed there, but many years of research have failed to identify the photographer. What is clear from the photos is that unlike many photos taken of Jews by the Nazis during the Holocaust, the attitude of the photographer seems to become more sympathetic to the plight of the Jews as time wears on.
Postcards to a Little Boy, is an extremely moving personal book showing a collection of postcards written to the young Henry Foner, whose original name was Heinz Lichtwitz, by his father in the few months after he had sent him, alone, on the Kindertransport to the UK. The final postcard was dated August 1939. In an emotional talk, Henry Foner recounted how he had been lucky enough to be taken in by a warm Jewish family in Wales and how his adoptive mother kept all the colourful postcards his father had written to him, and together with other letters and birthday cards from that time put them in an album.
The books were sponsored by the Rogoff family, in memory of loved ones who perished in the Holocaust, and Zea Lewis, along with the Lewis, Press and Feinstein families in memory of Stanley Lewis.
To order a copy of the books or to sponsor a new book to be published by Yad Vashem Publications,contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
From the Desk of Avner Shalev – Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
March 22, 2013
This morning, I was honored to host President Barack Obama at Yad Vashem. This was the second time I was privileged to guide him through the Mount of Remembrance. It was a most memorable experience, highlighting the President’s knowledge of Holocaust history, his deep commitment to Holocaust remembrance and his strong appreciation of Yad Vashem’s unique universal status and role.
Since the President’s schedule permitted no more than one hour with us, I decided to focus this time on places and subjects that would emphasize the imperative of recalling the personal stories of individual Jews, murdered in the Shoah. I took Mr. Obama – accompanied by President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Yad Vashem Council Chairman Rabbi Lau – to the Hall of Names, the Museum of Holocaust Art and to the Children’s Memorial. Obama also participated in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance.
At the Hall of Names, I recounted the tragic story of Israel Eljasz Maroko, the Chief Cantor of the Main Synagogue in Amsterdam. In 1943, Maroko was deported from the Westerbork transit camp to the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland where he was immediately murdered. The Cantor and his wife Rajsel had four children: Of this entire family, only one son Simon, survived. In 1956, Simon submitted a Page of Testimony to Yad Vashem, in memory of his family.
I returned to Cantor Maroko’s personal story after we emerged from the Children’s Memorial. There I presented President Obama with a token of remembrance containing a replica of the liturgical tune composed by Maroko in 1941, in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, to accompany the Passover Seder hymn Had Gadya (One Little Goat). Of Maroko’s numerous cantorial compositions, only this one survived the Holocaust.
This poignant artifact was recently donated to Yad Vashem by Maroko’s daughter-in-law, Ruth, of Sylvan Lake, Michigan, in response to our “Gathering the Fragments” campaign. I explained to the President that for me these musical notes embody the irretrievably lost potential and creativity of each man, woman and child murdered in the Shoah. Our ability at Yad Vashem to restore Israel Maroko’s name, to see photos of him, and to listen to recordings of him singing his, and our, Jewish heritage, helps us keep his legacy alive.
Visibly moved throughout his visit to Yad Vashem, President Obama told me that his sister, Maya, an accomplished educator and teacher trainer, is enriched in her work by materials created and disseminated by Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies.
Just before he departed Yad Vashem, the President spoke to us:
Nothing equals the wrenching power of this sacred place, where the totality of the Shoah is told. Here we see their faces and we hear their voices. We look upon the objects of their lives, the art that they created, the prayer books that they carried. Here we hope, because after we walk through these halls, after you pass through the darkness there is light. The glorious view of the Jerusalem forest, with the sun shining over the historic homeland of the Jewish people, a fulfillment of the prophecy: You shall live again, upon your own soil.
Chairman, Yad Vashem Directorate
21 teachers and educators, from Jewish schools and organisations, sponsored by Yad Vashem – UK Foundation, flew out to Jerusalem for a week long intensive learning programme with top educators at Yad Vashem.
For a report on this year’s seminar:
If you would like more information contact email@example.com
Yad Vashem – UK Foundation was delighted to welcome Professor Yehuda Bauer, Professor Emeritus of History and Holocaust Studies at the Avraham Hartman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Academic Advisor to Yad Vashem. On his brief visit to London to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day he spoke to a packed audience of over 180 people at LJCC, on the subject of “Why did World War II break out?”
According to Professor Yehuda Bauer, an ideologically motivated genocide took place within the context of an ideologically motivated world war. From his analysis of several key documents he draws the conclusion that World War II was motivated by antisemitism more than the quest for land, or social and economic factors. A key document he discussed is a document, dated August, 1936 in which Hitler explains to Hermann Göring why he has to prepareGermanyfor war within four years. The importance of that memorandum lies in the fact that it was not intended for propaganda, but was a private message from the dictator to his second-in-command. In it, Hitler says that there is an acute danger of the world being conquered by Bolshevism and international Jewry. “A victory of Bolshevism [which Hitler equated with international Jewry] would not lead to a Versailles Treaty, but to the final destruction, even the extermination of the German people.” Hence the necessity for a war. As Professor Bauer concluded “It is estimated that 35 million people died in World War II, inEuropealone. Of these, close to 6 million were Jews, but some 29 million were non-Jews. They died, in part at least, because of antisemitism.
A lively question and answer session followed, chaired by LJCC’s Executive Director of Education and Holocaust Studies Trudy Gold. Yad Vashem – UK Foundation’s Chairman, Simon Bentley presented Professor Bauer with an inscribed award expressing thanks from Yad Vashem – UK Foundation.
In addition Professor Bauer addressed 60 people at a lunch at the offices of BDO on the topic of “Rescue and Resistance”, where he was thanked by a former student of his, senior partner Michael Goldstein. He also spoke to a rapt audience at the Hasmonean High School for girls on the subject of “Hidden Children during the Holocaust”, as part of their preparation for a sixth form trip to Poland.
Photo: John Rifkin
Roy Hodgson, manager of the England Football team accepted the Yad Vashem – UK Foundation Award for Contribution to Racial Understanding on behalf of the team and the FA, on 5 November 2012 at the Royal Institution. In his introduction, Jonathan Metliss said that the evening, sponsored by Investec, was the first award in what is hoped will become a regular award for organisations whose actions demonstrate their commitment to racial understanding and fighting prejudice. Through the visit toAuschwitz of several members of the England Football Team and their manager in June 2012, and the surrounding publicity, awareness of the Holocaust and the dangers of racial prejudice were raised to a higher profile. Ben Helfgott, Holocaust survivor, former Olympian weightlifter, and President of Yad Vashem –UK Foundation. presented the award. Simon Bentley, Chairman of Yad Vashem – UK Foundation said, “I hope that this sort of event will encourage racial understanding in all areas of society and help to raise awareness of the vital work that we do, especially in the area of training teachers to teach the Holocaust.”
(September 4, 2012 – Jerusalem) President of Israel Shimon Peres honored 50 years of activity of the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations. In a moving reception at the President’s Residence, Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev gave the President a special memento – a copy of the testimony that Peres’ father Yitzhak Perski presented to the Commission in 1965 regarding an English soldier named Charles Coward. Coward aided Perski when they were both being held in a German POW camp in Greece. Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Commission Chairman Supreme Court Justice (ret.) Jacob Turkel and committee members also participated in the special event.
President Peres remarked to the members of the Commission, “Your job is not only an historic duty, it is also an educational mission. The recognition of Righteous Among the Nations is important to those who lived then, but also to those who were born later. We all need to know and appreciate those extraordinary and brave individuals who risked their lives and showed that even during the darkest of days there were people with a shining inner spirit.”
Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations Chairman Jacob Turkel emphasized that “The job of the Commission members to decide who is eligible for the title of Righteous Among the Nations and who is not requires great powers of inner strength, intelligence and compassion. They undertake this holy work that has been placed upon their shoulders with devotion and love and out of a deep historic commitment.”
British soldier Charles Coward joined the British army in 1924, and served five years in India. During WWII, holding the rank of sergeant major, Coward fought on the French front; in 1940 he was wounded and captured at Dunkirk. He escaped from captivity several times, and was eventually incarcerated at the Monowitz camp near Auschwitz. During this period, Coward helped save a number of Jews. Known as the “Count of Auschwitz,” he had the idea of collecting precious chocolate and cigarettes from his fellow British prisoners, and exchanging them with Auschwitz guards for dead bodies. He substituted these bodies for Jewish inmates, who he helped to escape. On February 16, 1964, Yad Vashem recognized Charles Coward as Righteous Among the Nations.
The Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nation has been active for 50 years. The independent committee acts much as a jury and its final decisions are reached by a vote. The Commission is comprised of researchers, legal experts and historians, many of whom are Holocaust survivors, and all of whom are volunteers. To date, more than 24,300 individuals have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations.
Jewish Chronicle 21 June 2012 By Marcus Dysch
A Borehamwood batmitzvah girl and her family turned her simchah into a moving memorial to a 10-year-old Holocaust victim.
Yavneh College pupil Leah Stepsky had asked her teachers to replicate an Israeli scheme which links bar- and batmitzvah students with young Holocaust victims through birth dates.
When teachers contacted the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, they were told that no victim had a birthday matching Leah’s. Instead, staff suggested using her first name and her mother’s maiden name to pair her with Polish girl Leah Fishman, who was murdered in October 1942.
While browsing the museum’s archives, Leah’s mother, Avril, discovered a page of testimony from Leah Fishman’s brother, Eli, who moved to America after surviving Auschwitz.
“It said he lived in New Jersey,” Mrs Stepsky said. “So I searched online and found a shul in the town where he lives. I looked at their website and found he had been the rabbi there but had retired in 1997.
“I was completely focused on making contact with the family. Eventually I found a birth announcement for his granddaughter, who was named after Leah and another sister who was killed, Hannah.”
Through the synagogue, Mrs Stepsky was put in touch with the rabbi’s wife, Eileen, who explained how he had been separated from his sisters, brother and parents after they were deported to Nazi camps.
After the war, he worked as an assistant to the Chief Rabbi of the American zone in West Germany before moving to the US in the 1950s.
At her barmitzvah this month, Leah Stepsky used her dvar Torah to tell the story of Leah Fishman’s life before lighting a candle in her memory. Other members of the Stepsky family lit candles in honour of Fishman family members.
In a message read out at the service, Rabbi Fishman said: “We feel a bottomless depth of emotion upon hearing, for the first time, their names and their lives memorialised in such a fashion.
“It somehow alleviates the sense of total loss to know that they are remembered and honoured for their lives.”
“Our children, who feel the depth of the loss of an entire family they could never know, were very moved and appreciative. In a very strange way, it gives some solace.”Eileen Fishman said the episode had brought back painful memories for her husband, but “after thinking it through, we began to realise that Leah’s batmitzvah and the memorialisation of our Leah and other members of the family is a way of celebrating our Leah’s life, rather than only mourning her untimely death.
Leah Stepsky said she felt “really lucky to have been batmitzvah on behalf of Leah Fishman. It’s really sad to hear about what happened to her and her family and their feelings about it. I hope that as I grow up, I can keep her name and her family’s name in the minds of generations to come.”
Yad Vashem to Honor Righteous Among the Nations from Poland
A memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance will be held at 11:00 a.m. followed by the awarding of the medal and certificate. The events will take place in Hebrew and Polish. The event is open to the press, in coordination with the Media Relations dept. 02 644 3410.
The Rescue Story
Until the German occupation in 1941, Zalman and Chaya-Esther Friedman lived in Kaunas, Lithuania with their two young children, 11-year-old Avraham and three-year-old Rachel. In the fall of 1941, Zalman was murdered by antisemitic Lithuanian nationalists; Chaya-Esther managed to escape from the ghetto with her two children. While fleeing the ghetto, Chaya-Esther was somehow separated from the two children, and later on Rachel became separated from her brother Avraham and the little girl was left on her own.
Antoni Kruminis-Łozowski, a Lithuanian of Polish origin and his wife Maria lived with their four grown children, Jozef, Kezimierz, Helena and Aleksander in Jaszuny, a town some 30 kilometers from Vilnius. They lived near the town’s train station where Antoni worked as a manager. During the summer of 1942, The Kruminis-Łozowski family found a little girl, four year old Rachel, wandering aoundin Jaszuny. Antoni and Maria took Rachel into their home, although there was no doubt that she was Jewish. Antoni, Maria and their children treated Rachel as one of the family, taking care of all her needs. Although the family baptized Rachel, giving her the Polish name, “Anna,” the little girl was neither allowed to leave the house alone, nor play with other children. Rachel remained with the Kruminis-Lozowskis during the entire German occupation of Lithuania.
After liberation in July 1944, Antoni and Maria discovered that Rachel’s mother Chaya-Esther hadn’t survived. Although Rachel’s brother Avraham survived by hiding in various places, and was living in Vilnius, he was only 14-years-old and unable to care for his little sister on his own. Rachel remained with her rescuers until 1950, when Ilya and Hinda Shapira, relatives of Chaya-Esther’s, sought Rachel out and adopted her. Rachel remained in contact with Antoni and Maria until she made Aliyah in 1972.
On March 7, 2005 the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem decided to award Antoni and Maria Kruminis-Łozowski the title of Righteous Among the Nations. Although the couple was recognised in 2005, Yad Vashem was unable to locate any family members to receive the award on behalf of Antoni and Maria until recently. On a trip to research her family roots, Rachel, together with her daughters, went to visit the house in January. The Kruminis-Łozowski, Antoni and Maria’s grandson, who is now able to receive the honour on his grandparent’s behalf.
For more information about the Righteous Among the Nations visit:
Contact: Estee Yaari / Foreign Media Liaison / Yad Vashem / +972 2 644 3412/10
Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, was established in 1953. Located in Jerusalem, it is dedicated to Holocaust remembrance, documentation, research and education. www.yadvashem.org