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 http://www.yadvashem.org To search the online database of names http://db.yadvashem.org/names/search.html?language=en To submit the name of a victim for our pages of testimony http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/downloads/pages_of_testimony.asp To download or submit survivor registration forms http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/downloads/survivors_registration_forms.asp.
Monday 13 February: John Bercow, the first sitting House of Commons Speaker to visit Israel and the Knesset, was welcomed to a plenary session of the Knesset by his Israeli counter-part, Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein. In Edelstein’s welcome greeting to Bercow and members of his delegation, he said: ”Your visit has a special and historic value. Britain and Israel share a significant joint history. Important events in the history of both countries and nations are intertwined. One of these events, which is a cornerstone of the establishment of a national home for the Jewish People in the Land of Israel, is the Balfour Declaration, the 100th anniversary of which we are currently marking.” On a visit to Yad Vashem the next day, he reiterated the UK government’s determination to combat antisemitism.
John Bercow, born to an English Jewish family from north London, is the first Jewish House of Commons Speaker in British history. He last visited Israel in 1975, for his Barmitzvah.
John Bercow at Yad Vashem’s Hall of Names
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”.
The Antiques Roadshow on BBC 1 aired a special episode to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Fiona Bruce and a team of experts had emotional meetings with a remarkable group of British Holocaust survivors. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08bbqqk
The Yad Vashem Leadership Mission 2016 offered participants a unique experience in Poland and in Israel. The Mission brought Jewish Poland to life, exploring various points of the Jewish experience from before, during, and after the Holocaust. Culminating in Israel, participants were welcomed by the President of Israel and had an opportunity to see Yad Vashem as never before, engaging with meaningful aspects of our far-reaching initiatives in Jerusalem and around the world.
Yad Vashem UK mourns the loss of a dear friend and colleague, Holocaust survivor Professor Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate, historian and Vice Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council
Holocaust teaching in the shadow of Holocaust distortion and trivialisation in the media was just one of the outstanding sessions at a week-long seminar held last week at Yad Vashem, for 21 educators from Jewish schools and organisations in the UK. Sponsored by Yad Vashem UK Foundation, the aim of the annual seminar is to help teachers and educators face the challenges of today when teaching the Holocaust. Other sessions included dealing with Holocaust denial and the “new” antisemitism, as well as tools to teach the Holocaust to different age groups. The group had the opportunity to question three survivors about their experiences, one of whom became a pilot in the fledgling Israeli Air Force, and then a professor of microbiology, and one who subsequently rose to become a high ranking officer in the IDF. For some this was the highlight of the seminar, although as one participant put it, “we were blown away by the passion and professionalism of the Yad Vashem lecturers and every session we attended will be of use to us both as educators and human beings.” For some of the participants it was a first visit to Israel as well as to Yad Vashem and despite a few misgivings about travelling to Jerusalem they were so impressed by the mix of history, culture and fun that some are already planning a return trip with their families. For information on next year’s seminar please contact email@example.com
The Holocaust and subsequent genocides took place because the local populations allowed insidious persecution to take root. Whilst some actively supported or facilitated state policies of persecution, the vast majority stood by silently – at best, afraid to speak out; at worst, indifferent. Bystanders enabled the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and subsequent genocides. Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel has written powerfully about the impact of bystanders: I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. http://hmd.org.uk/ At a ceremony held at Firhill School in Edinburgh on Holocaust Memorial Day, Holocaust survivor Ziggy Shipper gave a moving account of his experiences during the Holocaust. Yad Vashem – UK Foundation’s Evelynne Garbacz described the work of Yad Vashem in Israel and its work in the UK, especially mentioning the Guardian of the Memory Project.
Eva Schloss, step-sister of Anne Frank, who survived Auschwitz with her mother, spoke movingly to author Heather Dune Macadam of her experiences during the Holocaust and how she has been able to come to terms with the tragedy of losing her father and brother. She told how she was able to move on from the horror and sadness and lead a happy and fulfilled life, while never forgetting those who were murdered. She married, raised a lovely family and has devoted her life to speaking about her years during and after the Holocaust. Her message to the packed audience was in order to be happy one must put behind the most dreadful experiences and make the most of the present. Eva Schloss and Heather Dune Macadam
Yad Vashem UK Foundation together with the King’s College Jewish Society co-hosted a talk by survivor Eve Kugler to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Eve delivered a moving account of her and her siblings’ lives growing up in 1930s Germany and France, how she eventually found refuge in the US and how she was miraculously reunited with her parents after the war. Eve played the students a beautiful poem written about her experiences, and took questions. The evening was attended by a broad cross-section of students who were fascinated to hear first-hand from a survivor and many remained behind to chat with her after the talk.
It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of Professor David Cesarani, one of the UK’s leading scholars in Jewish history and the Holocaust, who died suddenly at the age of 58. He had recently joined Yad Vashem UK Foundation’s Advisory board, and his advice and contribution will be sorely missed. He was a founding trustee of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. He also served on David Cameron’s Holocaust Commission and was honoured by the Queen with an OBE in 2005 for services for Shoah education and for advising the government on the creation of Holocaust Memorial Day. David Cesarani dedicated his life ’s work to enhancing the understanding of humanity’s darkest hour Known as “a towering academic”, he wrote and edited over a dozen books including the definitive biography and history of Adolf Eichmann - After Eichmann: Collective Memory and the Holocaust since 1961, for which he won the National Jewish Book Award for History in 2006, The Final Solution: Origins and Implementation, Justice Delayed: How Britain became a refuge for Nazi war criminals, The Making of Modern Anglo-Jewry, and The ‘Jewish Chronicle’ and Anglo-Jewry 1841-1991.
A private viewing at Tate Britain of the work of Gustav Metzger, who came to the UK from Germany in 1939, after the events of Kristallnacht, with the Child Refugee Movement. He is famous for producing politically engaging works, and he developed the concept of Auto-Destructive Art and the Art Strike.
My Nazi Legacy at UK Jewish Film Festival
Internationally-renowned human rights barrister Philippe Sands QC goes on a road trip with two sons of SS officers, to find out if they can admit to their fathers’ crimes. When they arrive in the Ukrainian town where Sands’ own family were killed, the three men are forced to confront history in a unique way. An intellectually-charged and deeply moving exploration of history, confrontation and family. Philippe Sands, Niklas Frank and director David Evans will attend a Q&A after the screening on 19 November, which is co-sponsored by Yad Vashem – UK Foundation To book tickets, and for more information on the UKJFF SOLD OUT http://ukjewishfilm.org/event/my-nazi-legacy-2/
On her first ever visit to a concentration camp, the Queen and Prince Philip visited the camp where about 50,000 people lost their lives during and immediately after the Holocaust. She was accompanied on her visit by Chief Rabbi Mirvis, honorary patron of Yad Vashem – UK Foundation, and met survivors and British veterans who liberated the camp in 1945. The Queen and Prince Philip passed the mass graves where 20,000 people were buried by the British after liberation and Her Majesty laid a wreath at the camp memorial.