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Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem

Prince of Asturias Award for Concord 2007

Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs´ and Heroes´ Remembrance Authority, better known as the Jerusalem Holocaust Museum, is an exhibition complex located in Har Hazikaron, a hilltop west of the city. Established in 1953 through a law passed by Israel´s Parliament, it aims to perpetuate the memory of the victims of the Shoah (Holocaust) in order to eliminate hate, racism and bigotry in generations to come. Yad Vashem was created to commemorate the six million Jews murdered between 1933 and 1945 by the Nazis and their collaborators.

Likewise, it remembers the heroism and the resistance of the Jewish partisans and the combatants of the ghetto uprisings, as well as the deeds of the Righteous Among the Nations. In 1963, Yad Vashem created this title, which is currently held by over 22,000 people from more than 30 countries, for non-Jews who risked their own lives to save Jews. 

After ten years of work, the new Yad Vashem facilities were inaugurated on 15th March, 2005 in the presence of over 40 Heads of State and ministers from around the world. The new complex, spanning over 4,000 square meters, was designed by Israeli architect Moshe Safdie and its area is four times the size of the previous museum. It includes several memorial monuments, a history museum, a central archive and a Holocaust documentation and research centre. The design of the halls remembers the difficult plight of Jews during the years they were being persecuted. The focal point of the complex is the history museum, where the history of the Holocaust and the people who suffered it is displayed through photographs, artifacts, documents and images. The archive contains 62 million documents in addition to 267,500 photographs and thousands of videos of survivors´ testimonies. Yad Vashem´s Library houses over 100.000 titles in several languages as well as thousands of newspapers and documents. Visits end at the Hall of Names, where the testimony and photographs of millions of the genocide victims are located. Another hall contains the Children´s Memorial sculptural group, a memorial to the million and a half minors who perished in the Holocaust.

With over two million visitors per year, additional important research and educational activities are conducted in Yad Vashem. The International Institute for Holocaust Research coordinates and supports national and international Holocaust research, organises conferences and colloquia, and publishes works, memoirs and diaries. Every year The International School for Holocaust Studies organises courses for teachers that are offered in seven languages in addition to Hebrew. Also, to commemorate the Holocaust Martyrs´ and Heroes´ Remembrance Day, every year an official ceremony is held on the anniversary of the start of the Warsaw ghetto uprising in 1943.

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