Yad Vashem, our constant reminder
From year to year, the hard to describe events of the Holocaust are distancing from the present. The people who survived the Concentration Camps, the Crematoria and the unimaginable atrocities, are in the process of leaving this world to take their place next to the Almighty’s heavens.
As for the people on earth, many do not know about history that took place only 70 years ago, many do not wish to know and many try to deny that the Holocaust did happen.
The Yad Vashem, a sacred Institute built on one of Jerusalem majestic hills, was established in 1953 for three main missions and reasons:
To remember and commemorate the Six Million Jewish Holocaust victims;
To document and tell the story of the Shoah and Heroism of every person who perished as well as its events, and to constantly remind the new generations so that such atrocity will never happened again using the saying Never Again; AND to educate and help prevent anti-Semitism, the main cause for the Holocaust to have happened. To ensure the lessons of the Holocaust are secured for posterity.
I will add to it, Yad Vashem is an eternal memorial to the Six Million Jews, among them one and a half million children, who were brutally murdered and exceptionally disrespected for one and one reason only, for being Jews.
Since its inception, Yad Vashem has put on record over four million victims evidencing that every tattooed Nazi number had a name, had a family had a legacy. The collection of each and every relevant item and source of information can enlighten us about the six million murdered Jews and the millions more persecuted and victimized during the Holocaust. Where the Nazis sought to obliterate every aspect of their very existence, Yad Vashem restores the individuals’ identity and memory, to be remembered in perpetuity.
This past week, at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, the American Society for Yad Vashem & Jewish Life Foundation held the Salute to Hollywood Gala, titled Unite for Remembrance.
Jewish Life Foundation funds the creation of the Jewish-themed cultural and educational programs that are broadcast on JLTV. The mission is to promote education and understanding among cultures worldwide by utilizing all facets of the media to provide community outreach programs, educational programs and cultural events that embrace, celebrate and share Jewish values and traditions, among them the broadcast of the Maccabiah Games, the third largest sporting event in the world, after the Olympics and the World Cup, that takes place in Israel every four years.
The list of awards was bountiful:
Leadership Award Recipient: Philanthropist Stanley Black.
Legacy Award Recipient: Philanthropist Mary Eisenhower, the granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Courage Award Recipient: Philanthropists Barbi & Larry Weinberg.
Honoree: Actors Jon Voight and Martin Landau.
Guest in Attendance: Producer Avi Lerner of Nu Image.
Honoree: Musician Tal Ramon the son of Astronaut Ilan Ramon, first Israeli astronaut for NASA who lost his life in the fatal mission of Columbia.
The Key Note Speaker: Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Former Chief Rabbi of Israel.
Worthwhile mentioning to the reader the upcoming movie Remember, staring Christopher Plummer. The plot centers on Plummer’s Zev, who is sent on a mission to avenge a horror from the darkest chapter of modern history after it is discovered that the Nazi guard who murdered his family some 70 years ago is now living in America under an assumed identity. Martin Landau, Henry Czerny and Dean Norris co-star.
That was an evening to remind everyone that the Jewish people is a small family and the duty of every Jew is to help another Jew in need.
The Holocaust Survivors were liberated and thus became free people. Free to go where they wanted and do as they wished. Some succeeded, some never recovered.
As it happened, I was seated at a table of Holocaust survivors, one of them, the author Jan Berlfein Burns who wrote the book March of the Living – Our Story.
That was an evening to remind us that yes, the Holocaust survivors were liberated and many of them made their way to Israel after their liberation and succeeded in making a new life for themselves and build a Jewish homeland for the generations to come. By all means, Israel is a free country but it is not liberated from constant enemy aggressive attacks and wars. It is not liberated from ongoing efforts to de-legitimize her and nowadays anti-Semitism has reared its ugly head, applied collectively against Israel.
The past cannot be changed but the future can be shaped. Yad Vashem and Jewish Life Foundation help to safeguard and shape Jewish life and its future.