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Yad Vashem, a Memorial Shrine for the Names

The Last Survivors cover.
The Last Survivors cover. Photo: Nurit Greenger

In Judaism “yad” is a hand-held pointer used for reading the sefer torah – the bible. It is a tapered, usually ornamented rod, usually of silver, with the tip of the tapered part forming a fist with the index finger extended, used by the reader of a scroll of the Torah as a place marker.

The name “Yad Vashem” is taken from a verse in the Book of Isaiah (56:5): “Even unto them will I give in my house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.” Naming the Holocaust memorial “Yad Vashem” conveys the premise of establishing a national depository for the names of Jewish victims who have no one to carry their name after their death. Yad Vashem is the memorial shrine administered by this authority.

Yad Vashem, established in 1953, eight years after WWII ended, is located on the western slope of Mount Herzl, 804 meters (2,638 ft) above sea level. The complex containing the Holocaust History Museum, memorial sites, such as the Children’s Memorial and the Hall of Remembrance, The Museum of Holocaust Art, sculptures, outdoor commemorative sites such as the Valley of the Communities, a synagogue, a research institute with archives, a library, a publishing house, and an educational center named The International School/Institute for Holocaust Studies.

Not even a century passed since WWII ended and so many have put so much doubt in the Holocaust subject. Did it really happen? Is the entire subject exaggerated? Is the number of Jews murdered inflated?

One must admit that there is so much to tell about the Holocaust and though the events are distancing as times goes by, there are many people who do so much to preserve the horror stories of those years.

Soon all Holocaust survivors will leave our world, leaving behind the duty to tell their story, resting on the shoulders of future generations.

Salute To Hollywood. Photo: Nurit Greenger

Films help to safeguard the memory of the Holocaust. Hollywood has contributed much to preserving the memory of the Holocaust through the many films it produced over the years that spread the truth, the Holocaust story to new audiences. To know this, one needs to attend a Yad Vashem gala where you learn how the “Never Again” works.

In early June 2016, at the Beverly Wilshire hotel, in Beverly Hills California, inspired by Hollywood Reporter’s “The Last Survivors” issue, with an opening introduction by Leonard Wilf, Chairman for the American Society for Yad Vashem, co-chaired by Elissa and Edward Czuker and actor Tony Goldwyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg presenters, the American Society for Yad Vashem, the organization dedicated to advancing the Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority and the Jewish Life Foundation that funds the creation of Jewish-themed culture and educational programs of Jewish Life Television (JLTV) hosted their 3rd annual benefit ‘Salute to Hollywood’ gala.

Gala chairs Elissa and Edward Czuker. Photo credit Kyle Espeleta, courtesy American Society for Yad Vashem.
Jeffrey Katzenberg (center) presented the Vanguard Award to EVPGroup Publisher Lynne Segall (L) and Entertainment Group President-COO Janice Min. Photo credit Kyle Espeleta, courtesy American Society for Yad Vashem.
The Last Survivors cover. Photo: Nurit Greenger.
Tony Goldwyn (L) presented the Legacy Award to Meyer Gottlieb )Center), with American Society for Yad Vashem chairman Leonard Wilf (R). Photo credit Kyle Espeleta, courtesy American Society for Yad Vashem.
JLTV founder and president Phil Blazer (L) presented Branko Lustig with the Legacy Award. Photo credit Kyle Espeleta, courtesy American Society for Yad Vashem.

The evening honored the Holocaust survivors, Hollywood producers Meyer Gottlieb, former president and COO of Samuel Goldwyn Films, and Branko Lustig with the Legacy Award. Both appeared in the Hollywood Reporter ‘The Last Survivors’ issue; Entertainment Group president/COO Janice Min and EVP/Group Publisher Lynn Segall, on behalf of the Hollywood Reporter, with the Vanguard Award for their January 1st, 2016, “The Last Survivors” publication; David Wiener, a Holocaust survivor, a real estate developer and philanthropist, with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Branko Lustig. Photo N Greenger
Meyer Gottlieb. Photo Nurit Greenger
David Wiener. Photo Nurit Greenger.

To date, so far, more than 4.2 million names of men, women and children Holocaust victims have been registered and memorialized.

Today we can say that motion pictures lead the way to change the image of Israel and Jews. So many who survived the Holocaust have gone to triumph, among them are some who attended this gala.

Remember, we are not measured by what we achieved rather by what impact we made on others. To many survivors, justifying their survival means to give something in return, to make our world better.

Do not stand idly by is an empty shell slogan. While we should not just think about it, too many do stand idly by!

“Never Again” can only happen if we do not forget!

During the 2006 second Lebanon War, Nurit Greenger, referenced then as the “Accidental Reporter” felt compelled to become an activist. Being an ‘out-of-the-box thinker, Nurit is a passionately committed advocate for Jews, Israel, the United States, and the Free World in general. From Southern California, Nurit serves as a “one-woman Hasbarah army” for Israel who believes that if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.

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