As I stand on the border between life and death, certain that I will not remain alive, I wish to take leave from my friends and my works …. My works I bequeath to the Jewish museum to be built after the war. Farewell, my friends. Farewell, the Jewish people. Never again allow such a catastrophe.
From the last will and testament of Gela Seksztajn, August 1st, 1942. Gela was murdered at Treblinka.
At the instigation of the German-Speaking Countries Desk of the Circle of Friends of Yad Vashem, Borussia Dortmund, Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Bank and Volkswagen have each contributed €1 million to the expansion of the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center.
Yad Vashem houses the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of artifacts from the Holocaust period. Due to the considerable increase in the number of objects, the Shoah Heritage Collections Center will be constructed to create additional space for the preservation, research and restoration of artifacts. The project's objective is to ensure, protect and pass on these artifacts for posterity. Construction of the 4,200 square meters centre is due to commence in August 2019. Since it was founded in 1953, Yad Vashem has been collecting all sources of information and objects that can help to enlighten the world on the fate of the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.
The German Yad Vashem Circle of Friends has acquired the support of well-known companies in funding this moving collection. Borussia Dortmund, Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Bank and Volkswagen have each contributed €1 million to the expansion of the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center. With a combined total donation of over €5 million, this group of companies is funding the new Shoah Heritage Collections Center as a sign of their solidarity with Holocaust victims, and their responsibility for past and future and in combatting racism and anti-Semitism.
“Commemoration, documentation, research and education are the pillars on which Yad Vashem was founded. It is our honour and obligation to reinforce them. Future generations need to know the extent of suffering human beings are capable of inflicting on others. We are therefore promoting intercultural understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence,” the five companies jointly announced. They were represented in Berlin today by Hans-Joachim “Aki” Watzke, CEO of Borussia Dortmund, Eckart von Klaeden, Head of External Affairs Daimler AG, Ronald Pofalla, Deutsche Bahn AG Management Board Member, Thorsten Strauss, Global Head of Art, Culture & Sports at Deutsche Bank AG and Gunnar Kilian, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG.
Kai Diekmann, Chairman of the German Circle of Friends of Yad Vashem said, “With more than one million annual visitors, Yad Vashem is the worldwide centre for remembrance of the victims of Nazi rule. Yad Vashem needs the support of many to enable it to fulfil the duties related to this role. I am delighted and thank Borussia Dortmund, Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Bank and Volkswagen for their commitment in funding the construction of the new Shoah Heritage Collections Center and thus helping to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and remembrance of its victims for generations to come.”
Dr Haim Gertner, Director Yad Vashem Archives, said, “The new Shoah Heritage Collections Center will considerably expand the storage space in our vaults for documents, artworks and artifacts under optimal conditions, primarily underground. It will enable protection of all types of objects using state-of-the-art technologies, thereby ensuring their preservation. We would like to strike the right balance between the urgency of preserving and the need to share the objects. Conservation laboratories therefore provide an insight into the work the experts perform. The complex will also house two lower-level galleries where we can display our collections to the public.”
“The Nazis made a concentrated effort not only to murder the Jews, but also to obliterate their identity, memory, culture and heritage,” said Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. “For many, all that was left behind were the artworks and personal artifacts, photos and documents that survived the harshest of conditions and were entrusted to Yad Vashem to keep the stories of their creators and their owners alive. Through the preservation and display of this intellectual and spiritual property, the Shoah Heritage Collections Center will give the victims back their voice and identity, ensuring that they will never be forgotten.”
The German Circle of Friends of Yad Vashem
The German Circle of Friends of Yad Vashem was founded in Frankfurt am Main in 1997 and is now based in Berlin. As part of an international network, the mission of the German Circle of Friends of Yad Vashem is to make every effort to support the Remembrance Center's work, to keep alive the memory of the Holocaust and the lessons that can be learnt by not forgetting it, and to convey such lessons in the areas of education and science.
Yad Vashem houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of Holocaust documents: around 500,000 photographs, more than 11,500 artworks, more than 32,000 artifacts, more than 130,000 documented survivor testimonies and around 210 million pages of written documents from the period of persecution during the Third Reich. The collection ranges from diaries and letters to official documents, from paintings and drawings created in the face of death, to children's toys; from Torah scrolls to crude tools used by prisoners in the camps; from Schindler's list to food ration cards; from personal photos and rolls of film to items of clothing that all miraculously survived the traumatic journey. Yad Veshem is in itself a reminder and serves the public as a centre of commemoration and research, as a venue for exhibitions, a source of information, education and intercultural understanding, with a more than a million visitors every year.
You can find more information on Yad Vashem and the German Circle of Friends of Yad Vashem at www.yadvashem.org.
Media contact: Stephanie Bilges, email: email@example.com.