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Preservation of remembrance

Germany and Israel have set up a close working relationship in the area of researching the Shoah. A main recipient of this multifaceted support is Yad Vashem, Israel's living memorial to the Holocaust.

© picture alliance/Hans-Ju­ergen Truöl

Yad Vashem is Israel's central place for the commemoration of the more than six million Jews murdered in the Shoah. Yad Vashem is located on Jerusalem's Mount of Remembrance. “Yad Vashem” means “a memorial and a name”. This phrase stems from Isaiah 56:5:  “And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name (a “yad vashem”). On May 18, 1953, the Knesset passed the Yad Vashem  Act. The center was commissioned in 1957. Its responsibilities encompass commemoration, documentation, research, publication and education.

In  1996, Yad Vashem and the Federal Republic of Germany launched a working relationship in the areas of research, combatting of anti-Semitism and ongoing education. A main instrument of this working relationship is an association of donors in Germany. Chaired by Hildegard Müller, the former federal minister in the Chancellor's office, the association maintains a diversity of ties to Yad Vashem.

Yad Vashem's new museum was commissioned on March 15, 2005. Attending the event was Germany's foreign minister. The museum was designed by Moshe Safdies. As stipulated in the law of 1957, Yad Vashem's brief comprises the honoring of the “righteous among the nations”. These are non-Jews who risked their lives during the Shoah to save Jews. As of January 2014, the number of the righteous honored at Yad Vashem came to some  23,800. Of them, 553 are Germans.

On February 1, 2012, Guido Westerwelle, Germany's foreign minister in those days, and Gideon Sa'ar, Israel's then minister of education, signed the German-Israeli Governmental Agreement on the Supporting of Yad Vashem. This agreement enables Germany to provide the support ensuring the maintenance of the documentation of Jewish life in Eastern Europe and in other countries. The agreement also facilitates the education of teachers in the area of the remembrance of the Holocaust. This program is scheduled to run until 2021. Its volume comes to € 10 million.