As the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust, Yad Vashem safeguards the memory of the past and imparts its meaning for future generations. Established in 1953, as the world centre for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem is today a dynamic and vital place of intergenerational and international encounter.
Christian Friends of Yad Vashem is a programme to reach out to the Christian world and Paul Calvert spoke with Dr Susanna Kokanon, the director, about anti-Semitism today, the experiences of the Holocaust survivors and lessons that need to be learnt.
Paul: What is Christian Friends of Yad Vashem?
Susanna: Yad Vashem is the Holocaust memorial and education centre in Jerusalem and in 2006 Yad Vashem decided there was a need to co-operate with the Christian world. From the 1990’s when films like Schindler’s List came out, a lot of Christians have come to visit here. Many Christians when they came to Yad Vashem didn’t only want to see the museum, they wanted to have a deeper experience; they wanted somebody to meet them and talk to them. So Yad Vashem wanted to respond to that need and the Christian Friends of Yad Vashem is basically a programme based here in the campus of Yad Vashem where we have an office and we deal with everything related to the Christian world. We host groups that come to visit; we host seminars for pastors and we can connect them with the right people if they are looking for information or anything like that. It’s basically an outreach by Yad Vashem to the Christian world, but the people who are the Christian friends, these are people from all over the world; they are Christians who feel it is very important to remember the Holocaust and they want to be partners with us and it is that partnership that makes all the work we do possible.
Click below to watch a short video about the Holocaust and Christian Friends of Yad Vashem.