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From the Desk of Avner Shalev – Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

From the Desk of Avner Shalev – Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

Queridos amigos,

Próximamente D. Avner Shalev, Presidente del Directorio de Yad Vashem, cesará en sus funciones.

Publicamos su carta de despedida:

From the Desk of Avner Shalev – Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

21 June 2020

Dear Friends,

For the past 27 years, I have served as Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate. During this time, I have led Yad Vashem’s dedicated team of managers and staff members in fundamentally transforming the ways in which our institution’s historical and moral mission is fulfilled.

This has included the establishment on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem of an International School for Holocaust Studies, an International Institute for Holocaust Research, and a new Museum Complex including the Holocaust History Museum and a new Museum of Holocaust Art. At Auschwitz-Birkenau, we created the permanent exhibit Shoah on behalf of the State of Israel. We added over two and a half million names to the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names, which now totals approximately four million and eight hundred thousand names. We have located and accessed hundreds of millions of documents, and collected tens of thousands of artifacts and works of art, and thousands of photographs and films. We have recognized thousands of Righteous Among the Nations and disseminated the information and knowledge we have gained to numerous audiences, via a variety of frameworks in Israel and around the world, and through many channels of digital media. We have initiated and nurtured strong partnerships with friends in Israel and around the world, including Holocaust survivors and their families. Thus, Yad Vashem has grown into a unique, influential and highly respected entity in the Israeli, Jewish and global arenas.

Throughout my tenure at Yad Vashem, I have been privileged to work with a committed professional team that views its work as a mission and labors steadily and devotedly to ensure the preservation of Holocaust memory and its meaningful transmission to future generations. Similarly, I am most thankful for the remarkable support received during my chairmanship from you, dear friends and partners. Time after time, you have movingly shown me your steadfast commitment to Holocaust remembrance and Yad Vashem. Together we have achieved significant accomplishments, and together we have been confronting the challenges currently facing us.

Now, following 27 years at the helm of Yad Vashem, I wish to update you that today I informed Prime Minister Netanyahu and Minister Elkin, who coordinates the ties of the Israeli government with Yad Vashem, of my decision to conclude my period of service here, by the end of 2020.

Clearly, it was not easy for me to reach this decision, which has entailed thorough self-examination. Of course, I will share with you further details relating to my retirement once they are known, including regarding transition with my successor, yet to be designated.

I would like to express my deep gratitude and appreciation to all of you for our years of shared endeavor.


Avner Shalev

Chairman of the Directorate