About the Yad Vashem Institute

Yad Vashem – the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre is an institution established to document the history of the Jewish nation during the Holocaust and to commemorate the victims who perished in this period. The idea of its creation was born during the Zionist Congress in London in 1945, but the Institute was established on 19 August 1953 in Jerusalem under the Remembrance Act adopted by the Knesset – the Israeli Parliament.

The location and activities of the Yad Vashem

The Institute is located on Mount Herzl in the Jerusalem Forest. It consists of the Museum of the History of the Holocaust, the Names Room (where data on Holocaust victims are stored), the Memorial Chamber and the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations. The Institute also houses two galleries, synagogues, archives and libraries. The International School of Holocaust Studies and the International Institute for Holocaust Research are in operation there, too.

Institute Yad Vashem [Hebrew, literally, a memorial and name], i.e. place of remembrance of those who perished so that their names would not be forgotten; the name refers to an excerpt from the Biblical Book of Isaiah (56,5): “To them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever”.

Within the Yad Vashem Institute there are several monuments commemorating Holocaust victims. In the Valley of the Communities, Jewish communities from larger and smaller towns were honoured. Other memorial sites are dedicated to murdered children, Jewish partisans and soldiers. In the garden surrounding the Institute there is also a railway viaduct commemorating Holocaust victims with a cattle car in which Jews were transported to extermination camps during World War II.

Yad Vashem also plays an educational and publishing role. It runs training programs, provides educational materials, publishes testimonies from the period of the Holocaust and studies on the subject. The Institute represents Israel in international projects aimed at commemorating the Holocaust and the events of World War II.

Honouring the Righteous Among the Nations

Since 1963, one of the main areas of the Institute’s activity has been to honour non-Jewish people who provided selfless help to Jews during World War II. In Yad Vashem there is the Department of the Righteous Among the Nations which accepts applications for this title. The submitted documentation is analysed by a special commission, which then issues a decision. The documentation concerning each of the examined cases is kept in the Institute’s archives.

Some ceremonies of honouring the Righteous take place at the Yad Vashem headquarters in the Memorial Chamber. Then, in the Garden of the Righteous located within the Institute’s premises, the names engraved on the Wall of Memory are officially unveiled. 

Read more