Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust Memorial and Museum, will go online with its annual ceremony marking the start of Yom Hashoah.
The program was produced in accordance with Israeli Health Ministry guidelines and includes the annual lighting of six torches by survivors in memoriam of the six million victims of the Holocaust. It has been pre-recorded, and will be broadcast on YouTube and Yad Vashem’s website in six languages.The museum has also brought a lecture series to Zoom and Facebook Live, and released an online exhibition called “Rescue by Jews, One for All,” which focuses on this year’s theme of Jewish heroism during the Holocaust.
The yearly tradition of reading aloud names of victims has also been given an update: Yad Vashem is encouraging people to participate in a social media campaign by accessing names of Holocaust victims from its website and a record themselves reading them. The museum plans to make a compilation of uploaded videos that are tagged by users with the campaign’s hash tags.
Yad Vashem has Facebook and Istagram accounts in two languages, Twitter in five languages, and their website is in eight. Head of new media and digital projects Gabi Duec says that the museum is “very with it, so to speak, in terms of promoting and sharing our content online.”
“Especially now with everything that’s happening in the world, we’ve really ramped up our social media and a lot of the responsibility has fallen on the digital side of Yad Vashem,” Duec said.
“With the museum closed, and the campus temporarily closed, we’re looking to share content that is specifically relevant for now, for this time of year – Passover, Yom Hashoah, Israeli Memorial Day, Independence Day,” he said. “And because of the COVID-19 crisis, we’re also looking to share stories of hope, such as Righteous Among the Nations, or of Jews rescuing fellow Jews, which is this year’s theme for our Yom Hashoah commemorations.”
While Holocaust education may not top the list of most popular search terms for people in home isolation, Duec says that Yad Vashem still has much to offer.
“One of the challenges of being Yad Vashem on social media is that people… might not even know they’re looking for Holocaust material. But there are so many topics, and all these stories which can be adapted for a learning environment, especially at home,” he said.