In sync with the 21st century, Yad Vashem on Tuesday inaugurated an ultra-modern film library as part of its new Jerusalem Holocaust Museum in an effort to create the world's most comprehensive Holocaust film resource center.
"Visual images have become the international language of our generation and this phenomenon will only strengthen among future generations. Recognizing the... reality that the survivor generation is waning only enforces the importance of this language in Holocaust remembrance," said the Chairman of the Yad Vashem directorate, Avner Shalev.
The $3 million "visual center," which aims to be the primary portal for viewing viewing Holocaust films and testimonies, was endowed by an Israeli couple, Daniella and Daniel Steinmetz, she having survived the Holocaust, and by American director Steven Spielberg's Righteous Persons Foundation.
"The opening of the visual center will ensure that the faces and voices of survivors and victims of history's greatest crime are seen and heard not only collectively, but individually. In so doing, they will teach us all to understand the Holocaust in fundamentally human and moral terms," Spielberg said in a taped video message from Los Angeles broadcast at Tuesday night's opening ceremony.
Using state of the art technology, hundreds of Holocaust-related films and documentaries made over the last six decades will be accessible at the 50 computers at the "Holocaust library for movies," as a Yad Vashem official referred to the new center, and at a small theater inside the building. Testimonies by Holocaust victims will also be accessible at the center.
The ultra-modern facility, the last section of Yad Vashem's new museum complex to be completed, was praised by the elderly Holocaust survivors in the crowd at its opening.
"Anything that helps remembrance of the Holocaust is a good thing," said Krakow-born Nahum Manor, 82, of Beersheba, who was on Schindler's List, noting that he and his fellow inmates had deluded themselves into thinking immediately after the war that the world would never forget what had happened in the Holocaust. "The visual testimony has a much greater influence on the memory," he said.