Borussia Dortmund, German companies donate to Yad Vashem expansion

Construction of the new center, which will also include a Holocaust exhibition suitable for families and children, is expected to commence in August and open in 2021.

An original yellow star (not on general display) is seen at the artifacts department of the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, ahead of the Israeli annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 10, 2018 (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
An original yellow star (not on general display) is seen at the artifacts department of the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, ahead of the Israeli annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 10, 2018
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
German soccer giant Borussia Dortmund and major companies Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Bank and Volkswagen will each contribute €1m.  ($1.12m.) to fund the expansion of Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum.
The donations, part of an initiative led by the German Friends of the Yad Vashem Association, will contribute to the establishment of the $50m. Shoah Heritage Campus, a 5,880 sq. m. center to house the museum’s rapidly increasing collection of artworks, artifacts and archives.
Construction of the new center, which will also include a Holocaust exhibition suitable for families and children, is expected to commence in August and open in 2021. The cornerstone for the center will be laid on May 2, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“Remembering, documenting, researching and teaching are the pillars on which Yad Vashem is founded,” said Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim “Aki” Watzke, whose team currently leads the Bundesliga, the top professional German soccer league.
Borussia Dortmund's CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke attends a news conference (Leon Kuegeler/Reuters)Borussia Dortmund's CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke attends a news conference (Leon Kuegeler/Reuters)
“It is our honor and obligation to strengthen them. Future generations should know the suffering that has been inflicted on people by other human beings. We are committed to international understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence.”
Yad Vashem’s collections include more than 210 million documents, 500,000 photographs, 131,000 survivor testimonies, 32,400 artifacts and 11,500 works of art related to the Holocaust.
“For many years now, we have been providing educational programs for Borussia Dortmund fans, colleagues, partners and sponsors,” said Borussia Dortmund Managing Director Carsten Cramer.
“Together with this strong network, we are making a lasting commitment to the memory of the Holocaust, as well as against modern day antisemitism.”
The new facilities will be made accessible to researchers, educators and members of the public and some of the documents and artifacts will be made available for online access as well.
The center will also enable the process of receiving, preserving and cataloging items collected by Yad Vashem to be streamlined.
“The Nazis were determined not only to annihilate the Jewish people, but also to obliterate their identity, memory, culture and heritage,” said Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev.
“For many, all that remains are a treasured work of art, a personal artifact that survived with them, a photograph kept close to their person, a diary or a note,” Shalev said.
“By preserving these precious items – that are of great importance not just to the Jewish people, but also to humanity as a whole – and revealing them to the public, they will act as the voice of the victims and the survivors, and serve as an everlasting memory.”
Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.