Roman Abramovich donates tens of millions of dollars to Yad Vashem projects

For three decades, Yad Vashem's research institute has been at the center of ground-breaking research initiatives in the field of Holocaust studies

US VP Joe Biden looks at pictures of Jews killed in the Holocaust during a visit to the Hall of Names at the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem March 9, 2010 (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
US VP Joe Biden looks at pictures of Jews killed in the Holocaust during a visit to the Hall of Names at the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem March 9, 2010
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, and Roman Abramovich announced Tuesday a new long-term strategic partnership aimed at strengthening Yad Vashem’s endeavors in the areas of Holocaust research and remembrance. The partnership forms part of Mr. Abramovich’s global charitable work in promoting Holocaust research and education, as well as combating antisemitism.

The pledged funding in the sum of tens of millions of dollars will go towards significantly enriching Yad Vashem's world-renowned International Institute for Holocaust Research. For three decades, the International Research Institute has been at the center of ground-breaking research initiatives in the field of Holocaust studies, which serves as the basis for both commemorative and educational activities related to the atrocities committed by the Nazis and their collaborators before, during and after the Holocaust. This new strategic partnership will expand and bolster Yad Vashem's research activities, at a time when Holocaust distortion, denial and politicization are rising alarmingly worldwide. The partnership will provide support over a period of five years, to further expand and develop the Institute's activities on a global scale.

A further commitment has been made as part of this partnership to contribute towards the establishment of a new home for the International Research Institute on Yad Vashem's Mount of Remembrance campus in Jerusalem, designed to create a vibrant environment that can sustain and enhance the activities of this prestigious academic body.

In an effort to augment ongoing activities in the area of Holocaust commemoration and documentation both in Jerusalem and abroad, Yad Vashem, supported by this partnership, will also create two new versions of The Book of Names, a unique memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. Over the past seven decades, Yad Vashem has collected the names of more than 4,800,000 men, women and children who were murdered as part of Nazi Germany's genocidal plan to physically exterminate the Jewish people and their culture, and obliterate even their memory from history. Since its establishment in 1953, collecting the name of every Shoah victim has been a core component of Yad Vashem's mission: to restore the identities of each and every victim of the Holocaust. Over the years, Yad Vashem has gathered these names from various sources and has safeguarded them in its Hall of Names. The names are also accessible to the public worldwide through the Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names on the Yad Vashem website.

Yad Vashem first created the Book of Names for the permanent exhibition SHOAH at Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Museum, Block 27 Pavilion, inaugurated in 2013. The two new updated configurations of the Book of Names will serve as a tangible memorial both to the individual identities of the Jewish men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust and to the inconceivable scale of the Nazis' attempted annihilation of the Jewish people. The book lists Shoah victims' names in alphabetical order, and where the information is known, provides their birth dates, hometowns and places of death. Reminiscent of the iconic empty shelves in the Hall of Names, the Book of Names includes blank pages, signifying those whose names remain unknown.

THE HALL of Names at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, April 20, 2020. (credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)THE HALL of Names at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, April 20, 2020. (credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

One of the new Books will be permanently featured at Yad Vashem, while the second will serve as a mobile commemorative display, raising global awareness of the murder of some six million Jews during the Shoah.

Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan welcomed Roman Abramovich as a leading member of the esteemed Yad Vashem circle of friends. "We are deeply grateful to Roman Abramovich for this generous contribution that will significantly strengthen Yad Vashem's mission. This partnership highlights his continued dedication to Holocaust remembrance and combating antisemitism and buttresses Yad Vashem's determination to remain the gatekeeper of accurate, fact-based memory of the Shoah. This memory will continue to be relevant to the Jewish people and all of humanity, especially at a time when antisemitism is proliferating in the physical and digital spheres. We know that this strategic partnership will lead to the further expansion and deepening of Yad Vashem's activities in Israel and around the world."

"Yad Vashem’s work in preserving the memory of the victims of the Holocaust is instrumental to ensure that future generations never forget what antisemitism, racism and hate can lead to if we don’t speak out, said Roman Abramovich It is my privilege to be able to support Yad Vashem and Chairman Dani Dayan as they develop and expand their important work further."