Yad Vashem makes historic strides in Argentinian Holocaust education

Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan met with Argentine President Prof. Alberto Ángel Fernández and other high-ranking Argentinian officials in the Latin American Forum to Combat Antisemitism.

 Visitors seen at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum in Jerusalem on April 26, 2022, ahead of Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day.  (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Visitors seen at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum in Jerusalem on April 26, 2022, ahead of Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

During his recent visit to Buenos Aires, Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan met with Argentine President Prof. Alberto Ángel Fernández and other high-ranking Argentinian officials, and participated in the Latin American Forum to Combat Antisemitism.

On his first tour of his native Argentina since assuming the chairmanship last August of Yad Vashem – the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, Dayan met with Fernández at Casa Rosada, the official seat of the Argentine presidency.

"Today, Argentina took an additional step in the right direction to bringing meaningful and historically accurate knowledge regarding this dark chapter of our not-so-distant past to the youth of today and generations to come."

Dani Dayan

"In my discussion with the president, I expressed our deep appreciation for his support that has led to the signing of two important agreements, one with the Argentine Ministry of Education and the other with the Argentinian National Archives," Dayan remarked following the meeting. "We also talked about the rise of hate speech and antisemitism around the world. President Fernandez shared his great concern about this worrying phenomenon.

“I also took this opportunity to raise the issue of the terror attack on the headquarters of the AMIA (Argentine Jewish Mutual Association) in Buenos Aires 28 years ago, and the fact that despite the deaths of 85 victims, justice has not yet been served, with no one prosecuted to date,” he said. “President Fernandez expressed great frustration at this issue." Indeed, one of the most emotional elements of Dayan's trip was his participation in a commemorative event marking the attack.

 President Isaac Herzog, US President Joe Biden, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan, meet with holocaust survivors Dr. Gita Cycowicz and Rena Quint during their visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, July 13, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/EVELYN HOCKSTEIN) President Isaac Herzog, US President Joe Biden, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan, meet with holocaust survivors Dr. Gita Cycowicz and Rena Quint during their visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, July 13, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/EVELYN HOCKSTEIN)

Dayan kicked off his visit to the Argentine capital by participating in the Latin American Forum to Combat Antisemitism, together with international delegates, such as US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, Commissioner of the OAS (Organization of American States) to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Fernando Lottenberg, and former president of Guatemala Jimmy Morales. 

Dayan's weeklong visit also included personal meetings with key leaders of Argentina, including Chief of Government of the City of Buenos Aires Horacio Rodríguez Larreta; Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Technology Jaime Perczyk; and Minister of the Interior Eduardo Enrique de Pedro. 

During his meeting with Perczyk, the two signed the first-ever agreement between Yad Vashem and the Argentinian Ministry of Education pledging to strengthen efforts to promote education and commemoration of the Holocaust in Argentina. 

"Holocaust education is key to our fight against intolerance and the baseless hatred of antisemitism,” Dayan remarked. “Today, Argentina took an additional step in the right direction to bringing meaningful and historically accurate knowledge regarding this dark chapter of our not-so-distant past to the youth of today and generations to come."

Coincidentally, Yad Vashem is conducting an educational seminar in Buenos Aires for Argentinian teachers this week led by Elianna Rapp Badihi, Head of Educational Programming for Spanish and Portuguese Countries at Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies. 

For decades, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center has dedicated itself to gathering relevant archival documentation from around the world and bringing it to the Mount of Remembrance as the basis for all of its commemorative and educational efforts.

Today, Yad Vashem houses the world's most comprehensive collection of Holocaust-related documentation: over 222 million pages. Over time, it has made many of these documents accessible to an ever-growing global audience visiting its campus in Jerusalem as well as online. 

Post-meeting comments

"It is our unwavering mission at Yad Vashem to gather all possible information relating to the Holocaust,” Dayan said after his meeting with the interior minister. “The archival documentation we collect is the basis for our multidisciplinary activities, and enhances Yad Vashem's mission to connect the pieces of the puzzle of the Holocaust in order to transmit its messages for all humanity." 

Marcelo Goldin, director of the Spanish-Speaking Countries Desk in Yad Vashem's International Relations Division, participated in the meeting with Fernandez as well as being present at the signing of both historic agreements, together with Israel's outgoing Ambassador to Argentina, Galit Ronen.

The trip concluded with a tour of the Museo del Holocausto, Buenos Aires' Holocaust museum and memorial. Museum president Marcelo Midlen hosted an event in Dayan's honor, attended by community leaders and Holocaust survivors.