Yad Vashem, IDF encourage more Holocaust remembrance efforts in army

Special anthology includes texts written during WWII, alongside poems.

Avner Shalev presenting the "Kolchem Shamati" anthology to IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot (photo credit: COURTESY YAD VASHEM)
Avner Shalev presenting the "Kolchem Shamati" anthology to IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot
(photo credit: COURTESY YAD VASHEM)
In the lead up to Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yad Vashem hosted an IDF General Staff forum on Monday as part of an initiative to increase critical thinking about the Holocaust among soldiers.
During the day-long seminar, Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev presented IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen.
Gadi Eisenkot – who headed the seminar – with a special anthology titled Kolchem Shamati (“I Heard Your Voice”), to use in discussions between commanders and their soldiers on the topic of Holocaust remembrance.
The anthology was initiated by the IDF’s Education and Youth Corps in cooperation with Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies.
Kolchem Shamati includes texts and songs that enable a dialogue centered on ethics and values and raise relevant questions for soldiers today, such as: What memory is engraved in your mind? Where did you first encounter the story of the Holocaust? Which of the texts in the anthology touch you directly? How do these voices echo into the future? The anthology allows participants to listen to the voices and examine the words of both victims and survivors. By presenting texts written in the midst of the Holocaust, it opens a window to understanding how Jews experienced and understood the events at the time.
The texts are combined with musical performances of poems that accompany different topics of discourse – accessible by scanning a QR code included in the anthology – by writers such as Hayim Nahman Bialik, Hannah Szenes and Leonard Cohen.
The initiative aims to connect participants through music and group readings that serve as a catalyst for meaningful dialogue on Holocaust memory.
“In recent years we have witnessed a welcome process in which many sections of Israeli society, including the IDF, are seeking to discover their own involvement in designing Holocaust memory,” said Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev. “Kolchem Shamati contains a fabric of voices, combining both written sources and Holocaust art with the legacy of the victims and the survivors.
When participants touch the story of the individual during the Holocaust, it is possible to create a connection to the past from which we can fill our present and future with content and meaning.”
“The Passover Haggada is based on the fundamental Jewish value ‘vehigadta levnincha’ [and you should tell your child],” explained IDF Chief Education Officer Brig.-Gen. Yehuda “Zvika” Fairaizen.
“The responsibility for transmitting the information is physical, from parent to child, and instigates a process of building memory that is seared in both the private and collective consciousness.
Kolchem Shamati enables our officers and soldiers to discuss and internalize these eternal Jewish values that survived the Holocaust and were central to the rebirth of the Jewish State of Israel.”