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Russian billionaire donates tens of millions of dollars to Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum

“It is instrumental to ensure that future generations never forget what anti-Semitism, racism and hate can lead to if we don’t speak out,” says Roman Abramovich

Russian businessman Roman Abramovich attends the opening of the 7th Moscow Jewish Film Festival at Karo 11 Oktyabr Cinema, Oct. 3, 2021. (Photo: Artyom Geodakyan/TASS)

Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, and Chelsea FC’s Russian billionaire owner, Roman Abramovich, announced on Wednesday a new long-term strategic partnership aimed at strengthening endeavors in the areas of Holocaust research and remembrance.

Abramovich will expand his charitable work to focus on promoting Holocaust research and education, as well as combating anti-Semitism. He pledged to donate tens of millions of dollars over the next five years to enrich Yad Vashem’s world-renowned International Institute for Holocaust Research. For three decades, the institute has served 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.

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

This new strategic partnership will expand and bolster Yad Vashem’s research activities at a time when Holocaust distortion, denial and politicization are rising at an alarming rate worldwide. The funding will also support the establishment of a new home for the International Research Institute on Yad Vashem’s Mount of Remembrance campus in Jerusalem.

Additionally, the museum is planning to use Abramovich’s financial support to create two new versions of The Book of Names - a unique memorial to 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 their memory from history. 

Since its establishment in 1953, collecting the name of every Shoah (Holocaust) victim has been a core component of Yad Vashem’s mission: To restore the identity of each 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 on Yad Vashem’s Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names.

Yad Vashem created the Book of Names for the permanent exhibit SHOAH at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Museum, Block 27 Pavilion, inaugurated in 2013. The two newly updated configurations of the Hall 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.

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.

“We are deeply grateful to Roman Abramovich for this generous contribution that will significantly strengthen Yad Vashem’s mission,” said Dani Dayan, chairman of Yad Vashem. “This partnership highlights his continued dedication to Holocaust remembrance and combating anti-Semitism 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 anti-Semitism 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.”

Read more: YAD VASHEM

Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.

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