About the structure
Yad LaYeled, the first memorial to the 1.5 million Jewish children who were murdered during the Shoah, originated in conversations between Antek Zuckerman and Roman Halter. Antek felt that the Ghetto Fighters' Museum was not complete unless it had a memorial to the children.
After the death of Antek, the idea of a separate building outside the main museum of LHG was developed, first by Roman Halter and then, for four years, Roman Halter (born 1927, Chodecz, Poland, lives in London) and Ardyn Halter (born 1956, London, lives in Israel) worked on the design on which the present, completed building is based. It was to be like a child's sand-castle on three levels:
· The top level: the memorial hall
· The middle level, study and creative areas
· The lowest level the Korczak Hall for performance, concerts and talks.
Originally two spirals connected the three levels, this was simplified to two in the final building. Three key elements were part of the concept that Roman Halter and Ardyn Halter developed.:
· There should be stained glass windows based on the childrens' drawings from Theresienstadt (as published in the book No More Butterflies in the Ghetto)
· Yad LaYeled should be a building that appeals to a child.
· Yad LaYeled should be about the creativity of the children who were killed rather than the murderous ways in which their lives were taken.
The Jewish Agency rules at the time determined that an Israel architectural practice had to be appointed to see the project through. Roman Halter and Ram Carmi knew each other from their student years in London and Roman Halter chose Ram Carmi to interpret the design. The developed drawings for the building, its model and the topographical position selected for Yad LaYeled by Roman and Ardyn Halter were applied by Rami Carmi's team as they drew up and slightly modified the original designs of Roman and Ardyn Halter, though in essence the building as it stands today is aesthetically and conceptually the same.
Two key elements were omitted by Ram Carmi in the final design:
· Ardyn Halter, together with Sarah Shner-Neshamit had collected quotations from the diaries, poems and letters written by children.It was their idea that these should be cast in bronze and appear in terrazzo bands around the building. The texts were to appear in the languages of Israel today (Hebrew, Arabic and English, with some passages appearing also in Spanish and French) for visiting children to discover and read.
· There were to be more sitting areas around the building, for children to rest (always one side is in the shade) and where lessons could be conducted after a visit within Yad Layeled.This was replaced by Ram Carmi by the cypress trees planted around the Memorial Hall.
Otherwise the building as you see it today is fruit of Roman Halter and Ardyn Halter's design. Together they made the stained glass windows throughout the building. They worked voluntarily as a personal dedicated commemoration of the Halter family who were murdered during the Shoah.