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Memorial Event in Honor of Monia Avrahami at Yad LaYeled

At the end of February, an event was held at Yad LaYeled in memory of Monia Avrahami, who served as General Director of the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum for 10 years.  All the members of his family were invited to the event.  Following the opening speeches, Anat Carmel, Director of Yad LaYeled, presented the family with an album containing historical photographs and documents from the museum’s archival collection, which recounted the role played by Monia in the establishment of the Ghetto Fighters' House Museum.

In the course of the opening speeches, Raya Kalisman, Director of External Relations at the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum, commended the family on behalf of the museum’s managing staff and underlined Monia Avrahami’s important role in consolidating the museum in general and establishing Yad LaYeled specifically.

She commented, “You worked for many years at the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum and served for ten of those years as General Director, amassing a host of achievements. In your unique way, you created a warm, paternal atmosphere, and with wit, humor, stubbornness, goal-oriented determination and tireless effort, you were responsible for numerous unforgettable projects – you pushed for the production of the GFH trilogy films – “The 81st Blow,” “Flames in the Ashes,” and “The Last Sea,” directed by David Bergman, Jacques Erlich and Haim Gouri.

You led the project to establish Yad LaYeled from start to finish, and to this end you created organizations of Friends across the world – in Canada, the US, England and more. With their assistance, you raised the funds needed to realize this project. With great wisdom you assembled a talented staff to build Yad LaYeled – a place without parallel anywhere in the world.

When waves of immigrants began to arrive from the former Soviet Union, you understood the need to open a Russian department, together with your friend, the late Pinchas Agmon, in order to collect material on the Holocaust of Jews in the Soviet Union and to make accessible the story of the Holocaust to Russian-speaking immigrants.

You welcomed warmly my suggestion to establish a Center for Humanistic Education at the Ghetto Fighter’s House Museum, you opened doors for me and you helped broker connections with donors who continue to assist us till today.

And with the sadness of your loss, it is good to remember that though you are no longer with us, your priceless achievements will continue to last …”

Since this year we are marking the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Yad LaYeled, Anat Carmel, Director of Yad LaYeled, felt it was appropriate to read an extract from Monia’s address on the occasion of the opening of the world’s first children’s museum devoted to the Holocaust:

The establishment of Yad LaYeled was an audacious step by people who believed that memory and the personal and national lessons learnt from it helps to construct a nation and connect generations together.

Yad LaYeled will thus be Israel’s contribution to creating a new connection with children from all over the world through gatherings, rallies, study programs, artistic competitions, international seminars and publications: all these things will constitute a red light in the face of fanaticism, extreme nationalism, racism, persecution of strangers and hatred of the Other.

Yad LaYeled will become a dynamic, developing, growing place which will continue to collect names, stories, diaries and testimonies which remained hidden till today, out of fear, shame or sorrow. Will the audacious step be successful? Will we succeed in adding an important layer to the culture of memory that has been built through searches, questioning and hardships? The answer is in the hands of the young. 

Yad LaYeled is also a memorial to the memory of the childhood of the millions that was cut short and a supporting “hand” to the new generations who are striving to build a new society – open, trusting, imbued with values, and ready to assume responsibility for itself and the lives of others.

Monia Avrahami, General Director

 

During the ceremony, Anat Carmel noted that during her twenty years of service at Yad LaYeled, she felt that she was carrying out Monia’s vision and that of its planners and founders. She said she was delighted to organize the event for Monia’s family members, so that they could come and see for themselves the vision he aspired to and to which he devoted many years to bring it about.

She stated, “This place is full of life and is still the only museum of its kind in Israel and in the world. Even though few members of the current staff had the privilege of working with Monia, I remember and cherish you and will strive to make Yad LaYeled a dynamic, developing, growing place which will continue to collect stories and testimonies of Holocaust survivors who are still able to be interviewed and to recount their story to future generations, so that these will be recounted and displayed in the permanent exhibition.”

 

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