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“Yad LaYeled” Marks 20 Years

The “Yad LaYeled” museum at the Ghetto Fighters' House was established in 1995 as an educational memorial site built to honor the one and a half million Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust.

Designing a Holocaust memorial for students is an important educational task that presents a complex challenge to educators. The educational staff of “Yad LaYeled” sees itself as an active partner in this endeavor. “Yad LaYeled” was built with the goal of acquainting young children of today with the stories of Jewish children their age that lived in Europe and were caught in the terrible maelstrom of war. The exhibits in “Yad LaYeled” are tailored for the young audience and include three-dimensional displays, authentic artifacts and testimony films. They are designed to stimulate intellectual curiosity, emotional experiences, and a desire to explore deeper. They expose the historical elements through a framework of stories that highlight the major events of the war, emphasizing the emotional and ethical struggle at each stage. The filmed testimonies shown on video screens and the stories played on soundtracks open a small window into the hearts of those who perished and to the world of the survivors who live among us.


At the center of the building is an impressive hall devoted to the Polish-Jewish educator and intellectual Janusz Korczak, who developed a special educational approach that encourages paying attention to the child and his abilitities while nurturing independence and responsibility. To mark 67 years since the founding of the “Ghetto Fighters' House”, the first museum in the world to commemorate the Holocaust, and 20 years since the founding of “Yad LaYeled”, the museum has undertaken the goal of expanding the Korczak's legacy by calling the museum “Yad LaYeled in the spirit of Korczak”.

The exhibits and the educational and the artistic activities of the museum are tailored for a diverse audience from age 10 and up. Time spent at the museum invites contact and dialogue among the visiting children and between them and the survivors who were children during the Holocaust. The activities provide the children with social and cultural enrichment through active educational workshops, using the many exhibitions and testimonies available to them in the museum experience.

The Founding of “Yad LaYeled”
The idea to establish a memorial to the children who were killed in the Holocaust was first initiated by the British Jew Roman Halter, an architect and stained glass artisan as well as a Holocaust survivor. The first seed was planted in 1974, while Roman was visiting in Israel and designed artworks for “Yad Vashem”. During his visit Halter met with Yitzhak “Antek” Zuckerman and Zivia Lubetkin, who were leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and among the founders of Kibbutz Lochamei HaGhetaot ("Ghetto Fighters"). They shared with Halter their desire to establish a memorial to the children.

Over the next 10 years, ideas were exchanged between Halter and the members of Kibbutz Lochamei HaGhetaot regarding the essence of the memorial to be established on site. During the same period, a memorial hall for children was dedicated at “Yad Vashem” called “Yad LaYeled”, focusing on commemorating the victims.  Members of Lochamei HaGhetaot wished to emphasize the coping of the children during the war, their part in the life of the Ghetto, and their ability to gather physical and mental strength even in times of crisis and war.

Members of the Ghetto Fighters' House museum recall that Yitzhak Zuckerman often recounted something that happened to him in the Ghetto: a Jewish child came to him during the worst days of hunger and sickness with an unusual request: to find him a violin teacher. And “Antek” indeed found him a violin teacher. After a while Antek encountered the teacher and inquired about the boy. The teacher did not know what had happened to the boy, but told him about his immense talent. This incident was one of the sparks that moved Antek to act towards establishing a memorial site to the memory of the one and a half million children who perished, and like the boy, were never able to realize their talent.

In 1983, two years after Antek's death, a committee was established to make his idea a reality, with the collaboration of Roman Halter. Halter suggested building “Yad LaYeled” between the Ghetto Fighters' House museum and the Ottoman aqueduct, to create a historical sequence.

At the beginning of the work Roman Halter was informed that since he was not an Israeli citizen he could not officially work in Israel, and he needed to appoint an architect approved by the Jewish Agency to lead the project. Halter turned to his friend, architect Ram Carmi. Carmi flew to London where Halter provided him with the drawings, model, and explanations of his concept. On his return he designed “Yad LaYeled”, which opened in 1995. The building was constructed with a central cone surrounded by two descending exhibition spirals, and contains three halls:

1. The entrance level – the Memorial Hall
2. The middle level – the Korczak Hall
3. The lower level – “the Eternal Flame”

Ram Karmi maintained Roman Halter’s concept and made some changes in the structure. He took ideas from the different models by Halter and redesigned them. The round memorial hall with a stained glass ceiling is faithful to Halter’s original design, and was built by Halter and his son. The exhibition layout was designed by Ori Abramson and Ronit Lombrozo.

 


Engraved in the concrete cone in the center of the spiral are the names of children, in Hebrew and Latin letters. These were typical names of Jewish children in Europe. The cone is a monument commemorating the Jewish children murdered in the Holocaust. In the display, which curves around the column in the shape of a descending spiral, the life of a Jewish child in the Holocaust is depicted in chronological order. The visitor follows the path between the stations describing the outbreak of war, the ghetto, hiding places, trains, camps, and finally to the eternal flame. Voices of children narrating in first person the stories of their fate in the war accompany the visitor throughout the exhibit. Television screens are incorporated into design of the exhibit showing testimonies of adults who were children during the war and survived.
 
The visitor to the core exhibition undergoes a multi-sensory experience. The circular route of the exhibit is built in such a way that one is exposed to a small section at a time, and only at the end of the path is the entire picture revealed. At the end of the exhibition one arrives at the point of the “eternal flame”, built at the vortex of the whirlpool, a symbol of the journey of the Jews of Europe in those years and a place to cherish their memory.  The filmed testimonies alongside the “eternal flame” stress the fact that these narrators were saved, came to Israel, rebuilt their lives and became an integral part of Israeli society. At the end of the exhibition the children go up one floor and enter a room of workshops to process their experience through artistic expression.

The planners and designers, with their young visitors in mind, created a structure that blends linear sequence with circular motion. The spiral path of the display never allows the visitor’s eye to take in the entire exhibit in one glance: each step reveals only a small portion. Thus the curving path creates an experience that sparks continued interest. Accordingly, the teaching concept of the museum was formed, based on a holistic approach.  The educational staff of the museum strives to create a dialogue between the young visitors and their peers who lived then, through means of diaries, testimonies, and memoirs unveiling a personal aspect of childhood and adolescence during the war. Visitors interact with the various texts encountered in the museum: photographs, voices, films and displays.

The structure of the museum and the combination of background voices, photos, and films do not accommodate guided groups through the displays. With this in mind, a method for guiding visitors has been adapted to the museum. A guide explains and directs the visitors at the beginning of their path and conducts a summarizing discussion at the end. The visitors choose their journey and pace, how deeply they explore each station, and build for themselves insights and meaning. Students are usually provided with a page of instruction, adapted to subjects appropriate to their age, such as: survival, adolescence during war, memorials and commemoration, the stifling of all traces of humanity. In the concluding discussion students present the questions and their insights gained from exploring the exhibitions.

Korczak of the Children
“Everything I do, and everything I write, is to equip the children to flourish toward a new world, that they themselves will rebuild from the foundation."  (Janusz Korczak, Child of the Drawing Room, pp. 147-148)

The exhibition in the hall dedicated to Korczak invites children the world he built for the children in his orphanage. The special structure of the exhibit provides a glimpse into the educational ways and methods advocated by Korczak and Stefa Wilczyńska with the children at the orphanage. The exhibit is divided into five stages. Each stage tells the story of a different chapter in Korczak’s life.


The exhibition features a film that was produced by the Ghetto Fighters' House, acquainting visiting children with life and experiences in the orphanage. In the film we learn of the hierarchy and social structure within it. It tells of the Children’s Court run by the orphans, of encouragement postcards as reinforcement, and of Korczak’s interventions with children, to help them improve their behavior.

The exhibit-inspired activities that the educational staff has developed and the film provide children with a deeper understanding of the subjects that were dear to Korczak’s heart, such as children’s rights, the orphanage court, the children’s newspaper, and the importance of play in the life of a child.

Rotating Exhibitions
The gallery located at the exit from the core exhibition is devoted to rotating exhibitions. Since the founding of “Yad LaYeled” in May of 1995 four exhibitions have been presented dealing with the world of the Jewish child.

“The Sandgame” 1995-2001
The exhibition consisted of authentic lists from the archives of the Ghetto Fighters' House museum. These were lists of names of Jewish children gathered at the end of the war by the "Zionist Coordination Committee for the Redemption of Jewish Children" organization. The purpose of the lists was to help locate relatives. The name of the exhibit was taken from Uri Orlev's children’s book “The Sandgame”.

“The Rift in Time” 2002-2006
An exhibition of paintings by the world renowned artist Moshe Kupferman, one of the founders of Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot. The exhibit displayed three of the series of eight paintings that were created expressly for “Yad LaYeled" in an attempt to enlighten children on the subject of the Holocaust using shapes and colors.

“Following the Path of a Picture” 2006-2012
The exhibition presented personal photographs, documents, letters, testimonies and objects by children who were born to Jewish families in Europe between the two World Wars, survived the horrors of the Holocaust, grew to adulthood in Israel and made it their home. The exhibition presented a new and creative pedagogic challenge and facilitated an adventure of research and discovery in an archive setting for the young visitor. Students encountered first-hand materials - objects, photographs, documents and testimonies - and through them deciphered the chapters of the stories of the survivors, from childhoods stolen from them in occupied Europe to establishing homes and families in Israel. The stories of struggle and coping revealed the greatness of human action and strengthened the faith in a better future.

After the exhibition was taken down in 2012, the materials were photographed and returned to the survivors or the archive collections of the Ghetto Fighters' House. The first-hand materials and the testimonies today serve as a basis for a workshop.

 

The Sandgame

Following the Path of a Picture


In 2014 a new exhibition was added called “Here Began My Childhood”, that reveals to visitors the dilemmas and stories of children who lost parents and all that they once called home, children for whom liberation from war was not the end of their struggle for survival but the beginning of a new and difficult journey. The exhibition also addresses the remarkable mobilization of the youth movement members who survived, the contribution of the representatives from Eretz Yisrael and members of the "Bricha" (“Escape”), who took part in the gathering and smuggling of children on their way to Israel.

 

Exhibitions in the Second Floor Corridor
Two exhibitions are displayed in the second floor corridors of “Yad LaYeled”, which serve as a basis for activities combining the subject matter of the exhibitions with artistic workshops:

Notes of Life” – This exhibit opened in 2010 and deals with the role of music in Jewish culture and overall, and with the importance of music for young Jews during the Holocaust. Jewish children who played the violin in their childhood, if they were very talented and were very lucky, continued to play throughout the war. Mottele, Noah, Feivel, Yochanan, and Avraham were young musicians for whom the violin was their entire world. “Yad LaYeled” now tells their stories, these amazing violinists for whom the sounds of the strings were a source of physical and spiritual resistance in times of crisis and destruction.


Paul Kor” – An exhibition of the paintings of artist, author, and Holocaust survivor Paul Kor opened in 2013, marking the tenth anniversary of his death. The exhibition, tailored for the young and adolescent visitors to “Yad LaYeled”, includes an original oil painting entitled “The Cellist”, and several more of his works, to enlighten others through his unique life story and the development of his artistic path.


Always Searching For His Face” (displayed in 2011) - An exhibition of the artist Itzchak Belfer. At the age of seven, Belfer was brought to Korczak's orphanage  in Warsaw after he lost his father. In time he grew to love his teacher dearly, as love for a father. In the center of his paintings he drew Korczak's face, a face that he is always searching for. Again and again he painted him, according to his moods and feelings, each time in a different medium, a different format, a unique composition. Sometimes he used shades of color and at other times black and white: "Korczak I draw in color and the Holocaust in black and white. With grays I can better express the tragedy".

Museum Workshops
Workshops play an important role in “Yad LaYeled”, allowing young visitors to process the subject of the Holocaust in creative ways. Remaining faithful to the themes of the exhibitions, methods and objectives have been developed for workshops in art, drama, music, and creative writing.

The workshops are tailored for various ages, with attention to changing educational needs and maturing abilities of expression. They allow children to ask questions, express their feelings through a variety of artistic venues that facilitate their understanding and help them reach relevant insights.
The workshop topics are relevant to what is displayed in the museum, such as the prohibitions and restrictions against Jews before and during the Holocaust, growing up in the shadow of the war, living in hiding, and the rights of the child.

Theatre in the Museum
Since the opening of the museum plays have been presented, based on testimonies of adults who were children during and after the Holocaust. The plays, which supplement the visits following the exploration of the exhibitions, expand the concepts presented in the exhibitions and enable broader discussions of the subject matter.

Two plays that were performed during the first decade of “Yad LaYeled” were “Aunt Lily’s Doll” and “Mother, Mother, Can You Hear?”

Aunt Lily’s Doll” – The play, directed and acted by Shlomit Dagan-Deri and based on the story of Irna Livman, portrays the interaction between a woman who survived the Holocaust and treasures a doll from her childhood in her home, and an Israeli girl who cannot understand why an adult is so obsessed with a doll. Through their meeting, the girl learns about the world and memories of Holocaust survivors.


Mother, Mother, Can You Hear?” – The play, directed and acted by Grace Shoshner and based on the testimony of the late Nehamka Rahav, tells of “living in two worlds”. Nehamka, who was a child in the Vilnius Ghetto, was pushed into the arms of German soldiers by her mother and thus saved. The play is her attempt to find an answer and meaning behind her mother’s actions.

 


Two monodramas currently presented at “Yad LaYeled” are “Dance of Joy and Sorrow”, and “Avramale, the Boy From There”.

Dance of Joy and Sorrow” follows the story of Lea Fried, a Holocaust survivor who saw her parents for the last time at the age of five, back to the stories, memories and experiences through memory boxes and personal possessions from the past. Her testimony is located within the core exhibit “The Jewish Child in the Holocaust”. 


The play “Abramale, the Boy From There” continues the story of a boy who survived the Holocaust and presents the difficulties and conflicts that accompanied his re-integration into life and society in Israel. The play adds an extra dimension to the contents of the exhibition “Here Began My Childhood” (stories of children who survived the Holocaust) and creates ties to other social issues.


In the coming months a new production will be introduced in the Korczak Hall. The name of the play is “A Hundred Times Better to Be a Child…”  (in the words of Korczak). The play will bring to life the story of Korczak and Stefa Wilczyńska based on the five stages of the exhibition, through a multimedia theatrical experience. Korczak’s life story, his educational philosophy and his artistic works will be conveyed through the character of Stefa Wilczyńska, who worked with Korczak in the Jewish orphanage both before and during the Holocaust. The play will also integrate key events in the life of Janusz Korczak which influenced and shaped his path and actions. The play will be performed in two languages, Hebrew and Arabic, and will be presented in three formats: bilingual, Hebrew, or Arabic. The play will raise questions and open discussion on issues relevant to the world of its audience today.

Monologues
Over the years monologues have been prepared based on testimonies of survivors who were children during the Holocaust. The monologues are performed between the exhibits or used as part of a workshop in video form. The monologues are presented by guides who have been trained as actors.
The role of these dramatic segments is to illustrate to visitors the reality of life, the doubts, the difficulties and the situations in which children find themselves: Separation from parents, living under an assumed identity, living in hiding, dealing with labeling, escape, hiding, and more.


Special Projects

From Exhibition to Kit
We believe that learning about the Holocaust is a multi-step long-term process lasting throughout the school years. So our job is to create the initial basis for that study. Proper construction of the learning process will lead to the development of curiosity and motivation, and these in turn will lead to a desire to meet with real survivors, listen to their testimonies, read memoirs and watch films that deal with this subject.

According to this educational approach, it was important to develop educational kits for young visitors and their teachers, based on the permanent exhibitions of "Yad LaYeled", which allow for expanding the study of the subject at school.

“Dreams Between the Walls”: This kit accompanies the main exhibition, "The World of the Jewish Child During the Holocaust", and is based on the pictures and testimonies of the exhibition, with various activities in a variety of pedagogical formats.

“Stories of Hiding and Rescue”: This kit includes a booklet and a videotape about four stories of hiding and rescue of children who grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust: Haviva Barak, Leah Fried, Pinchas Zaiontz and Itzik Weinberg. All survivor-narrators portray the fortitude, resourcefulness and desire to survive of a child in light of the terrible reality.

Janusz Korczak of the Children”: The kit accompanies the permanent exhibit and includes a film and teacher’s guide. The documentary film is based on the memories of a teacher at the orphanage and three of his students. Testimonies and texts, images from Warsaw and sensitive musical accompaniment create a poetic film that takes us briefly into a world of light within the great darkness. The activity booklet that accompanies the film suggests activities based on Korczak's pedagogical tools, a selection of texts, Korczak’s life story, and a list of resources both from and about Korczak.

Kites and Dreams”:  A kit that follows Korczak's educational approach through the world of games. Activity centers on building kites as a task that combines fun with educational values.

In the Realm of Memory”: This kit follows the performance "Dance of Joy and Sorrow", with a complete recording of the play. The kit suggests ways for teachers and students to process the performance and delve deeper into its content after viewing it. These activities are adapted to different ages and levels of students.

Meet You at the Museum”: A booklet that prepares schools for their visit, with lesson plans on student expectations of the visit, childhood before the war, childhood under an assumed identity, and objects as testimony. The kit (in Hebrew) can be found on the “Yad LaYeled” website (in Hebrew).

 

"Dreams withing Walls"

"Stories of Hiding and Rescue"

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Project
At “Yad LaYeled” we have developed several unique programs for young teens who are becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

Family Program: Bar/Bat Mitzvah youths and their families are invited to a valuable, meaningful, and unique experience in the museum, a meeting between the visiting children’s world and that of children who lived through the Holocaust. At the core of the visit is the encounter of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah youths and their families with personal stories of youths their age.

School and Community Program: In the framework of programs for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah year, we built the program "Growing Up in the Shadow of War" that deals with the experiences the youth faced growing up during war. The program invites children of today to examine the process of becoming mature and forming a personal identity. Among the topics are: emotional and existential struggle, taking responsibility and commitment to family and friends, leadership and decision-making, spiritual coping, holding on to human values in times of war, growth in the midst of crisis, empowerment and positive thinking.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah for Survivors:  In addition to programs for youth, “Yad LaYeled” makes it possible to celebrate a late Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony for Holocaust survivors who did not have the opportunity to do so during their childhood. The ceremony takes place after a visit to the permanent exhibition "The Jewish Child in the Holocaust". The visit also provides a golden opportunity for grandparents to tell their own stories to their families.


Bar/Bat Mitzvah Ceremonies for Families from Abroad: This program was formed in cooperation with "Partnership2Gether" and the museum's American Friends Association. In this framework Bar/Bat Mitzvah families in the US are encouraged to visit “Yad LaYeled "and hold the service in the T'filat Adam synagogue of the museum.

Let’s Travel Towards the Sun”: This is a year-long school base project based on the spirit of Korczak. The program centers on familiarity with the personality of Korczak, reading his stories and other texts, creating fairy tales written in the spirit of those he wrote, and a visit to the Korczak exhibition at “Yad LaYeled." Teachers are trained in the program by “Yad LaYeled” staff and build lesson plans according to educational kits distributed by “Yad LaYeled”. This project opens the way for teachers and principals in schools to promote education in the spirit of Korczak's conception.

The Stories of Lieneke”: Following a temporary display of letters written by a father to his daughter, Jacqueline Van Der Hoeden ("Lieneke"), in Holland during the war, a creative writing workshop was developed in which children are exposed to the rescue story of Lieneke by a Dutch family.  In an attempt to maintain contact with his daughter, her father, Dr. Yaakov Van Der Hoeden, secretly sent letters to the rescuing family, and they were delivered into the hands of the Lienke. This activity at “Yad LaYeled” led to a book being published called "And What do They Call You Now" by Tami Shem-Tov, published by Ghetto Fighters' House and "Dvir " publishing house. The book includes the letters and the life story of Lineke. 

To Dance Life”: This program was created in cooperation with the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. Its goal is to tell about the Holocaust and the possibility to dream, to see the beauty of life and discover the goodness in humanity in the wake of the Holocaust, told through the life story of Yehudit Arnon, a Holocaust survivor who realized her dream - to immigrate to Israel and dance. The project includes a visit to “Yad LaYeled" and attending a performance at the home site of the dance troupe. The program was designed especially for pensioners.

Through Music and Memory”: Following the exhibition “Notes of Life”, with stories of violinists during the Holocaust, a project of “musicians” was opened, aimed at elementary schools, enrichment programs in intermediate grades, and music majors in high school. The project opens a window to the world of artists and art during the Holocaust.


Art and Memory Project”: The museum created partnerships with art majors in intermediate and high schools. The program included a visit to the “Yad LaYeled" exhibitions, for in depth learning of the subject of children's art during the Holocaust (for example in the Terezin Ghetto), and following the students' exposure to formal design, installations and content, they created works of art. The students’ work was shown in a school exhibition at “Yad LaYeled".

Dance and Remembering Project”: Over the last years, a dance workshop program for students has been developed by dancers of the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company at Ga'aton, combining a visit to the exhibitions of “Yad LaYeled" with a movement and improvisation movement workshop. The creative process continued into the dance studio and the final group product of impressive dance evenings were presented to audiences at Ga’aton, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem.

"From Holocaust to Rebirth": In cooperation with the Visitor’s Center of "Strauss Dairy": A tour of “Yad LaYeled", which placed an emphasis on the events of the war, the difficulty of dealing with reality, and children's ability to survive in unbearable conditions, and concluded with the rebuilding of the Strauss family and their efforts to develop industry in Israel.

Torah Education Network Project
In cooperation with the staff of the Torah Education Institution "El HaMaayan", the “Yad LaYeled” staff built a special program suitable for the Ultra-Orthodox community. Adapting the visit to observant students was at the front of our thoughts throughout all stages of preparation. As part of the special program, the students learned about the Emanuel  family’s children, Yona and Elhanan, and watched a film of testimonies from religious survivors in the Netherlands who were children during the war. The character of Yona Emanuel was dramatized and students participated in an activity about Elhanan, Yona’s brother. They later toured the core exhibition, working from a special instruction sheet and by the “eternal flame” they watched the film "The suitcase that you cannot take." The students attended a workshop in which they explored the exhibition “Following the Path of a Picture” and heard the stories of Yona Emanuel and Rabbi Israel Lau.

Project Kovno
Project Kovno (1998-2000) was a joint project of “Har VaGai” regional school and survivors of Kovno (Kaunas), accompanied by a “Yad LaYeled” team. The students studied, researched and interviewed survivors and wrote final papers on the subject. At the end of the project the students went on a journey together with the survivors and their wives, following the path the children took during the war: through Lithuania, Poland, Austria and Germany. One of the children who survived, Danny Chanoch, initiated the educational project which enables young people to trace the story of the group. Today the testimony of Danny Chanoch is shown in the permanent exhibition "The World of the Jewish Child in the Holocaust". As part of the project we have installed a memorial plaque at “Yad LaYeled” in memory of the children from the group of 131 who perished.


“Children Learn About Children" Project
This project was designed especially for students in the fifth and sixth grades. Pairs of schools in the country studied about the Holocaust, following books read together, such as "The Red Ribbon" by Nehama Rahav and “Run Boy Run" by Uri Orlev. Students corresponded via a website set up for this purpose, visited “Yad LaYeled” together with their peers in the partner schools, and created an exhibition at the end of the year representing what they learned. The project accompanied a teacher training course delivered by museum guides on methodologies and didactics of teaching the Holocaust. In addition to studying the Holocaust, this project also served a social purpose: to connect schools that differ in their lifestyles, such as pairing an urban school with a kibbutz school, or connecting religious and secular students. The project influenced a redefinition of the nature of the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony and challenged the students in planning and designing the ceremony. Schools that participated in the project are still studying the subject in the same way and continue the tradition of the ceremony as set up in the project. An international version of this program – the International Book Sharing Project (IBSP) was also developed for both middle and high school students (see below).


International Cooperation
From its founding, “Yad LaYeled” has acted in cooperation with entities abroad, primarily in developing educational materials and in disseminating the educational philosophy of the museum in Israel and throughout the world. From the very first year, the educational staff of “Yad LaYeled” has worked in cooperation with the Associations of American Friends and “Partnership2gether”. Together with the American Friends and our partners in the Western Galilee, we have developed a “Yad LaYeled” national and international reading project called "Children of the World Learn about Children". The museum, a pioneer in this field, established an online school in the name of Janusz Korczak, making it possible for thousands of students from Israel and the US to be in contact and discover literature about children during the Holocaust.

Another collaboration with our partners and the American Friends is the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Project aimed at encouraging Bar/Bat Mitzvah families in the US to visit “Yad LaYeled "and hold their coming-of-age service in the T'filat Adam synagogue of the kibbutz.

The partnership also supported the production of the educational kits "Dreams within the Walls" and "Kites of Hope" in English, and their distribution in US communities. Translation of the kits enabled museum educators to reach US partner communities and to hold workshops based on the educational concepts of “Yad LaYeled”.

Another web project is "Coming of Age during the Holocaust – Coming of Age Now." This project is based on an educational program written jointly by educational staff from “Yad LaYeled” and the museum of Jewish Heritage in New York. The program consists of thirteen stories of growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust (of which five are stories about the founders of Kibbutz Lochamei HaGhetaot) and is written in English. In 2011 the project won the bronze medal of MUSE in a website competition to promote education and research.


Towards the establishment of “Yad LaYeled”, an association of Friends was formed in France. Later they called themselves “Yad LaYeled - France". The French Friends Association has been supporting us for many years and maintains extensive activity in the distribution of a variety of quality educational materials in schools throughout France, materials based on the exhibitions and educational concepts of “Yad LaYeled”. Sponsored by the Association, educators from all over France arrive for educational seminars, which also include a visit to the “Yad LaYeled” exhibitions. The Association has supported upgrades to museum display technology: renovation of television screens at exhibitions, adding testimonies appropriate to our educational concepts and upgrading our testimony viewing stations. The Association recently assisted us in establishing the new exhibition "Here Began my Childhood."

In Conclusion
Over the past 20 years "Yad Layeled" has been in the forefront of innovative and age-appropriate Holocaust education, serving over 10,000 Israeli students yearly and thousands of visitors from both Israel and around the world.

As we look towards the future, rapid technological development offers new ways of preserving the memory of the Holocaust, learning lessons and reaching wider audiences. The challenge for the museum is to adopt timely and relevant ways to tell the stories, for in only a few years from now there will be no one left to tell them firsthand. Our professional educational staff is already preparing for this next phase in Holocaust education.

 

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