Former Chief Rabbi Lau named as chair of Yad Vashem council
Lau, now Tel Aviv chief rabbi, will replace late Yosef Lapid as head of Holocaust museum board.
Israel's Cabinet has named the former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau as the new chairman of the council of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.
Lau, 71, is a Holocaust survivor who went on to become a respected and influential rabbi. He succeeds Yosef (Tommy) Lapid, a fellow Holocaust survivor and former minister of justice who died in June this year, as chairman of the council, an honorary body of 120 people, which meets once a year.
"The issue of the Holocaust is close to Rabbi Lau's heart, and he sees in Holocaust Remembrance both Jewish and universal values," Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said in a statement released by the Centre.
"My life experiences echo in the walls of Yad Vashem, and are found in the documents and exhibits therein," said Lau.
Born in 1937 in Piotrkow, Poland, and scion of a well-known European rabbinic family, Lau survived the Holocaust, in which his parents and his entire family, with the exception of a brother and half brother, were murdered. At age eight, he was liberated from Buchenwald concentration camp by the U.S. army, the youngest surviving prisoner.
After the war, he emigrated to Palestine on a ship of orphaned refugee children.
His autobiography, "Do not raise your hand against the boy," published to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Buchenwald, became a best seller in Israel.
Lau served as chief rabbi of Israel from 1993 to 2003, and in 2005 was elected chief rabbi of Tel Aviv. He is also the recipient of the Israel Prize, the country's highest civilian honor.