Yad Vashem responds: We do pay tribute to Holocaust's ultra-Orthodox victims
Meir Wikler's op-ed that the museum is biased toward the secular Jews who perished in the Holocaust is full of misinformation, writes Yad Vashem spokeswoman.
Meir Wikler’s latest article on what he perceives as bias against Haredim at Yad Vashem is replete with misinformation.
For example, Wikler says there is only one testimony of a Haredi survivor in the Holocaust History Museum; this is not true. He claims that blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, donning tefillin, lighting candles on Hannukah “are not mentioned at all”. Again, this is false. Rabbi Weissmandl and the Working Group’s efforts, under impossible circumstances, to rescue Jews are respected by Yad Vashem and all the guides trained here. It’s unfortunate that Wikler chooses to see insults and slights where none exist.
To state that “spiritual heroism of the Holocaust is almost completely overlooked” is wrong and misleading, demonstrating a perception unrelated to reality. Yad Vashem seeks to meaningfully impart the story of the Shoah in all its complexity and variety with a special emphasis on spiritual heroism. The activities of Yad Vashem - its museums, exhibitions, online material (viewed by over 12 million people last year), educational approaches, publications, and more - prove the contrary.
Wikler says that Haredim have authored their own Holocaust history books, developed curricula and teach their children. Indeed, for nearly a decade, an ultra-Orthodox department in Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies has been working closely with Haredi educators and leaders to prepare educational material such as the multi-volume textbooks Years Wherein We Have Seen Evil in Hebrew and English and seminars - at Yad Vashem and elsewhere - serving Haredi educators and students throughout Israel. Sincere dialogue between Yad Vashem and the leadership of Haredi Jewry and their representatives over the years has resulted in productive educational activity with the Bais Yaacov and other Haredi educational systems, and many Haredim participate in seminars at Yad Vashem, in genuine partnerships with Agudath Israel of America and the Belz community in Israel, to name just a few.
To claim, as his headline does, that “Yad Vashem honors only Holocaust’s secular victims” is outrageous and can only be a result of an unfounded bias.
I invite Haaretz readers to join the hundreds of thousands of people, including Haredim and other Jews and non-Jews of all backgrounds, who visit the Holocaust History Museum, and other sites at Yad Vashem, and experience it for themselves.
Iris Rosenberg is the Spokesperson at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.