PARIS, January 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
On the 70th anniversary commemoration of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in Poland, the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, chaired by Mrs. Lily Safra, has donated 1 million euros to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation for its preservation and education initiatives.
Mrs. Safra and the Foundation have joined governments and a small group of private donors in creating a perpetual endowment for the preservation of all authentic remains, buildings, ruins, artefacts, documents and artworks at the Auschwitz Memorial.
Mrs. Lily Safra, Chairwoman of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, said: "I know from personal experience that a visit to Auschwitz can be a powerful tool for preserving the memory of the Holocaust and educating future generations. It is essential, therefore, that the physical site be conserved, and it is our privilege to support this effort as part of our wide range of Holocaust education programs around the world."
Edmond and Lily Safra were among the first benefactors of the "March of the Living" program that has allowed more than 200,000 students to visit Auschwitz since 1988, and they personally participated in one of the first marches. The site stands as a permanent memorial and reminder to future generations that such tragedies should never again take place.
Deeply committed to commemorating the Holocaust and teaching its lessons to future generations, the Edmond J. Safra Foundation is a major supporter of a number of museums and educational institutions around the world, including Yad Vashem, the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris (home of the Edmond J. Safra Educational Institute), the Memoriale della Shoah in Milan, Yahad-In Unum, Facing History and Ourselves, and the Aladdin Project. The Foundation is also a leader in the support of medical research and health care, education, and social welfare.
About the Edmond J. Safra Foundation's support of Holocaust memorial and education initiatives
Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
Established in 1953 as the world center for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem contains the world's largest repository of information on the Shoah. Its International School for Holocaust Studies welcomes thousands of high-school and university students, teachers, and diplomatic and political leaders each year, providing educational programming at all levels. The Edmond J. Safra Foundation continues Mr. and Mrs. Safra's longtime support for education at Yad Vashem, funding teacher training seminars and the expansion of the School's building. A new wing of the school was inaugurated in 2012, featuring the 330-seat Edmond J. Safra Lecture Hall.
Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York
The Museum of Jewish Heritage, located on Edmond J. Safra Plaza in New York City's Battery Park, is a "living memorial to the Holocaust". It honors those who died by celebrating their lives and the civilization that they built: their achievements and faith, their joys and hopes, and the vibrant Jewish community that is their legacy today. In addition to the galleries featuring films, testimonies, and a collection of more than 15,000 artifacts, photographs, and documents, the Museum complex contains Edmond J. Safra Hall, a state-of-the-art theater suitable for films, lectures, and performances; a memorial "Garden of Stones"; classrooms; a resource center and library; and expanded gallery space for temporary exhibitions. It offers a wide range of educational opportunities for schools and teachers, including an extensive Speakers' Bureau. The Foundation was a major partner in the Museum's construction and provides ongoing support for special exhibitions and general operations.
Mémorial de la Shoah, Paris
The Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris is one of the world's leading Holocaust remembrance institutions, welcoming 200,000 visitors annually. The Mémorial has become a national center for Holocaust education and diversity training over the years. Its Edmond J. Safra Education Institute organizes programming for the 30,000 young people who visit with their school classes each year, as well as groups of police officers, health care professionals, army officers, and elected officials. In 2014 the Mémorial de la Shoah signed a groundbreaking partnership with Germany's Goethe Institut. This partnership will allow both institutions to reach a larger audience, and will make Holocaust research and education part of the cultural exchange between the two countries.
Memoriale della Shoah, Milano
In addition to being the center of Italian Jewish life today, Milan was also the site of a tragic chapter in the community's history: after the German occupation of Italy, Milan's central railway station became the main deportation point for Jews from across the country. Between December 1943 and January 1945, fifteen convoys of Italian Jews were deported on trains departing from the now-infamous "Binario 21" (Track 21), with most arriving at Auschwitz. The Foundation supported the community's efforts to erect a permanent memorial and educational space at the site of Track 21, a vast two-level section of what is still Milan's central train station. The basement level encompasses a large platform for the reception of cargo that was used as the arrival point for Jews transported to the station on trucks. Once at the station and loaded onto cattle cars (some of which are on display), the wagons were hoisted up onto the main level, from where they would depart. The memorial opens up this dual space, bringing the "hidden" into view, and showing the stark contrast between the bustle of a busy station and the horrendous crimes that took place alongside the indifference of daily commuters, workers, and the city-at-large.
Yahad - In Unum, Eastern Europe
Yahad-In Unum ("together" in Hebrew and Latin), established by Father Patrick Desbois in 2004, is dedicated to identifying and preserving the sites of Jewish mass executions by Nazi mobile-killing units in Eastern Europe during World War II. To date, Father Desbois and his colleagues have documented more than 1,300 execution sites and have gathered over 3,500 witness testimonies during the course of their 80 investigative research trips in seven countries (Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Poland, Romania, Moldova, and Lithuania).
Aladdin Project, France
The Edmond J. Safra Foundation has been a leading supporter of the Aladdin Project, a Paris-based educational and cultural outreach organization that was launched under the patronage of UNESCO in March 2009. The Aladdin Project aims to combat the pervasive lack of knowledge about Jewish culture and history in the Arab and Muslim world, with a particular focus on Holocaust denial.
Facing History and Ourselves
Facing History and Ourselves is a world leader in training and providing resources to educators to teach civic responsibility and tolerance to young people, providing historical content and classroom strategies to engage students in meaningful discussions about identity, belonging, and participation in community life. The organization's programs and resources help teachers confront the complexities of history in ways that promote critical and creative thinking about how to combat prejudice and promote fairness and justice in society. The Edmond J. Safra Foundation supports Facing History's international effort, centered around its international training hub in London.
SOURCE Fondation Edmond J Safra (Edmond J Safra Foundation)