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Pages of Testimony are special forms created by Yad Vashem to restore the personal identities and to record the brief life stories of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices. Submitted by survivors, remaining family members or friends in commemoration of Jews murdered in the Holocaust, these one-page forms, containing the names, biographical details and, when available, photographs, of each individual victim are essentially symbolic “tombstones”. Since its inception Yad Vashem has worked tirelessly to fulfill our moral imperative to remember every single victim as a human being, and not merely a number. The first eight hundred thousand names on Pages of Testimony were collected during the 1950’s, with ongoing global outreach efforts to identify the unnamed victims of the Shoah so they will always be remembered.
To date there are some two million seven hundred thousand names recorded on Pages of Testimony, written in more than twenty languages, stored for perpetuity in the circular repository around the outer edge of the Hall of Names. Many shelves remain empty bearing witness to the millions of individuals who have yet to be memorialised.
In 2013, the Yad Vashem Pages of Testimony Memorial Repository was included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, the first time that Israeli collections were included in the registry. “For many Holocaust survivors and their families, Pages of Testimony are the only tangible evidence that their murdered loved ones once lived,”Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem stated. “The Nazis and their collaborators strove to murder each and every Jewish man, woman and child and to erase any vestige of their existence. These pages, together with information gathered from around the world as part of our names recovery efforts, restore their names – their identities. We will continue our efforts to bring the names and identities of the victims back from oblivion as long as we are able to do so. I urge anyone who has not yet submitted Pages of Testimony to do so now.”
“The Pages of Testimony Repository represents a huge-scale collective memorial to Holocaust victims, unprecedented in history in both its dimensions and its intent to preserve the names as symbols of their humanity. Comprised of invaluable personal hand-signed testimonies, it is unique in the world,” said Dr. Alexander Avram, Director of the Hall of Names. UNESCO’s Memory of the World Program raises to a global level the awareness and the imperative of preservation of, and access to, unique and irreplaceable documentary heritage in various parts of the world. The Memory of the World Register, founded in 1995, includes 299 items worldwide endorsed by the Director-General of UNESCO.
In addition to Pages of Testimony, The Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names contains names from varied archival sources, bringing the total number of names registered to four and a half million (as of January 2015).
Yad Vashem urgently encourages the public to submit Pages of Testimony, which provide a powerful and personalised form of lasting commemoration for Shoah victims. Photographs and other personal documentation about the victims provide additional biographical information to the historic record.
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