Current Students, Seminars

Seminar at Yad Vashem: From Auschwitz to the Righteous Among the Nations

300708_10150365095992232_761874663_n Born and raised in Israel, Mickey Dror-Zalishanksy earned her BA degree in Economics and Business from the University of Haifa. She is the mother of two daughters, living in Ramat Gan. After more than ten years working in the leading advertising agencies in Israel, Mickey decided to finally turn to study the topic that interested her since childhood.  As a grandchild of Holocaust survivors, Mickey always had a particularly strong interest in the topic. For the last year Mickey volunteered with holocaust survivors to find documents about their family members in the Beyt Wohlin library. In the future Mickey hopes to integrate her Holocaust Studies background into creating new approaches in Holocaust Education in Israel.  Today Mickey writes about the last day of our seminar at Yad Vashem:

“The last day of our seminar was a remarkable finale for a fascinating series of lectures. In a symbolic way, the day started with depicting the ultimate evil – Auschwitz, and ended with a sense of hope and the utter goodness – the Righteous Among the Nations.

Dr. Naama Shik, who lectured about the Auschwitz concentration camps’ complex, illuminated for us unique aspects regarding life, death and forced labor in the camps, focusing on women. In that hell called Auschwitz, there was a special hell for women. For some of them it didn’t end when the war was over, as they found themselves being judged for surviving against all odds. The lecture gave us a glimpse on the research done on the subject and on one of the most unique and special artifacts that remained from the camp – the Auschwitz Album.

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The following lecture, by Dr. Pinchas Bar Efrat, dealt with Holland and the Holocaust. Despite the image of the Netherlands as a liberal, tolerant nation that wasn’t anti-Semitic, one cannot overlook the fact that it holds the highest rate of Jewish victims in Western Europe. Dr. Bar Efrat gave us a comprehensive overview of the history of Holland during WWII, its civil administration and the crucial role it played in the destruction of the Dutch Jewry, a community that existed since the 16th century, was prosperous and well assimilated in the Dutch nation. Although 85% of the Jews in Holland perished, mainly to say due to the compliance of the Dutch ,most of the survivors were rescued by Righteous Among the Nations, among them Dr. Bar Efrat himself. His fascinating personal story of hiding with his brother and parents and their wartime experiences touched us all, and gave us a sense of the difficulties his rescuer had in saving the family.

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The day and the seminar were concluded with a lecture by one of our colleagues who works at Yad VaShem – Ms. Nannie Beekman, who’s in charge of the Dutch section of the Righteous Among the Nations. We learned about the process and procedures involved in recognizing an individual as a Righteous, the difficulties that come up sometimes in finding references to the act of rescue, and the cases where Nannie was actually acting as a detective in finding proof – letters, diaries and documents, to support the recognition. The cases Nannie described were inspiring and gave me, along with an extra boost to extend my knowledge, a sense of hope and faith in human kindness, which was much needed after an intensive delve in studying the human evil. As one Holocaust child survivor said, even in the darkest hour, human kindness shines.

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I would like to thank the Yad VaShem people and the program’s staff for a well thought, inspiring seminar that gave a wonderful opening for the spring semester.”

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