Yad Vashem researchers have been interviewing survivors, logging their stories, tagging materials and scanning documents into the museum's digitized archive.
Aside from their value as exhibits in the museum, Yad Vashem says the items are also proving helpful for research, filling in holes in history and contributing to the museum's huge database of names.
"Thousands of Israelis have decided to part from personal items close to their hearts, and through them share the memory of their dear ones who were murdered in the Holocaust," said Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. "Through these examples, we have tried to bring to light items whose stories both explain the individual story and provide testimony to join the array of personal accounts that make up the narrative of the Holocaust."
For 83-year-old Shlomo Resnik, one such item was the steel bowl he and his father used for food at the Dachau concentration camp. His father Meir's name and number are engraved on the bowl, a reminder of how hard they had to scrap for food. "We fought to stay alive," he said.
Approaching the glass-encased display, Tsilla Shlubsky began tearing. Below she could see the handwritten diary her father kept while the family took shelter with two dozen others in a small attic in the Polish countryside. With a pencil, Jakov Glazmann meticulously recorded the family's ordeal in tiny Yiddish letters. His daughter doesn't know exactly what is written and she doesn't care to find out.
"I remember him writing. I lived through it," said Shlubsky, 74. "Abba (Dad) wasn't a writer, but with his heart's blood he wrote a diary to record the events to leave something behind so that what had taken place would be known."
She said it pained her to part with the family treasure.
"I know this is the right place for it and it will be protected forever," she said. "Now is the time and this is the place."
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