Borussia Dortmund, Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Bank and Volkswagen will each contribute EUR 1 million for the expansion of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel, as part of an initiative led by the German Friends of the Yad Vashem Association.

Yad Vashem houses the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of Holocaust objects. Due to the increasing number of artefacts, a new building will be built known as the “Shoah heritage campus” which will create additional space for storage, research and restoration. The aim is to secure, protect and preserve the collection for posterity. The construction of the new centre, with a floor area of approximately 45,000 sq ft, is expected to start in August 2019. Since its foundation in 1953, Yad Vashem has endeavoured to collect the names of all Holocaust victims, more sources of information and all objects that can help educate the world about the fate of the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.

The German Friends of Yad Vashem Association has won over some well-known supporters for this emotive and touching collection. Borussia Dortmund is contributing EUR 1 million towards the expansion of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel.

"Remembering, documenting, researching and teaching are the pillars on which Yad Vashem is founded. It is our honour and obligation to strengthen them. Future generations should know the suffering that has been inflicted on people by other human beings. We are committed to international understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence," said Hans-Joachim "Aki" Watzke, CEO of Borussia Dortmund, who together with other supporters issued a joint statement today in Berlin with regards to the commitment of their companies.

This is how Borussia Dortmund plans to maintain the commitment it has had for the past 10 years. "For many years now, we have been providing educational programs for BVB fans, colleagues, partners and sponsors. Together with this strong network, we are making a lasting commitment to the memory of the Holocaust, as well as against modern day anti-Semitism," emphasised Carsten Cramer, Managing Director of Borussia Dortmund.

Dr Haim Gertner, Director Yad Vashem Archives said, "The new Shoah heritage campus” will create storage space in vaults for documents, works of art and artefacts in perfect conditions, mostly underground. It will enable us to protect all types of objects using the latest technology to ensure their preservation. At the same time, we want to strike a balance between the urgent need for preservation and the necessity for interaction. The conservation labs will therefore provide an insight into the work of the experts and on the lower level, the complex will also house two galleries where we can share our collections with the public".

"The Nazis did not only try to murder the Jews, but also to erase their identity, their memory, their culture and their heritage," said the Chairman of Yad Vashem, Avner Shalev. "For many, the only objects that remained were works of art, personal items, photographs, and documents preserved under the most difficult of circumstances and deposited with Yad Vashem to enshrine the stories of their creators and owners forever. By preserving and exhibiting these intellectual and spiritual assets, the “The new Shoah heritage campus” will restore the voice and identity of the victims and ensure that they will never be forgotten".

Video: Hans-Joachim Watzke about the Yad Vashem Memorial