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Fredka Mazia with Dr. Moshe Bejski at Massuah`s inauguration, 1965

The history of Massuah

“The Massuah initiative was designed not only to preserve the documentation and recording of history and the establishment of a memorial site for the tens of thousands of members of our movement, but also to serve as an educational center for the younger generation, now and in the future, a generation that will learn the history of the period and come to its own conclusions about the future of the Jewish People…” Moshe Kol, 1972

The Massuah Institute for the Study of the Holocaust was established in 1972 by members of Hanaoar Hazioni and Akiva youth movements at Kibbutz Tel Yitzhak; the kibbutz established in 1938, during the Homa-u-Migdal period [Tower and stockade” - the communities established during the incursions and incidents in the years 1936-1939, known as The Arab Revolt].

After World War II the kibbutz accepted members who were Holocaust survivors from a variety of youth movements who came to Palestine. The idea of establishing Massuah began taking shape in the early 1960s and came from two directons; one began with the conference on heroism that was held at Kibbutz Tel Yitzhak on the Holocaust Remembrance Day, initiated by kibbutz members, some of whom were Holocaust survivors. Additional initiators were members of Hanoar Hazioni who came from Zaglebie in western Poland. These members, called Nasha Groupa (our group), managed to escape Poland through Slovakia and Hungary in the midst of the Holocaust. Members of Nasha Groupa and members of Tel Yitzhak decided to establish a center and an amphitheater for events in the kibbutz. The cornerstone was laid in May 1965. The objective of the founders was to establish a memorial center for members of these movements. The prominent figure among the group members was Fredka Mazya. Unlike her contemporaries, Mazya envisioned a institution devoted chiefly to educational work and not the party, one that would hold in-depth seminars, whose objective would be to bring young people in Israel and throughout the world closer to the subject of the Holocaust and its meaning, and not concentrate on establishing a memorial site for members of one youth movement alone. The initiators managed to secure a budget for building the museum with the help of the then minister, Moshe Kol. The new institution began work in 1972, as an international seminar center, which includes a museum, an educational center, and archival center for the movement.