"Researchers" submitting Yad Vashem Pages of Testimony #israel #holocaust


Adam Turner
 

A probable relative of mine is listed on a Yad Vashem Page of Testimony submitted in 2007 by a "researcher" named Xavier Messalati. On further checking, it appears that Mr. Messalati has submitted almostĀ 14,000 pages over the years - most of them with virtually no sourcing on the Pages that would aid in verifying the accuracy of the information. Frustrating, and not just for me - there is at least one other post from someone on this very list who had questions for the same person about his "research."

Does anyone know precisely what Yad Vashem means for Testimony to have come from a "researcher"? Do they have any procedures in place for vetting such testimony?

There is a specific scenario I am wondering about in this case: some Googling for the name "Xavier Messalati" suggests that a person by that name is (or recently was) a tour guide, especially for Francophone tour groups, in Jerusalem. So I am curious about the possibility that Mr. Messalati is not a "researcher" in the sense that folks on this list generally think of it - someone whose job, or serious hobby, is to pore through various sources in an attempt to answer specific research questions, and habitually submits Pages to Yad Vashem on people who he has incidentally found were Holocaust victims in the course of his research.

Instead, I wonder if the reason this "researcher" has submitted such a huge number of Pages of Testimony is actually just that he has contact with an enormous number of victims' friends and relatives in the course of his job as a tour guide, and when he takes his tour groups to Yad Vashem, he asks if anyone knows of any victims and submits Pages with zero corroborating info (possibly on computer terminals Yad Vashem has set up onsite to facilitate easier submission) on their behalf at that time.

My only experience with the layout of Yad Vashem was a brief visit as a tourist in 2015. Is the scenario I've guessed at plausible - that a tour group leader could potentially submit tons of Pages on behalf of his clients, and yet still be categorized by Yad Vashem as a "researcher"?

Adam Turner

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