A visit to Yad Vashem Museum is as important as a visit to Israel and Jerusalem combined. It is located on the slopes of the Mount of Remembrance, in Hebrew Har Hazikaron in Jerusalem Israel.
The whole project started after the birth of Israel in the beginning of the 1950’s with the idea of perpetuating the memory of the victims of the Holocaust for the future generations. Israel was just established and many of its citizens were survivors themselves of the concentration camps and ghettos of Europe.
The Hall of Names at Yad Vashem
The Museum Complex is divided
into several wings
The Holocaust History Museum
This museum occupying over 4,200 square meters, present the story of the Shoah from a special Jewish view with survivors testimonies and individual experiences of the victims.
At the end of the Museum’s presentation is the Hall of Names, a memorial to those who perished in the form of pages of testimony of Holocaust victims. A decade in the making, the Holocaust History Museum combines the best of Yad Vashem’s expertise, resources and state-of-the-art exhibits to take Holocaust remembrance well into the 21st century .
From the Hall of Names, visitors will continue on to the epilogue and from there to the balcony opening to a panoramic view of Jerusalem. It is very emotional visit. About a million visitors a year among them many dignitaries and world leaders, all agree that this is a meaningful way to commemorate the six million victims of the Shoah.
The Art Museum at Yad Vashem
The collection of art from the Holocaust comprises 10,000 works, most of them from the period itself. In order to display such a treasure a new Holocaust Art Museum was build thanks to the generous support of Miri and Sheldon Adelson of the United States. The art displayed is based on the experience of the individuals and truly penetrates your soul.
In one wing there are displays of different artists and the rest of the space is divided by subjects and the view of the different camps from inside and outside. In addition, three artists have areas dedicated solely to their works: Charlotte Salomon and Carol Deutsch.
Yad Vashem archive and information center
Next to the hall is a computerized archive and information center regarding Shoah art and artists. The center is meant for the occasional visitor who wishes to learn more about a particular artist viewed in the exhibit, as well as for researchers wishing to utilize the information for their academic work.
All this art created during that period was at the risk of the artist’s life. They were exhausted physically and mentally and there was a lack of material and other essentials of daily life. Some art did survive even in cases when the artist did not.
Some of the art produced in simple pieces of paper available at that time is well preserved for future generations. It is constantly rotated so as to allow some of the art to “rest” in specific dark conditions.
The new Yad Vashem Museum, which opened in 2005, is built in the form of a prism penetrating the mountain and divided into nine galleries with photographs, films, documents, letters and works of art and personal items found on the camps and ghettos after liberation.
Yad Layeled the Children Memorial
Yad Vashem has other memorials and monuments
The Hall of Remembrance where the ashes of the dead are buried and an eternal flame burns in commemoration
Yad Layeled, the children’s memorial, commemorating the one and a half million Jewish children who were murdered in the Holocaust
The Memorial to the Deportees is an authentic railroad car hanging over the cliff on the road winding down from the mountain. The car was used to transport Jews who had been banished from their homes to the concentration camps.
Avenue of the Righteous among the Nations at Yad Vashem
The Avenue of the “Righteous among the Nations” has over 2,000 trees which were planted in honor of non-Jews who endangered their lives in order to rescue Jews from the Nazis.
I do hope that every visitor of any faith visiting Israel, the Holy Land will dedicate on day to visit the Yad Vashem Museum. It is debt we all have to those who perished in what Hitler called the “Final Solution”.
images for yad vashem memorial
courtesy of wikimedia commons