Recently reopened in 2005, Yad Vashem, literally meaning a “memorial and a name”, is the largest of Israel’s Holocaust museum. The entire museum campus is shaped like a prism covering over 44 acres and is located on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.
Yad Vashem – So Much to Experience
Holocaust History Museum – traces the origins of the Holocaust through documents, photographs, and relics culminating with a memorial displaying symbolic tombs showing the number of Jews killed by country as well as a tiny shoe that belonged to one of the 1.5 Million children murdered. I recommend viewing this site first.
Hall of Fame – containing shelves upon shelves of a seemingly endless list of all of the known victims of the Holocaust. You have the opportunity to fill out a page of testimony here to record the name of a known family member lost in the Holocaust.
Hall of Remembrance – houses a Ner Tamid (eternal light) memorializing the victims with the names of the concentration camps engraved on the floor. Underneath the floor are ashes of some of the victims.
Museum of Holocaust Art – displaying paintings and drawings completed by Jews in the concentration camps and ghettos during the Shoah.
- Childrens Memorial – A seemingly infinite sea of candles dramatized by positioning of mirrors while a voice narrates the names of the 1.5 Million young victims murdered during the Holocaust.
- Avenue of Righteous Gentiles – to honor non-Jewish Europeans who risked their lives trying to help Jews escape the Nazis; contains over 2,000 trees planted in their honor.
- Valley of the Communities – an outdoor memorial dedicated to the destroyed villages and towns of Europe.
- Memorial to the Deportees – a railroad car that is suspended over a cliff on the road winding down from the mountain commemorating those who were deported.
Interesting Note: The Holocaust Museum is one of the most visited sites in all of Israel. In fact, it is a compulsory for young recruits into the Israeli army to experience the museum at the beginning of their mandatory military service. YadVashem the organization was actually started in 1953 in order to document the memory of Holocaust victims and the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust so that they will not be forgotten by future generations.
I have personally visited this amazing museum twice and have never come away feeling the same each time. It is a difficult site to see but one, I think, everybody needs to experience. The Holocaust museum really drives home the true magnitude and impact of the Shoah.
Tours are available in English and entry is free. They also offer audio headsets to narrate many of the memorials and displays.
The Holocaust (Ha Shoah in Hebrew)