Saturday, May 9, 2009

I will never be the same

Front entrance to Yad Vashem

Yesterday Tom and I were able to go to Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial here in Jerusalem. Yad Vashem is the worldwide headquarters for holocaust research and documentation. I hesitate to even post about it because it is something you have to experience for yourself to really grasp. It's a huge campus of different buildings and monuments. The biggest part is a huge museum that took us a couple of hours to walk through. I was amazed at the things they had preserved. They had clothing that prisoners wore in concentration camps, piles of shoes, even half-burned photographs that were found in the pockets of those who were murdered. All throughout the museum they had videos of holocaust survivors, and pictures of those who didn't make it. It was heart wrenching to hear their stories. There was one survivor remembering back to a time where it got so bad that the other prisoners would kill themselves by grabbing the electric fences. He would try to do whatever he could to remind himself all day that he was a human and that he was alive. He remembers being slapped around one day by a soldier, and it made him happy because for that day, the pain made it easy to remember that he was a human and that he was in fact alive.

They don't allow you to take pictures inside the museum, but here is a quick virtual tour they provide on their website.

I can't explain what it did for me to read and listen to the stories of these people who suffered so much. I studied the holocaust many times in school, but this was..... different. Much more profound.

I know it's a negative subject, and maybe a little two heavy for my weird, quirky little blog, but I know this means a great deal to the people here. They don't want the Holocaust to ever be forgotten. And it shouldn't be. The experience of Jews and others of that time are unimaginable to me. It helps my love and understanding for the Jewish people grow so much.

The beautiful view as you come out the back end of the museum. The feeling I got as I came out and saw this view helped me get a little bit better understanding of why this place means so much to them. It's finally a place they can call home.

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