View of Jerusalem upon leaving the museum.
Yad Vashem - the Holocaust Museum.
June 5, 2006
Today I cried for the third time on this trip. It had nothing to do with frustration (the first time I cried). It had nothing to
do with missing my mom (the second time I cried). This time it had to do with the sheer emotion of visiting Yad Vashem –
Jerusalem’s Holocaust Museum. It’s difficult to explain how moving and powerful this place was. I learned more about the
history of the Nazi party and the ideas that Hitler planted into the minds of the German people. While it might not be
extremely powerful to all, a Jewish person can’t help but feel the impact when they see all of the propaganda that was used.
Everything from children’s books teaching anti-Semitism to the German currency that blames the Jews for its lack of
worth on every bill. In his quest for ‘racial purity’, dimensions of people’s faces were taken. What started off as simply the
boycotting of Jewish people’s businesses then turned into the banning of Germans marrying Jewish people. These things
kept increasing more and more in time until it turned into what we all know as the Holocaust.
I spent well over two hours here and while I was choked up in the beginning, I was in full tears by the end. They had first-
hand accounts of Holocaust survivors playing on the small movie screens. On one hand, at least some people survived. On
the other hand, how can a person move on with their life after witnessing what they had seen? How could they get past
over three years of torture that they endured? Even at the concentration camps it was survival of the fittest. One wrong
move and your life was over. That aside, to view the malnutrition of these individuals was something I could barely
stomach to look at – they literally turned into just skin and bones. At the end of the museum, the movie screens showed
the bulldozing of the lifeless bodies (basically just skeletons covered with skin) that infiltrated the concentration camps.
Probably the most horrible visual I have ever seen of the Holocaust.
I have never been as affected by my religious roots as I was today. I now understand what it is to be a Jewish person
visiting Israel. I have no idea what a non-Jewish person would feel when visiting this country. While I first entered Israel in
Eilat my connection consisted of being somewhat familiar with the Hebrew writing that is everywhere. Today my
connection went far beyond that – thoughts went through my mind that my grandparents and parents could have been
victims if they were still in their home country of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. To think of a parent or grandparent
having to endure that kind of torture is just painful. The truth is that most people don’t have parents or grandparents that
endured it simply because very few lived through it. In addition to the millions murdered, there was also the future
generations that were killed off along with them.
And then I couldn’t stop thinking about the people in the world that would still like to carry out this plan…