The Hand of God

And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name that shall not be cut off. – Isaiah 56:5

Yad VaShem (given the extreme sanctity of the place, it is better written in Hebrew, יד ושם) is the World Holocaust Remembrance and Memorial Museum.  I doubt there are any many places on Earth that evoke a stronger feeling that than that at this museum.  Having been to two Holocaust museums (in Tampa, FL and in Washington, D.C.), I was surprised how un-somber (is there a better word) this place was.  The museums in the United States are dark and have a very gloomy and depressing atmosphere about them.  However, Yad VaShem, a giant A-frame with many outdoor portions, was pierced by sunlight throughout.

The museum had several striking features:

  • A massive dome that contains information about every known person who perished in the Holocaust.
  • An eternal flame surrounded by the names of the Nazi death camps.  Men must wear a kippah (Jewish head covering) to enter.
  • A children’s memorial.  A dark room with innumerable lights on the walls and ceiling – one for every child that died.  Voices call out the names, ages, and nationalities of the children.

I will admit, two of these pictures are from the internet, as photography was strictly prohibited (and enforced, if not by the security guards, but by museum patrons).  Anyway, here are the few that I have:

  1. View of the visitor’s plaza.  The rest of the museum campus is the left.
  2. Inside the visitor’s plaza.  I gave a few shekels to their donation box.
  3. A huge dome with pictures on the ceiling and information in thousands of binders on the walls.
  4. The eternal flame.  Surrounded by the names of the death camps, the flame both signifies the remembrance of those that died in the camps and the strength of the Jewish people – encircled with names like Auschwitz and Bergen-Belson, the flame represents the tenacity of the people.
  5. View of south-west Jerusalem from the museum exit.

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