Karin is an award-winning writer, editor and publisher of Christian and secular works in Europe and the USA.
While Yad Vashem may be a difficult visit for some, it is, in my opinion, an essential visit for all...Yad Vashem is a 'world' that displays not only the darkest deeds of man during World War II but restores dignity to the millions of Jews who perished in the concentration camps of Europe, known as The Holocaust. Various museums house an extensive collection of precious and priceless memorials and exhibits. Alongside these museums there is also an Art Gallery.
Primarily Yad Vashem is a sacred memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, simultaneously it undertakes the recording, storage and dissemination of data through various digital projects that carefully and meticulously preserve the past in order to educate and protect the future generations of this world.
Experiencing Yad Vashem
As you enter the complex you are struck by the powerfully angulated structured walls and like me you will probably hold your breath with a feeling of apprehension of what you are about to witness. Yad Vashem is not a 'visit' like any other, in fact it is an experience and we must bear witness to it... Exhibits vividly retell the stories of what life was like if you were a Jew living in wartime Europe. You quickly learn how a seed that was planted with Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' could escalate into the world's worst ever atrocity and at the end of your time here you will say to yourself 'never again'.
Through exhibits from the concentration camps to eye witness accounts recorded and preserved on state-of-the-art equipment, Yad Vashem manages to accomplish what few have and that is it gives back to the world the sacredness and value of human life. You will be challenged and stretched spiritually and psychologically, you will be taken on an emotional roller coaster throughout your time here as you try to absorb the enormity of what happened only a generation ago but you will come out of it with a different viewpoint than when you entered and I for one believe a better person.
Irreplaceable: The Generational Loss
The most difficult visit is the children's memorial. The generational loss alone was so huge, you wonder how on earth it could be represented and the children remembered at the same time? Well it is represented and remembered beautifully and in a way that penetrates your very soul. As you emerge out of from the other side into daylight again and just whenever you think there is no hope for man, you take a walk down the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations and light overcomes the darkness once more...The best known names for most of us are Oskar & Emilie Schindler and Miep & Jan Gies (who sheltered Ann Frank and her family). They immediately jump out at you but what strikes you the most and grants relief to the soul, is that there were many more who also helped and they like the Schindler's and Gies' are honored forever at Yad Vashem and thank God for them...
As Yad Vashem opens her doors each day to us, let us in turn open our hearts and minds and learn the valuable lessons that she teaches us - to never turn your back on your fellow human being and to always endeavour do the right thing - no matter what it costs...
How do I get there?
- Take advantage of FREE shuttle service from Mount Herlz, it makes 6 stops along the route.
- Egged Tours also have buses going to the Yad Vashem as part of a tour.
- For all travel details go to Yad Vashem Official Website, it has extensive details and links
Where can I stay?
Here are some local hotels where you can stay:
- The Crowne Plaza Hotel - just 1.7 miles from Yad Vashem. Totally central and near Bible Lands Museum and Knesset.
- Jerusalem Gold Hotel - again just 1.7 miles from Yad Vashem.
- Leonardo Plaza Hotel Jerusalem. Around 2 miles from Yad Vashem excellent facilities.
- Decide how you are going to travel and take water with you - always!
- Take a snack/lunch with you especially if you are walking.
- If you are unsure even after checking the websites etc., of how to get there and the best tours, check with your hotel reception and they will be more than willing to help you
- Allow yourself plenty of time to get around and I would not advise booking another tour somewhere else that day, there is a lot to see.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.