Tuesday, March 3, 2009

One Hour for Each Million

Located on the top of The Mountain of Remembrance, Yad VaShem (The Memorial and The Name) stands as an intense and beautifully created museum dedicated to the terror of our people between 1930 and 1945.

The sign at the entrance suggests that one might expect to spend between one and one half to three hours visiting the exhibits and paying respects. It took me six. About an hour for every million of our brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts and cousins who were brutally murdered in by the hands of the Nazis in World War II.
I had been to Yad VaShem before, in 1974 and again in 1980 or so, and though that I knew what to expect. I knew which exhibits I would remember, and which I might avoid - Some really bothered me when I was 13 years old.

Surprisingly, I did not recognize even one room. The museum is brand new, rebuilt and reopened in March, 2005.

I was in awe of the clean look; the sharp architecture, and the intentional concentration not on the WHATs, rather, on the WHOs and the WHENs of the Holocaust. There was very little concentration on the camps themselves, and much more detail paid to the victims. I will not and cannot dash off a list of every exhibit, but what I will say is that even an hour for every million, was probably not enough time.

Aside from the memorials, personal to each and every one of the Six Million, the walkway between the main entrance and the museum itself includes memorials to non-Jews, who hold their own place in history, by merely being human. Said humanity, however, was at significant personal risk to these heroes. People like Oskar Schindler who with little regard for their own safety stepped up and saved thousands of lives.

While running the risk of sounding like a Travel-Log, I will submit to you that one should never visit Jerusalem and miss Yad VaShem. In fact, maybe more of the world should visit Jerusalem because of Yad VaShem. Your eyes my tear up for six hours, but they are supposed to. If not, this tragedy or one like it could happen again. It is up to us to remember. Never again.

From Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, Goodnight.
Ahava u'Vrachot.. Love and Blessings...


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