Yad VaShem-The World Holocaust Remembrance Center– is Israel’s official memorial place to the victims of the Holocaust, displaying the perpetrators as well.
It is dedicated to preserving the memory of the Jews who were murdered by the Nazis, honoring Jews who fought against the Nazis. Yad VaShem serves as a research center, dealing with the phenomenon of the Holocaust which happened in the past, and avoiding such an event in the future.
The theme of Yad VaShem is taken from the Bible:
“Has the like of this happened in your days, or in the days of your fathers? Tell your children about it, and let your children tell their children, and their children the next generation.”
The meaning of its name is “a memorial and a name”:
“I will give in My house and within My walls a monument and a memorial.”
After the Nazis tried to eradicate the very existence of the Jewish people, sometimes taking their names and giving them a tattooed number, those people were given back their names and memorial.
Yad VaShem is located on the western slope of Mount Herzl, also known as the Mount of Remembrance.
On the north slope of the mountain is Israel’s biggest military cemetery.
It may be said about mount Herzl that Yad VaShem commemorates the price the Jewish people paid when they didn’t have a state to defend them, and the military cemetery commemorates the price that the Israeli citizens paid and still pay to defend their independent state.
Thousand of trees commemorate the bravery of Gentiles who put their lives at risk, not for the sake of money and aided Jews to go through the war’s horrors. They were recognized by Israel as Righteous Among the Nations.
The indoor museum at Yad VaShem presents the story of the Holocaust from a unique point of view through original objects, documents, testimonies, films, diaries, letters, and works of art together, emphasizing the personal story of the victims. The combination of all these personal means of expression allows the visitor to absorb the abundance of information through a multidimensional sensory experience.
The arrow-like linear structure – 220 yards long – penetrates the mountain from one side and exits from the other. Daylight enters from a skylight at the top of the prism-shaped building, symbolizing the fact that the Nazi atrocities were done in daylight.
Galleries depicting the complexity of Jewish life in this dark period branch out from the arrow-shaped corridor.
The dramatic exit from the museum, at the end of the arrow, erupts from the northern slope of the mountain to the view of present-day Jerusalem mountains.
(taking pictures at the indoor museum is forbidden)
Hall of Remembrance
This is the first Holocaust commemoration site established at Yad VaShem.
Engraved on the mosaic floor are the names of 22 of the most infamous Nazi murder sites, symbolic of the hundreds of extermination and concentration camps, transit camps, and killing sites that existed throughout Europe.
The Eternal Flame, burning from a base fashioned like a broken bronze goblet, continuously illuminates the Hall.
Pillar of Heroism
“Now and forever, in memory of those who rebelled in the camps and ghettos, fought in the woods, in the underground and with the Allied forces, who braved their way to Eretz Israel, and those who died, sanctifying the name of God.”
This unique memorial is a tribute to the approximately 1.5 million Jewish children who were murdered during the Holocaust. Memorial candles, a customary Jewish tradition to remember the dead, are reflected infinitely in a dark and somber space, creating the impression of millions of stars shining in the firmament.
Janusz Korczak and the Ghetto’s children.
The monument commemorates Dr. Henrik Goldschmidt, known as “Janusz Korczak” – a doctor and educator who was born into an assimilated Jewish family in Warsaw, Poland. Korczak wrote many educational books and ran orphanages. During the Holocaust, he refused to abandon the Jewish children at the orphanage, he moved with them to the Warsaw ghetto, and was taken with them to their death in the Treblinka extermination camp.
The monument commemorating the Warsaw ghetto uprising, which broke out in the spring of 1943, was established by the Jewish artist Nathan Rappaport in the center of the city of Warsaw, five years after the uprising, on 19 April 1948. In the central square in Yad VaShem, a copy of this monument is found.
The train car memorial was erected in memory of the Jews who were sent to the extermination camps. The monument consists of a train car and a railway track standing on a broken bridge. The train car was originally used to transport livestock. During World War II, the car was used to transport Jews to the extermination camps.