Holocaust - Yad Vashem

Trip Start Jan 03, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Israel  ,
Sunday, February 5, 2006

There are so many aspects of Jerusalem to explore that I think you need about a week to do it properly. But I guess that's with a lot of things in life :) I decided to make this the last day, so I wanted to see the most important Muslim part of the old city to: 'Dome of the Rock', the third most holy place for the Muslims in the world (Mecca & Mesina first) - It was early in the morning and I didn't really catch the vibe, but the golden dome of the mosque is pretty sparkly ;P

I met up with Jennifer to go to the Israel Museum, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls (the oldest written down version of the Torah) and the Shrine of the Book. So we got there after a cool 1.5 hour walking trip to find a 'closed' sign at the entrance. Turned out our guide book was wrong, so I walked to the guard and started making up this story that we study history and are doing a thesis on the major religions and how they were recorded in history. The poor woman didn't know what to do with me, so she called the manager for me, but too bad she wasn't it... I already had the phone in my hand! Ah well... nothing to do about it :)

I was planning to go to Jad Vashem that day also, so I decided to go earlier. Jad Vashem is the holocaust museum and man... it's the most impressive museum i've ever visited. So incredibly hard on the soul to see what all these people went to, the museum itself is beautiful and it has the survivors tell the stories on video... photo's, journals, artifacts. The most intens experience for me was 'The Netherlands' section, it was tiny - but I was reading through it all, and suddenly I was compelled to look up to my right. There was a picture 'Joden niet Gewenscht', right under the Vinkeveen city sign. I don't know WHY it HAD to be Vinkeveen, but it is where I grew up for 18 years of my life. Right around the corner a dream of a boy was written down and for me it described what I was doing, and I realized how it must have felt being that boy suddenly. For me... I just couldn't hold my tears back anymore That museum is just so heavy, seeing all the concentration camps, the stories, the photo's, the survivors... brrrrr...

When you exit the museum, straight away you have this beautiful scenic look over Jerusalem, which calms you down slowly. Around the museum is a very big area with over 2000 individual trees that are dedicated to Jewish men and women from the war. There is a place where ALL the 6.000.000 names are scribbled down in books, there is a section that burns 'infinite' candles for all the children that have died. Testimonials, a german train wagon that deported the Jews... An experience I'll never forget.

On the bus back from Yad Vashem I met a Jewish boy, whois grandparents live in Amsterdam. I talked to him for a while and he told me his other grandparents had died in one of the concentration-camps. Maybe I didn't even fully realize yet how big a part of our society it still is. But then again, it's only 65 years ago... and i'm 25. Almost can't conceive that this all happened when my grandparents were alive already. And at the same time people are still killing each other for these reasons...

On to a new generation, one thing is for sure: I'm signed up already.

The way there:

The 6.000.000 names stored in the Hall of Names;

Outside the Museum

The 1.5 million candles lit for the Jewish children who have died, an audio type place forever exclaiming their names and ages:
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