Yad Vashem

May 9, 2012

A pilgrimage visit to this land must include an opportunity to face the horrors that the first ‘People of God‘ have been subjected to throughout history, and especially in the twentieth century.

At the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem this tragedy is powerfully presented in exhibits, movie clips and text and image displays.

Seven million Jews were exterminated in a systematic project that is now considered to be one of the greatest horrors of all time.

While a superficial knowledge of twentieth-century history blames one German leader with a team of his followers, the reality rightly apportions a wider responsibility.

How is it that so many people around the world, and the leaders of so many nations, knowing exactly what was happening, remained silent in the face of this evil?  

As someone once commented ‘all that is required for evil to prosper, is that good people do nothing.’

The outdoor area of the hill-top museum is covered with twenty thousand trees; each tree representing one person who worked to save even one person from the Shoah.

This word ‘Shoah’ is used by the Jewish people (instead of the more commonly used ‘holocaust’) since it means simply ‘disaster’ or ‘tragedy’ rather than positively implying ‘sacrifice to a god’.

We began our visit with time wandering through these commemorative trees. A significant number of Jews were saved by those now named as Righteous among the Nations.  

The Children’s memorial is a powerful encounter with the 1.5 million children who were murdered in the Shoah.

Janusz Korczak was a Polish doctor who chose to support and save children , in the end accompanying a number of children to their tragic death, rather than to save his own life.  This sculpture commemorates his ultimate love:

Each of the 20.000 trees is named to remember one of the Righteous among the nations.

Oskar and Emilie Schindler‘s trees:

Photos are not taken in the museum itself. The pictures below are at the exit as the dimmed lighting of the museum interior opens to the brightness of day overlooking Jerusalem.

May these
and all who sleep in Christ
find in His presence
and peace



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts

so simple

so simple

So simple that children who naturally and naively live with open eyes and ears get it, when we adults too often miss the point.

mountains & roofs

mountains & roofs

. The prevailing sense in the Old Testament was that God lived in the heavens (above). Therefore mountain-tops (where heaven and earth seem to intersect) were a logical place of encounter with the divine. We see this in Moses, the holy Old Testament leader of people,...

opportunity knocks

opportunity knocks

I find it very helpful to hear Jesus speaking directly to me, not as a fearsome threat but as an invitation to not miss the divine presence in the midst of the routines and demands, the ups and downs of my daily life.

the gardener

the gardener

The question surprised me and the look in the young boy’s eyes let me know that he wanted more than a religious-cliche-response. I took a moment to think, pray, and think again and was surprised at the answer that came to me.

in the field

in the field

Such wise people have reflected on their life experience enough to know that while a peaceful and perfect day is welcome, we are most connected with others and therefore with God (we could also say most connected with God and therefore with others), when we live a struggle together.