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



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