We had a field trip to Yad Vashem today and it was so eye opening. Yad Vashem is the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem and it was really good going there. By the way, none of the pictures in this post are mine, since we weren’t allowed to take pictures.
The museum is a concrete, triangle shaped hall with rooms weaving off the sides. To get to the other end of the museum, you have to go through all these rooms that go chronologically through the Holocaust. It was really busy today so I couldn’t take as much time as I wanted to in there, looking at everything, at all the possessions of Holocaust victims, at explanations of the ghettos, and the concentration camps. I got to see how all of these people that were murdered, humiliated, and tortured were real people. They were regular humans just like us, who went to school, went to work, had families, had hobbies, and did the same things we did.
There was a lot of anti-semitism during that time and all throughout history really. Many Jews just haven’t had it very good. Hitler had a particular hatred for them and when he was in prison he wrote Mein Kampf, which is both an autobiography and writings explaining his socialist, nazism, political ideologies. In there he wrote how Jews are not even people, that they cannot be considered human beings. Because of those thoughts, they felt it was okay to completely exterminate them.
Six million Jews were exterminated during the Holocaust. These people were brutally murdered. Why? No one really understands. Jews have been persecuted for so long. Some people think that they might have been singled out because they wouldn’t assimilate with all of the other people. They had their own religion and their own practices and it was just easier for them to live together. Also, Jews were powerful and had money. They were just different people. The earlier roots of some of their persecution also is that Jews were responsible for the death of Christ. However, none of these reasons justify what happened to them. Nothing could ever justify for the physical and psychological pain and suffering they were subjected to.
This is the Hall of Names inside the museum. They have named as many victimized, murdered Jews as possible. A large part of Yad Veshem is research and they study all about the Holocaust and about the people. They want to name and recognize as many as they can. It was so much more real to me going to this Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem because this is where all of the Jews are at today. It is such an important part of these people’s history.
More gruesome notes on the Holocaust:
-In some concentration camps, the people were given a slice of bread and some yogurt or something, which is hardly 200 calories. How could you survive? You couldn’t. Many people’s goals was just to survive another day, another minute. So many of them couldn’t do it. The few that did survive were subject to the most intense psychological horrors.
-They had to go on death marches, where they walked around Europe, in snow often times. One blanket was given to four people.
-“A child is orphaned when it loses its parents. A nation is orphaned when it loses its children.”
-There were over 1000 ghettos in Eastern Europe; zero in Western Europe.
-Jews were stripped before they went into gas chambers, so humiliating. Then they would be packed into the gas chambers and annihilated with Cyclone B, which was an insecticide. After they were all dead, officers would go in and take the bodies to the crematoriums. Officers would also get gassed after being there for too long. They had to be cycled through.
Adolf Hitler was only one man, and because of him, six million men, women, and children died.
“Liberated but not free – that was the paradox of the Jews.”