22 May 2011
The last and most moving stop on our Israel visit was Yad Vashem. It is the official memorial of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
It sits on 45 acres in East Jerusalem. 800,000 people visit annually. It seemed like we ran through in 2 ½ hours. We should have spent all day.
There are 10 exhibition halls, each devoted to a different chapter in the history of the Holocaust. It is technologically amazing, and along with millions of documents, it does even more to bring home the story.
It really hit home how much complicity there was to the Nazi carnage. We saw photo albums showing atrocities and murder by local police forces and even everyday citizens.
Yad Vashem also honors non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews. Each one identified receives a certificate of honor plus a medal. Their names are commemorated in the special garden on the Mount of Remembrance.
Also here is the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names. Two million pages of short biographies are available. To date, some 3.1 million Jews are commemorated in the database. It is completely uploaded to the Internet and can be checked and edited from around the world.