Yad Vashem is Israel’s official museum and memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. I really wanted to go, but I really didn’t want to go–if you know what I mean. I knew it was going to be a hard visit, even with no family or religious connection to the Holocaust. As much as I love WWII history, I struggle with reading/listening/researching about the Holocaust. It’s just too horrible. And thinking about other genocides–not as recent or well-documented, but just as horrific–is a little too much for me.
And yet there are people who aren’t sure or don’t believe that it happened. That is hard for me to understand–I wonder what blind spots I have, if any, that other people struggle to understand.
On our last day of exploration, we made reservations for Yad Vashem. It was an optional experience–I didn’t want to force anyone here.
When Yummy needed to leave, we were just a little way through. Walking through the rest of it, I couldn’t read everything, or stop and listen at every place. The horrors the survivors experienced and described–what people could do to “other” people–was hard to take in. I felt so frustrated with the slow build-up–I wanted to shout to the people in the past to GET OUT; and for our government to realize sooner; and for the Germans of the 1930s to REALIZE. I may have gotten a little emotional myself.
After exiting the museum, I realized just how much the Jewish people lost in the Holocaust–the cultural memories, the family memories, the connections and the community and the security, the generations that just END–it’s no wonder the Israeli rallying cry is “Never Again”. The impact of the Holocaust is hard to overstate, and I knew that before going in, but it is stark and unavoidable at Yad Vashem.