Posted by: cindybythesea | November 20, 2013

The Harvest is Ripe – Part 8

The mornings were getting cooler and sometimes, when we got in to the vines, we found grapes, which had already withered.  Beautiful, succulent grapes shriveled and dead from conditions that no longer could support them.

We were surprised one morning to find that we would only be picking grapes until noon instead of the usual two or two-thirty.  After that, we would be traveling by bus to Jerusalem to tour Yad Vashem – the holocaust museum.  We were all very excited to have the opportunity to visit this important and historical place, yet for all my excitement, I could not shake the slightly nauseous feeling that settled in the pit of my stomach at the thought of what I knew I would see.

Finishing the mornings picking, we boarded our bus for the hour or so journey in to the city. As we traveled, I wondered what the museum would look like. Oh, yes, I had an idea of what to expect inside, as I mentioned before.  But, how would it be displayed? If I were the architect, what would I construct that could possibly deal with a subject as serious as this in a meaningful and thoughtful way.  It was difficult to imagine.

But, as you will see, the architect (particularly inspired, I believe) wisely constructed a simple framework from which the victims themselves could speak.

Getting close to the city, our bus was stopped at a check-point, where our driver had to produce some of kind of documentation before we could continue on our way. Armed soldiers, male and female could be seen through our bus windows standing at the ready should they be called in to action; their uniforms and their weapons, a reminder that while they once may have been victims, they never will be again.

When we arrived at the museum, I was immediately struck by its design. Constructed in concrete like an inverted v – it is a study in shadows and angles – a cavernous, empty shell in which the past echos back and forth in voices which refuse to be hushed by the passage of time.

   Yad Vashem

On entering the museum, one weaves their way side to side through a series of  exhibits which range from the rise of Nazism to the end of the war. It is a comprehensive and detailed look at the horror that befell not just a nation but, the world. Specifically, the Jewish people.

Their stories and their voices are everywhere; in excruciating detail. Videos run night and day with the stories of survivors. Photos, letters, cards and film document what history cannot deny. Six million Jews were methodically and systematically slaughtered at the hands of the Nazi regime. No one was spared …. not children, not babies, not old men and women. No one.

We only had three hours to tour the museum. Needless to say in that short amount of time, I was not able to see everything that I would have liked.  Many things stand out in my mind, one of which was the braids of a young girl. At some point, they had been cut away from her head.  The ties at the end of the braids as intact today as the morning her mother last tied them.  This photo is exactly as I saw them.

Another thing was the shoes. Hundreds, no, thousands of shoes! Shoes of all kinds. Fancy shoes, shoes with heels, walking shoes, boots and more. “Who wore all of these shoes?  Someone danced in this pair”, I think. “A party perhaps, maybe even a wedding …”   But, no one knows for sure ….

….. except the shoes.  The hundreds of thousands of empty shoes. This photo but, one of many piles and piles of shoes.

Near the end of the museum (where the names of the victims are meticulously archived) is a cavernous hole above which photos of many of the victims are displayed.  I was shocked, when I looked in to the hole, as it is like looking into an abyss. A gut wrenching reminder of the many lives lost; the many, many lives needlessly lost.

As you can see from the photo below, you would never expect that the hole in the center of this photo drops off into almost nothing.

Because pictures speak louder than words, I will close with these photos.

This is Yad Vashem.

   hall of the children

the corridor leading to the exhibits

   the interior

   the architecture

    the photos

    and, the victims

* All photos courtesy of google images.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper who love thee” Psalm 122:6

Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus!  Cindy

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Responses

  1. I have visited the Holocaust museum in Washington DC. It has been a long time since my visit, but I too remember the shoes, and the pictures, and the children. They give you a card at the beginning of someone who was take by the Nazi’s to one of the camps. You follow that person’s story and at the end you find out if that person survived or not. It is an overwhelming feeling from beginning to end. Our youngest son is 11 and wants to visit but we have not allowed it yet. While I think it is important for him to go one day, not just yet. One of my older daughters remembers that I didn’t allow her to go on a middle school field trip to the museum. I don’t remember but I’m sure it was the right decision. It is hard as a parent to know when and how much evil and horror to allow your children to see. Our son knows about the holocaust but to see it so vividly, at 11, (and he has been wanting to go for a couple of years), I just don’t think so.

    Thank you for sharing your visit to this museum in Israel. Just reading about it is overwhelming.

    [Thanks Karen for writing. I think you made a wise decision and if I remember correctly there were age restrictions at Yad Vashem for even entering the museum. I know there were arrangements made for team members who had children for other activities that afternoon. As anyone who has visited these museums know – it is a life changing experience. Many blessings to you and your family and again, thanks for writing! C]


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