By Justin Linden and Trevor Siegel, NFTY in Israel Participants, Bus 7
As we walked through the great stone doors of Yad Vashem a great sense of familiarity swept over us. It has been 4 weeks since we journeyed through the horrors of the holocaust in Europe yet the wounds of our ancestors of which we learned still seemed fresh. Each document of deportation, each death certificate; every bit of evidence of the atrocities creates another void of anguish within us. We first traveled to the hall of names, where we were met with the documents containing the testimonies and names of thousands of victims of the Shoah. However, the exhibit in the center of the room is what stuck with us the most. There there was a deep pit carved into the ground with a small reflection pool at the bottom. While we gazed down at the pool we could see the names and testimonies of the people in the reflection. Yet, the reflection was obscured and dark. Later our guide informed us that the exhibit symbolizes how history can obscure great tragedy through the passing of time. While the old saying is “time heals all wounds” this is one wound that we need time to never heal. From this exhibit we made our way to the children’s memorial, which serves as remembrance to the lives of the one and a half million children murdered in the Holocaust. This memorial was rather unique as it had no written names or pictures apart of it. Rather, it was a dark room with just 5 candles but dozens of mirrors which reflected the candles lights all over the room. While we passed through we could hear the voice of a monotoned man read out the names of different children who were victims of the Shoah. All of these aspects of the memorial created a very somber yet enlightening experience that we soon will not forget. While we both have been to Yad Vashem before the experience felt a lot more meaningful due to our experience in Aushwitz-Birkenau, which helped further our understanding and visualization of the Holocaust.