Scott Sitner-Jerusalem-December 2018
For some reason this Tom Petty song kept running through my mind as I was touring the Holocaust museum:(Ya’d Vashem)
You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
Sail away, kill off the hours
You belong somewhere you feel free
The lyrics kept running through my head thinking of the people trapped where they were. First in their what they thought were secure homes, with jobs, families and kids. Then as those things were slowly stripped away, I envisioned them all thinking that all they wanted was to be free, yet most never would be until they were murdered. It’s a funny thing going to a museum designed to recall and memorialize a true horror of world history. The museum, interestingly enough, is not for people like us, even though of course it is a huge part of our cultural and religious history. More importantly it is for non jews, as we of course will never forget, but it is the rest of the world that has to remember, those groups who do not get immersed in it like Jews, but for whom it is a chapter in a history book and a few lectures. No different than other genocides, the world has to remember, not the people who were targeted and were its victims. Our our guide, who is also our guide for the trip walked us through the museum and gave us perspective.
What struck us was that he framed everything by saying “they didn’t know what was going to happen.” So with each new act of repression and suppression over a decade or more, people did not know they were soon to be executed, more they hoped that it would get better. It gave a new perspective to me walking around thinking of the people who could never have envisioned they were soon to be murdered, not knowing that people could do that to other people and just hoping it would improve and they could resume their normal lives. doThe worst part was the children’s memorial, dedicated to the 1.5 million kids who were murdered. There is nothing else I can say.A few things if you go. It’s mobbed, like wow. If you have already been to DC, or other holocaust museums, many of the exhibits are the same or similar, which is good because it is near impossible to see a lot due to the crowds. Thew views outside are amazing, designed to show Israel as this is our homelands and where people strive to come.. It’s shorter than DC, two hours and done. Well worth it as how can one be here and not go?So what does one do after that? Shop and eat of course. A good glatt kosher meal, some shopping for trinkets and a nice day of rest. We blew off the dig, just too tired and wanted to explore the city. A nice dinner in town, fish. and done for the night. Traveling this much is hard, everyone is being a trooper but I can see it wearing on people, tomorrow is Masada and the dead sea so 12 hours of a bus and such, but a nice way to finish. Good night