The Nazi holocaust remains entrenched in the minds of people. There has been effort to change the world and to evade a reoccurrence of such a life-threatening event. Indeed, weapons of mass destruction and war-like activities continue to be discouraged across the world. In the memory of those who died and taught the world these lessons, many activities have been put in place. Among these is the setup of monuments that are used as a reminder to those events which people would like to forever forget. The Yad Vashem is a memorial heaven set up to commemorate the Jews slain during the Second World War. This paper shall be looking at the significance of this monumental museum and its impact to the Jewish society in the world.
The construction of monuments is done to save memories and to give a glimpse of what happened in the past. Many beautiful sculptures and monuments continue to be constructed across the world for various reasons. There are constructions that call for joy and evoke memories of good times. However, some monuments are built to commemorate events of war, death, epidemics, and massacre. Such constructions are not meant for aesthetics but rather they serve as a constant reminder that war has no winner. The dent left behind can never be sealed or covered. The history behind the formation of Yad Vashem is as great as the building’s magnitude. After the harrowing experience that Jews faced in the hands of Germans, this monument was created to help the world remember the massacre. This was after several attempts without success as the proponents of Nazi hampered any effort to form a memorial for dead Jews.
In 1945, after details on the magnitude of this event became clear, Yad Vashem was established. At first, this museum was meant for Jews who lost their lives in Europe. Later, the Jewish council recommended that a monument be built in Jerusalem. There was a general feeling that Palestine was doing little to show compassion and acknowledgement of the Jews that were suffering. Therefore, Palestine began showing its value for the Jews. Critics thus see the Yad Vashem as a civic construction by a government trying hard enough to gain an international image. However, Yad Vashem has served its purpose accordingly. This is because it has lived up to its dream by incorporating almost all of the important aspects of the Jewish suffering. Moreover, this monumental museum has been growing with time as more monuments and sculptures continue to grace it.
The Israeli government has gone as far as coming up with a legislation that establishes and protects this particular monument. This is because there had been resistance in the circles against its formation. Some of the roles established in the constitution for this particular building include the entire preservation of memories available on matters of this war. In 1955, the memorial page was launched to register all the Jews who died in the war. After this, the dead fighters and martyrs would be given citizenship. As a result, they would are seen as victims of genocide as well as Israelites.
Today, this monument stands as a reminder for both the holocaust and the Israel memory. This construction has also been put in place to honor those who collaborated with the Jews in the dark times. The themes behind its existence are strong and continue to evoke pity and regret at the mere cause of war and discrimination in the world. It has been remarked that this building is a shrine for Israel heroism and a place where holocaust history is retold using images and art.
The Yad Vashem museum is divided into three sections that are arranged in order of their importance in the narrative of the Jewish holocaust. This section, which acts as an introductory phase, launches one into the pre-holocaust period. In this room, there is great reference to the historical causes of the holocaust exhibited through various art forms like photographs and narratives among others. This first section of the museum deliberately holds leaflets, photographs, and other propaganda tools that were used by the Nazi to build their campaign against the Jews.
Moving on to the second section of the museum is like a transition from one moment to another. This room captures the memories of one phase that many would like to forget. The period represented is that between 1941 and 1945 when the extermination of the Jews was at its helm. One experiences the intensity of the holocaust in this particular room, which is solely dedicated to real scenes from the holocaust. Real photographs of killings stare prominently at visitors as they tour the room. One photo of a woman staring down at the barrel of a soldier’s gun evokes feelings of disbelief in the tourists. One cannot simply imagine the lack of human consciousness that went on throughout the holocaust period.
The third phase of the museum ushers one into the period of the Jewish armed resistance. This phase shows the struggle of the Jews to regain their status in the society as human beings deserving of the right to life. This last room also symbolizes the Warsaw Ghetto revolt that saw the Jews gain freedom from the concentration camps also called death camps. The arrangement of the three rooms makes one feel as if they are re-living history, the culmination of which this last room in the museum depicts.
Other than the museum itself, there is a myriad of different monuments in the Yad Vashem that symbolize one phase or another in the Jewish narrative. One such monument is the memorial shrine, a heap of un-carved stones that lay against each other just as the sacred shrines cited in the bible. This symbolizes the belief that the Jewish is a religious race that has its roots in the bible. The shrine is sacred and anybody entering here has to cover their heads (for men) and their heads and shoulders (for women). In this monument, names of the largest twenty-two concentration camps are engraved. In addition, inside the memorial tent, a crypt holds the ashes of the Jews who died in the concentration camps.
The Bernie Fink’s monument is perhaps one of the most memorable monuments in the Yad Vashem. The monument is made of six pillars that are oblong shaped. The blocks are laid in such a way that they form a central star. A sword cuts through the Jewish star. The Central star represents the Jewish people and the blade stands for all the soldiers, partisans, and the ghetto fighters who lost their lives in the fight for freedom. The six oblong stones represent the six million Jews that were slain mercilessly. The monument is also called the victory monument since it emphasizes that the Jews emerged victorious in this war.
The Tower of Heroism is the tallest monument in this space. It is dedicated to all the heroes who died in the holocaust. Their dedication and commitment to free their people is documented in this tower. The tower is also a symbol of unity of the deceased fighters and the present Israeli soldiers; it is a reminder to the living soldiers to continue upholding the legacy of the soldiers gone before them.
A small museum dedicated to children who lost their lives is also a central part of the Yad Vashem. The most special part of this monument is that narratives do not crowd its display. Rather, the museum is a spacious architectural setting that uses photographs of the children and special lighting effects to tell the story of the one and a half million children that never had a chance to realize the promise that life holds. The fact that so many innocent children were victims of the atrocities of humankind makes the children’s museum the most emotional monument in the Yad Vashem.
The Yad Vashem is an extraordinary museum found in Israel. This particular construction holds daring and sad relics of the Nazi holocaust. The museum has been in existence for a long time now. Yad Vashem continues to grow and expand with time as more and more artifacts are added to it. This museum attracts more and more people to Israel as they seek to find out what really happened during these dark times.