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Touring the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum

Today our group spent the morning in the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum.

We began our tour looking at photos of Jews in the 1920s showing rich thriving communities. Our walk continued through a series of rooms documenting the late 1930s when Hitler began attacking Jewish families and businesses. Then, the ghettos. We saw the actual artifacts of families and individuals. We also saw actual cobblestones and railway tracks from Warsaw. 

Next were the pictures and stories of the trains transporting thousands a day to the death camps, along with a replica of one of the camps. The last room was a rotunda, encircling us with 600 photos of victims whose faces reflected in a pool below. Around the sides were the four million names of Jews that are known to have died. Each one was given one page of testimony with as much information as is known about him or her.  

Yad Vashem also has a visual room with every film ever made about the Holocaust and computers for visitors to watch them. They also have a large educational building that is currently being expanded. There is also the Avenue of the Righteous, where a tree is planted with a plaque bearing the name of an individual or family who tried to save Jews from death. 

This experience for me was full of emotions. We have some Jews in our group including one whose grandparents are survivors. I felt deep sadness and repentance and also respect for the love and dedication of the Jewish world community for working so hard and artfully to honor their friends and loved ones.