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Yad Vashem: Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem

Yad Vashem

Almost every city around the world has a Holocaust memorial or Holocaust museum. Israel is no different and with lots of history museums in Israel, Jerusalem is a prime location for a Holocaust museum & memorial. Because much of western Jerusalem is very Jewish, you’d expect something bigger and better here. Jerusalem doesn’t disappoint.

Yad Vashem is a small campus of buildings located in the Jerusalem Forest. The museum was created for the commemoration, research and documentation of the Holocaust (or Shoah in Hebrew). The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority (responsible for Yad Vashem) was established by the State of Israel in 1953 and today, the Jerusalem Holocaust museum is open to the public for free.

The Holocaust History Museum

When you enter the Israel Holocaust museum grounds, the first building is the Holocaust History Museum. The many galleries in here feature video testimonies from survivors, as well as artifacts, photographs, documents & videos. The History Museum also houses the Hall of Names which seeks to collect the names and personal details of the six million Jewish victims from the Holocaust. The galleries and videos in the History Museum are all in English and Hebrew. There is also an audio guide which can be used, though many tour groups also offer guided tours through the museum.

While the Holocaust History Museum is the main attraction of Yad Vashem there is also a Museum of Holocaust Art, rotating exhibitions, a learning center, synagogue, archives & library. Some of the other more interesting areas of the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum & memorial worth visiting are listed below.

Hall of Remembrance

Yad Vashem

The Hall of Remembrance houses an eternal flame commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. A crypt near the flame contains the ashes of Holocaust victims brought to Israel from some of the extermination camps. The names of 22 different Nazi concentration camps are also written on the ground.

Children’s Memorial

The Holocaust Children’s Memorial is underground. You walk through a dark hallway while the names, ages & countries of murdered children are read aloud. It’s strangely terrifying and you can barely see your way through the memorial. Approximately 1.5 million Jewish children were killed during the Holocaust.

Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations

Yad Vashem

Here the names of the Righteous Among the Nations are engraved on walls, organized by country. The Righteous Among the Nations is a title given to non-Jews by the Israeli government to those people that risked their lives saving Jews during the Holocaust.

The Cattle Car Memorial

Yad Vashem

An original German cattle-car stands on a suspended railway track that ends abruptly in the air. The Cattle Car Memorial commemorates the millions of Jews who were transported to concentration camps during the Holocaust. On a wall nearby is an emotional testimony of a survivor.

  1. Sarah Wu says:

    Great write up and pictures. A place to remember and visit!

  2. enrolled agent cpe says:

    I would love to visit this place someday and experience it myself. I have read various testimonials from tourists who went to different Holocaust Memorials in other countries and it has stirred up my curiosity since then. Great pictures by the way.

  3. its sad what happened to the jews it should never be repeated

  4. Merav | AllWays Car Rental NZ says:

    Being an Israeli living in NZ, I don’t think I can recall any blogs about travelling Israel and this blog and in particular this post is important to me. The Holocaust is a tough subject to talk about, read about and tell about the experience visiting Yad Vashem. Thank you for this post!

    • Adam says:

      Hi Merav, You’re right. I don’t see Israel very often among travel blogs, though it’s got a relatively successful tourism industry. I’m sure there’s a lot of reasons for it, but I’ve found it important to get a good first-hand account of this place.

  5. Yad Vashem was one of the most sobering parts of my time in Israel. Although it’s such a terribly morbid, sad topic, I’ve always been fascinated with Holocaust history…I guess maybe because, for people of our generation who didn’t live through it, the thought that all of that actually happened and was not merely fiction is just unthinkable.

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