Places in Israel

Remembering the Holocaust Through 4 Sites in Israel

The Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day is a national day in Israel, meant to commemorate approximately six million Jews who were perished during the Holocaust by the Nazis and their collaborators. Every year, this remembrance day is held on the 27th day of the Hebrew month, Nisan, which means it usually falls in April or May. This year – 2020 – it falls on 20 April.

There are many monuments commemorating the Holocaust throughout the world, but we want to focus today on four sites that exist in Israel, the land which a few years after the Holocaust became the state of the Jewish people.

Yad Vashem:

Yad Vashem is the Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust and is the largest institute in the world dedicated to preserving the memory of the perished, honoring the Jews who fought against the Nazis and the Righteous Among the Nations, who helped Jews in spite of great personal risk, and researching the phenomenon of the Holocaust, with an aim to prevent events like this from happening again. Besides the library and research area, the institute also has an impressive and very informative historical museum, which tells the story of the Holocaust from its very beginning to its very end. This museum is one of the most visited sites in Israel and is free of charge, so we definitely recommend visiting here on your next trip.

The museum of Yad Vashem includes many authentic photos from the time of the Holocaust, as well as personal items belonging to those who were taken to the Concentration Camps and Death Camps. You can also watch filmed testimonies of some of the people who were able to escape and survive the Holocaust. Outdoor, in the courtyard the encompasses the museum, you can find many monuments of memorial.  

Next to Yad Vashem stands Israel’s National Cemetery on Mount Herzl. We recommend walking on the trail that connects Yad Vashem to Mount Herzl and visiting some of the monuments which exist at the edge of the cemetery, in the forest, which are also connected to the Holocaust. One of those monuments is the Memorial for the Last of Kin, which was built in memory of the Jews who were the only ones in their families to have survived the Holocaust, were able to come to the Land of Israel and fell in the War of Independence in 1948-49.

The entrance to Yad Vashem is not allowed for children under 10 years old due to the hard content inside.

The museum is located in Jerusalem, next to the Mount Herzl Light-Rail Station.

For more info, visit the official website of Yad Vashem.

Watch this great video by The Watchman with Erick Stakelbeck:

Ghetto Fighters’ House:

Yad Vashem might be the largest institute dedicated to the Holocaust, but the Ghetto Fighters’ House was the first museum in the world dedicated to the Holocaust. It was built about four years before Yad Vashem, in 1949, at the very end of the Independence War. The founders are Holocaust survivors, who decided to put behind the grief and the horror and establish a kibbutz in the Western Galilee. They called their kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta’ot, which means “Ghetto Fighters”, and established the museum under the same name.

The main museum shows the Holocaust from different angles through informative text and authentic images. It also has an entire exhibition dedicated to the ghetto fighters, who fought the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto. One of the most interesting items on display in the museum is the original booth in which Adolf Eichmann sat during his trial. In this exhibition you can hear and read parts of Eichmann’s quotes from the trial and different interviews he gave. Eichmann, who was one of the major organizers of the Holocaust, was sentenced to death by hanging on December 1961. He was the only person sentenced to death in Israel until this day.

Right next to the Ghetto Fighters’ House there is also Yad LaYeled, a children’s memorial museum dedicated to the Jewish children who were perished in the Holocaust. The exhibits of this museum are more appropriate for children of age 10 and above. 

The museum is located in Kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta’ot, about 28 km north of Haifa.

For more info, visit the official website of the Ghetto Fighters’ House.

Watch this video of the Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony at Ghetto Fighters’ House, published by KKLJNFWorldwide:

The Anne Frank Memorial:

One of the most touching and unique memorials in Israel is the Anne Frank Memorial in the Forest of the Martyrs. The Forest of the Martyrs was established in 1951 by the Jewish National Fund and was planned to consist of six million trees in memory of the six million Jews perished in the Holocaust. The memorial, which was created in 2001, is a paved path aligned with signs, which show parts of Anne Frank’s diary. At the end of the path stands a modest statue, that depicts the room in which Anne Frank hid from the Nazis. The statue was made by Pete Cohen, who also hid from the Nazis as a child in southern Holland.

For those of you who do not know, Anne Frank was a Jewish girl born in 1929 in Germany. After the Nazis rose to power, her family moved to Amsterdam in Holland, but when the Nazis conquered Holland, they had to hide.  On July 1942 they moved to a hiding place, which they had prepared in advance in the office building of Otto Frank’s company. A number of people, who worked for Otto Frank in the past, helped the family by providing them supplies from the outside.  Unfortunately, about two years later, one of the neighbors told the Nazis about the hiding place and the family was sent to the concentration camps. Anne Frank died in the Bergen-Belsen Camp in March 1945, just a few weeks before the camp was freed. Miep Gies, one of the people who helped the family in hiding, found Anne’s diary and hid it. This is how we know of her story today.

The Anne Frank Memorial is located near the lower parking lot in the Forest of the Martyrs. To get there, you will need to drive on road 38 towards Beit Shemesh and turn east at Eshta’ol Junction towards road number 395. After about 100 meters you will need to turn left (north) onto a paved way that eventually leads to the site. It is located about 50 minutes by car from Jerusalem. 

Watch this video by KKLJNFIsrael:

Scroll of Fire Monument:

The last site we would like to mention is also located in the Forest of the Martyrs, but unlike the Anne Frank Memorial, it is located at the top of the forest, on a hill overlooking the surroundings. The Scroll of Fire Monument was created by the sculptor Nathan Rapoport, who was a Holocaust survivor, and inaugurated in 1971. The impressive monument, which is made of bronze and rises to a height of eight meters, commemorates the story of the Jewish history from the Holocaust until the Independence of the State of Israel. It is shaped like two scrolls, one of them describing the Holocaust and one describing the freedom and independence of the Jewish people in their state.

If you’ll look closely, you’ll be able to spot Janusz Korczak, who went with the Jewish children of his orphanage to the Treblinka Death Camp, and the ghetto fights in the Warsaw Ghetto. You’ll also be able to see a man kissing the ground of the Land of Israel, and people dancing Hora near the Western Wall.

The Scroll of Fire Monument is located near the settlement of Ksalon. About 1.5 km before the settlement there is a left turn to the monument. When you turn east at Eshta’ol Junction towards road number 395, instead of turning towards the Anne Frank Memorial, you need to continue up the mountain until you reach a roundabout, which leads right to Ksalon.

Watch this video by Ts Der:

Those are four of the main sites commemorating the Holocaust in Israel, the land which many of the perished dreamt of seeing.

Never again. We will always remember.

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The article was written by Lior Connelly, Israeli tour guide and owner of “Backpack Israel”, the ultimate website for budget travelers in Israel.